HC Deb 05 October 1944 vol 403 cc1226-57

4.0 p.m.

Major Lloyd (Renfrew, Eastern)

I beg to move, in page 22, line 36, at the end, to insert: Provided that no such power shall be exercisable by a local planning authority unless a notice in the prescribed form describing the proposed operation is published by local advertisement either at the time of application to the Minister or prior thereto.

The Chairman

I venture to suggest that we might include in the discussion upon this Amendment the two Amendments which follow it upon the Order Paper, one in the name of the hon. and gallant Member for East Renfrew (Major Lloyd)—in page 22, line 41, at the end, to insert: but shall not be given unless the Minister is satisfied that the notice in the last preceding Sub-section referred to has been duly published and until twenty-eight days have expired since the publication, and the other in the name of the hon. Member for Denbigh (Sir H. Morris-Jones)—in page 22, line 41, at the end, to insert: Provided that before application is made to the Minister for his consent to the erection, construction or carrying out of any building or work under the authority of this section, the local planning authority shall publish by advertisement in one or more newspapers circulating in the locality a notice stating their intention to erect construct or carry out the building or work and stating where it is intended that it shall be situated and the purpose for which it is required.

Major Lloyd

In this Amendment, we suggest, to the Committee, a very important principle is involved, and we hope that the Minister will look upon it with favour, and will accept the Amendment in the spirit in which it is offered, as a helpful addition to the machinery which he is endeavouring to set up. Hitherto we have been confining ourselves largely to the acquisition of land by the local planning authorities. To all intents and purposes they have now got it, after a long and weary discussion. We now pass on to the important question of what they are to do with it. There is a question of whether they are to have a monopoly in the erection of buildings upon that land, and the Amendment suggests that it is important that private enterprise should have every facility for making its contribution in connection with the development of the land by way of erection of buildings, etc.

The Clause encourages private enterprise to participate and make its bid; the object of the Amendment is to give private enterprise an even fairer chance, and to make quite sure that everybody in a locality who can make a contribution, and who would like to bid to erect any of these buildings, shall have full knowledge of the intentions of the local authority, not only by way of advertisement but by the fact that the Minister will not give his consent until, as we propose in another Amendment, a period of 28 days has elapsed. In that way the local authority will give real, good, sound notice to all private enterprises and private firms of their intentions under the Clause.

I hope that the Minister will feel that the Amendment strengthens his hands and helps him in the difficult and responsible task laid upon him under Sub-section (3), and that it gives a fairer deal to the many individuals who, we want to feel, are given an opportunity, under private enterprise, to participate in the work of building on the land compulsorily acquired by the local authority.

Mr. W. S. Morrison

I have not been able to examine this matter in complete detail yet, but I am impressed by what my hon. and gallant Friend has said. I have to satisfy myself that other people are able and willing to carry out the proper development, and it seems to me to follow logically that his argument is sound, and that there should be some sort of notice, so that such people who may be within the area should be able to present themselves. That being so, I hope that my hon. and gallant Friend will withdraw his Amendment and will give me an opportunity to examine it in a little more detail, on the understanding that if I find no insuperable obstacle to it, I will introduce an Amendment on another stage giving effect to this intention.

Major Lloyd

In those circumstances I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Sir P. Bennett

I beg to move, in page 22, line 42, to leave out Sub-section (3), and to insert: (3) For the purposes of the last preceding Sub-section as respects any operation a local planning authority, if they think fit and with the consent of the Minister, may make arrangements with any person considered by them to be able and willing to carry it out at such time and in such manner as may be requisite for meeting the purpose for which it is needed. The Clause places a somewhat severe restriction on the powers of local planning authorities. The restriction may result in the authorities being left with only un-remunerative parts of the area to develop, and consequently there will be little relief to the rates to set against the cost of the original acquisition. It also seems important, in the interest of small businesses and shopkeepers, that the erection, maintenance, and management of the alternative premises provided for their use on the land acquired should be in responsible hands. There is a risk of exploitation. No doubt many people would be willing and anxious to carry out the purposes specified in the Clause, but local authorities feel very strongly that the functions should rest with them. The Amendment has been submitted for mat purpose.

Mr. Hynd (Sheffield, Attercliffe)

I support the Amendment, for the reason that the Amendment in my name to delete the Sub-section altogether has not been called. I hope that the Committee will support the Amendment, which has the same effect as my own. The Clause provides that the functions of the planning authority shall include power to develop the land, and so on. Sub-section (2) makes provision that the local authority shall not be in a position to proceed with development without first obtaining the consent of the Minister, and there is a further provision that that consent may be given either with or without limitation or conditions. It might be generally thought that that was a sufficient restriction upon a Clause which purports to give additional power to local authorities for planning purposes, but the Sub-section which I desire to delete goes very much further. It says that the minister shall not give his consent—a complete negative—in any case where he considers that the land can be developed by any individual or group of individuals within the area.

The effect of that limitation is to include in the Bill a provision that where any private individual or individuals can see a profit to be made out of the development of the land, the Minister shall be prevented from allowing the local authority to develop, and that, on the other hand, if there is no profit to be made out of the development of the land and no private individual is likely to want to develop it, the local authority shall be allowed to do so. There has been a tremendous amount of concern expressed in Parliament about the financial burdens that will be imposed on local authorities after the war, as a result of legislation which we have been passing and are likely to pass, yet we find here a provision which can only have for its object the restriction of the power of the local authority to develop land to cases where they will be mulct in a loss. They are to be prevented in any circumstances from profiting from the development. In the second place we have also heard a tremendous amount in this Committee about the desirability of encouraging enterprise. Yet when we come to a Bill which is ostensibly drafted for the purpose of expansion and not restriction of enterprise in the local authority—

Mr. W. S. Morrison

On a point of Order. I apologise to the hon. Member for interrupting him and I would not do so unless I thought I could assist him. I would call his attention, and that of my hon. Friend who moved this Amendment, to the Amendment which stands in my name with regard to this limitation which the hon. Member is discussing. It proposes to insert the words: Provided that the limitation imposed by this Sub-section shall not have effect in the case of subsequent operations forming part of a project for the initiation of which the authority have incurred expenditure if those operations ought in the opinion of the Minister to be carried out by them in order to enable them to balance their expenditure in connection with the project as a whole. It seems to me, with deference to what you may say, Mr. Williams, that this Amendment is material to the point at issue, and if it were convenient to take them together it might save time.

The Deputy-Chairman

If the Committee agree, it seems to me a very suitable proceeding.

Mr. Hynd

I have no objection to the other Amendment being taken at the same time. That Amendment scarcely clears up entirely the points I am making, but I agree it does provide a modification of the situation where, in the words of the Minister's Amendment, "the authority having incurred expenditure" already, they should be allowed to carry out the work and so on, but there the whole thing devolves again on the Minister, and as Sub-section (3) stands at the moment, irrespective of the further Amendment, it is definitely said that the Minister shall not give his consent where the other person is prepared and willing to carry out the development.

I suggest that is not an encouragement to any enterprising local authority, and it is not surprising that the Association of Municipal Corporations have continued to oppose this Clause as it stands. I submit that the least this Committee can do in this situation is to leave the progressive local authorities, that is those who are prepared to develop land and develop municipal public enterprise under the powers given in Sub-sections (1) and (2) of this Clause, free at least to develop where they think it is desirable and where they think they are capable of doing so, and not, as this Sub-section provides, to lay it down categorically that in all circumstances where a private individual is prepared to develop and exploit, apart from the modifications made in the Minister's Amendment, the local authority shall be entirely prevented from doing so. There is, I submit, in Sub-sections (1) and (2) already sufficient restriction on public enterprise in this direction. Under those Sub-sections it is provided that the Minister's consent must be obtained, and that the Minister's consent when obtained may be subject to conditions and restrictions laid down by the Minister. In those circumstances I think Sub-section (3) as it stands at the moment is not only entirely redundant but definitely damaging to any progressive local authority which desires to take advantage of the powers under Sub-section (1).

4.15 p.m.

Sir H. Williams

I see there are six very good Conservative friends of mine who want to leave out Sub-section (3) and to put in something different, a mixed bag want to leave out Sub-section (3) and put in nothing, and the Minister wants to put in some words which may mean a lot or nothing. Let us have a look at this Subjection (3) we are discussing. It is a modification of Sub-section (1), and what does Sub-section (1) mean? In the language of the street the local authority can go in for "spec." building. Subsection (2) says that local authorities must not be "spec." builders unless the Minister says they may. The hon. Member speaks about profit. Why should not a profit be made? Does any Member of his party want to work for a firm that is not making a profit? This deals entirely with the man who has an idea against the man who has not an idea. The Minister says that he shall not give his assent to the local authority becoming a "spec." builder if he knows of some other person who has a definite proposition. That is the issue. {Interruption.] That is how lawyers wrap it up. I am telling hon. Members what it really means. I do not think there is any doubt about what Sub-section (1) says. It says that the town council can be a "spec." builder. It says that they shall not commit this crime without the sanction of my distinguished right hon. Friend or his successors, but if he knows of some fellow who definitely wants to put a building on this site the town council must not go in for speculative building.

What are these sites that they are to buy? Let us take a short journey from here to that great devastated area round St. Paul's Cathedral on which there existed the premises of a great variety of people engaged in legitimate trade and business. I imagine that some of these people will want to rebuild. They will want, so far as may be possible—we know there may be some alteration to the line of the roads, etc.—to be where they were before. Why should the Tory City Corporation be permitted to get in for "spec" building in St. Paul's Churchyard, to put up a building which is not wanted or which is of a type not wanted by the man who had a building there? Is he not entitled to the first bite into what was his old site? I do not understand this great industrial community from Birmingham wanting to stop a man building his own industrial premises on what is, in fact, his own site. If the City Corporation should, for the moment, buy all the devastated land round St. Paul's Cathedral in order that they can make a little change in the roads, move the sewers, electric light mains, etc., which is very necessary before one can plan—[An HON. MEMBER: "They can do the work."]It will cost a lot of money. If a man who has had premises famous for 100 years in the soft goods trade some-where near St. Paul's Cathedral wants to rebuild his premises on a site which has been known throughout the ages, or the booksellers of Paternoster Row want to establish their premises on their ancient site, should the City Corporation of London—or the City Corporation of Birmingham, if they have a Paternoster Row—say "You must not do it"? Personally, I think if there is someone willing to develop a site, let him get on with it.

Mr. Bowles (Nuneaton)

Supposing every single person who had a tenancy or house or office or building wanted to rebuild, would the hon. Member agree to that being done?

Sir H. Williams

I am suggesting that a man who was there ought to have his bite. The man who carried on a business on a particular site is entitled to some consideration over everybody else. I am talking about Sub-section (3). If the Minister knows of somebody who is willing to do the development—there are still all the restrictions to see that the development is on the right lines—surely a man should be entitled to build on the site where his old business was carried on. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"]The "why" is a very obvious one. The man who has built up a business, and built up a goodwill in relation to a particular area, has rights against any other member of the community.

Mr. Molson (The High Peak)

Since he built up the business he has been the subject of a compulsory purchase order, and that terminates his rights. He has obtained certain cash advantages in place of his business, and, therefore, his rights come to an end.

Sir H. Williams

This is the monstrous assertion of the Nazis, the Fascists, and the Communists: that the State is entitled to destroy your rights. They have not compensated the man for the loss of his goodwill. Hitler comes with his fire bombs, and devastates an area. That area is an area in which a man carries on his business. Is there anything in sanity, in decency, in Christianity, which justifies my high-minded Friend in saying that some great authority is entitled to deny a man the right to go back to his own premises? It is the assertion of the totalitarian State, for which the young pinks stand.

Mr. Molson

The speech of my hon. Friend the Member for South Croydon (Sir H. Williams) has certainly had the advantage of clarifying this issue. If I had any doubts before as to the desirability of the Amendment moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Edgbaston (Sir P. Bennett), I should have very much less doubt since hearing the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for South Croydon. He has chosen to take as an example the immediate vicinity of St. Paul's Cathedral. In the course of the devastation wrought upon London the one consolation I could find in it was the prospect that it might open up the whole of that area, and give us vistas of that noble cathedral such as there never had been before.

Sir H. Williams

The hon. Member must not misrepresent me. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]. It is only the unwise who jeer before they have heard one's remarks. Quite clearly it is contemplated that certain areas will be replanned. I said earlier on that that might involve a change of ownership with all the difficulties of removing sewers, and all the costs. When saying that I was interrupted. Nevertheless, a large number of persons are carrying on in that area. That area is going to be replanned. We are all in favour of it. But surely the first people entitled to consideration are those whose premises were in that area. If my hon. Friend does not agree with that, his ideas are beyond my comprehension.

Mr. Molson

It all depends on what is the position in the area. If, in the case of the rabbit warren which existed in the City of London, the planning authorities are to take into account all those vested interests, and to identify each of them and give them separate consideration, the whole object of this Bill seems to me to be upset. When I read this Clause originally, I thought that the Government had tried carefully to steer a course betwnee two different policies which would have appealed perhaps to hon. Gentlemen opposite and to hon. Members on this side of the Committee. It seemed to me that the purpose of this Clause was to give a very wide discretion to the planning authority, to enable it to acquire the land and to enable it to take into account all reasonable claims which might be put forward by those who had been dispossessed or who had lost their property before; and, obviously, since the whole of this Bill depends upon the work of these local authorities, we all assume, and, I think, justifiably, that they will try to do what is fair and reasonable by those who have lost their property or have been expropriated. Over and above that, a certain power of supervision and appeal lies with the Minister, who is responsible to this House.

There might be cases in which it was obviously desirable that that land which had been compulsorily purchased should again be sold for a freehold interest. The case particularly in the mind of the Government was, I believe, the case of certain churches. There might also be other cases where it was desirable that the land should be sold. But in the vast majority of cases all experience shows that business and manufacturing and trading concerns were quite satisfied to have a long leasehold interest. I think the Committee were very much impressed by the argument which my right hon. Friend the Minister put forward when he pointed out that most of the best architecture in the County of London is the result of long leaseholds given to private traders; and, in the changed circumstances of the day, there is not the slightest reason to suppose that local authorities will not avail themselves of the same powers and exercise the same discretion, equally to the advantage of future generations.

I had thought, in reading the Clause, that Sub-section (3) unduly narrowed the discretion of the local authorities. That they should be absolutely unable to exercise these powers themselves if it appeared to the Minister that some other person were able to carry out the work, seemed to be rather a strict limitation on their powers. I thought that the Amendment moved by the hon. Member for Edgbaston offered a more constructive alternative to the policy that was in the Bill originally. It provides—again, the consent of the Minister is, of course, needed, under Subsection (2)—that if the local authority finds that somebody else is willing to carry out the work, within the framework of their own plan, the Minister may give his leave for it to be done. I hope the Minister will consider this Amendment upon its merits. It seems to me that, instead of being a narrowing Amendment, it is one which extends the discretion of the local authority; and it does not in any way remove the supervision and control which rest in the hands of the Minister himself. Therefore, I feel that it is an Amendment to which the Minister should be willing to give his sympathetic consideration.

4.30 p.m.

Mr. Silkin

I should like to support the Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Edgbaston (Sir P. Bennett). I find myself in rather extraordinary company; and I have, for that reason, examined the Amendment very carefully. Nevertheless, I find myself in favour of it. Clause 16 is one of the most important Clauses in the Bill. It does something which I think can be regarded as revolutionary. It confers extraordinary powers upon local authorities which they have never had before, and I imagine that my right hon. Friend must have been very fully satisfied that these powers were necessary before he incorporated them in the Bill.

Let me give the Committee an example from London. I have not quoted London before in the course of these discussions, but, some years ago, the London County Council obtained from this House a Measure for the purpose of redeveloping a portion of the South bank, the area between Westminster Bridge and Waterloo Bridge. In pursuance of the powers conferred upon them, they acquired large areas of land in that district, and now have, I think, practically the whole of the area which they were empowered to acquire. But they were given no power to develop it. They therefore have this large area of land, and all that they can do with it is to put up working class houses. It does not happen to be a convenient or suitable area for the erection of working class houses. The Council have made up their minds how the area should be developed, and now they are waiting for private enterprise to come along and build in accordance with the plan they have made. Naturally, private enterprise will not come along unless they can see a profit.

Among the things which the Council desire is to make a portion of the South bank into a cultural centre, and to use part of it for the erection of a theatre and a youth centre, but, so far, nobody has come along prepared to build in accordance with that plan, and until these powers are conferred upon the local authority it will be impossible for the London County Council to make that vital improvement or to grant a developer the power he ought to have. It is for that reason that these powers have been conferred, and local authorities throughout the country generally were extremely grateful to the Minister for having given them these powers. Might I say that it is a courageous step on his part, knowing the kind of opposition he would probably have to face in giving these powers?

But, having done that, he proceeds first of all to turn it down. These powers must not be used without his consent. I do not so much mind that, although I do not see the reason for it. If my right hon. Friend can trust the local authorities to carry out large-scale development, he can surely trust them to carry out these powers wisely but, under Sub-section (2), whenever the local authority has a scheme for carrying out a development in accordance with the Sub-section, or by using the powers under Sub-section (1), they come along to the Minister for his approval and he gives it. I should have been content that the Minister should have wide powers in granting the applications of the local authorities or in rejecting them. But what does he do in the next Sub-section? He deliberately limits himself so that he can only exercise the power in one way, and can only give this consent if no one can be found to carry out this development in the manner and at the time which he says. What he has conferred on the local authorities with one hand, he has completely taken away with the other.

He has recognised that position himself and has recognised that he has gone too far, because he has put down an Amendment, and I submit that this Amendment does not go appreciably further than the original Sub-section (3). As I read it, and I am quite willing for the Minister to tell me I am wrong, it presupposes that he has already given approval for some initial development, and then he says he will allow the local authority to go on if it is necessary that they should do so for the purpose of balancing expenditure.

I want to say two things on that. Firstly, he will not he in a position even to permit the initial expenditure to which he refers in his Amendment if somebody else can be found to undertake it, and, therefore, he is begging the question completely. Even if he is able to find someone who will carry out the initial expenditure, the local authority is then out of the picture, and he has given them nothing. Secondly, supposing the local authority has been permitted to carry out the initial stages of the development, and supposing they want to carry out some- thing which will not enable them to balance expenditure—say, to put up this theatre—the Minister will say, "No, you cannot do it under the terms of this Amendment, because you are not doing it to enable you to balance expenditure." I have used the instance of the theatre because it is, probably, the worst case against myself.

Therefore, I think this Amendment will give nothing to the local authorities, who are left in the same position as they were under the original Sub-section, and I would have much preferred to have left out Sub-section (3) and given the Minister power to say "Yes" or "No," leaving him to take all factors into consideration, not only the cost and whether somebody else should do the work or not, but whether it is proper for a local authority to carry out work of this kind or not. I would have given him the widest possible discretion, but, having given it, I would have cut out Sub-section (3) altogether.

If the Minister prefers to accept the Amendment of the hon. Member for Edgbaston, I do not mind. It permits local authorities to farm out some of this redevelopment, if they wish, with the consent of the Minister, and that will be quite satisfactory to the local authorities, but I hope the Minister will give very serious consideration to this Clause. In my view, it is really the kernel of the whole Bill, because all this acquisition of land is for the purpose of redevelopment. In the end, the land is required for redevelopment, and this Clause deals with redevelopment, and, unless this Clause is right, then, in my view, the whole purpose of the Bill has been frustrated. I hope the Minister will give very serious consideration to what has 'been said, and, if possible, he will cut out Sub-section (3) altogether.

Earl Winterton

I am sorry to find myself in disagreement with may hon. Friend opposite, with whom I usually agree in supporting Ministers. I would suggest that a question of political philosophy comes very effectively into this matter, and here, almost for the first time since I came to the House, I am in complete disagreement with my hon. Friend opposite. The object of this Bill is to confer on local authorities powers to build, and, plainly, to see that the future planning of England is carried out in a proper way.

As between public and private building, as Tories we must naturally support private building because we are in favour of private enterprise, but there is no reason why this question should arise on this or any other Clause. All that this Sub-section does, as I pointed out before in connection with another Sub-section, is to give power to the Minister to consider which is the right authority to develop a plan. [An HON. MEMBER: "No it does not."]—It does. It says: The Minister shall not give his consent for the purposes of the last preceding Subsection as respects any operation if it appears to him that a person other than the local planning authority is able and willing to carry it out. I said on a previous Amendment that all the Minister has to decide when he sees a piece of land which has not been developed by the local authority is whether he believes a private individual can develop it and, therefore, he refuses his consent because he believes the private individual can carry the matter out effectively. If we were concerned solely with the question of public and private enterprise and not with the question, of planning, we would not have brought the Bill forward. We would not have had this Government in existence because it is a Coalition Government.

The Deputy-Chairman

We cannot, obviously, argue the value of a Coalition Government on every Amendment. I realise that the Amendments we are discussing are really at the heart of the Clause, but I hope that on the Motion "That the Clause stand part of the Bill" we shall not have a repetition of this discussion.

Earl Winterton

I used an unusual phrase. I could not agree more with your Ruling, Mr. Williams, and I apologise for having got outside the ambit of the Clause, especially as the matter has been discussed on other Clauses. I would suggest that in this, as in all other matters, we must have regard to the most efficient method of planning. I hope that we shall get out of the habit of thinking that the local authorities and associations of local authorities are necessarily right, and that hon. Members, who like myself are supporting the Government, will not get into the habit, as Tories, of saying that it should be taken out of the hands of this House to say whether it is right or not. This gives power to the House of Commons to question the action of the Minister, whereas the whole trend—whether Socialist or Tory—is that local authorities must always be trusted in matters that affect the public and that the right should not be given to Parliament.

Mr. Hynd

The safeguard here is to ensure that, where the Minister is satisfied that a private individual can do the work more expeditiously than the local authority, he should be in a position to withhold authority.

Earl Winterton

All this Clause does—and I am sure that the Minister will agree—is to carry out planning in the most efficient way possible and to take out of the hands of local authorities power of decision if they are not exercising the intentions of the Bill.

Mr. Wilmot

I think that if the Noble Lord will look at Sub-section (3) again he will see that the Minister has not given any discretion nor is he permitted to make his decision as to which is the most efficient and effective way to carry out the project. He is bound by the Sub-section—and this is the reason for our objection to it—not to allow the local authority to carry out the project if any other person is willing and can carry it out. He does not say anything about efficient or proper development.

4.45 p.m.

Major Woolley (Spen Valley)

Surely the other person must carry it out in such manner as may be requisite for meeting the purpose for which it is needed. That is the qualification of the person to whom the matter is transferred.

Mr. Wilmot

It is all right for the Noble Lord to repeat any sentence he may like to find, but it does not say that. It says that the Minister shall not give consent if it appears to him that a person other than the local planning authority is able and willing to carry it out at such time and in such manner as may be requisite for meeting, etc. Surely that is a desirable limitation to put on the Minister's discretion in exercising his consent to the powers which have been, for reasons which we all understand, conferred in certain circumstances. I ask the Noble Lord to consider where he is going. I have always looked upon him as one who can be relied upon to support a project for ennobling our towns and preserving our countryside. That ought to be the test. My hon. Friend the Member for Peckham (Mr. Silkin) has spoken about a certain specific development on the South bank of the Thames, surely long overdue. The squalor of the South bank is a disgrace to the landowning system of this capital city. It is to the credit of the L.C.C., whatever its political colour, that it has taken the initiative in developing the South bank, which may be a noble part of our incomparable river scenery. Is the Minister going to be tied and to hold up that development if anybody else thinks they can show a reason that they can do it as well as the London County Council? We want to see the heart and hub of our stricken cities developed upon nobler and better lines than many of them were before. That is an objective which really ought to be freed from a rather squalid scramble between public and private enterprise. The essential thing is to get a noble development which will be an immemorial tribute to those who have fought in this war. That is how we see it.

The Minister ought certainly to be free to allow this development, if it is going to be well developed, to be done as a specific job carried out, it may be, by the public authorities. Those who have private enterprises and private interests in the City will all benefit by what is being done in this piece of specific development. The Amendment which the right hon. Gentleman put down as intended to meet the feelings of local authorities in this matter, does not go far enough. It limits the Minister's limiting powers to those cases where expenditure has already been incurred on that particular project. Where the local authority is the developing authority—and let us not forget in many places nobody else will be able and willing to do development—the planning authority will be the only one who will do it, if it has to be done at all. They may be hard-pressed financially, and it may be necessary for them to seek to recoup some of the expenditure involved in development on, say, a civic centre by some remunerative development in other parts of their area. It would be quite wrong, and I do not think the Minister would have the power under this Amendment, to take notice of that fact because it would not be a financial commitment which they had already undertaken in respect of that particular project, but without the revenues flowing from some other part of the development they would not be able to afford to do the civic development, let us say, in the centre. So I think it would be best if this Sub-section, which is really quite unnecessary, were deleted. Already the Minister's consent has to be obtained under the two previous Sub-sections, Every safeguard is given against abuse by the planning authority of these new powers. Every time they have to go to my right hon. Friend and get his consent. Why cannot we leave it at that? The only purpose of Sub-section (3) is to tie the Minister's hands, and I ask him to drop this Sub-section, or, if he cannot do that, to accept the very wise Amendment which was moved by the hon. Member for Edgbaston (Sir P. Bennett).

Mr. W. S. Morrison

I am sure none of us want this discussion to enlarge itself into a full-blown wrangle about private versus public enterprise. What we are concerned with is how best to enlist all the energies of public and private enterprise in the great task of rebuilding. In the past it is common knowledge that public and private enterprise have not always been easy bed-fellows. There exists, let us face it, a good deal of suspicion among those who believe in private enterprise which prevents them from consenting readily to any great extension of enterprise founded upon public money, whether it be the rates or taxes. I should dislike it very much if our proposals for reconstruction were to be marred by any such feeling. I would like both public and private enterprise to play their full part, and it is for that reason that the great change made by this Clause—the extent and magnitude of which ought not to be minimised—ought to be brought to the attention of the Committee. In addition to such statutory powers as local authorities already possess for certain narrowly-defined public purposes, Subsection (1) of this Clause removes all disabilities whatsoever from local authorities in developing the land of which they obtain possession.

Do not let us fog ourselves with words. What do we mean by development? We mean building. In other words, this Clause enables, for the first time in his- tory, a local authority to go in for building in a large way. I justify that up to the hilt because, as I say, we shall need in the stages of reconstruction through which we pass, the full help of public enterprise in certain cases, and the Clause as drafted is designed to secure that, in its proper place, public enterprise comes in and, in its proper place, private enterprise comes in. I do not want, while removing the swaddling bands that have hitherto wrapped round and hampered public authorities, at the same time to take a step which would make them, as it were, competitors in the building trade with private interests, founding themselves upon capital raised from ratepayers' money. That is the issue, and the Clause is drafted for that purpose. I want to proceed in this matter in order to get harmony between the two.

The cases that have been urged in favour of public enterprise by the hon. Member for Peckham (Mr. Silkin) and others would be met under this Bill as it stands, because it follows inexorably from what has been said about these projects that I should not have been satisfied under Sub-section (3) that a person other than a local planning authority was able and willing to carry it out at such time and manner as may be requisite for meeting the purpose. Note that, time and manner. I think that the fear expressed that I am unduly tied up by these words is wrong. In the task of reconstruction, time will be of vital importance and before I could, under this Clause, rightly forbid a public enterprise I would have to be satisfied that there was someone able and willing to carry out the enterprise not only in the manner desired but quickly enough. So I think that hon. Members on all sides of the Committee will see, when they consider this Clause, that it enables full use to be made of public enterprise in the task of reconstruction, but, at the same time, lays it down that in proper cases where private enterprise can contribute, it should not be frozen out but should get its place in the team.

These are the considerations which have led to the drafting of the Bill. The hon. Member for Peckham spoke of a theatre which he said no one would build except by public enterprise. His definition of the case brings it outside the ban imposed by the Sub-section.

Mr. Wilmot

What about a municipal garage?

Mr. Morrison

So, I think, would a municipal garage. If an authority wanted a municipal garage and no one was able to build it in the manner desired and quickly enough for them, they would be outside Sub-section (3), but if, on the other hand, there was a local builder who was perfectly competent and capable, both financially and by his skill, to make the garage that the local authorities required, and could do it quickly enough, why should he not do it? It is a difficult task to marry these two things in a harmonious way, but if hon. Members on both sides of the Committee realise that both have to play their part in this task, they will see that the Clause as drafted does fill the bill.

Mr. Wilmot

May I ask a question on the example given by the right hon. Gentleman? If the builder is able and willing in the time and manner required to make the garage, it will not be a municipal garage, and the desire to have a municipal garage will have been defeated.

Mr. Woodburn

Further to that, if a municipality want the garage, they can obviously hire a private enterprise builder to build it, and therefore the two things are not the same at all. The question is, would the right hon. Gentleman bar that municipal authority ordering a municipal garage to be built?

Mr. Morrison

Let us not be confused about this. When my hon. Friend asked me about a municipal garage, I thought he was referring to a garage owned by a municipality for the benefit of its ratepayers. Is that right?

Mr. Wilmot

It might be built by private enterprise.

Mr. Morrison

It might easily be built by private enterprise, and it can be; but suppose it were essential to the life of the community that a municipal garage should be put up by a certain date and built according to a certain specification. It might have underground parks, lifts of various sorts and sizes. Suppose that were an essential part of the reconstruction scheme, and the local authority owning the land wanted to have it built, and no private builder was forthcoming or would do it in the time. Then the Clause would enable the local authority to come forward—

Mr. Moelwyn Hughes

May I ask my right hon Friend if he will keep the two matters distinct? The question he is discussing now is, who is going to build? We are concerned in this Clause with land which already belongs to the local authority and on which the local authority wants to build for itself, through an outside builder it may be, a municipal garage and wants to own the building. That is the very step which is prevented by this Clause.

5.0 p.m.

Mr. Morrison

Not in the least. First of all I have to settle under Sub-section (2) whether this particular piece of development is necessary. I have to give my consent before the local planning authority can go ahead to build that garage.

But I am assuming that I have decided that the plan for the garage is essential, and that they should go ahead. The local authority, in the normal event, would ask the private builder to build the garage for them. What is in mind is this: Imagine an area that has to be reconstructed, and which is now lying flat. It is local authority land, and it is cleared. If the plan is to proceed by progressive and good stages there must be a row of shops in a certain place. Private enterprise, on viewing the prospects of the whole thing, does not think they are very good. [An HON. MEMBER: "No profits."]I can see nothing wrong with people wanting to make a profit. Because the plan would be lacking in something essential to the life of the community the local authority would be entitled to initiate the project direct, having obtained consent. The local authority says: "We come in and build the first row of shops." It is a loss at the start, because there are so few houses which, of course, means few customers. The local authority then says: "We will stand the loss." When more houses are built, and there are more customers, private enterprise will come along and build shops because it is an attractive proposition. The local authority will say, "You forced us to undertake early work at a loss and you will not allow us to build enough shops to recoup ourselves and the ratepayers for the expenditure which we have incurred."

I think that claim is justified, and that is the purpose of my Amendment, which I have not yet moved. If they can show that they have properly initiated this undertaking they should be permitted to carry it to such a degree as will balance their expenditure. If hon. Members will look at the Clause again a little more sympathetically they will realise that its sole purpose is to eradicate delay, whether by public or private enterprise, and bring them together without quarrelling with each other and getting in each other's way. Let them go forward together in this spirit, and then we shall see our cities rising again.

Mr. Wilmot

Will the Minister say whether his Amendment would cover the case I mentioned, where expenditure has been incurred on one project with the intention of recouping some part of the loss on another project? Would he sanction the second project as being part of the necessary balancing factor of the whole thing?

Mr. Morrison

The idea is to allow public enterprise to continue until it is on a self-balancing basis. The words used by my hon. Friend might be capable of another meaning, and I think I had better look at them and consider them before I agree. I have not referred to my hon. Friend's Amendment, the effect of which is that I would not be bound to refuse consent to a local authority development, even if somebody else was willing to do it. That would be the effect. The words he wishes to insert will empower the local authority to make arrangements with a person capable of carrying out the development, which they can do already under the Bill as it stands.

Mr. Moelwyn Hughes

The Minister has engendered a little political heat into the discussion on this Amendment but I would prefer to consider it, as I find myself in the somewhat unaccustomed company of the hon. Member for Edgbaston (Sir P. Bennett), from a purely business point of view. I saw, the other day, a project for the post-war development of a town which comprised within it the intention of moving a large part of the population, and particularly some of its old manufacturing sites and works, from the old city to adjoining satellite towns. Now we will all agree that it is not desirable that in the new towns to be set up there should be the old types of dingy, backyard, ill-conditioned, badly-ventilated, grimy, small factories. New development contemplates that in future there shall be contained within the plan unit construction factories that are modern, well-ventilated, well-lit, complete with all services, and capable of being let in different sizes to concerns which may want to go to the site, particularly to smaller types of businesses. The large concerns may look after themselves. This project is one which will particularly encourage the small man and will help him. Under this Clause as it is the planning authority, having obtained, first of all, the approval of the Ministry to acquire land for its project, says, "As part of the plan of the whole we desire to erect these unit factories in different places in some of the satellite areas." In one satellite town the local authority may have to wait 10 to 15 years before they have enticed such activities there, while in another town the factories may be occupied in a few years. In another, intending occupants will be tumbling over each other to get them. I have studied the Clause with care and, as I read it, the Minister will have to consider each and every one of these and find out first of all whether he is ready to give his consent for the project to go forward under Sub-section (2). Is it then in accordance with the undertaking that he has already given, if he thinks it right, that public notice should be given?

The Minister then advertises that the City of X is proposing to build up these lettable unit factories in satellites A, B and C. What happens the next morning? Satellite C is the one every one will go for. They will see that an immediate profit is to be got. A person who wants to build there will say to the Minister, "I am prepared to build entirely in accordance with the plan. I am prepared to put up the building exactly to the design wanted to fit in with it." The Minister under this Sub-section is bound to say—the terms are mandatory—" There is some one here willing to do it. The local authority shall not proceed with the project. That must be handed over to private enterprise." What about satellites A and B, where there will have to be some time to wait before the small industries will go there? The local authority says, "You have deprived us of the opportunity of taking an immediate profit by putting a unit factory in satellite C, therefore we apply for permission to go on putting up factories in satellites A and B." There are no offers from outside. No one can see any profit in this for five or ten years, so the local authority is allowed, as the Clause now is, to build there itself and to own them and let them for this purpose. I challenge the Minister to find any flaw in that example of the effect of the Clause. It is a perfect example of what could happen and a perfect example of handing over to the local authority the bad business and sending the good away. It is for that reason that we feel so strongly about this Subsection. I do not go all the way with my hon. Friend the Member for Peckham (Mr. Silkin) in accepting Sub-section (2) but, if there must be some check, the Minister is given a number of powers of discretion and let him have it in this regard. So much for the Clause as it stands. I am for the deletion of the Subsection.

5.15 P.m.

Now may I say a word about the Minister's suggested Amendment, which in my submission does not assist in the slightest degree. He is bound to refuse to allow the local planning authority to proceed with the project if he is satisfied that anyone else is able and willing to do it. He is prepared to qualify this in the terms of the proposed Amendment. The terms of the Amendment are that it shall only apply in the case of subsequent operations. Therefore the suggestion is that for all time the initial operation shall never have the advantage in competition with private enterprise. The second limiting condition is that the local authority must have incurred expenditure upon it. I find a little difficulty in seeing what particular purpose is served by that, because a local authority is bound to incur some expenditure in initiating any project or putting forward any proposal. So that that means nothing. Even writing a letter to the Minister giving notice of the original plan is incurring a certain amount of expenditure. So that middle part of the Amendment is meaningless. The third is again limiting. If the initial project and the subsequent operations are meant to produce a balance of expenditure, the Minister may withhold his disapproval. But why should this proposed Amendment cut down the Minister's power to give permission only in cases where the accounts will balance? The same thing inspires the Amendment as inspired the original Sub-section. Here the Minister proposes to say the local authority may in respect of this project get back as much as it has paid out, but never shall it have a penny more. On grounds of good business it seems to me improper that such a limitation should be allowed to remain in the Bill and I propose to divide against it.

Mr. A. Bevan (Ebbw Vale)

I am a little puzzled by the words "construction" and "operation." Do they mean two distinct things or do they mean the same thing? If the local authority is prepared to construct a row of shops, that would be construction and it would be permitted. If later on, after the scheme has been developed, there is a considerable population ready to patronise the shops, the local authority will be stopped from operating them if other persons come forward and rent them and operate them.

Mr. Morrison

Normally, except for the change proposed in the Amendment.

Mr. Bevan

There are two distinct things. There is construction and there is operation. Let us deal with construction first. Does not the limitation imposed in the Bill prevent the local authority from constructing anything at all? Before they can undertake the work of constructing buildings on any scale in any modern scheme, they have to have very expensive apparatus. They might merely construct the part which is immediately necessary and leave private enterprise to construct another part. Anyone who has had any experience of house building knows that the building material and apparatus necessary for constructing buildings on any scale are in the hands of a few large corporations. I do not want to mention their names, but they are active inside the House of Commons and outside. In practice, if the local authority were confined to certain constructional operations, they would have to carry them out on a frightfully expensive scale, because the overheads and the machinery necessary would be costed only to the limited scheme, whereas constructional companies, having much larger constructions to carry out, would be able to carry their overheads on many other operations. One appreciates, of course, that the municipality might employ them to carry the work out, but they might not be available to do the work. The market we are thinking about after the war will be a seller's market—

The Deputy-Chairman

This has been a very wide and full discussion, and if we are going to discuss whether it will be a buyer's or seller's market after the war it will be getting beyond the limits.

Mr. Bevan

With all respect, I think it was very germane to the point. If a local authority is to be put in the position that is contemplated by the Bill, in which anybody is able to come forward and to say to the Minister, "We can carry out this work," where is the protection of the local authority against the seller's market being exploited against them? There will be no competitive tenders.

The Deputy-Chairman

The question whether there will be a seller's market is a matter of opinion and goes beyond this Clause. The discussion has been very wide, and we ought not to widen it further by discussing whether the post-war market will be a seller's or a buyer's market.

Mr. Bevan

We are resisting the Minister imposing upon himself the obligation of allowing any person to carry out this work if such a person can be found in the area. The local authorities will be put under grave disabilities because, instead of having a situation in which a number of persons will send in tenders, they will have a position in which only one or two people will send them in. The Minister will have to prevent the local authority from carrying out the work because there are one or two persons in that favoured position available. The circumstances I would envisage are these. Suppose Swansea Corporation wants to construct a theatre in accordance with its plan and the Minister has agreed that a theatre ought to be erected in that place. Cardiff is also putting up a large number of buildings at the same time, and the same thing is happening all over the West of England. The number of persons available for building theatres is very limited. The Swansea Corporation say to the Minister, "We want to build a theatre," but a constructional engineer in the district knows that the Minister is bound to prevent the corporation doing it if he comes forward and says that he will build it. What restriction will be placed on him as to the price he is to charge for the theatre? He is the only fellow there and he has got the Corporation by the throat. He has the Minister by the throat, too. There is nothing about price in the Bill, and the Minister is estopped from allowing the local authority to build if someone else is available to build it. Is not this a set of circumstances which hands over construction to the most wicked exploitation by persons enjoying a favoured market? It would be bad enough in normal conditions, but it will be extremely onerous in the immediate post-war world if individuals are to be placed by legislation in this favoured position. Therefore, there ought to be a little more direction for the local authorities than is indicated.

What about operation? It is often difficult for local authorities to operate a number of businesses unless the number is sufficiently large to enable their overheads to be kept down. If local authorities are going to operate only one or two shops or a garage, in anticipation of the development of the area and private enterprise coming along later to develop it, the local authority will have to keep a department and a costing system for a number of enterprises too small to cover the necessary administrative overheads. If the local authority has to run one shop, the costings on that shop will be much worse than if they run four or five. If that is not accepted, any multiple firm will give information on the point. A family grocery is all right in certain circumstances, but the local authority cannot run a family grocery. It has to run an establishment of some considerable scale if it is to do the job economically. Therefore, I suggest it would be much the best thing if the local authority were allowed to compete and tender against the private market in this matter. The Minister would have adequate protection under general law to prevent a local authority from accepting tenders which were unreasonable in the circumstances. I hope that if the Minister insists on these powers the Committee will resist him.

Mr. David Eccles (Chippenham)

The hon. Member for Clackmannan and Stirling, Eastern (Mr. Woodburn) spoke about a municipal garage, but I understand that that could not be operated by the local authority. Under Clause 16 power is given to erect any building or works, but there is nothing about operating the garage or making a profit out of the operation. Can the Minister tell me whether a local authority is empowered to say, "There was a petrol filling station in this blitzed area and we shall have to put one back, and we desire both to build it ourselves and to operate it"? Is it possible for the local authority to do that and for the Minister to consent or not consent to the operation of the garage?

Mr. W. S. Morrison

Under the Clause a local authority could work a filling station, assuming it were part of the plan assented to by me, only if it had statutory powers to do so. It would have to lease it to somebody who would run it.

Mr. Wilmot

Could they take the fees for parking cars?

Mr. Morrison

Not under this Clause, but they would probably have power to do that under other legislation. Under this Clause, if there is no power in the legislation already appertaining to the local authority to erect certain buildings and nobody else is willing to do it, and I consent to their doing it, they can construct the buildings and lease them to somebody else to operate them.

5.30 p.m.

Mr. Douglas (Battersea, North)

I am sure that the Minister, in inserting this provision in the Bill, honestly intended that it should be workable and useful. I want to enlighten him as to the difficulties which will arise if Sub-section (3) remains in the Clause or if his own Amendment to the Clause is carried. Let me point out first that the Minister has to be satisfied that there is someone able and willing to carry out the proposed development which the local authority has submitted to him. Only yesterday, in resisting another Amendment, the Minister told the Committee that those words presented extreme difficulty. He said: I also feel that the words 'willing and able,' if they were allowed to remain in the Bill, might in future give rise to great questions of fact which it would be impossible ever adequately to resolve. Though it might be possible to say whether a man is willing, how could one guess or estimate his ability to carry out a long-term project of this character?"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 4th October, 1944: Vol. 403, c. 966.] The difficulty in this case is doubly great, because the Clause deals with the land which is already in the ownership of the local authority. How can anybody say on what terms or conditions the local authority would be willing to lease or to sell that land to anybody else who wanted to develop it? Unless the Minister knows the terms upon which the local authority is prepared to dispose of that land, he cannot possibly say whether some private person outside is either able or willing to carry out the project which the local authority is suggesting. Therefore there is an inherent impossibility in Subsection (3).

I suggest to the Minister that he has already in Sub-section (2) an absolute power, without any appeal whatsoever, to veto any project which the local authority puts before him under the Clause. I suggest that there is nothing more that he ought to ask and that he certainly should not ask for a power which is incapable of effective operation because it cannot be interpreted, and which is bound to lead to disputes between him and the local authorities. Those disputes will be increased and intensified if the Amendment which the Minister has put down to Sub-section (3) is carried. That involves further hypotheses about what is to happen. It involves that the Minister has to consider the expenditure which has already been incurred by the local authority, that he has to consider the expenditure which they might incur in the future, and that he has to form an estimate of whether the undertaking will be profitable or not. How is he to tell what rents the local authority will get for a garage, if it builds one, or for a theatre, if it builds one? There are bound to be disputes under this provision. It will be impossible for the Minister ever to give a decision which will be of a clear-cut nature and which will indicate without any question what are the grounds upon which his decision was arrived at.

More than that; this Amendment which the Minister is putting down will have the result in every case of impelling the local authority, when it has a reasonable project in front of it, to present it in such a fashion as to try to frustrate the Minister. Therefore it will cut it into portions, and it will present to the Minister the portion which is clearly uneconomical and which no one would undertake. Thereby, the local authority will gain his permission. Subsequently, it will come along with the rest of the proposal which it has in mind and it will say: "This is necessary for the purpose of making economic what we have already done." Therefore, by this Amendment, the Minister is deliberately forcing the local authorities into taking a course of action which he should not encourage. Therefore I do beg him to consent to Sub-section (3) being deleted. It would be an improvement if the Amendment of the hon. Member for Edgbaston (Sir P. Bennett) were adopted, because it would give wider flexibility to the operation of the Clause. In any case, it is essential for Sub-section (3) to be deleted if the Clause is to be effective and to be honestly operated.

Mr. A. Bevan

I would like to ask the Attorney-General a question. Suppose a local authority submits a scheme to the Minister and says: "We are prepared to construct these buildings ourselves." Suppose—to use the name of a well-known firm—that Messrs. MacAlpine come forward and says to the Minister: "We are prepared to construct these buildings," and that nobody else comes forward and makes a similar offer. If the Sub-section is carried, will the Minister be bound to force the local authority to accept the MacAlpine contract?

The Attorney-General

Of course, one would have to look at all the circumstances, but it is clear that the Clause does not depend upon more than one person coming forward. The Minister has to satisfy himself that that person is able and willing to carry out the work in such time and manner as may be requisite.

Mr. Bevan

There is nothing at all in the Sub-section about price. In point of fact, what the Committee are being asked to consider is to confer upon a building monopoly absolute control over the prices they may charge for the carrying out of the work.

The Attorney-General

I should have thought the words were wide enough, if the man was asking obviously an exorbitant price, to enable the Minister to-say "No."

Mr. Bevan

By what test?

The Attorney-General

By the test of what is reasonable.

Mr. Bevan

This is an extremely important point. By what test is the Minister to determine whether the contract price by MacAlpine is reasonable or not? The local authority have not tendered. They cannot tender in the circumstances, because the Minister is prevented from allowing them to do the job. In point of fact, if there is one person, in such circumstances, subjected to no test as to costs, with no competitive tendering restricting their greed and with no protection for the public interests, the Minister is bound to accept the contract of a monopolistic and private concern. I understand from the Attorney-General that that is the position.

The Attorney-General

I would not agree with that suggestion. It is based upon an assumption which is rather hypothetical. I would not admit for a moment that if there is only one tender it is not possible to get expert advice as to whether the price is reasonable.

Mr. Bevan

I am sorry, but I still persist in pressing this point. I fear that when the Committee reviews to-morrow what it has done to-day—if it passes this Sub-section—there will foe a great hue and cry here and throughout the country,

because Parliament cannot confer legislative protection of this sort upon private people outside. If it is contemplated that these powers are to be exercised, there must be provision in the Bill by which the public authority can be protected from those circumstances being exploited. No Conservative Member of this Committee sitting as a councillor would accept conditions of that sort.

The Attorney-General

I think it is an important point, and my right hon. Friend will certainly look into it. We certainly read the Sub-section as entitling the Minister to consider whether the price put forward is reasonable, because it would be ridiculous if one firm put forward an unreasonable price and that precluded the Minister from withholding his consent. My right hon. Friend is certainly willing to look into the words, and if it is necessary to put in words which clearly entitle him to look at the price put forward, he will do so.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 128; Noes, 46.

Division No. 34.] AYES. [5.45 p.m.
Anderson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Sc'h Univ.) Elliot, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. W. E. Longhurst, Captain H. C.
Astor, Visc'tess (Plymouth, Sutton) Ellis, Sir G. Mabane, Rt. Hon. W.
Astor, Hon. W. W. (Fulham, E.) Elliston, Captain Sir G.S. McCorquodale, Malcolm S.
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. Erskine-Hill, A. G. Macdonald, Captain Peter (I. of W.)
Beech, Major F. W. Fermoy, Lord Manningham-Buller, R. E.
Beechman, N. A. Fyfe, Major Sir D. P. M. Marlowe, Lt.-Col. A.
Berry, Hon. G. L. (Buckingham) Galbraith, Comdr. T. D. Mathers, G.
Bird, Sir R. B. Gates, Major E. E. Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J
Blair, Sir R. Gibbons, Lt.-Col. W. E. Mellor, Sir J. S. P.
Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. Goldie, N. B. Mitchell, Colonel H. P.
Bower, Norman (Harrow) Gower, Sir R. V. Molson, A. H. E.
Bower, Comdr. R. T. (Cleveland) Greenwell, Colonel T. G. Morris, J. P. (Salford, N.)
Brabner, Comdr. R. A. Gretton, J. F. Morris-Jones, Sir Henry
Braithwaite, Major A. N (Buckrose) Gridley, Sir A. B. Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)
Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. J. G. (H'dern's) Grigg, Sir E. W. M. (Altrincham) Nunn, W.
Brocklebank, Sir C. E. R. Grimston, Hon. J. (St. Albans) Petherick, M.
Bull, B. B. Grimston, R. V. (Westbury) Plugge, Capt. L. F.
Cadogan, Major Sir E. Guest, Lt.-Col. H. (Drake) Ponsonby, Col. C. E.
Campbell, Sir E. T. (Bromley) Gunston, Major Sir D. W. Prescott, Capt. W. R. S.
Channon, H. Hacking, Rt. Hon. Sir D. H. Pym, L. R.
Clarke, Colonel R. S. Headlam, Lt.-Col. Sir C. M. Raikes, Flight-Lieut. H. V. A. M.
Cobb, Captain E. C. Holy-Hutchinson, M. R. Reed, Sir H. S. (Aylesbury)
Colegate, W. A. Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Reid, W. Allan (Derby)
Conant, Major R. J. E. Hogg, Hon. Q. McG. Rose Taylor, W.
Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.) Hopkinson, A. Rothschild, J. A. de
Courthope, Col. Rt. Hon. Sir G. L. Hore-Belisha, Rt. Hon. L. Russell, Sir A. (Tynemouth)
Critchley, A. Hume, Sir G. H. Sanderson, Sir F. B.
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C. Hutchinson, G. C. (Ilford) Scott, Lord William (Ro'b'h & Selk'k)
Cundiff, F. W. Jeffreys, General Sir G. D. Snadden, W. McN.
Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil) John, W. Somervell, Rt. Hon. Sir D. B.
Dower, Lt.-Col. A. V. G. Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A. Spearman, A. C. M.
Drewe, C. Keeling, E. H. Storey, S.
Duckworth, Arthur (Shrewsbury) Lamb, Sir J. Q. Stourton, Major Hon. J. J.
Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side) Levy, T. Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)
Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. (Kens'gton, N.) Lipson, D. L. Strickland, Capt. W. F.
Eccles, D. M. Lloyd, C. E. (Dudley) Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Eden, Rt. Hon. A. Lloyd, Major E. G. R. (Renfrew, E.) Studholme, Major H. G.
Edmondson, Major Sir J. Loftus, P. C. Suirdale, Viscount
Summers, G. S. Tufnell, Lieut.-Comdr. R. L. Woolley, Major W. E.
Taylor, Major C. S. (Eastbourne) Watt, Brig. G. S. Harvie (Richmond) Young, A. S. L. (Partick)
Taylor, Vice-Adm. E.A. (P'd'ton, S.) Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W. (Blaydon)
Thomas, Dr. W. S. Russell (S'th'm'tn) Williams, Sir H. G. (Croydon, S.) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:—
Thorneycroft, Maj. G. E. P. (Stafford) Willink, Rt. Hon. H. U. Captain McEwen and
Thornton-Kemsley, Lt.-Col. C. N. Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl Major Buchan-Hepburn.
Anderson, F. (Whitehaven) Harvey, T. E. Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.
Barr, J. Henderson, J. (Ardwick) Quibell, D. J. K.
Bennett, Sir P. F. B. (Edgbaston) Horabin, T. L. Shinwell, E.
Bevan, A. (Ebbw Vale) Hubbard, T. F. Sloan, A.
Bowles, F. G. Hughes, R. Moelwyn Stephen, C.
Brown, T. J. (Ince) Jones, A. C. (Shipley) Stokes, R. R.
Chater, D. Key, C. W. Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)
Cocks, F. S. Leslie, J. R. Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Douglas, F. C. R. Loverseed, J. E. Tinker, J. J.
Driberg, T. E. N. Ma[...]k, J. D. Wilmot, John
Dugdale, John (W. Bromwich) Maclean, N. (Govan) Windsor, W.
Dunn, E. Manning, C. A. G. Woodburn, A.
Foster, W. Messer, F Young, Sir R. (Newton)
George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey) Muff, G.
Glanville, J. E. Neal, H. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:—
Griffiths, J. (Llanelly) Oliver, G. H. Mr. Silkin and Mr. Hynd.
Guy, W. H.

Question put, and agreed to.

Amendment made: In page 22, line 46, at end, insert: Provided that the limitation imposed by this Sub-section shall not have effect in the case of subsequent operations forming part of a project for the initiation of which the authority have incurred expenditure if those operations ought in the opinion of the Minister to be carried out by them in order to enable them to balance their expenditure in connection with the project as a whole."—[Mr. W. S. Morrison.]

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

Clause 17 ordered to stand part of the Bill.