§ Amendments made:
§ In page 56, line 4, after "to," insert "factory premises or."
§ In line 6, after "whole," insert "of the premises or."
§ In line 9, after "the," insert "premises or."—[Mr. Fleming.]
In line 19, at the end, insert:
'Public air-raid shelter' includes a shelter provided by a local authority, in pursuance of an agreement made under Part II of this Act with the occupier of factory premises or the owner of a commercial building, for the use, in whole or in part, of persons living or working in the factory premises or commercial building."—[Mr. Spens.]
§ 7.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Westwood
I beg to move, in page 56, line 23, after "electricity," to insert "municipal transport, market."
The purpose of this Amendment is to bring within the scope of the Bill as public utility undertakings those undertakings which are owned by municipalities for transport purposes and market purposes. I hope the Amendment can be accepted, because certain local authorities feel that a very great injustice will be done to them unless this extension of the definition of public utility undertakings is accepted by the Government.
§ 7.31 p.m.
§ Sir J. Anderson
I wish it were possible to respond to the appeal of the hon. Gentleman, but I am afraid I cannot. The term "public utility undertaking," for the purposes of this Bill, is so defined as to embrace those undertakings which, in the public interest, must be placed in a position to carry on their activities in time of war. For that purpose negotiations have been carried on by the appropriate Departments with the various undertakings—electricity, water, gas, railways, docks—and the whole purpose of the provisions of this Bill which are concerned with public utility undertakings is to give cover to these arrangements which have been made. No arrangements have been made with regard to municipal transport or markets, and, indeed, I think it would not have been considered to be in the public interest that such arrangements should be made, because, in the case, for example, of markets, it must not be taken for granted that in time of war it would be considered desirable or 2391 in the public interest that a market in a congested centre of population should continue its activities. In very many cases it would be in the public interest in time of war that those activities should be decentralised. As regards municipal transport, this is on an entirely different footing from, for example, railways. It runs in competition with other forms of transport, and could not suitably be made the subject of special arrangements. For these reasons I regret that it is not possible for me to advise that the Amendment should be accepted.
§ Mr. Westwood
Is it not the fact that under this Bill the London Passenger Transport Board is safeguarded; and am I to understand that it is merely because it is associated with railways that this public utility service in London is to be safeguarded, whereas the public utility service of Glasgow, with its huge municipal tramways, is not to be so safeguarded?
§ Sir J. Anderson
I would not like to commit myself off-hand on that point, but I think the differentiation is this, that in the case of the property of the London Passenger Transport Board the undertaking, so far as it comes within the definition of a public utility undertaking for the purposes of this Bill, would be taken over by the Government in exactly the same way as the main line railways. In that fact is to be found the justification for any special treatment that may be given to the London Passenger Transport Board.
§ Mr. Westwood
I am afraid that the answer given by the right hon. Gentleman is altogether unsatisfactory, and I propose to reserve the right of these local authorities to carry on still further negotiations with a view to getting some satisfaction. I must, therefore, advise my hon. Friends on this side to divide on the Amendment.
§ 7.36 p.m.
Would it not be advisable that the Lord Privy Seal should reconsider this matter? It is not only in Scotland that there are municipal tramway services; they exist in other parts of the country, and it was only a very short time ago that the London County Council's tramway service was incorporated in the London Passenger Transport 2392 Board. What is the difference in service between the London Passenger Transport Board and the services in Glasgow, Lancashire or Yorkshire, as the case may be? It seems unjust and undesirable to make this discrimination, and I suggest that it would be better that the matter should be reconsidered.
§ 7.37 p.m.
§ Sir Joseph Nall
I desire to support what the Lord Privy Seal has said. If any change is proposed, the limitation of the change to municipal transport would only raise further anomalies. Some of these undertakings are not owned by municipalities, and it would be necessary either to include or to exclude all possible forms of transport. I think the Lord Privy Seal has a perfectly good case for leaving out municipal undertakings. If he wishes to review that, he must not limit it merely to municipally owned undertakings.
Mr. David Adams
The Amendment makes it clear that it relates to municipal transport, that is to say, transport which is owned and worked by local authorities. I certainly feel that municipal undertakings of that character, and also markets, which in many cases are a valuable source of revenue to the local authorities, are entitled to protection equally with the normal public utility concerns, and ought to be included as suggested by the Amendment.
§ 7.38 p.m.
§ Sir J. Anderson
I am perfectly prepared, as the hon. Member for North Islington (Dr. Guest) suggests, to reconsider this matter, by which I imagine he means to give it further consideration between now and Report. Frankly, I am a little at a disadvantage, because the Minister of Transport, who is concerned mainly with these public utility problems, is not available at the moment; but at the same time I would like to say that there would be the strongest objection on grounds of principle to any differentiation between one road transport undertaking and another purely on the ground of ownership. The Amendment would limit it to municipal transport. As regards markets, it would not, as I have already indicated, be possible to accept the Amendment. In the case of all the great markets of London, our first consideration would be, not to maintain, but to disperse their activities, and it would be perfectly contrary to the policy of the Gov- 2393 ernment to take measures to ensure what has been described as the due functioning of the undertaking. Subject to these observations, and having regard to the handicap under which, as I have explained, I labour, I should be perfectly prepared to look at the matter again between now and Report.
Mr. G. Griffihs
Is the right hon. Gentleman referring to wholesale or retail markets, or to wholesale and retail markets?
What I want to know is whether the right hon. Gentleman is referring to wholesale markets or to wholesale and retail markets. If he is not going to consider the retail markets, it is going to put some of us into a bit of a stew.
§ 7.42 p.m.
§ Mr. Arthur Greenwood
I wish the Lord Privy Seal would go a little further in trying to meet us on this matter. It is perfectly justifiable to include municipal transport as a public undertaking. Glasgow, Leeds, Birmingham, Coventry, Sheffield, all the big munition areas in this country, have municipal transport—
§ Mr. Greenwood
Liverpool is a little to the West. That will be an area of intensified activity in the event of war, and the municipal transport services there are as vital as railways, canals, inland navigation and so on. The right hon. Gentleman says that all transport is not municipal transport, that there is certain competition with local transport. That is true also of railways. But the point about municipal transport is that it is going to be one of the vital factors in continuity of production.
§ Mr. H. G. Williams
Is the right hon. Gentleman arguing on the ground of ownership or of function? If he is arguing on the ground of function, he must not limit it to municipal tramways, but must also bring in buses, whoever owns them, and tramways, whoever owns them. If he is arguing purely on the ground that they are municipal, it does 2394 not matter, but if he is arguing on the ground of function he must bring in all these undertakings, whoever owns them.
§ Mr. Greenwood
As far as I am concerned, I should have no objection to widening the definition of public undertakings. I am primarily concerned with the question of function, but I am concerned about the very large centres of population which are now enjoying municipal transport services and which ought to be included. If, however, hon. Members opposite want other undertakings of that kind, which would be regarded as public utility undertakings, brought in, I do not think we should object. Then the right hon. Gentleman said, as regards markets, that the whole policy must be to disperse markets. He said he was thinking of Billingsgate, and it may well be that Billingsgate will have to be dispersed, though I hope its language will not be dispersed; but there are markets in other parts of the country, in the provincial towns, and you cannot in the nature of things disperse those markets. You must have local centres for the distribution of essential foodstuffs, and the market is by tradition and custom and habit, and as a matter of convenience, the appropriate method for the distribution of the necessities of life.
I should have thought that the right hon. Gentleman, in spite of the disability under which he thinks he is suffering at the moment, might well have accepted the Amendment at this stage, and if, when he has had further consultation with his colleagues, he feels that it ought to be amended on Report, that would be the proper procedure. After all, on Report we are in the hands of Mr. Speaker as regards the choice of Amendments, and, although we might put down this Amendment again on Report, it might not be called. A vague undertaking such as the right hon. Gentleman has given us does not carry us very much further, and I think that in the circumstances the only course which we can follow is, as my hon. Friend has suggested, to register our view in the Division Lobby and continue the fight, if Mr. Speaker allows us to do so, on Report.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 115; Noes, 166.2373
|Division No. 151.]||AYES.||[6.25 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J.||Gledhill, G.||Palmer, G. E. H.|
|Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.)||Glyn, Major Sir R. G. C.||Peake, O.|
|Albery, Sir Irving||Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral)||Perkins, W. R. D.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. L. C. M. S.||Grant-Ferris, Flight-Lieutenant R.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Anderson, Sir A. Garrett (C. of Ldn.)||Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester)||Pilkington, R.|
|Anderson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (So'h Univ's)||Grimston, R. V.||Ponsonby, Col. C. E.|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Gunston, Capt. Sir D. W.||Radford, E. A.|
|Aske, Sir R. W.||Hambro, A. V.||Ramsbotham, H.|
|Assheton, R.||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)|
|Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Hely-Hutchinson, M. R.||Reed, A. C. (Exeter)|
|Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet)||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P||Reed, Sir H. S. (Aylesbury)|
|Balniel, Lord||Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan-||Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h)||Hepworth, J.||Rosbotham, Sir T.|
|Beechman, N. A.||Herbert, Lt.-Col. J. A. (Monmouth)||Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)|
|Bennett, Sir E. N.||Higgs, W. F.||Rowlands, G.|
|Boulton, W. W.||Holdsworth, H.||Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R.|
|Bower, Comdr. R. T.||Hopkinson, A.||Russell, Sir Alexander|
|Bracken, B.||Horsbrugh, Florence||Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)|
|Braithwaite, Major A. N. (Buckrose)||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.)||Salmon, Sir I.|
|Braithwaite, J. Gurney (Holderness)||Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)||Salt, E. W.|
|Briscoe, Capt. R. G.||Hume, Sir G. H.||Samuel, M. R. A.|
|Brocklebank, Sir Edmund||Hunter, T.||Sandeman, Sir N. S.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith)||Hurd, Sir P. A.||Schuster, Sir G. E.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)||Hutchinson, G. C.||Shepperson, Sir E. W.|
|Browne, A. C. (Belfast, W.)||James, Wing-Commander A. W. H.||Smiles, Lieut.-Colonel Sir W. D.|
|Bull, B. B.||Jennings, R.||Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)|
|Butcher, H. W.||Keeling, E. H.||Smithers, Sir W.|
|Campbell, Sir E. T.||Kerr, H. W. (Oldham)||Snadden, W. McN.|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Knox, Major-General Sir A. W. F.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Spens, W. P.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. N. (Edgb't'n)||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'm'ld)|
|Channon, H.||Lancaster, Captain C. G.||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Chapman, A. (Rutherglen)||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Stourton, Major Hon. J. J.|
|Chorlton, A. E. L.||Levy, T.||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)|
|Christie, J. A.||Lewis, O.||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- (N'thw'h)|
|Colfox, Major W. P.||Little, J.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Colville, Rt. Hon. John||Llewellin, Colonel J. J.||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Conant, Captain R. J. E.||Lloyd, G. W.||Tasker, Sir R. I.|
|Cook, Sir T. R. A. M. (Norfolk, N.)||Loftus, P. C.||Thomas, J. P. L.|
|Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)||Lyons, A. M.||Thorneycroft, G. E. P.|
|Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.)||MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.||Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.|
|Courthope, Col. Rt. Hon. Sir G. L.||M'Connell, Sir J.||Titchfield, Marquess of|
|Cranborne, Viscount||MacDonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Tree, A. R. L. F.|
|Critchley, A.||Macdonald, Capt. P. (Isle of Wight)||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Crooke, Sir J. Smedley||McEwen, Capt. J. H. F.||Wakefield, W. W.|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||McKie, J. H.||Walker-Smith, Sir J.|
|Cruddas, Col. B.||Macmillan, H. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Wallace, Capt. Rt. Hon. Euan|
|Davies, C. (Montgomery)||Macquisten, F. A.||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|De Chair, S. S.||Makins, Brigadier-General Sir Ernest||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir J. S.|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Manningham-Buller, Sir M.||Warrender, Sir V.|
|Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Waterhouse, Captain C.|
|Donner, P. W.||Markham, S. F.||Webbe, Sir W. Harold|
|Duckworth, Arthur (Shrewsbury)||Maxwell, Hon. S. A.||Wedderburn, H. J. S.|
|Dugdale, Captain T. L.||Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth)||Wells, Sir Sydney|
|Duncan, J. A. L.||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Whiteley, Major J. P. (Buckingham)|
|Eastwood, J. F.||Moore, Lieut.-Col. Sir T. C. R.||Williams, C. (Torquay)|
|Eckersley, P. T.||Moreing, A. C.||Williams, H. G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.|
|Ellis, Sir G.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirenoester)||Womersley, Sir W. J.|
|Emery, J. F.||Munro, P.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H.||Wright, Wing-Commander J. A. C.|
|Entwistle, Sir C. F.||Nicholson, G. (Farnham)||York, C.|
|Fleming, E. L.||Nicolson, Hon. H. G.||Young, A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Fox, Sir G. W. G.||O'Connor, Sir Terence J.|
|Fremantle, Sir F. E.||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Furness, S. N.||Orr-Ewing, I. L.||Major Sir James Edmondson and Lieut.-Colonel Harvie Watt.|
|Adams, D. (Consett)||Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Benn, Rt. Hon. W. W.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.)||Banfield, J. W.||Benson, G.|
|Adamson, W. M.||Barr, J.||Bromfield, W.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.)||Beaumont, H. (Batley)||Brown, C. (Mansfield)|
|Ammon, C. G.||Bellenger, F. J.||Buchanan, G.|
|Burke, W. A.||Hollins, A.||Pritt, D. N.|
|Cape, T.||Hopkin, D.||Rathbone, Eleanor (English Univ's.)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Isaacs, G. A.||Richards, R. (Wrexham)|
|Cluse, W. S||Jagger, J.||Riley, B.|
|Collindridge, F.||Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)||Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)|
|Cove, W. G.||Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath)||Sanders, W. S.|
|Cripps, Hon. Sir Stafford||John, W.||Sexton, T. M.|
|Daggar, G.||Jones, A. C. (Shipley)||Shinwell, E.|
|Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill)||Jones, Sir H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Silkin, L.|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.||Silverman, S. S.|
|Dobbie, W.||Kirby, B. V.||Simpson, F. B.|
|Dunn, E. (Rother Valley)||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. G.||Smith, E. (Stoke)|
|Ede, J. C.||Lathan, G.||Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees- (K'ly)|
|Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Lawson, J. J.||Smith, T. (Normanton)|
|Evans, E. (Univ. of Wales)||Leach, W.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.||Lee, F.||Stephen, C.|
|Foot, D. M.||Leonard, W.||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)|
|Gardner, B. W.||Leslie, J. R.||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)|
|Garro Jones, G. M.||Logan, D. G.||Summerskill, Dr. Edith|
|George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey)||Macdonald, G. (Ince)||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Gibson, R. (Greenock)||McEntee, V. La T.||Thorne, W.|
|Green, W. H. (Deptford)||McGhee, H. G.||Tinker, J. J.|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.||McGovern, J.||Tomlinson, G.|
|Grenfell, D. R.||MacLaren, A.||Viant, S. P.|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.)||Maclean, N.||Watkins, F. C.|
|Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)||Maxton, J.||Watson, W. McL.|
|Griffiths, J. (Llanelly)||Messer, F.||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. J. C.|
|Groves, T. E.||Montague, F.||Welsh, J. C.|
|Guest, Dr. L. H. (Islington, N.)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)||Westwood, J.|
|Hall, G. H. (Aberdare)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N)||White, H. Graham|
|Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Muff, G.||Whiteley, W. (Blaydon)|
|Hardie, Agnes||Noel-Baker, P. J.||Wilkinson, Ellen|
|Harris, Sir P. A.||Paling, W.||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Harvey, T. E. (Eng. Univ's.)||Parkinson, J. A.||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Hayday, A.||Pearson, A.|
|Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)||Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Hicks, E. G.||Poole, C. C.||Mr. Mathers and Mr. Anderson.|
|Hills, A. (Pontefraet)||Price, M. P.|
Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.
|Division No. 152.]||AYES.||[7.45 p.m.|
|Adams, D. (Consett)||Groves, T. E.||Paling, W.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.)||Guest, Dr. L. H. (Islington, N.)||Parker, J.|
|Adamson, Jennie L. (Dartford)||Hall, G. H. (Aberdare)||Parkinson, J. A.|
|Ammon, C. G.||Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Pearson, A.|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Hardie, Agnes||Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Harvey, T. E. (Eng. Univ's.)||Poole, C. C.|
|Banfield, J. W.||Hayday, A.||Price, M. P.|
|Barr, J.||Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)||Pritt, D. N.|
|Beaumont, H. (Batley)||Henderson, T. (Tradeston)||Richards, R. (Wrexham)|
|Benn, Rt. Hon. W. W.||Hicks, E. G.||Ridley, G.|
|Benson, G.||Hills, A. (Pontefract)||Riley, B.|
|Bromfield, W.||Hollins, A.||Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)|
|Burke, W. A.||Hopkin, D.||Seely, Sir H. M.|
|Cape, T.||Isaacs, G. A.||Sexton, T. M.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Jagger, J.||Shinwell, E.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)||Silverman, S. S.|
|Collindridge, F.||Jones, A. C. (Shipley)||Simpson, F. B.|
|Cove, W G.||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.||Smith, E. (Stoke)|
|Cripps, Hon. Sir Stafford||Kirby, B. V.||Smith, T. (Normanton)|
|Daggar, G.||Lathan, G.||Stewart. W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Lawson, J. J.||Stokes, R. R.|
|Dobbie, W.||Leach, W.||Summerskilll, Dr. Edith|
|Dunn, E. (Rother Valley)||Lee, F.||Tasker, Sir R. I.|
|Ede, J. C.||Leonard, W.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Leslie, J. R.||Thorne, W.|
|Evans, E. (Univ. of Wales)||Logan, D. G.||Thurtle, E.|
|Foot, D. M.||Macdonald, G. (Ince)||Tinker, J. J.|
|Frankel, D.||McEntee, V. La T.||Tomlinson, G.|
|Gallacher, W.||McGhee, H. G.||Viant, S. P.|
|Gardner, B. W.||MacLaren, A.||Watkins, F. C.|
|Garro Jones, G. M.||Maclean, N.||Watson, W. McL.|
|George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey)||Mathers, G.||Welsh, J. C.|
|Gibson, R. (Greenock)||Messer, F.||Westwood, J.|
|Green, W. H. (Deptford)||Milner, Major J.||Whiteley, W. (Blaydon)|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.||Montague, F.||Wilkinson, Ellen|
|Grenfell, D. R.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)||Muff, G.|
|Griffiths, J. (Llanelly)||Noel-Baker, P. J.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Mr. John and Mr. Adamson.|
|Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.)||Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.||Jones, Sir H. Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Albery, Sir Irving||Donner, P. W.||Keeling, E. H.|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. Sir W. J. (Armagh)||Duckworth, Arthur (Shrewsbury)||Kellett, Major E. O.|
|Anderson, Sir A. Garrett (C. of Ldn.)||Dugdale, Captain T. L.||Lamb, Sir J. Q.|
|Anderson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Se'h Univ's)||Duggan, H. J.||Lancaster, Captain C. G.|
|Aske, Sir R. W.||Duncan, J. A. L.||Law, R. K. (Hull, S.W.)|
|Balniel, Lord||Eastwood, J. F.||Levy, T.|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h)||Edmondson, Major Sir J.||Lewis, O.|
|Beechman, N. A.||Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Lindsay, K. M.|
|Bernays, R. H.||Emery, J. F.||Little, J.|
|Boulton, W. W.||Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Llewellin, Colonel J. J.|
|Braithwaite, J. Gurney (Holderness)||Fleming, E. L.||Lloyd, G. W.|
|Briscoe, Capt. R. G.||Fox, Sir G. W. G.||Loftus, P. C.|
|Broadbridge, Sir G. T.||Fremantle, Sir F. E.||Lyons, A. M.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith)||Furness, S. N.||MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)||Gledhill, G.||McEwen, Capt. J. H. F.|
|Browne, A. C. (Belfast, W.)||Gluckstein, L H.||McKie, J. H.|
|Bull, B. B.||Gower, Sir R. V.||Macmillan, H. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Burgin, Rt. Hon. E. L.||Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral)||Macnamara, Lieut.-Colonel J. R. J.|
|Butcher, H. W.||Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester)||Macquisten, F. A.|
|Campbell, Sir E. T.||Grimston, R. V.||Makins, Brigadier-General Sir Ernest|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Guest, Lieut.-Colonel H. (Drake)||Manningham-Buller, Sir M.|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Guest, Maj. Hon. O. (C'mb'rw'll, N.W.)||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.|
|Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Hambro, A. V.||Markham, S. F.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. N. (Edgb't'n)||Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton)||Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth)|
|Chapman, A. (Rutherglen)||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)|
|Christie, J. A.||Hely-Hutchinson, M. R.||Mitchell, H. (Brentford and Chiswick)|
|Cobb, Captain E. C. (Preston)||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P.||Moore, Lieut.-Col. Sir T. C. R.|
|Colfox, Major W. P.||Hepworth, J.||Moreing, A. C.|
|Colville, Rt. Hon. John||Herbert, Lt.-Col. J. A. (Monmouth)||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.).|
|Conant, Captain R. J. E||Higgs, W. F.||Nall, Sir J.|
|Cook, Sir T. R. A. M. (Norfolk N.)||Holdsworth, H.||Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H.|
|Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.)||Hopkinson, A.||Nicholson, G. (Farnham)|
|Critchley, A.||Horsbrugh, Florence||O'Connor, Sir Terence J.|
|Croft, Brig.-Gen. Sir H. Page||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.)||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh|
|Crooke, Sir J. Smedley||Hume, Sir G. H.||Orr-Ewing, I. L.|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Hunloke, H. P.||Perkins, W. R. D.|
|Crowder, J. F. E.||Hunter, T.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Davies, C. (Montgomery)||Hurd, Sir P. A.||Ponsonby, Col. C E.|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Jennings, R.||Radford, E. A.|
|Ramsbotham, H.||Snadden, W. McN.||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir J. S.|
|Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)||Waterhouse, Captain C.|
|Reed, A. C. (Exeter)||Spens, W. P.||Watt, Lt.-Col. G. S. Harvie|
|Reed, Sir H. S. (Aylesbury)||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)||Webbe, Sir W. Harold|
|Remer, J. R.||Stourton, Major Hon. J. J.||Wells, Sir Sydney|
|Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)||Whiteley, Major J. P. (Buckingham)|
|Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)||Williams, C. (Torquay)|
|Rowlands, G.||Sutcliffe, H.||Williams, H. G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R.||Tate, Mavis C.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.|
|Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)||Thomson, Sir J. D. W.||Wright, Wing-Commander J. A. C.|
|Salt, E. W.||Thorneycreft, G. E. P.||York, C.|
|Samuel, M. R. A.||Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.||Young, A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Sanderson, Sir F. B.||Titchfield, Marquess of|
|Schuster, Sir G. E.||Wakefield, W. W.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Shakespeare, G. H.||Walker-Smith, Sir J.||Lieut.-Colonel Kerr and Mr. Munro.|
|Shepperson, Sir E. W.||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's U. B'lf'st)||Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)|
§ 7.53 p.m.
§ Sir R. Tasker
On a point of Order. May I direct your attention, Sir Dennis, to the fact that there is an Amendment on the Paper in my name, just before the hon. Member's Amendment.
§ The Chairman
I marked that not to be selected. I understood yesterday that the hon. Member did not propose to move it.
§ 7.55 p.m.
§ Sir R. Tasker
I beg to move, in page 56, line 23, after "electricity," to insert "hydraulic power."
Anyone who has been engaged in preparing Bills as long and complicated as this will not be hypercritical in discussing any Clause, or in suggesting that something may have been overlooked. I suggest that what has been overlooked is the very narrow field covered by the term "public utility." Practically, its definition is reduced to gas, electricity and water undertakings. Hon. Members may have the same view about hydraulic power companies as I had some years ago, when I thought they were almost confined to the docks and railways and a few lifts, but, in connection with the preparation of a Bill, it was brought to my notice by the fire brigade in London how very important this high pressure was in enabling them to subdue fires. This Bill is concerned very largely with subduing conflagrations. I suggest that hydraulic power companies should be included in this definition. There is one company in London alone that has no less than 180 miles of pipes already laid. 2398 In a recent Bill this House granted a sum of money in order to increase the area from which water might be drawn to subdue fires in the event of hostile air attacks.
It seems to me that where you have 180 miles of pipe already laid, where it is a most useful adjunct, even at present, to fire brigades, it would be a mistake not to take advantage of this very extensive ramification of piping in the streets of London. It has another use. In 30 railway depots and in 60 post offices there is this water supply available. "Public utility" means something which affects the community. It is available to all. Water power is almost irresistible. I can think of few things more majestic than water power in a place like Niagara. In the interests of the community, we ought to take advantage of this supply.
I ask the Minister whether he will not consider between now and the Report stage introducing those two words which will be so much to the benefit of the community. Private Bills recognise and refer to hydraulic power companies as public utility services in such Bills. The scientist knows the value of kinetic energy. Hydrants and sprinklers are installed in churches, theatres, museums. The Colonial Office, Home Office, War Office, the Admiralty and in this Palace of Westminster, all are using hydraulic power. It is therefore used for something more than opening and closing dock gates, loading and unloading ships, operating lifts and cranes. During the last War so important were the hydraulic mains regarded that special guards were posted for their protection.
§ 8.0 p.m.
§ Sir J. Anderson
I am the last person to seek to belittle the importance of the undertakings to which my hon. Friend has been devoting his remarks. Let me say at once that there is no question of 2399 denying to these undertakings their title to be regarded as public utility undertakings. The definition of a public utility undertaking in this Bill does not profess to be exhaustive. It is a definition purely for the purposes of the Bill. I have already explained in relation to an earlier Amendment why that definition has been restricted. My hon. Friend spoke as if to be included in the definition of public utility undertakings for the purposes of this Bill was a highly coveted privilege, but actually the only difference between public utility undertakings and other undertakings in this Bill is, that a public utility undertakes all the ordinary obligations of industrial undertakings, and certain obligations in addition, and, towards the discharge of these further obligations, they get a grant, which is limited to 50 per cent.
But, leaving the technicalities and coming to the remits of the proposal of my hon. Friend, he has been elaborating to the Committee the important functions which these undertakings discharge in relation to railways, docks and fire-fighting. The argument he used is, I suggest, a very strong argument for not including these undertakings in the definition of public utility undertakings for the purposes of this Bill, because their function, as my hon. Friend has described it—and I will not join issue with him on that—is ancillary in practice to the functions of those public utility undertakings for which special provision is made in the Bill. In regard to railways and to docks, in so far as they may be dependent on hydraulic undertakings for ensuring the due functioning of the undertaking in time of war, it will be open to the dock undertaking or the railway undertaking to include in their scheme measures designed to ensure the due functioning of their hydraulic undertaking, and it would only lead to confusion if the appropriate Department sought to establish direct relations with these hydraulic undertakings over the heads of public utility undertakings, which are primarily responsible.
In regard to fire-fighting, the Bill contains provisions designed to strengthen the resources of the fire services of this country. If any fire service considers that it is in a position to make use of the services of hydraulic power undertakings for 2400 the purpose of fire-fighting in time of war, there is nothing whatever to prevent that fire service from putting forward proposals in conformity with the provisions of the Bill and getting grant, in most cases at a higher rate than the normal 50 per cent. grant which is available to the public utility undertakings. Therefore, both on technical grounds and on the merits of the case, I feel that this Amendment is one which I cannot possibly advise the Committee to accept.
§ Sir R. Tasker
While it is true that under the Bill the 50 per cent. grant would be given to a dock or a railway company, I understand that the Bill does not apply to the London County Council, who are responsible for fire brigades.
§ Sir R. Tasker
I accept what the Lord Privy Seal has said, but what about the number of public buildings—post offices, this very building, museums and theatres? I submit that we are not making the fullest use of something which is of the utmost importance.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ 8.6 p.m.
§ Mr. Ede
I beg to move, in page 56, line 24, after "undertaking," to insert "and any catchment board."
The right hon. Gentleman the Lord Privy Seal will recollect that on the Second Reading of the Bill this point was brought in front of the House by the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Louth (Lieut.-Colonel Heneage), and that I alluded to it on the second day of the Debate at the request of the County Councils Association, who are very seriously concerned about the position of the various inland embanked waterways of the country. The canals and inland navigations are included in this definition of public utility undertakings, but the catchment board is left out. Some of these catchment boards are responsible for very considerable lengths of embanked waterways. Any disaster that overtook the banks of these waterways would have the most serious effects on the civil population, and, as far as the district round the Wash is concerned, would, I am advised, flood very considerable areas of some of the most fertile land in the country. In fact, I believe that 2401 one well-placed bomb in the bank of a waterway in the area of some of these catchment boards in the neighbourhood of the Wash might reduce the production of potatoes in this country by one-half. I am told that the proportion of the potatoes consumed in this country that are grown within the area of the catchment boards of the Wash is so high that, if any substantial area there was flooded, it would have most serious results on the production of potatoes in England.
These bodies are also seriously handicapped by the financial limitations under which they operate. They can levy a twopenny rate and no more, unless they get the consent of the various local authorities within whose areas they operate. If the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy were here, I have no doubt he would call to mind many questions that have been directed to him by my hon. Friend the Member for Brigg (Mr. Quibell) and other Members of this House with regard to the high rates that are being levied by these catchment boards at the present time. Therefore, it is clear that these boards have at their back no financial resources on which they can call in their efforts to safeguard themselves against doing damage to their neighbours and securing the due functioning of their undertaking. The whole of the problems confronting the catchment boards in this matter are so serious that I hope the Lord Privy Seal will be able to give us some indication that, either by the acceptance of this Amendment or in some other way, he will be able to recognise the special difficulties that confront them. The task of preserving their banks is a highly technical one. They have to rely largely on their own servants to discharge it because it is not the kind of work that can be undertaken in an emergency by people who are not used to dealing with that sort of labour.
Some of these catchment boards have had to incur very considerable expense up to the present in getting the necessary material that would enable them to deal with an emergency if it arose. Some of them have to make arrangements for this material to be available for transport over considerable distances, and they are seriously handicapped at the moment by the difficulties of not knowing precisely what their status is and what financial 2402 assistance they would be able to get from the Government if an emergency arose and they had to carry on with further expense. But the expense at the moment in preparation is a very heavy one. They have had to incur some of this expense, and they must contemplate incurring serious and heavy expense within the next 12 months, and the Government ought to be able to indicate some way in which they can render them assistance. Their income at the moment is, I think, in every case, more than required to meet the ordinary running expenses. They are not able to accumulate any reserves, and they are involved generally in those kinds of disputes which arise between the upland and the lowland authorities, in which the upland people want to get rid of their water to the lowland authorities, and the lowland authorities do not want to take it and do not see why they should pay for upland areas to bring it down to them. The difficulty of getting the necessary consents to increase the rates makes it almost impossible for these boards to do any more than they are doing in merely maintaining their existing works.
I know that the right hon. Gentleman thinks that the probability is they are more accurately described as local authorities for the purposes of this Bill. I believe that that is not altogether free from doubt, but, even taking the statement as being completely accurate, they still differ from other local authorities in that the utmost limit of their rate has been fixed. They cannot increase it. They have no power to levy an air-raid precautions rate. They are not like the county councls, who can include an air-raid precautions rate in the county general purposes rate, and who, although they were told they would never have to exceed a penny rate, can make it 3d. or 4d. if the finance committee can persuade the county council to pass it. The catchment board is not in that position. Therefore, calling them local authorities does not assist them very much. I hope that, if the right hon. Gentleman is going to say that the proper thing to do is not to include them here but to give them what he may regard as the higher status of a local authority, he will indicate that in some way or other he will provide them with an income that will enable them to live up to their higher estate. It is not much good increasing 2403 status unless one has something with which to maintain the position of that new status. I very sincerely hope that the right hon. Gentleman will indicate that the Government recognise the importance of these boards having sufficient financial resources to deal with the problems that confront them, and will be able to indicate, if not by accepting this Amendment in some other way, how he can assist them in the discharge of the very onerous duties that the parlous conditions of our time impose upon them.
§ 8.15 p.m.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Heneage
I should like to think that the position of the catchment boards is clearly defined. Undoubtedly there are many disadvantages in this Amendment from their point of view. Their relations with the county councils are extremely friendly; they realise that under these proposals they will be independent, whereas they are not independent now. On the other hand, there is one great disadvantage for them in that they will only get a 50 per cent. grant instead of the 75 per cent. grant they would get as they are now situated. I am astounded to hear that the London County Council will get 90 per cent. grant.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Heneage
I think this question of grant is an over-riding reason why the Amendment should not be accepted. The catchment boards rank as local authorities under the Act of 1937, and can prepare a scheme. They are not a rating authority and, therefore, they have to work under the local authority. It is a most unsatisfactory position both for the county council and the catchment board, because the catchment board in many cases cover many county council areas. A catchment board should be a local authority in the same way as a county council.
Mention has been made of the 2d. rate. If the catchment board expenditure does not exceed a 2d. rate they can probably go to the Lord Privy Seal and get a scheme through and get through the local authority 75 Per cent. grant, but if they are above the 2d. rate that may be impossible. If they are just below a 2d. rate and if they exceed a 2d. rate with A.R.P. work, 2404 although they may get a 75 per cent. grant through the local authority, the whole of the sum to be paid in the scheme has to be taken into account and they cannot take into account the fact that they will receive a 75 per cent. grant, they will find it impossible to do any A.R.P. work at all. I consider that is a national danger. Take the case of East Norfolk where they are committed to an enormous expenditure on account of sea inroads. They have already a 2½d. rate. Therefore the county council may say that they can afford nothing more.
The hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) has rightly mentioned the danger to this country of bombing in the Ouse Valley. There are many other areas where there is danger. There are many Lincolnshire rivers all of which are liable to this potential danger and already the catchment boards there are near and in some cases over the 2d. rate. I am afraid that the Minister or his Department have put the catchment boards in some cases in a position from which it is impossible to extricate themselves. I am glad that the hon. Member for South Shields has moved the Amendment if only to point out some of the deep feelings that have been aroused. I should like to emphasise that in regard to some of the large catchment areas like the Ouse and the Trent which deal with many county councils, this system may not work, although it may work in some other cases.
§ 8.19 p.m.
§ Sir Joseph Lamb
I should like to oppose the Amendment, although I realise that it has been a means of bringing this important matter before the Committee. I should like to know that we are included somewhere in the Bill, so that we may have the possibility of protection against loss of property and other forms of damage. We want to know where we are, and whether we are included or not. If it is said that we are in as a local authority, I should be glad. We do, however, want to know definitely where we stand.
§ 8.20 p.m.
§ Mr. Price
The position of the catchment board is one of some difficulty. They have a greater security and a lower grant if they are regarded as a public utility undertaking and they have a higher grant if they are under the local authorities. It is desirable that they should know where 2405 they are. They are in the position of being able to say how happy they would be with either, were t'other dear charmer away. At the same time, if they are classed with the local authorities in matters concerning damage to their properties and repairs there may be difficulties. In the Severn Valley, the Severn Valley Catchment Board has to deal with at least four county councils, and although the Severn Valley Catchment Board has the apparatus for handling any problems which are likely to arise in connection with drainage and damage to drainage works, there is bound to be difficulty if they have to operate under four different local authorities, or it may be five. I hope that when the Minister speaks he will tell us what the position is. I am certain the catchment boards will accept whatever may be thought desirable, provided that it is a definite decision, their liabilities are made clear, and the position in regard to the grant which they are to get is also made equally clear.
§ 8.22 p.m.
§ Sir J. Anderson
If I understood the hon. and gallant Member for Louth (Lieut.-Colonel Heneage) aright, he complained that I or my Department had got the catchment boards into a very difficult position, from which it would be almost impossible to extricate them. I thought that a little hard, because ever since the position of the catchment boards was first brought to my notice I have been concerned to try and find some means of extricating them from the difficult position in which they are by reason of their constitutional position. I do not conceive that it is any part of my function as Civil Defence Minister to overhaul constitutional arrangements governing bodies such as the catchment boards. I have done within my limitations the best I could, and I thought that I had been able, with the help of my advisers, to arrive at a solution of this problem which, although it may not be ideal, has some advantages over the solution put forward on behalf of the County Councils' Association.
The position that I take up in this matter, on advice, is that the catchment boards are undoubtedly local authorities for the purposes of the Act of 1937. What follows is that, if a catchment board can get a scheme through dealing with the matters of urgent importance that 2406 have been referred to in the course of this discussion, the expenditure involved will attract grant at a rate round about 75 per cent. on the average, whereas if the Amendment put forward on behalf of the County Councils' Association were accepted, the best that could happen would be that the expenditure would attract a 50 per cent. grant. The fundamental difficulty that has been brought out, that the catchment board as the precepting authority is subject to a statutory limit of a 2d. rate, is left untouched. According to the view which I am advised is the correct view—and I give that view for the purpose of complying with the request put forward by the hon. Member for the Forest of Dean (Mr. Price) that they should be told exactly where they stand—catchment boards are local authorities for the purposes of the Act of 1937. I am so advised, and I believe it to be the case.
What are we going to do to get over the difficulty to which I have just referred? There are catchment boards which are not spending up to the full 2d. rate. If these catchment boards produce a scheme which is approved, the expenditure which is then apportioned and sought to be recovered from the various local authorities by precept will attract the appropriate grant. But some of the most important catchment boards are not in that happy position. There is nothing, however, to prevent a catchment board which is spending up to a 2d. rate or beyond it from formulating a scheme, and there is nothing to prevent the scheme going through except the opposition of the constituent local authorities. If the county councils are prepared to meet the expenditure, the scheme can go through, but I understand that some county councils are not too keen, and we have to face the fact that there is a conflict of interests. There is, therefore, a need for promoting a community of interests in1 this matter. That is where the difficulty arises.
The obvious solution would be to put down an Amendment proposing to deal specially with approved expenditure of this kind and allow it to be recovered as a supplement to the maximum amount which under the ordinary law can be charged. I do not know why no hon. Member interested in this matter has thought fit to resort to that solution. I can only suppose the answer is that it 2407 will be highly controversial, but that is the obvious solution. In default of any such solution, all I can do is to sympathise with the case which has been put and to offer the good offices of my Department. We have been successful, certainly in one case, in getting the various local authorities concerned—the case of the Grand Union Canal and the Paddington, Hammersmith, and Middlesex authorities—to undertake a scheme. We were able to get that scheme through, and I am prepared to do everything I can to assist in getting any good scheme through by calling a conference of the local authorities concerned. That I fear is all I can offer in this matter. Whether, when a county council or a borough council stands out unreasonably and thereby constitutes an obstacle to the carrying into effect of a scheme which might result in the saving not only of life but of valuable property also, that would bring into operation the default provisions of this Bill is a matter on which I should not like to express an opinion at the moment. But I think we should be in a position to negotiate with the authorities concerned, and I will certainly do everything I can to further the objects which have been put so forcibly by hon. Members.
§ Sir J. Lamb
A catchment board is not in the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman says that he is advised that they would be a local authority. In that case I think they should be mentioned somewhere in the Bill. But what I want to know is whether they would have to act through the local authorities, the borough councils or the county councils, or would be looked upon as a local authority.
§ Sir J. Anderson
The answer to that is that a catchment board is a local authority within the meaning of Section 12 of the Air-Raid Precautions Act, 1937, and within the limits of its precepting power, it has not to consult anybody. The necessity for consultation would arise when it came to passing on the cost. If its precepting authority has been exceeded it would be necessary to get the consent of the various local authorities to the additional expenditure involved. If there is any doubt in regard to the legal position I can only seek the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown, and subject to my being advised clearly that the posi- 2408 tion is as I have indicated, it will be quite wrong to put a provision in the Bill which would be superfluous.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Heneage
The point is that catchment boards are not grant-earning authorities under the Act, and for that reason, while they can put up a scheme even if they have not got up to a 2d. rate, they would have to obtain the consent of the local authorities concerned to the scheme, and could get only 75 per cent. grant through the local authorities.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Heneage
Above a 2d. rate they have to get the consent of the various local authorities. I am glad that the point has been cleared up. We should have been only too glad to suggest the Amendment indicated by the Lord Privy Seal, but it was not possible to do so under the terms of the Money Resolution. In the circumstances we do not think the Amendment is quite as good as the existing practice.
§ Mr. Ede
This was the only way in which we could get this matter before the Committee. The right hon. Gentleman has made a suggestion which I am sure catchment boards and local authorities will be very willing to accept; that he should arrange conferences and take some part in them. As one who has had experience of such conferences I should like to tell the right hon. Gentleman that much the most eloquent talker is money. When one has agreed on a scheme the question then arises how it is to be done. The right hon. Gentleman gave us an example of the Grand Union Canal, Paddington, Kensington and Middlesex. After all, Middlesex is the second richest county in England, and Paddington, while not among the richer London boroughs, is very much in the upper house. Kensington, I believe, is also very high at the moment in the rateable value per head of the population. But Middlesex, Surrey, East Sussex, and counties like that, can do things which Norfolk, Lincolnshire, Huntingdonshire, Cambridgeshire, the Soke of Peterborough and the Isle of Ely cannot look at for a moment, and those are just the counties which are involved in this problem. Their county rates are very high at the present time. Their highway rates, public assistance rates, and education rates are very high indeed. They have also to 2409 shoulder very heavy burdens with regard to ordinary air-raid precautions work. In some of those counties, they are faced with the problem that if a breach were made in those banks, the greater part of the county would be under water. I regret that the Minister has not been able to go farther than he has done to-night, and I can only hope that when he and his advisers go to the conferences, they will go with a receptive mind to listen to the arguments that are put forward, and an open hand to deal with the problems that confront them. Because I hope that the practical experience of these conferences will be a great education to the Minister, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ 8.36 p.m.
§ Sir J. Anderson
I beg to move, in page 56, line 31, at the end, to add:(2) Any premises occupied, or persons employed, by public utility undertakers who carry on a railway undertaking, shall be deemed, for the purposes of this Act, to be occupied or employed for the purposes of their railway undertaking, unless the occupation or employment is wholly or mainly for the purposes of some harbour, dock or canal undertaking carried on by those undertakers.The purpose of this Amendment is to clear up an ambiguity in regard to the position of the London Passenger Transport Board. The undertaking of the board consists of railways, omnibuses, tramways and trolley vehicles, while the undertakings of the railway companies include, besides railways, docks and canals, all of which are dealt with separately in Part V of the Bill, road transport, stations and hotels. It is contemplated that in the event of war the Minister of Transport will take possession of these undertakings and they will thus stand in a special relationship to the Government, as I explained a short time ago on an Amendment that was moved with regard to public utility undertakings. As the Bill stands, it is not clear that those parts of the board's and the companies' undertakings which are not undertakings of a nature specifically within the definition in Clause 73 are to be treated as public utility undertakings, so that it might be found that parts of the board's or companies' premises and some of their employés would have to be dealt with or protected under Parts II and III of the Bill and others under Part V. That would 2410 be inconvenient, particularly as certain premises and certain personnel are common to different parts of the undertaking. Moreover, it is necessary to ensure that none of the premises of the board or companies should be designated as shelters under Clause 2 without the consent of the appropriate Department, the Ministry of Transport, which will at that time be in possession of the premises in question.
The effect of the Amendment will be, first, that, for the purpose of the designation of the premises as air-raid shelters, all premises of the board and railway companies, irrespective of the particular activities of the undertaking for which the premises are used, will have the protection afforded by that particular Clause of the Bill—protection which consists in the necessity of obtaining the prior consent of the Department—and secondly, that, for the purpose of air-raid precautions taken by the undertakers, the whole of the board's staff will be deemed to be railway staff, and the staff of the railway companies other than those of dock, harbour and canal undertakings will be deemed to be railway staff. This Amendment is really necessary to clear up an ambiguity and a possible source of confusion in the Bill as drawn.
§ Mr. H. Morrison
I think I am reasonably clear as to the purpose of the Amendment as regards the property of the undertakings, although the wording is not easy to follow; but I am not quite clear as to what is the purpose of the reference to the persons employed, and what it is proposed to do in that respect.
§ Mr. E. J. Williams
Can the Minister say whether the railway staff is of special significance in a time of emergency?
§ Sir J. Anderson
I think I can clear up the point regarding the personnel. There is an obligation to provide shelter for staff and to train staff. That obligation arises under Part V in the case of public utility undertakings and under Part II or Part III in the case of undertakings that are not public utility undertakings. There is thus a danger of overlapping and confusion. The effect of the Amendment, as far as personnel is concerned, is to make the whole staff the staff of the public utility undertaking, so that action will be taken under one Clause only of the Bill.
§ Amendment agreed to.2411
§ Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.