HC Deb 23 May 1939 vol 347 cc2259-60

11.37 P.m.

Mr. Ede

I beg to move, in page 31, line 3, to leave out from "person," to "grants," in line 5, and to insert: in taking the measures specified in the two last preceding Sections, whether a notice has or has not been served. The effect of this Clause as drafted is that where a man gets on with the job and has not waited for this Bill to be passed, but has done what is necessary, he will not get a grant. If he waits and hangs about until he is served with a notice, the Minister will make a grant to him. I cannot think that that is a reasonable thing to do, especially in view of the appeals that have rightly been made by the Government for some months past that people in the country should regard this Measure as one that the Government will implement at sometime or other. Delays in passing it have been considerable, and it appears to me a wrong thing to penalise people who have got on with the job instead of waiting for notices to be served on them.

11.39 p.m.

Sir J. Anderson

I am afraid it is not possible for me to accept the Amendment as it stands, although I think I can satisfy the hon. Member that to some considerable extent, at any rate, the object that he has in mind has been met. Among the Amendments which we have just passed were Amendments to insert in Clause 35 the words "or complete." The purpose of adding those words was to enable grant to be paid where the employer, had taken the initiative and started operations before a notice had been served on him, but we do not wish to lose control completely of the measures which are contemplated in Clauses 35 and 36. They are the measures for the prevention of glare and for camouflage, and we think it is very important that whatever steps are taken should be taken not haphazard but in accordance with a well-thought-out plan and on the best advice possible. This is specially important in the case of camouflage, because a great deal of money can be completely thrown away if principles which are not sound are followed in obscuring the natural features of a landscape or concealing the presence of particular buildings. For that reason, although we have amended the Clause so that where work has been begun and completed in accordance with an approved plan grant can be made, we do not wish to place the Government under the obligation, which would be imposed on them if this Amendment were accepted as it stands, for other measures which have been taken by an employer on his own responsibility which may have involved wholly wasteful expenditure.

Mr. Ede

In view of the answer given by the right hon. Gentleman I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment made: In page 31, line 9, leave out "taken under" and insert "specified in."—[Mr. W. S. Morrison.]

Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 38 and 39 ordered to stand part of the Bill.