HC Deb 30 November 1937 vol 329 cc2033-5

The council of any county or county borough, the common council of the City of London, and the council of any metropolitan borough or county district may purchase land compulsorily for any of the purposes of this Act by means of an order made by the council and confirmed by the Secretary of State, and the provisions of sections one hundred and sixty-one, one hundred and sixty-two, one hundred and seventy-four, and one hundred and seventy-five of the Local Government Act, 1933, and of paragraphs (a) and (c) of section one hundred and seventy-nine of that Act shall apply with respect to any such order as if for the references to the Minister of Health there were substituted references to the Secretary of State and for the references to a local authority there were substituted references to any such council as aforesaid.—[The Solicitor-General.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

11.27 p.m.

The Solicitor-General

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

It is not probable that the powers conferred by this Clause will be much required, but some local authorities made representations asking for an express provision of this character to be included in the Bill. The expression "land" includes buildings, and some of the matters for which a compulsory purchase order may be required relate to decontamination posts, first-aid stations and fire stations. County councils have the power to acquire land for any of their statutory functions, and other local authorities have power to do so for many purposes of public health; but these are not recognised for the purposes of the Air-Raid Precau tions Bill.

The method of acquisition by provisional order is very cumbrous. The Act of 1933 contains, in Section 161 a complete code for the acquisition of land by compulsory purchase, and it is proposed in this new Clause to adopt that procedure. It may not have escaped notice that we have also adopted that part of Section 179, which precludes local authorities from acquiring the property of local authorities or of public utility companies. This Clause will afford a swift method of compulsory purchase in cases where it is necessary. The method by provisional order is open to a great many exceptions with which I need not trouble the Committee. It is desired that these compulsory purchase powers should be included in the Bill for the purposes of air-raid precautions.

11.29 p.m.

Mr. Ede

The Solicitor-General will recollect that he promised my hon. and learned Friend the Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) that he would consider the question of what local authorities are included in the definition Clause. This new Clause as drawn includes the council of any county district, and it may well be that a large number of county districts—in fact, all those which are not given express powers under Clause 1 to prepare schemes—will not be local authorities for the purposes of the Act when the matter has been reconsidered. I beg the Solicitor-General to undertake that the definition of "local authority" in this new Clause shall be correlated to bring it into line with any alteration that may be made in the definition Clause of the Bill.

The Solicitor-General

Certainly. If any modification is made of the definition, it will be necessary to scrutinise the one instance where the expression "local authority" is used in the new Clause.

Clause added to the Bill.

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