HC Deb 04 May 1937 vol 323 cc1008-12

4.16 p.m.

Mr. Ramsbotham

I beg to move, in page 15, line 28, after "Commission," to insert: if they consider it desirable so to do for promoting efficiency or economy in the marketing of livestock. This is a drafting Amendment, to bring into the preamble of the Clause the words providing for the consideration of efficiency or economy which at present occur later in the Clause.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendments made:

In page 15, line 32, leave out "auctioneers," and insert "persons."

In line 39, leave out from "premises," to "and," in line 4z.—[Mr. Ramsbotham.]

4.18 p.m.

Mr. W. S. Morrison

I beg to move, in page 16, line 1, to leave out from the beginning, to the first "for," in line 5.

This is another point that arises out of an undertaking which I gave in Committee. Sub-section (1, c) of Clause 17 gives power to the Commission to make by-laws for ensuring that lack of efficiency shall not exist by reason of the fact that two markets are held on the same day and at the same time. This is another point which I owe to the vigilance of my hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton), who pointed out that an unnecessary restriction would be imposed on the powers of the Commission in this regard. It is possible for efficiency to be affected by an approach of days and times less close than an actual coincidence; that is to say, if one market were meeting at 3 o'clock in the afternoon and another at 4 o'clock, they would not be meeting at the same time, but nevertheless their operations might so conflict that it would be necessary to make a by-law altering the days and times. The Amendment is designed to meet that point by omitting the restriction as to the same day and the same time, leaving the Commission governed, as they are now, by the binding words as to consideration of efficiency and economy, which, by the Amendment just moved by my hon. Friend, have been transferred to the beginning of the Clause, so that the Commission will be able to make by-laws without any regard to an actual coincidence of times.

Amendment agreed to.

4.21 p.m.

The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Wedderburn)

I beg to move, in page 16, line 21, after "premises," to insert "throughout Great Britain or in any part thereof."

This is a drafting Amendment to make it quite clear that general by-laws may be made applying to premises in particular parts of Great Britain, and not necessarily to the whole of it.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: In page 16, leave out lines 28 to 33.—[Mr. W. S. Morrison.]

4.22 p.m.

Captain Heilgers

I beg to move, in page 16, line 33, at the end, to insert: (4) When the Commission first decide that livestock market by-laws are desirable in relation to any premises generally or to any class of premises in any area, they shall forthwith serve a written notice of their decision (specifying the said area and the premises or class of premises to which it is proposed such by-laws shall relate and the general nature of the said by-laws) on such bodies as appear to the Commission to be representative of local authorities and other interests likely to be affected by the by-laws, and shall give those bodies a reasonable opportunity of making to the Commission representations with respect to the provisions to be inserted in and the drafting of the said proposed by-laws; and the Commission shall, in settling the terms in which the draft by-laws shall be published in accordance with paragraph one of the Fourth Schedule to this Act, take into consideration any such representations as aforesaid which may have been made to them by the said bodies and also consult the Livestock Advisory Committee. This Amendment, like the Amendment to Clause 15 which was moved by the Minister last night, is designed to make it clear that consultation between the Commissioners and the parties affected by livestock markets by-laws shall precede any drafting by the Commission. The proposed new Sub-section is drawn in almost precisely similar fashion to the Minister's Amendment last night, the only difference being that it refers to livestock markets by-laws and not to livestock markets orders.

4.23 p.m.

Mr. H. G. Williams

I beg to second the Amendment.

It seems to me that consultation will be even more important in this case, because the by-laws will concern all sorts of matters of detail, and I think it would be of enormous advantage to the Commission to obtain the views of those who are experts on such matters of detail before they commence their drafting.

4.24 p.m.

Mr. W. S. Morrison

This Amendment would apply to livestock markets by-laws the same initial procedure that is now to be applied to livestock markets orders. I can see the logical framework in which it is conceived, but I would ask my hon. Friends to consider whether in this case the procedure is appropriate to the subject-matter of a by-law. The proposed procedure of preliminary discussion before the by-law is in draft is taken, as my hon. and gallant Friend has pointed out, from my Amendment referring to livestock markets orders, but I think that the present Amendment is unnecessary. A livestock markets by-law is quite a different thing from a livestock markets order. The livestock markets order is, as my hon. Friend the Minister of Pensions said just now, of a foundational character. It affects interests and localities over a wide area, and there is an argument, which has convinced me, for saying that, in the case of an order of that character, it is essential to put into the Bill words which will secure preliminary consultation with the interests affected, so that the Livestock Commission can get a picture of the whole thing in their minds before they put pen to paper. That was the object of the Amendment which was accepted last night.

A livestock markets by-law, however, is entirely different. It deals with details of management. There must be preliminary consultation before the idea of a by-law can ever get into the minds of the Commission. Where do they get their information as to whether or not a bylaw is advisable? Surely, they can only get it from the locality affected. It is only those in the actual market which will be affected who will know where the shoe pinches, and can inform the Commission of their needs and desires in the matter. The movement for a by-law is bound to start from the locality to which it is to apply. A livestock markets order, on the other hand, has a very much wider scope. There is no reason why the somewhat cumbrous procedure which is applicable to an order should be used in the case of a by-law. A by-law is, after all, a matter of words. It is legislation of a very minor character. It can only be judged on its text. We have often in this House, in considering proposals made in a general fashion, wished that we could clarify the situation in our own minds by seeing it in a Bill, so that we should know where we were. In considering a livestock markets by-law, it is the text that matters, and the discussion between the people concerned can take place more valuably after they have had the text before them. I hope my hon. Friends will agree with me that in this matter it is not necessary for the Commission to go through quite the same involved procedure that is laid down for a livestock markets order. Let the Commission put their by-law in draft first. They are bound to consult with the local people, and, if there is opposition to the wording of the by-law, the discussion can be most usefully carried on at that stage.

4.28 p.m.

Mr. Alexander

The Minister has given a very reasonable sort of explanation of his attitude, but this is a case in which a commission, and not a local authority, is going to make a by-law. It is true, as the Minister says, that they would hardly proceed to put pen to paper until there had been some initiative from the people interested in the matter, that it must also be remembered that, in the kind of local disputes and discussions which arise in such circumstances, the Commission may well be approached by only one section of the parties concerned in order to initiate by-laws which may be very restrictive upon other parties interested in the market. I think there is something to be said for the view of those responsible for this Amendment that a good deal of irritation and bad feeling might well be avoided if, instead of proceeding to put into draft a by-law made on the representations of only one section of the parties concerned, arrangements were made for adequate consultation. It may well be that, without some provision of this kind, draft bylaws might be published which would give rise to even more irritation to the other parties concerned than to the people who actually took the initiative with the Commission.

4.30 p.m.

Major Dorman-Smith

Are we to take it that the Commission could not issue a set of by-laws which would have general application, but must take each market by itself—that, for instance, they would not be able to lay down that all markets must use a particular kind of weighbridge, or something of that sort? If they were able to do that, it might be rather annoying. Are we to take it that they will have to treat each market as a separate problem?

Mr. Morrison

No, they can make general by-laws or special by-laws. This is provided for in Sub-section (3) of the Clause, which reads as follows: Livestock markets by-laws may be either general by-laws, that is to say, by-laws applying to premises generally or to any class of premises throughout Great Britain or in any part thereof, or special by-laws, that is to say, by-laws applying to particular premises only; and any livestock markets by-laws (whether general or special) may be made so as to apply in relation to a specified description of livestock only, and may make different provision with respect to different descriptions of livestock. They may be of general as well as of special application. This is not a point on which I feel very strongly. My desire is to avoid overweighting the Bill with provisions which I do not think are necessary. However, my mind is not closed on the subject. I cannot see that the Amendment will do a great deal of harm except for overweighting the Bill. Perhaps my hon. and gallant Friend will allow me to consider it further.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.