HC Deb 17 June 1937 vol 325 cc707-10

11.13 p.m.

The Lord Advocate

I beg to move, in page 77. line 34, to leave out from "to," to "the," in line 37.

For the convenience of the House I might explain that the whole of the 15 Amendments to Clause 99 which stand in the name of my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary are directed to one simple purpose, namely, to re-apportion a little more accurately and fairly the obligations of the owner and of the occupier in a tenement factory. A tenement factory is a factory where there is one building with a common source of power and several separate factory occupiers, and the broad general purpose of these 15 Amendments is to secure that obligations which entail structural provision shall be imposed on the owner of the tenement factory, and that the residue of the obliga- tions which are imposed by the Statute shall rest upon the occupier. Such matters as safety from fire, common stairs, lifts, washing facilities if they have to be provided, accommodation for clothing, and the like, will fall upon the owner, whereas such questions as the guarding of machinery in use will fall upon the occupier. I shall be happy to answer questions regarding any of the individual Amendments, but I think the House may take it from me that, apart from questions of drafting, the substantial effect of the Amendments is to re-cast the Clause with a view to imposing the liabilities on the basis I have stated.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendments made:

In page 77, line 40, after "cleanliness," insert "overcrowding."

In line 40, after "temperature," insert "ventilation."

In page 78, line 1, leave out from "11," to end of paragraph (ii), and insert: with respect to the provision and maintenance of fencing and safety appliances, except in so far as they relate to machinery or plant belonging to or supplied by the occupier of the tenement, the construction, maintenance, testing and examination of machinery or plant, except such machinery or plant as aforesaid, the construction and maintenance of floors, passages and stairs, means of escape in case of fire, safety provisions in case of fire (so far as compliance therewith necessitates any structural provision), and the power of a court of summary jurisdiction to make orders as to dangerous factories.

In line 13, leave out from "provisions," to end of line 14, and insert "of Part 111."

In line 18, leave out "in their application to," and insert "except in the case of."

In line 19, after "by," insert "not."

In line 20, at the end, insert: (v) the provisions of Part V, except in the case of any such room as aforesaid";

In line 22, after "employment," insert "and notices relating to special exceptions."

In line 26, after "factory," insert: or, as the case may be, the whole of such factory except rooms occupied by not more than one tenant":

In line 27, at end, insert "in the occupation of the owner."

In line 28, after "that," insert:

  1. "(a) the owner of the tenement factory shall not be responsible for any contravention of the foregoing provisions arising from the use in a tenement of any fencing, appliances, machinery or plant if the use thereof is a matter outside his control, and the occupier of the tenement shall be responsible for any such contravention; and
  2. (b)"

In line 30, after "rest," insert: or any notice relating to a special exception."—[The Lord Advocate.]

11.19 p.m.

Colonel Sandeman Allen

I beg to move, in page 78, line 33, at the end, to insert: Provided also that the owner of any tenement shall not be responsible for the observance in that tenement of the provisions of this Act with respect to overcrowding, cleanliness, temperature, lighting, care of machinery, guards and safety appliances, and the provisions of Part VI and Part IX if he has surrendered control of such matters to the occupier. This Amendment is merely to see that the owner of a factory, if he has surrendered control of various parts of the factory, should not be held liable for the whole thing. The Amendment will make things fairer for him.

Mr. Wakefield

I beg to second the Amendment.

11.20 p.m.

The Lord Advocate

I have some difficulty in dealing with this Amendment because of the expression in the closing words of it, which is the key to the Amendment: If he has surrendered control of such matters to the occupier. I think that the Mover and Seconder of the Amendment will agree that it is very difficult to understand what particular evidence would have to be adduced to establish that surrender of control. As I explained, the effect of Clause 99, as amended by the Amendments put from the Chair during the last few moments, is to apportion the liability in regard to these various matters between the owner and the occupier on the basis of making the owner responsible for the constructional part of the factory and leaving the occupier liable in respect of matters relating to the use of machinery and the like. I fear that the acceptance of this Amendment would run counter to the scheme of the Clause. I think I can offer to the hon. and gallant Member the Mover of the Amendment a pledge to look further into the matter and see if this rather complicated question is capable of solution, but I can give him no undertaking. Perhaps he will be willing to accept my offer to look further into the matter, and withdraw the Amendment.

Colonel Sandeman Allen

In view of the offer and explanation of the Lord Advocate, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendments made:

In page 78, line 34, leave out Subsection (2), and insert: (2) The provisions of this Act shall, so far as they are applicable and have not been applied by the foregoing provisions of this Section, apply to any part of a tenement factory which is not comprised within any of the separate factories as if that part were a factory and the owner were the occupier thereof.

In line 39, leave out Sub-section (3).—[The Lord Advocate.]