HC Deb 27 May 1937 vol 324 cc540-55

Order for Second Reading read.

9.23 p.m.

The Minister of Health (Sir Kingsley Wood)

I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."

I hope the Bill will not prove as controversial as the last one. I notice with some relief that the learned gentlemen are now leaving the House. This Bill is much simpler than the previous one, but it is an important Measure, and I hope that it will commend itself generally to the House. Its object is to improve the purity of the streams and rivers of this country and also to relieve traders of a troublesome incident of manufacture. It cannot be disputed that many of our rivers are to-day seriously polluted and that the present law is not sufficient to prevent certain avoidable contamination which arises from the reception of the liquids proceeding from certain industrial and manufacturing processes. Nor, on the other hand, is it satisfactory in certain respects from the point of view of industry itself. The problem is a pressing one because it arises from the growing tendency for the manufacturers to settle on rivers which have not been industrialised before and by the importance which, I think it will be agreed, must be attached to conserving the available sources of water supply, both domestic and industrial. Legislation is much overdue.

This matter was considered by the Joint Advisory Committee on River Pollution as long ago as 1930. They heard the evidence and gave careful consideration to the problem, and they came to the conclusion that the law was inadequate, that it was indefinite itself and in its application, and that a new code was desirable which would at the same time as it defined the rights and obligations of traders and local authorities, be uniform in its application, while it admitted of variations in detail to suit local conditions. The general conclusions of this committee were: (1) that the local sanitary authorities should be under a general obligation to take and dispose of the trade effluents of their district; (2) that the trader should have a right to discharge such effluents to the public sewers; and (3) that there should be certain safeguards and conditions. Lord Gainford, in another place, introduced a Bill on these general lines last year. It went through all its stages, but owing to lack of time was not proceeded with in this House. It was in these circumstances that I had to consider the matter, and I think that the Government have come to a right decision when we say that it is in the general interest that the matter should be proceeded with, and the passing of the Public Health Act, 1936, has enabled a measure to be introduced in this House in a somewhat simpler form.

Consultations have taken place with the various associations of local authorities and many other associations interested in this problem as well as with representatives of certain trades and industries. I think that with certain Amendments of a committee character which may be necessary I can describe these proposals to the House as a measure of common agreement. I have already conferred with certain trades and industries and have given them an undertaking that Amendments will be moved in committee to deal with some difficulties of traders which have recently been the subject of our discussions. This Measure provides that local authorities shall, either by agreement with traders on individual applications, or by means of the enforcement of by-laws, settle the terms on which effluents may be discharged into sewers and I would like to give this assurance, that these by-laws must be approved by my Department, and they must be of such a nature as to safeguard the interests of the traders and also to protect the local authority itself against liability for undue expense.

I have considered the position of trade and industry, and traders are given a right of appeal and power is given to make exceptions to deal with particular cases. These by-law-making powers enable the local authority to determine the maximum amount of trade effluent which may be discharged on any one day with their consent and the maximum rate of discharge without consent. This Bill deals only with the regulation of what may be passed through drains as the drains themselves are now regulated by the Public Health Act, 1936. Traders are given, in accordance with the provisions of the Schedule, full opportunity of considering any proposed by-laws and making representations before they are made and submitted for confirmation. There are also a number of provisions which have been carefully made as to notices, appeals and penalties under this scheme. Existing agreements are preserved and provisions are included for the protection of authorities who are under an obligation to treat sewage from other local authorities' areas and docks and harbour authorities. The Bill will make for a measure of economy which, I know, the House would desire, because it does not inflict any hardship on anybody, inasmuch as it will be cheaper to dispose of trade effluents collectively and the cost of treatment of trade effluents concentrated at sewage disposal works will be less than the aggregate cost of treatment at numerous plants on individual trade premises.

I believe that the traders themselves will make use of these provisions without compulsion, and that the authorities who will be charged with the duty of seeing to the cleanliness of rivers will be able to exercise their powers in the knowledge that there are reasonably cheap measures of disposal open to these traders. I should explain that London is excluded from the Bill, but I understand that it will follow its working with attention, and, if it proves beneficial, will consider the steps which it will take in order to obtain similar provisions for London. I hope that this Bill will commend itself to the House. A large number of people have interested themselves in its provisions for a long period. Much work has, been done in connection with it. I propose it not as a major Bill but one which will be of some use as far as the cleanliness of rivers is concerned, and as a measure for solving a problem which for so long has been proved difficult as far as trade and industry are concerned. I have had an opportunity of discussing the matter with a number of traders and if there are any Amendments they desire, which will not interfere with the main purpose of the Bill, I shall be perfectly willing to consider them in Committee. I desire to present the Bill as one which will obtain general support, and I submit it as a useful little Bill which will do a great deal of good.

Mr. Burke

Has the right hon. Gentleman considered the position of the laundry trade whose effluents are of a domestic character?

Sir K. Wood

The Institution of British Launderers have said that their position might be affected by the Bill as drafted and have asked that some amendment should be made to exclude from the operation of the Bill effluents from laundries in so far as they are of a similar character to the ordinary domestic washing effluents. It has been agreed that an Amendment shall be moved in Committee, and I shall be glad to do it, to exempt from the consent of local authorities any liquid produced solely in the course of laundering articles. I understand that the Institution are satisfied with the assurance, and if I am permitted to do so I will carry out the obligation when the Bill comes before the Committee.

9.37 P.m.

Mr. Short

The right hon. Gentleman has made quite clear the purpose and object of the Bill. A similar measure was introduced in another place a year ago, but, unhappily, owing to lack of time it did not reach the Statute Book. This is an improvement on that Bill. The right hon. Gentleman has tried to accommodate certain interests, I think, to the advantage of the community at large, and on behalf of those for whom I speak we propose to offer general support to the Measure. We regard it as a useful and helpful Bill, and the right hon. Gentleman can depend upon our co-operation and goodwill when it is passing through the Committee stage. It may be necessary to submit Amendments but they will not be put forward in any spirit of hostility —rather with a view of improving the Measure. The Bill is undoubtedly calculated to deal with a great evil. The pollution of our streams and rivers by trade effluents is very general, and the measure is long overdue, having regard to the consideration which has been given to the problem of pollution by various committees and other interested bodies and the pressure which has been brought upon the Department from time to time to deal with the matter. There is no element of compulsion it the Bill. It is a perfect model of compromise and is in harmony with the characteristic way in which we approach many of the problems affecting local administration, traders, industry and the general public.

Looking at the legal phraseology of the Bill, the draftsman seems to have thought of everything. Traders may discharge their trade effluents into the sewers of local authorities, notice must be given, local authorities' interests are protected, any person aggrieved Las a right of appeal, there is a right of exemption, local authorities may make by-laws and shall do so if the right lion. Gentleman requires, local authorities, by agreement, may construct the necessary works and recover the cost from the traders concerned, and there is also provision for agreement between one local authority and another. In the course of our industrial development there has been sad neglect on the part of industry, of local authorities and on the part of the Government regarding the pollution of our beautiful streams and rivers. The condition of many of them is a disgrace to our vaunted civilisation. Through Sheffield, my adopted city, rues the River Don. When I was a boy I remember a citizen of Sheffield describing what a beautiful river it was and how in the very heart of Sheffield salmon and trout were to be seen and caught by the anglers and fishermen of those days. [Interruption.] I am not speaking of the anglers of the type of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but of those who come from Doncaster and Sheffield. The thousands of anglers who are organised in the National Federation of Anglers are interested not merely in the catching of fish, but in the preservation of the countryside and in maintaining the amenities, and beauties of our streams and rivers.

What is the state of the River Don to-day? From Penistone until it enters the Humber and finally reaches the sea, it is a veritable cesspool of filth and pollution. A few weeks ago I went to Sheffield to look at the River Don. It seemed to me to be flowing in agony, ashamed of itself. [Interruption.] I do not know what my hon. Friends behind me can see to laugh at in this. I do not know why any hon. Member should see any cause for merriment in the destruction of one of the most beautiful rivers that has ever flowed between banks. It is a disgrace to this House, to the local authorities and to men and women of intelligence that they should have allowed these beautiful streams and rivers to be spoiled, and if this Bill will only restore the beauty and amenities of the river Don, I for one welcome it. I am interested in this matter not from the fishermen's point of view, for I am not an angler, but from the point of view of the maintenance of beauty and the preservation of the countryside. When the workmen who work in these factories, among the stench, dirt and foulness of factory life, leave their houses with their wives and children to go for a walk, they go to the stench of the factories once again as it is reflected in the abuse and destruction of our rivers. This is something which we ought not to have tolerated for so long. Let me refer to the River Trent, and here I will quote from an article by Mr. J. Inglis Spicer, who is, I believe, secretary of the Trent Fishery Board, which appeared in "The Listener" of 22nd July, 1936: There are in this one river system 130 miles out of a total of 550 of flowing water (or what should be water) where neither animal nor plant life can subsist. In another 50 miles or so, the lower forms of plant life may subsist, but fish and insect life are absent. There can he no amenities in a countryside so fouled, and many of the fish are living very precariously indeed, with, hanging over them, the shadow of sudden death from preventible pollution. The river starts off badly polluted in the Potteries. It takes 30 miles to recover, as rivers will if left alone. Not a fish, not a water plant, for 30 miles! On natural recovery, with the help of fairly clean tributary streams, fish appear, with occasional slaughter of course. But down comes Birmingham and the Black Country's quota of pollution, devastating over 52 miles of water courses. There is a slow convalescence, running the gauntlet of Burton, Derby, Nottingham and Newark, and the river, tired and thankful, reaches the sea for purification by evaporation. I rejoice to think that we are finding time to deal with this matter, and I hope that traders, within the provisions of this Bill, will co-operate with the local authorities and the Ministry, and that we shall see a steady improvement in the condition of these rivers. At the same time, I hope that many traders will install purification plant where necessary. Moreover, I hope the Minister will not be content merely to provide that trade effluents shall run into the sewers of public authorities, but that he will see that public authorities do not allow their sewage to run into the rivers and streams, for much of the pollution has also been due to that. I do not propose to give evidence on that point, but I have read the reports of almost every fishery board in this country, and I do not think there is one that does not contain evidence of the pollution of rivers by sewage from local authorities, independent of the pollution caused by trade effluents. While we are seeking by this Bill to remedy the grave evil of trade effluents, I hope the right hon. Gentleman will use his influence and any powers which he may have to ensure that local authorities, having once got the trade effluents into their sewers, will not allow the sewage to run into the river, thus continuing the pollution which we are now seeking to remedy. On behalf of my hon. Friends, I welcome this Bill and reserve our right to submit Amendments, which will be put forward not in hostility, but in the hope of improving the Bill.

9.51 p.m.

Mr. Duncan

The hon. Member for Harwich (Mr. Holmes), the hon. Member for Acton (Mr. Duggan), the hon. Member for Elland (Mr. Levy) and I had on the Order Paper for a long time a Motion for the rejection of this Bill. That Motion was put down at the request of the Institute of British Launderers. I am grateful to the hon. Member for Burnley (Mr. Burke) for raising the matter by way of a question at the end of the Minister's speech, and I am glad that the Minister gave an assurance that he will move an Amendment in the Committee which will meet the views and desires of the Institute of British Launderers. Therefore, I merely wish to say that, with the assurance which the Minister has given, my hon. Friends are satisfied, and we have already withdrawn the Motion for the rejection of the Bill.

9.52 p.m.

Rear-Admiral Beamish

If any excuse is necessary for the few remarks which I wish to make to the House, I would remind hon. Members that for a good many years I have been concerned with the Joint Advisory Committee which made the recommendations upon which this Bill is very largely based. I wish to associate myself with everything that was said by the hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Short). I very much felt for him when some of his supporters smiled when he was speaking of the condition of some of our rivers. I must confess that it is more a matter for tears than for smiles. It is a very long time since anything really serious was done to help to prevent pollution, and this Bill is one further step to repair the injuries that industry, individual citizens and public authorities have inflicted upon the streams and rivers of this country. I am confident that it is a step in the right direction, although there are other steps which I hope will be taken in time to come, which will do more than this particular Bill does to carry forward what can only be an admirable piece of work. Miraculous results in the case of the rivers which the hon. Member for Doncaster mentioned cannot be hoped for, but at the same time a great deal of good will be done to them by this co-ordination and centralisation of the treatment of trade effluents.

It certainly will be beneficial in the case of the worst rivers, and I think it will ultimately mean the saving of certain rivers which, at present, are only slightly polluted, but on which, in recent years, industries have settled in order to get the advantage of the clean water. The effect of those industries settling on those rivers naturally has been to pollute them to some extent. I feel strongly that this is a question on which the public conscience ought to be aroused, and I am pleased to notice the agreement in the House to-night that we are doing the right thing in trying to have this matter rectified.

The question of angling interests me very much and I am sure it will appeal to all who support the Bill. Reference has been made to 100,000 anglers, but I can tell the House that 220,000 licences for coarse fish angling were issued in 1935 and if we utilise this Measure to the full and keep control over public authorities and see that purification is properly carried out, there is little doubt that the figure of 220,000 may easily be doubled. I am sure that would be a satisfaction to all who agree that angling is one of the most delightful and peaceful recreations of mankind. I wish to tender my meed of praise and thanks to the Minister for having brought forward this Bill.

9.58 P.m.

Mr. Cassells

While associating myself with all that has been said on this subject, there is one point which I wish to bring to the Minister's notice. Apparently Scotland has been disregarded in the Bill. I would recall a question which was asked in the House about 12 months ago by my hon. Friend the Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood) in regard to the poisoning of fish in the River Leven. I trust that Scotland is not being disregarded in this matter and that steps will lie taken by the Minister to see that Scottish interests are protected.

9.59 P.m.

Mr. Quibell

I join in welcoming the Bill particularly because I hope it will do something to deal with the pollution of streams in rural areas. I can find nothing in the Bill, however, which will remedy what I consider to be the worst feature of pollution. In certain rural districts not far from my own area, sewage is disposed of on the banks of the River Trent. There is no other method of disposal. It has to be carried there in the night, dumped On the banks of the river in order that the tide shall take it down stream. That fact is known to the officers of the local authorities but they deliberately close their eyes to it. I am afraid that the policy of extending water supplies to the rural villages, a policy with which I agree, will intensify the problem of pollution in the case of the smaller streams which find their way into larger streams and finally into the rivers. The Ministry would add considerably to the usefulness of the Bill if they could meet that point by inserting a Clause insisting that where town water supplies are extended to rural villages, steps shall be taken by the rural authorities to see that raw sewage does not go into the smaller streams and thence into the rivers.

Some hon. Members have been anxious to protect the interests of a particular section of the community, namely, the Institute of British Launderers. I do not know what is the relation of that body to the pollution of streams, but this I do know, that a considerable amount of discharge goes into the sewers of local authorities which is actually trade effluent, and I do not see why certain bodies should be excluded in this connection. If we are not careful, the strain put upon the sewers of local authorities in some cases by trade effluents will involve those authorities in a considerable expense, and I hope the Minister will take that point into consideration. The Bill is only a beginning, but, as a step in the right direction, we all welcome it and I hope it will reach the Statute Book. As regards the local authorities, I would only say that my own local authority is spending between £100,000 and £200,000 in extending sewerage works. The policy of the Ministry at present is to restrict the size of sewers so that they serve only for a limited number of years. If difficulties arise as a consequence of increasing the amount of effluents that the sewers have to take, it is a matter to which consideration must be given. With those comments on the Bill, I hope the right hon. Gentleman will have the pleasure of passing it into law, but he must be prepared in Committee to face Amendments such as I have indicated, and I hope that he will not promise, first to one organisation and then to another, that they will be exempted from any special contribution, having regard to the expenditure in which local authorities may be involved.

10.2 p.m.

Mr. Kelly

I wish to ask a question, but I am not concerned to receive an answer to-night and am prepared to wait for it until a later stage. Under Clause 4 it will be possible to deal in two ways with people who are concerned with trade effluents. The Minister may deal with them directly, or they may be dealt with under the local authority. In view of the right hon. Gentleman's experience of what happens when there are two methods of dealing with a matter of this kind, I would ask him to make up his mind on this point and to say that all these cases shall be dealt with under the local authority. These people will have, I think, a right of appeal, and it would be an advantage if all cases and applications went to the local authority in the first instance. In another branch of local administration railways are exempt from certain provisions which local authorities impose, and the railways are able to do almost anything they like in defiance of the local authorities. I ask the Minister to consider this matter and to have one method of dealing with all these people, no matter what their trade or business may be. Let them have a right to appeal if they are dissatisfied with the local authorities' decision, but let us have one form of administration.

10.5 p.m.

Mr. Gallacher

I would like to endorse the remarks made by the right hon. Member on the Front Bench on the necessity of restoring many of the beauty spots in this country, especially the rivers and their adjacent areas. In my home town there is a river and it is a disgrace to the community. Everyone will agree than anything that can help to clean up these rivers is desirable and should be given every support. It is terrible if an hon. Member can come here and talk of opposing the Bill on behalf of some association interested in business or profit. When I listened to the hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Short) talking about these beautiful spots and men and women and their families taking a delight in walking out to them, my mind went to a particular place which has been turned into a most awful and barren wilderness. It was one of the most beautiful districts you could have seen a few years ago.

This Bill refers to trade effluent as effluent with or without particles of matter, but I have in mind a product from an industry that has completely wiped out the beauties of the foreshore. Beautiful sands have been covered with rubbish, the harbour completely blocked up and destroyed, and men deprived of the livelihood they were making from fishing. This has resulted from the redd dumped from a coalpit into the harbour. The amenity of that countryside has been destroyed. When this Bill is being discussed in Committee some consideration should be given to the possibility of guarding against not only effluent in the way of liquid that can pollute a stream but against products of other characters that can easily be dumped on the banks of a stream and cause pollution and desolation. I hope the Minister will give that matter some consideration.

10.9 p.m.

Mr. Mathers

The Minister must be gratified to hear the chorus of approval for the attempt which this Bill represents to carry out some improvement in the streams of this country. My hon. Friend the Member for Dumbartonshire (Mr. Cassells) has raised a question with regard to Scotland. I hope the Minister of Health will be able to give us some inch-cation of what is the intention of the Government in regard to the question whether separate legislation is to be brought in for Scotland. While I and others have urged the necessity of having a better measure for maintaining the purity of Scottish rivers, our opinion that the present legislation which applies in Scotland is not adequate for its purpose is not one that is shared, as we gather, by those in charge of the Scottish Office.

But I do not rise to make the point particularly with regard to Scotland. I wish to have some enlightenment in regard to the discharge of trade effluent that does not actually go into local authorities' public sewers, as described at the commencement of this Bill. I am thinking of trade effluent that goes direct into a stream. The trade effluent that I have in mind is coal dust. A colliery situated on the side of a stream has settling ponds. The coal is washed, and there are ponds for the settling of the dust, but frequently we have found in times of flood the opportunity is taken to open the sluices that control those settling ponds and the effluent is allowed to run into the stream in the hope that the flood water will carry it completely away and leave little or no trace. That position does not seem to be dealt with by the Bill, and I am anxious to know whether it is intended to deal with a condition of that kind by means of this Bill. I am certain that other hon. Members are able to testify to the fact that this is a very serious form of pollution and that it does immense harm to rivers, makes them most unsightly, destroys the fish and makes the rivers totally unsuitable for the gentle pastime of angling. I hope we may have some enlightment as to the intentions of the Government in this regard in the further stages of the Bill.

10.13 p.m.

Sir John Haslam

I only wish to ask the Minister not to rest content with insisting on small communities providing purification works. In my experience some of those purification works have been put up elaborately, the local authorities being compelled by the river inspectors to provide them or else prosecution follows, but through parsimony or neglect of some sort the works have been left without any attention and the remedy, in the long run, is worse than the disease. In travelling about the countryside, I have noticed that there has been an enormous increase in milk and cheese factories. The effluent from those factories is very obnoxious indeed and I hope the Minister of Health will have his inspectors watch those places, because it is not beyond the wit of man to devise remedies.

I would also impress on the Minister the importance of getting, as far as possible, the effluent from all villages and hamlets to run into a large town or city, even though it may involve a little more expense at the time. In my experience the effluent is dealt with far more efficiently and consistently in a large town than in some of the smaller villages. The small village gets a grant from the Ministry towards the initial cost of the purification works, but it feels the strain in the upkeep afterward; and is apt to cease to do the necessary work of maintenance. That is not the position in regard to a large town. I have always used what influence I possessed to encourage these outside districts to run into a central town, for the town has a better base of rateage and does not feel the strain so heavily in the upkeep of the work. I would, therefore, ask the Minister to encourage the multiplication of the large sewerage works rather than of small local ones.

10.16 p.m.

Mr. David Adams

The treatment of trade effluents by local authorities is not obligatory, and I cordially welcome this measure, although, as an angler, I am not certain that the felicitous results that have been anticipated for the angling fraternity will be fully realised if, in fact, only the lesser rivers and streams will be affected by the Measure, and if we have to rely on the goodwill of the local authorities whether any action takes place. There is an imperative necessity that an obligation should be placed on all local authorities to establish sewage disposal works. The question of the River Tyne pollution has been under consideration by local authorities and others for many years, and it is estimated that the establishment of the necessary works would cost some millions of money. Here we have a great river which undoubtedly is highly polluted, and yet there is no medical officer of health in the Tyneside area or in the riparian authorities who will state that the health of the community is in any degree affected by the fact that the Tyne is really a large sewer. It is a remarkable fact, and perhaps a testimony to the quality of the Tyneside, that there is a big trade done in Tyne salmon, in spite of the fact that the sewage is said never to leave the river. This, I hope, is merely a preliminary measure in the interests of public health, of the fishing fraternity, and of the purification and beautification of the country, to the making of sewage disposal works obligatory by each of the local authorities in the Kingdom.

10.19 p.m.

Mr. E. Smith

I should be lacking in my duty if I did not, on behalf of the local authorities in my area, say how much we welcome this Bill. The river running through the area that I represent has had so much effluent poured into it for many years that it made a well known duke leave its neighbourhood. I am very glad that he did leave, because now his beautiful hall and park are given up to the enjoyment of the people of the district. They go out there at week-ends and are enabled to see the beautifully laid-out grounds, with their flowers and vegetation of all description. It is a real treat to see the people from that industrial area enjoying themselves in that beautiful park at the week-ends. I welcome this Bill, because it will enable the local authority to deal with the effluent which still flows into the river, and I regard that as a step in the right direction.

10.21 p.m.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Mr. R. S. Hudson)

It is a source of much satisfaction to us to know that the efforts of the Department to improve the position as regards rivers have met with such universal praise from hon. Members to-night. My right hon. Friend and I are extremely grateful to the hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Short) and other hon. Members for expressing their praise of the Bill in such generous terms. One or two questions have been put to us and I will endeavour to answer them. The hon. Member for Dumbarton-shire (Mr. Cassel1s), and I think, also, the hon. Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Mathers) asked what was happening in the case of Scotland. I understand that a separate Bill is needed for Scotland, and that it is under consideration by the Scottish Office. The hon. Member for Linlithgow went on to ask whether coal dust going into a river could be regarded as an effluent. I understand that the discharge of coal dust is already an offence under the Act passed in 1876 for the prevention of the pollution of rivers, and it is for the local authorities to put an end to a nuisance of this kind by undertaking a prosecution if they think fit. The hon. Member for Brigg (Mr. Quibell) raised a point about pollution by the deposit of night soil on a river bank. I have not heard of the paritcular case he mentioned, but if he will be good enough to let us have particulars we will look into it. At first sight it would seem to be a matter to be dealt with primarily by the local authorities.

Mr. Gallacher

In the event of a coal company putting its redd on the land and polluting a river, is the company subject to prosecution under this Bill?

Mr. Hudson

I should not like to answer a hypothetical question without being furnished with fuller details. If the hon. Member will send me particulars of the case he has in mind I shall be glad to look into it and see whether anything can be done. The hon. Member for Brigg raised another point of some interest and, I agree, of some importance, and that was the effect on sewage disposal of the increasing extent to which water supplies are being provided in rural areas. I agree that in many areas that has become a matter of great importance, and as a matter of fact my right hon. Friend and I received a deputation some time ago which raised that specific question, among others. I can assure him it has not escaped our notice and is under consideration at the present moment, but I cannot discuss on the Second Reading of this Bill possible means there may be of dealing with that situation. The hon. Member for Stoke (Mr. E. Smith) praised the Bill from rather an odd angle, if I understood his argument aright, because evidently the effect of this Bill may be that dukes will continnue to live in their ancestral homes. I think I have now dealt with all the points which have been raised. As my right hon. Friend said, we shall consider any reasonable Amendments that may be put forward in Committee. That observation applies equally to the point raised by the hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Kelly). I am not sure that I fully apprehended his point, but if he will come to see me to-morrow or next week, I will see whether we can do anything to meet it.