§ (1) As from the date on which any lands are acquired by the Postmaster-General under or for the purposes of this Act, any land tax assessed on those lands on the first day of January next before that date shall be deemed to have been redeemed in accordance with the provisions of the enactments relating to the redemption of land tax, and thereafter no land tax shall be assessed on or charged in respect of those lands.
§ (2) The Commissioners of Inland Revenue shall grant a certificate of exoneration of assessment to land tax in respect of any lands acquired by the Postmaster-General under or for the purposes of this Act, and the certificate shall be registered by the officer appointed for the registry of contracts for the redemption of land tax.—[Sir W. Womersley.]
§ Brought up, and read the First time.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause be read a Second time."
§ Sir W. WOMERSLEY
The reason why this new Clause comes in is because it is 1829 absolutely necessary to deal with the question of Land Tax. If we do not move it to-night, it will mean that the Bill will not have it inserted.
§ Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.
§ Clause 15 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
§ Schedule and Preamble agreed to.
§ Bill reported, with Amendments; as amended, considered.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."
§ 11.43 p.m.
§ Mr. KELLY
I want to ask for some explanation, particularly with regard to the Schedule. I notice that certain streets in London and Manchester are to be closed. Why are these streets specifically mentioned, when there is power in the Bill for the Postmaster-General to arrange with the local authorities—in the case of London, the London County Council and the Metropolitan borough councils, and in the case of Manchester, the Manchester City Council—and yet we find that particular places are mentioned, such as the Cleveland Mews in the Metropolitan Borough of St. Pancras, Warwick Street in the city of Manchester, and Little Lever Street in the city of Manchester? If agreement has been obtained with the local authorities for the closing of these places, I hope, so far as London is concerned, the Postmaster-General is not going to strike across our town planning arrangements by taking to himself certain powers without consideration for the locality. The attempt made by the Home Office to make the Metropolitan Police a Government Department is bad enough without the Postmaster-General coming in to close streets just as he feels disposed.
§ 11.45 p.m.
§ Mr. TINKER
When we agreed to allow this item on the Order Paper to go through, it was on the understanding that it would only be the Committee stage; we never thought the Third Reading would also be taken. I claim that the Chief Whip has no right to take advantage of the position. It is now a quarter 1830 to 12. We are trying to get through as much work as we can. We have not used any means to-day to try to stop the business, and we find ourselves near midnight taking the Third Reading of an important measure. I want to raise my voice in protest by moving to report Progress.
The hon. Member cannot move to report Progress on the Third Reading. He can only move the Adjournment of the Debate.
§ Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned."
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Captain Margesson)
I would like to put one point to the hon. Member for Leigh (Mr. Tinker). There is no question of the Government trying to put anything through that was not announced at Question Time to-day. There is certain business we hoped to get by suspending the Eleven o'Clock Rule, and we said we wanted to get the Orders which have been passed and Orders numbered 2 to 6 inclusive. We said the Government hoped to get them, but the Government do not wish to press the House beyond what it is prepared to do. The Post Office (Sites) Bill has been discussed before. It does not raise any point of great controversy, and I thought that the House would be prepared to consider the Third Reading. I have had no official request from the Opposition that we should not proceed with it. If I am pressed hard to leave the Third Reading over to another time, it is a matter of small importance, and I should not ask the House to sit at great length in order to obtain it. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman, after hearing my explanation, will be prepared to withdraw the Motion.
§ Mr. TINKER
I will withdraw the Motion, but I wanted to make my pro- 1831 test. It is taken too readily on the Government side that we shall consent to do everything they ask.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Question again proposed, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."
§ Mr. GARRO JONES
I will, if I may, make the remarks I was not quick enough to make when I seconded the Motion for the Adjournment.
§ Sir W. WOMERSLEY
In reply to the hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Kelly) it will be necessary, in order to get the buildings upon these sites, that these streets should be closed. I can assure the hon. Member that in the case of Manchester the local authority has agreed. The evidence of that fact is that they never offered any opposition before the Select Committee. That applies also to the London County Council; no opposition was forthcoming. I am sure that if they had objected, their objections would have been raised before the Select Committee.
§ Bill accordingly read the Third time, and passed, with Amendments.