HC Deb 14 April 1937 vol 322 cc977-9

Considered in Committee of the whole House.

[Captain BOURNE in the Chair.]

Motion made, and Question proposed, That for the purposes of any Act of the present Session providing, among other things, for the extension of the powers of the London County Council under Sections seventy and seventy-one of the Education Act, 1921, to include a power to provide, furnish, equip, maintain, and carry on the business of an hotel in conjunction with, or as part of, their Westminster Technical Institute situate in Vincent Square, in the city of Westminster, in connection with the supply in such hotel of education in all or any branch of the hotel industry, it is expedient to authorise the payment out of moneys provided by Parliament of such sums as may be necessary to defray the expenses of the Board of Education in respect of such grants as may become payable under the Education Act, 1921, by reason of the extension aforesaid."—[The Chairman of Ways and Means.]

Colonel Gretton

May I ask what is the nature of the business to be carried on in this hotel? Not only is it proposed to set up a school, but apparently it is intended to carry on a hotel business. Will the hotel be open to the public?

The Chairman of Ways and Means (Sir Dennis Herbert)

I am afraid that all I can do at the moment is to explain the position to the Committee. It is my duty in matters of this kind to move Private Business formally, and if objection is taken to it, it becomes opposed Business, and has to be set down for debate at 7.30. The rather unusual procedure we are going through at the moment comes about in this way. The London County Council, as a higher education authority, receive a grant from the Exchequer of, I think, half their expenditure on education, and if in any Bill which they introduce they ask for additional powers which mean further expenditure in connection with their duties as an education authority, there has to be this particular form of Money Resolution. Perhaps the right hon. and gallant Gentleman has not seen it, but a White Paper has been issued in connection with this matter, which states that the London County Council, as the local education authority, desire to make provision for the training of persons who wish to take up hotel management, and for that purpose they require these additional powers which they have included in this Bill. The White Paper states that the net charge to the Exchequer resulting from the proposal will vary annually, but is not expected at any time to exceed a sum of the order of £1,500 or £1,800 a year. I can give the Committee that explanation of the position; but as regards the merits of the case one way or the other, of course it is not for me, as Chairman of Ways and Means, to say anything.

Colonel Gretton

I take it that the proposal can be debated on the Bill, if desired—that the position will not be prejudiced if this Resolution is passed to-day?

The Chairman of Ways and Means

It will not be debated in Committee on the Floor of the House unless objection is taken to the Resolution. If the Resolution is passed, the Committee on Private Bills, which takes the London County Council Bill, will then have to consider the Clauses which are to give the council these extended powers which would result in this increased expenditure.

Mr. Charles Williams

The Chairman of Ways and Means says it is expected that the expenditure will not be more than £1,500 to £1,800 a year—

The Chairman of Ways and Means

The White Paper says so.

Mr. Williams

Most of us who know anything of these expectations know that they are generally exceeded in the course of a few years. It seems an unsatisfactory position if we cannot debate the Money Resolution at some time. Can we object to it now?

The Deputy-Chairman

If the hon. Member objects, there can be no further proceedings now.

Mr. Williams

Than I object.

Whereupon The CHAIRMAN left the Chair to make his Report to the House.

Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.