HC Deb 13 May 1947 vol 437 cc1379-413

Amendment made: In page 2, line 38, at end, insert "of a general character."— [Mr. Silkin.]

Mr. Silkin

I beg to move, in page 2, line 39, at the end, to insert: (2) The report made for any year under Subsection (6) of the last foregoing Section shall set out any direction given by the Minister to the Board during that year unless the Minister has notified to the Board his opinion that it is against the national interest so to do. This Amendment also gives effect to the undertaking which I gave that the Board's annual report should set out the directions given by the Minister.

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, in line 4, at the end, to add: and shall include a statement of the total amount by which sums paid or secured by way of development charges under Part VI of this Act are less than the amounts to be assessed under Subsection (2) of Section sixty-three of this Act in relation to those operations or uses in respect of the carrying out or institution of which the said charges were paid or secured. I suggest that this is one of the most important Amendments which we shall discuss on the Report stage of this Bill. Unfortunately, the most important matters with which this Bill deals are couched in highly technical and alarming language, and, although, in fact, they deal with matters which ultimately affect the individual citizen very closely, he is, nevertheless, at the moment entirely unaware of how the Bill will apply to him in due course. During the Committee stage upstairs there was considerable argument as to whether a development charge was really a tax or a commercial price which the Central Land Board would be charging for the development value which they had to sell. In order that I should deal properly with this Amendment, I think it is necessary that I should appear to go rather wide in explaining the purposes for which we have put this Amendment on the Order Paper. Under the Bill as it is drafted, and as it has been, and will be, amended, if all the Government Amendments are agreed to, the development charge may still be either a tax or a commercial price. The Bill leaves that question open. It is a question which ultimately will have to be settled for the regulations which are to be made under the Bill, and the policy of the Central Land Board in carrying out those regulations.

7.45 P.m.

But a most important question of policy, in fact, turns upon the issue as to whether this charge is to be a tax or a price. Upon that issue turns the question of how the development charge is to be assessed, and also the question of whether or not there is to be, for the developer against whom the charge is levied, some right of appeal against what he may regard as an unfair decision of the Central Land Board. The Opposition were gently taken to task by "The Times" in a leading article the other day for arguing upstairs in Committee that this charge was a tax. I think it is right and proper that I should attempt' to correct that impression. Speaking for myself—and I think, perhaps, I argued it a little more strongly than did other hon. Members in the Committee upstairs—my intention was twofold. In the first place, I desired to point out that whatever might be the intention of the Government, this charge would inevitably come to be regarded as a tax on development, quite apart from the intentions of those who are creating such a charge under the Bill. In the second place, I desired to ascertain the Government's intentions in this respect. We ascertained them quite clearly, and the Minister said that he was in favour of a development charge being in the nature of a commercial price. He wanted the charge to be upon the commercial price basis. I think he will agree with that.

Mr. Silkin

indicated assent.

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

I see the right hon. Gentleman is indicating his assent. I, too, am in favour of that view, and so I believe is "The Times" newspaper. There is, therefore, complete agreement between all those who commented on this matter that it is desirable that a development charge should be made on the basis of the value of what is being sold, and not on the basis of trying to recover from the citizen something for the swelling of the national revenue. On that footing, we have tabled certain Amendments to Clause 63 to which this Amendment refers. I must refer briefly to those Amendments in order to explain the purpose of the Amendment which I am moving. There is an Amendment to page 68, line 2, to insert: (4) In determining whether any and if so what development charge is to be paid under this Part of this Act in respect of any operations or any use of land, the Board shall—

  1. (a) consider any statement submitted by the person applying for the determination of the development charge setting out particulars of, and any facts calculations and contentions in regard to, his application;
  2. (b) assess the amount by which the value of the land with the benefit of planning permission for those operations or that use exceeds the value which it would have without the benefit of such permission; and such assessment shall be notified to the person applying for the determination; and
  3. (c) have regard in making their determination to the amount assessed under the last foregoing paragraph, and to the principles prescribed by the Treasury in regulations made under the last foregoing Subsection; and the Board shall furnish to the person applying for the determination a statement setting out particulars of the calculations and contentions of the Board in relation thereto:
Provided that any person aggrieved by such assessment or determination may appeal to the tribunal constituted under the War Damage (Valuation Appeals) Act, 1945, and the provisions of that Act and of any rules made thereunder shall apply to appeals under this Section. So far as it is relevant for the present purpose, the Amendment seeks to do two things. It seeks, in the first place, to require the Central Land Board to assess development charges on a commercial basis. I am putting the matter shortly. It is not quite so simple as that, but that is the purpose for which we put down the Amendment. The Central Land Board are to take a commercial basis upon which to fix their charge in the first place; and, subject to that, they are to be allowed to depart from that basis only in accordance with definite and published principles to be laid down by regulation. In other words, if a developer comes to the Board and asks to have a development charge fixed, he will know how that charge is to be fixed; the Board will be selling an article, the value of which can be determined by appropriate means, and then they can only charge a different amount from the value determined in accordance with definite published rules. I believe that is, broadly speaking, the intention of the Minister. From what he has said in the course of the Committee proceedings, I think that is the sort of plan he has in mind regarding the fixing of these charges.

Put in another way, there are really three choices open to us on how to arrive at development charges. First, the full commercial value can be charged; in other words, the Board would simply sell what they have to sell at the highest price they could get. Secondly, they could make a charge on some arbitrary assessment; in other words, they could levy a tax. Thirdly, they could charge the commercial value less some amount which would be arrived at in accordance with rules; in other words, they would charge a commercial value less an element which would be a subsidy. It does not matter how the ultimate amount is varied from the true commercial value, if there is a variation the concern which gets the benefit of that variation will be having a subsidy paid to it. As the Bill is drafted, the subsidy element in the development charge may be entirely concealed. The Board are simply authorised to levy development charges, and there is nothing to say how those charges are to be arrived at, and nothing to compel the Board to give any sort of particulars, either to the individual charged or to the public, as to what they are doing in this respect.

The purpose of the Amendment is to require the total amount of subsidy given away in this fashion each year to be disclosed to the public. The Amendment provides that the Board shall say what is the difference between the amount which they, in fact, get in in development charges, and the total amount which they could have got in on a purely commercial basis. As always occurs we have had some difficulty in framing an Amendment in reasonably simple terms to give effect to our precise intention. There is a peculiar difficulty in this case because, of course, we have no idea at all what sort of scheme the Government have in their minds for giving precise directions as to how the subsidy element in the development charges is to be arrived at. The Amendment only requires the Board to give grand totals; in other words, a simple figure would, in fact, comply with our Amendment. However, I think we should have something considerably wider than that. Presumably, when, in due course, the regulation for leaving a development charge comes to be made, we shall find that it provides for specially favourable treatment for certain classes of undertakings' activities and certain individuals.

For instance, we should probably find that new industries acquiring land in the development areas are only to pay, say, 50 per cent. of the rate which they would have to pay if they were elsewhere; or it might be a fixed sum, by which the charge in that type of case would differ from the amount of charge they would have to pay if they were setting up in, say, Middlesex or elsewhere Again, it may be that the Government would use this scheme in order to favour certain industries. I do not want to cite examples, but clearly there are certain industries which, at any given moment, are generally regarded as necessary and desirable in the public interest. It may he the Government would make a Regulation favouring those industries in acquiring the land which they would require for their purpose. Again, it may be that certain other activities— for instance, housing, the building of schools, and so on—would receive more favourable treatment than other activities generally.

I am not putting forward these examples as my idea of what is desirable. On the contrary, my own view in this matter is that this subsidy element is generally undesirable as a whole. I think the great and lasting malice of this Bill is, that it will enable the Government of the day to sub-sidise industries in accordance with what the Government think right instead of allowing the natural development of industries. Further, I think it is entirely wrong that by means of a planning Bill, and through the Minister of Town and Country Planning, there should be a power which will enable the Government to pay very large subsidies to industries which have nothing whatever to do with town and country planning. My purpose is to point out to the House how it seems to me this scheme must ultimately work. I think it is necessary to speculate to this extent, and I hope the Minister will give some indication of what is in his mind It is essential, if we are to understand the wider implications of this matter, that he should do so.

Having said that, assuming that the Government have something of this sort in mind, we must then ask them to provide the machinery by which the method under which this policy is being carried out will be fairly and adequately disclosed to the House of Commons and to the country. In other words, I do not think a mere sum total of the amount being lost to the Revenue by way of subsidy under the development charge provisions of this Bill would he enough There should be more than that. The Board should be bound to report on how far they have subsidised, either sets of industries or particular industries and particular activities. If we are to allow a considerable drain from the national resources through this particular channel, then we must know how that money is being applied, and, in addition, the method by which it should be applied, which will be contained in the regulation. I hope very much that the right hon. Gentleman will be able to indicate that what I have suggested in moving the Amendment is in the Government's mind. If so, I think he should agree that it is necessary that this should be expressly provided for in the Bill.

Major Conant (Bewdley)

I beg to second the Amendment to the proposed Amendment.

8.0 p.m.

Mr. Silkin

I am sure the House is very much obliged for the very clear way in which the hon. Member for South Hendon (Sir H. Lucas-Tooth) has stated a very difficult and technical problem. I assure him that I found no difficulty in following the points he made. What he is asking would be of very great difficulty administratively. I know that he says one figure would be sufficient to comply with the Amendment, but, of course, no one knows better than does the hon. Member that the Board would have to work out a very large number of figures in order to get the one figure which would go into the report, and it would mean a very heavy burden. I cannot help thinking that the hon. Member has moved the Amendment on the assumption that the figures which will be necessary in order to arrive at that total—that is, the second figure—will be readily available, and that in each case the Board will make a calculation as to what is the actual amount they could accept and then make a deduction fro n that as to what they will, in fact, be prepared to accept; but they are not called upon to do that, and in the vast majority of cases they will not, in fact, make these calculations. What Clause 63 (2) requires them to do is to make a judgment as to what the permission to develop or the permission for the change of usage is worth, and in assessing that they will carry out all valuations which are usual and proper in such cases, but they will not necessarily make the calculations which the hon. Gentleman contemplates they will make in every case, and unless they made those calculations, the task that would be put upon them would be almost impossible to comply with.

I would not, however, entirely reject this Amendment, as I propose to ask the House to do, merely on the grounds of its administrative difficulty. If a thing is difficult, it is done; if it is impossible, then we must consider it. I do not base my case merely on the difficulty, great as it is, but the House ought to be satisfied that if the administrative difficulties are really great, there is some benefit to be gained in attempting to surmount those difficulties. The hon. Gentleman has explained to the House what is the benefit which he thinks will flow in making the calculation contemplated in the Amendment. He thinks that by that means it would be possible to establish what is the concealed subsidy which the State is providing for industry. I respectfully suggest that it would disclose nothing of the kind. The hon. Gentleman said, in the earlier part of his remarks, that he and I were in agreement in saying that the Board would be actuated by commercial principles. I say tempered by the public interest. By commercial principles I imagine he contemplates that it would get the best price possible, and if the best price possible is obtained, there is no subsidy.

The hon. Gentleman possibly has in mind cases where the Central Land Board will deliberately accept a lower development charge than it might otherwise do for some public purpose, such as the attraction of industry to a Development Area; but even if that were so—and I will deal with that in a moment—how would it be possible to distinguish, having got the total, between such cases—which I agree would be in the nature of a subsidy —and other cases where the Board did its best and got the best possible price, but where owing to lack of demand, lack of labour and other circumstances it was not able to get the figure which it thought it should do? If the Board made the sort of calculation which the hon. Gentleman has in mind and arrived at the figure, I submit that that figure would be wholly misleading and would give the impression that the subsidy which was being granted was, in fact, very much greater than it really would be. There are all sorts of considerations that might make it necessary or desirable that the Central Land Board should accept a lower development charge than it might have had in mind.

Even from a commercial point of view it is not always good business to accept the highest offer. Suppose the Central Land Board had a number of offers in respect of development value in a particular area; suppose the best offer was from a concern which the Board did not regard as being altogether reliable—and the best offer might well come from such a concern—suppose a really reliable firm, or a firm which the Board wanted to attract to the area because it might have the effect of attracting other industries, possibly dependent upon it, made a lower offer, and the Board, as a wise and prudent body, accepted the lower offer— according to the hon. Gentleman's calculations that would be regarded as a subsidy. But it would be nothing of the kind. It would not be subsidising a concern whose lower offer the Board had accepted. It would be a simple act of prudence.

I was for many years a member of the London County Council and Chairman of its Housing Committee, and, as such, I was concerned with the letting of sites for industry on a number of housing estates. The London County Council is a public spirited body, but it is also, I hope, an efficient body, and in the management of its housing estates it is out to get the best possible terms for the people of London. We had to consider, in letting sites, whether a particular firm would employ a particular type of labour for whom there was a lack of employment in the area, and we considered that not necessarily from the point of view of a local authority but as prudent landowners, as prudent estate developers, and we might very well have accepted a lower offer on that score merely to provide the right kind of employment in the area. I deny entirely the suggestion that that would have been regarded as a subsidy. I do not want to elaborate this, I think I have made my point clear. Even if the right hon. Gentleman got his figures, even if it were practicable and would not involve serious administrative difficulties, the result he would get from those figures would be entirely misleading and would not give him any idea as to the amount of sub-sidy, if any, being given to industry.

Finally, the right hon. Gentleman said that he would be interested to know our policy on the administration of the development charge, and I said in the course of my remarks that it would be the business of the Central Land Board to get the best possible development charge subject to carrying out the requirements of Clause 63 of the Bill and having regard to the general public interest. Even there, I submit that when they are having regard to the general public interest they are taking a long view, and are acting as prudent and good estate managers. I believe that the most successful private estate managers are those who really do take a long and public-spirited view; it is my own experience, and I am sure it must be the experience of a large number of hon. Members in this House who are acquainted with the subject, that they are the people who do best. In this particular case, taking a long and public spirited view really pays. I hope and believe that the Central Land Board will act in that spirit. It is the intention in the Bill that at a very early stage the Central Land Board should be given directions, and that regulations should be made. These will be placed before the House, which will be informed not only of the regulations but of the spirit in which the Central Land Board will be required to act, and I believe it will be found to give general satisfaction. I have not the same objections in individual, limited and proper cases to a subsidy, but I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that if a subsidy is given it should be given on wide grounds of public interest having regard to the good principles of estate management rather than merely as a contribution—

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

I am not clear whether it will be left to the Board to decide whether or not to ask a lower price than could be obtained, or whether the right hon. Gentleman contemplates giving directions to the Board which, under the Amendment he has just moved, would have to be published. Does he contemplate that directions would be given requiring the Board to give preferential treatment in certain classes of case?


Mr. Silkin The point I was trying to make was that though in form, and technically, the Central Land Board might be giving a subsidy, from the point of view of good estate management I would suggest that it may be good business in the long run to accept a lower development charge in order to attract the right kind of concern. In answer to the specific point, I would not contemplate directing the Central Land Board to accept a particular firm. That, of course, must be a matter for the Board, but I do contemplate, possibly, saying to the Central Land Board that such and such an area badly needs redevelopment, and will they please encourage development in that area. For those reasons, I hope I have satisfied the hon. Gentleman that I have taken his Amendment quite seriously. I hope I have also satisfied him that he would not be justified in pressing it any further.

8.15 p.m.

Mr. W. S. Morrison

I rather regret that the counter-attractions of nourishment have given such a small audience to a most interesting discussion, originated by my hon. Friend in a speech of wonderful clarity for the complications of the subject, and to the considered reply which the Minister has given. We are met with a very difficult and crucial aspect of this complicated 11, arising in its broadest form in this way. All quarters of the House would, I think, agree that the Board which has to levy these charges should have power and discretion to vary them according to circumstances, and once you start varying the charges for development you do influence the destination of different pieces of land and you do by that means affect the policy of the whole community. What my hon. Friend was seeking to emphasise, in principle, was that any policy-making body or policy-influencing body of a public character ought to disclose the extent to which it is acting in various directions, because it is of the essence of Parliamentary government that what public boards are doing should he done in the light, so that we may say what we think about their policy and express ourselves favourably or critically about it. It is clear that if these transactions take place in a hugger-mugger sort of way the Board conceivably might be influenced by motives of policy with which we should disagree.

All we want to elicit, in principle, is what line of policy the Board is following in using this power to vary the development charge. I think the Minister's reply showed that with the principle he was in some sympathy, and I think it is a true argument to say that there might be causes of the variation of the development charges which had really nothing to do with policy matters but which were more concerned with estate management. I would ask the right hon. Gentleman, who has gone a good way to meet us in the matter of the reports we have asked for from the Board, to see whether at a later stage he cannot meet us on the principle desired by this Amendment. I am perfectly sure that he would find the Board strengthened in its operations if it had behind it that public confidence which can only be ensured by proper disclosure of what it is doing. If, at the present moment, we do not press this to a Division, I would ask him to bear in mind that we on this side of the House are anxious about the point, and that we want to make sure that what is done to influence industrial and social policy through this immense power of varying charges for the development of land is done in the open.

Mr. Silkin

With the leave of the House, I will say that I am quite prepared to look again at the information which the Central Land Board is required to publish, and the form of its report. I, like the right hon. Gentleman. am most anxious that the activities of the Central Land Board shall receive the widest publicity. If it would meet the right hon. Gentleman's point I would look at it again and see whether, either by making the words more general or by adding something, we can add to the information which they will he required to submit in their annual reports. While for the reasons which I have given I do not think this would be either practicable or valuable. I will see what can be done.

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

In view of the right hon. Gentleman's statement, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment to the proposed Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Proposed words there inserted in the Bill.

Further Amendments made: In page 2 line 39, at the end, insert: (2) The report made for any year under Subsection (6) of the last foregoing Section shall set out any direction given by the Minister to the Board during that year unless the Minister has notified to the Board his opinion that it is against the national interest so to do. In line 42, at the end, insert: (3) Regulations made for the purposes of the last foregoing Section shall provide for requiring members of the Board who are interested in any land the subject of a claim or application made to the Board under this Act to disclose to the Board the nature of their interest, and may for that purpose apply any of the provisions of Section one hundred and forty-nine of the Companies Act, 1929. subject to such modifications as may be prescribed by the regulations."—[Mr. Silkin.]

CLAUSE 4.—(Local planning authorities.)

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

I beg to move, in page 3, line 7, to leave out "two," and to insert "one."

The purpose of the Amendment is to facilitate the setting up of a joint board. As the Clause now stands, this can be done for areas of any two or more councils or parts of two or more councils. The Amendment enables the setting up of separate planning authorities for parts of the area of one council only. The Amendment is applicable only to a few counties in the country. It applies to counties such as the one in which my constituency is situated, Middlesex, and to counties like Lancashire and the West Riding of Yorkshire. Its purpose is merely to empower. It does not require the right hon. Gentleman to do anything, but gives him power in appropriate cases to constitute as a planning authority parts of the county of say, Middlesex, taking three, four or more county districts, all situated in Middlesex. He is precluded by the Clause from making them into separate planning authorities.

I do not press the right hon. Gentleman to indicate exactly what lines of demarcation he has in mind, but I do not want him to rule out the possibility of subdividing these great counties into smaller planning districts. Obviously, a county such as Rutland should, for planning purposes, be included with one of its neighbours.

On the other hand, I gather that the intention of the right hon. Gentleman is that a county council area shall be a planning area, taking the average county throughout England. I assume that the right hon. Gentleman is taking such an area because it is an optimum area, the best sort of area he can find. If it were better to have larger areas there would be no great difficulty about throwing counties together, as it were in blobs of two or three at a time. Middlesex cannot possibly be the optimum area. It has millions of inhabitants. At the present time the total number is something of the order of 4. million, enormously greater than any other county. I suggest that it would be better to obtain the power to subdivide those large counties, if, when the right hon. Gentleman comes to work out his ultimate scale, he finds it desirable to do so. I can say that for planning purposes, Middlesex, like Gaul, has been divided into three parts. Those three parts have been among the most progressive planning authorities in the country. They have worked exceedingly well. It would be a pity at this stage to interfere with them. I do not press the right hon. Gentleman to commit himself on the question. I do ask him that he will not reject this proposal altogether but will at any rate retain power to keep the joint planning committees or the areas corresponding with those committees, as planning areas in Middlesex and similar counties.

Mr. Thornton-Kemsley

I beg to second the Amendment.

Mr. Beechman (St. Ives)

I have been in close touch with a joint planning committee in the extreme West of Cornwall, in a national park area. St. Ives and Penzance have joined together and have been working out the planning of that particularly beautiful locality. It is felt very strongly that they should be allowed to continue their work. Indeed, it would be very difficult for the county authorities to deal with all the applications which come before them over that very large county or Duchy of Cornwall. There is a great deal of feeling that since a great deal of work has already been carried on, the body which has worked so successfully should not now be done away with. I hope that the Minister will give favourable consideration to the proposal.

8.30 p.m.

Mr. Silkin

I imagine that this Amendment is by way of a last fling, because efforts have been made throughout the passage of the Bill to retain the status quo. I think that the House as a whole appreciate the very good work done by a number of joint planning committees and I gladly pay tribute to the one in Cornwall to which reference has been made. While excellent work has been done, nevertheless I think that it is in the interests of planning, that the preparation of plans should be carried out by larger and self-contained administrative areas. The scheme of the Bill provides that the county councils and the county boroughs should be the new planning authorities. To accept the Amendment would frustrate the main purpose of the Bill. The hon. Member for South Hendon (Sir H. Lucas-Tooth) is right in saying that the county has been chosen partly because it is a larger area though not too large, and also because it is a self-contained responsible administrative area. I have much more confidence in the County of Middlesex than the hon. Gentleman himself.

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

That is not possible.

Mr. Silkin

I prove it by adhering to the provisions of the Bill. I want to make Middlesex a planning authority. I am convinced that they will carry out the task with efficiency and distinction. The hon. Gentleman wants to divide Middlesex into three. In the case of Cornwall, I do not think that the hon. Member for St. Ives (Mr. Beechman) need fear that the work of the joint planning committee will be wasted. If they have made surveys and planned a part of Cornwall, those will be taken into account by the county council in the preparation of a plan for the county of Cornwall as a whole. I submit to the House that it is of the greatest importance that counties like Middlesex, Cornwall and others should be planned as a whole rather than planned in bits, however well the joint planning committees have functioned in the past.

I am prepared to agree that the three joint planning committees in Middlesex have done an exceedingly good job of work, but we do not want to find that we have three plans which somehow must be co-ordinated, one into the other. A joint planning committee has not necessarily taken account of what is going on outside its area. In many cases it would have been difficult for it to do so, and it strikes at the root of the whole new conception of planning, which is to prepare the major plan and to break it down, if necessary, rather than to start from the bottom and work up. In an Amendment on the Order Paper which I hope that the House will accept, it is proposed to empower the county councils to set up sub-committees. In pursuance of the Amendment on the Paper, those subcommittees, while they have to contain a majority of elected members, need not contain a majority of members of the county council.

It will be quite open to, say, the Cornwall County Council to appoint a number of sub-committees of their planning committee, of which one may very well comprise the area of the existing joint planning committee, and to put on that sub-committee members of the county council and of some of the district councils. That sub-committee will be in a position to study the plan for the county and to make representations to the county and generally to provide necessary and useful information to the county council for the making of the plan. I think that is the best way of carrying out the duties the Bill entrusts to the county council.

This point was discussed a great deal on Second Reading and in Committee and I would only add that I do not think that the language of the Amendment would really carry out the purpose the hon. Gentleman has in mind. I do not know what leaving out "two" and inserting "one" will give him, but it will not give him what he wants, judging by what he says.

Mr. York (Ripon)

Far from it being, as the Minister said, the last fling of most hon. Members, it is the first fling of the great majority of this House. Therefore, when those of us who represent non-county boroughs and district planning authorities come to a point of the Bill like this, we rather naturally feel somewhat dismayed when the Government take it that the whole principle has already been put on one side and finished with. I certainly do not take that view.

As to the point the Minister made when he said he believed in larger and self-contained units, I want to draw the attention of the House and of the Minister to my own particular constituency because it fulfils exactly the definition the Minister has given. It is self-contained and it is a large unit. As the Parliamentary Secretary may be aware, the Harrogate and District Joint Planning Authority is part of the West Riding, but it is almost totally different from the greater part of the West Riding. First of all, it is entirely agricultural and residential, whereas the major part of the remaining areas of the West Riding is industrial. Consequently there is always a battle between the two interests in the county council, and as the urban and industrial areas carry all the voting strength, not unnaturally the urban and industrial interests always win. The agricultural and residential areas outside the industrial ring are consequently always made to follow the dictates of the other parts. Hon. Members in all parts of the House will realise that that is an unfortunate state of affairs. The Harrogate and District Joint Planning Authority—

Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Major Milner)

The hon. Gentleman cannot go into details such as that. The point of this discussion is a quite simple one. I hope the hon. Gentleman will confine himself to it.

Mr. York

I will not question your Ruling, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. [HON. MEMBERS: "Order."] What is the matter? I daresay you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, will call me to Order if it is necessary. [An HON. MEMBER: "He has called you to Order."] I do not question your Ruling, Sir, but I would like to point out that I understood the scope of the Amendment to be that, if the Amendment were carried, the regional planning authorities as at present constituted would be given very nearly as much scope as at the present time. In any case I will leave that point because, obviously, you have ruled it out of Order, but may I take up again the question of a self-contained unit which was one of the arguments which the Minister used? I think I am entitled, subject to your Ruling, Sir, to press that argument to its logical conclusion. My conclusion to that argument is that if the Minister is prepared to admit that the unit should be self-contained, then there are, in the words of the Clause "parts of those areas" which are at the present time regional planning authorities, and which are self-contained and should, therefore, be continued. The Minister made a point about consultation, saying that the authorities in the wide areas would be consulted adequately.

I want to put to the House a parallel case to prove that that will not be so. I would take as my comparison the administration of education which, under the Education Act, 1944, was placed, against the wishes of a large number of hon. Members, in the hands of the county councils instead of in the hands of the smaller units of local government. We pointed out at the time that the result of this inevitably would be that the county councils would exercise dictatorial powers, and would override the suggestions and the wishes of the smaller local authorities. To prove my case, I need only cite the West Riding County Council v. the Harrogate Corporation, where the local education executive of that area had certain alternative proposals put before it—

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

The hon. Gentleman is certainly going far beyond the terms of the Amendment. I cannot allow him to continue on those lines. He must confine himself to the simple question of the Amendment. It is true that other hon. Members have transgressed a little, but the hon. Gentleman is certainly going far too much into detail and on to matters which do not in any way relate to this Amendment.

Mr. York

I was merely illustrating one point by what I thought—I must be wrong —was a reasonable example of how, by retaining the words in the Clause without amendment, the wishes of the local people in the local authorities below that of county councils would be entirely swept aside. I was illustrating my point by what had happened under the Education Act, and I had hoped you would allow me to finish that illustration.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

The hon. Gentleman is perfectly entitled to mention the matter in passing, but he is not entitled to carry it through into all these multifarious details, which is what he appeared to be doing.

Mr. York

I am sorry, Sir, but I thought that I could not illustrate the point at all unless I did go into details. However, as you rule me out of Order, I must not pursue the subject any further. I would say, however, that the fact that we have been given no chance—at any rate the great majority of us in the House —of discussing this vital point whether the unit of administration for planning should be large or small, should be the county boroughs or the non-county boroughs or the present planning authority, has, caused a great deal of unnecessary perturbation in the hearts and minds of many people. I believe that this Government are doing a great disservice. They are hurrying on with the destruction of local government as quickly as they possibly can, and this Bill is another example of that bad work.

8.45 P.m.

Mr. Gallacher

I wish to have it put on record that the fact that we are discussing this Amendment makes nonsense of the claim of the Opposition that sufficient time has not been allowed for discussion of the Bill. If hon. Members will make long speeches—

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

The question of time has nothing to do with the Amend- ment, which relates to whether the planning authority should consist of one or two counties.

Mr. Gallaeher

If it is a question of whether they are in favour of one against two, they cannot complain if more important Amendments have their heads cut off by the Guillotine.

Amendment negatived.

Mr. C. Williams

I beg to move, in page 3, line 15, at the end, to insert: Provided also that unless all the councils concerned have consented to the making of the Order the Order shall be of no effect unless approved by resolution of the Commons House of Parliament. This Amendment stands on the Paper in the names of two West Country Members, the hon. Member for Sutton (Mrs. Middleton) and the hon. Member for Drake (Mr. Medland), who are not present. I have studied it with very great care. The proviso says that the Minister shall not make such an order except after holding a local inquiry, unless the parties agree. This Amendment meets with our approval to a certain extent, although it goes much further than I should have gone, in laying it down that this Government are not to be trusted. The hon. Members who were to have moved and seconded this Amendment are not here, but I move it, because there cannot be too much publicity in matters of this kind, and local authorities should have every chance of bringing such matters before Parliament. I regret that the hon. Members who were to have moved and seconded the Amendment are unable to do so, and I entirely dissociate myself from the wholehearted distrust of the Government envisaged in the Amendment, although I think that 'all Governments should have Clauses of this type in a Bill of this kind, to ensure that the House of Commons has some say in these matters.

Sir Patrick Hannon (Birmingham, Moseley)

I beg to second the Amendment.

During the progress of the Bill in Standing Committee very vigorous and eloquent pleas were made by both the hon. Member for Sutton (Mrs. Middleton) and the hon. Member for Drake (Mr. Medland) that this matter should be dealt with after consultation with the local authorities, and that the Orders should be placed before the House of Commons. During the time this Bill has been undergoing prolonged examination in Standing Committee, constant appeals have been made to the Minister to give the House of Commons an opportunity for a final examination of certain aspects of the Bill, which will only commend itself to the country if it has Parliamentary sanction. In this case I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Torquay (Mr. C. Williams), but I very much regret the absence of the two hon. Members for Plymouth, who were most eloquent advocates of this proposal in Standing Committee upstairs. It is a great pity that they are not here to support the Amendment to which they committed themselves so completely in Standing Committee.

This Amendment embodies a far-reaching principle, affecting the whole structure of the Bill. It provides that the councils concerned have to consent to the making of an Order, that consultations shall take place, and that finally the Order shall be of no effect unless it is placed before the House of Commons for final determination. I see the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Town and Country Planning is in his place. I am sure he was impressed by the case made out in Standing Committee by the two hon. Members for Plymouth. It would be a great pity if, in their absence, the Minister of Town and Country Planning or the Attorney-General were to turn down this Amendment which follows up the touching and eloquent plea they made in Committee. What a scandal it would be for the Plymouth people whose representatives made such a plea in Standing Committee, if, when the proposal came to the House of Commons it was received by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney-General, that distinguished personality of His Majesty's Administration—

Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Mr. Hubert Beaumont)

I have been trying to ascertain the relationship between what the hon. Gentleman is saying and what the Amendment proposes.

Sir P. Hannon

I was seconding the Amendment moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Torquay. The text of the Amendment says: unless all the councils concerned have consented to the making of the Order the Order shall be of no effect unless approved by resolution of the Commons House of Parliament. I am trying to get the Government Front Bench to treat that proposal with respect and to embody it in this Bill. What is the use of the two hon. Members representing Plymouth coming up from that city and pleading for the inclusion, of a provision of this sort, if it is turned down. I am astonished at the treatment that has been accorded to it by the two hon. Members.

Brigadier Rayner (Totnes)

There is little need for me to add anything to what the hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. C. Williams) has said, but as the next door neighbour to the constituency represented by the hon. Lady the Member for Sutton (Mrs. Middleton) and the hon. Member for Drake (Mr. Medland) I warmly support this Amendment in their absence.

The Attorney-General (Sir Hartley Shawcross)

At the very outset I must express the gratification which all of us on this side of the House feel at the support given by the hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. C. Williams) and the hon. Member for Moseley (Sir P. Hannon) to my hon. Friends the Member for Sutton (Mrs. Middleton) and the Member for Drake (Mr. Medland). I hope that this will not be the only occasion on which the two hon. Members will support hon. Members on this side of the House. I am glad to see the move to the Left, indicated by the publication of recent report, taken so much to heart by the two hon. Members. No doubt, before long, we shall find them and welcome them on this the proper side of the House. In spite of the support which the two hon. Members have given to this Amendment, and in spite of the very careful consideration we have given to the proposal since it was first raised in the Committee upstairs, we are, I a m sorry to say, unable to accept it.

Mr. Manningham-Buller


The Attorney-General

That is what I propose now to indicate to the House, if the hon. and learned Gentleman has no objection to my doing so. The object of having the power to establish the joint boards is to ensure that the development plans under the Bill, which have to be submitted to the Minister for approval, are prepared over, and in respect of, suitable planning units, suitable areas of territory for planning purposes, having regard to all relevant circumstances, some of which may be local, and others of a national kind. A decision to establish a joint board in place of single planning authorities is really part of the machinery by which the Minister carries out the statutory functions imposed on him by the Act which constituted the Ministry of Town and Country Planning, namely, the duty of securing consistency and continuity in the framing and execution of a national policy with respect to the use and development of land. It would be an impossible brake upon the Minister's administrative functions under that Act if machinery matters of this sort were to be subject to constant Parliamentary Debate, weighted, perhaps —as our Debates occasionally are weighted—by political considerations, rather than by administrative reasons and administrative considerations, arrived at in the light of adequate technical advice as to the most appropriate areas for planning purposes.

Hon. Gentlemen opposite will realise that the Clause already contains the not unimportant safeguard that before the boards are established the Minister is informed of all points of view in regard to the matter by the holding of a public inquiry. One might add, that the Minister has already indicated that he contemplates establishing a number of these joint planning authorities; and, for that reason alone, a provision making a decision to establish a joint board in each case subject to Prayer procedure in this House is impracticable. It would impose a heavy burden on Parliamentary time. To have, possibly, scores of Orders of this sort waiting until the opportunity could be found to debate them in the House would slow up public business. It would slow up public business in the House itself, and in the Department which was dealing with these matters and seeking to bring these bodies together in the operation of the clear development of their plans; and it would slow up work at the local authority level. The Minister is, of course, and will remain fully responsible to the House for any decision he takes, and any action he takes, in regard to the establishment of a joint board. Opportunities can always be found of challenging his decisions in these matters in particular cases, if it is thought desirable to do so. But my right hon. Friend is unable to accept the view that each case ought to be subject to Prayer procedure.

Sir P. Hannon

In Standing Committee, the hon. Member for Drake (Mr. Medland) made a passionate plea, and said he had the full influence and support of the Plymouth city council behind him. He dealt entirely with the administrative point of view.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

The hon. Gentleman is not entitled to make a second speech.

Sir P. Hannon

I apologise.

9.0 p.m.

Mr. Walker-Smith

I feel that the House will have heard with disappointment the comments of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney-General, and I am sure that the two hon. and absent Members for the Sutton and Drake Divisions of Plymouth, had they been here, would have shared that disappointment at this death knell to the hopes which they must have held of a more favourable outcome of the Amendment, which they placed on the Order Paper, but did not see fit to move in this House. What particularly disappointed me in the answer of the right hon. and learned Gentleman was his placid assumption that the Minister would be handicapped in the exercise of his duties by any machinery of Parliamentary review. Surely, that is an unduly bureaucratic view to take of the Minister. It would be more in accordance with our constitutional traditions to assume that Parliamentary scrutiny of these matters would assist the Minister in coming to the right decision, because, if that is not so, it is difficult to understand what function the right hon. and learned Gentleman would leave to Parliament to do. [An HON. MEMBER: "Nothing."] My hon. Friend says "Nothing," and no doubt that is a correct assumption. [Interruption.] We are now reinforced by the appearance of the two absentees. I am glad to think that they were only absentees without leave and did not fall into the military definition of being deserters, as we on this side of the House had begun to suspect.

The second, and equally threadbare argument put forward by the right hon. and learned Gentleman was that there was no need for this Parliamentary scrutiny because of the provision for a local inquiry. I think that that, perhaps, came very ill from the right hon. and learned Gentleman. I should have thought that he, of all Ministers, would have been a little careful about advancing the existence of provision for local inquiry as a reason for not having Parliamentary scrutiny, because we know the considered view of the right hon. and learned Gentleman of the efficacy and validity and purpose of a local inquiry. He made that clear in the Stevenage case, not in this House, but in the courts, as being an opportunity for blowing off steam—

The Attorney-General

Will the hon. Gentleman allow me to take the opportunity, which I have taken on previous occasions, of correcting that statement? I enumerated a number of purposes which I thought were important purposes, which these local inquiries served, and one of them was that they enabled objectors to let off steam in public. The learned judge, in giving judgment—and I commented on this matter in the Court of Appeal—said that I had said that that was the only purpose of an inquiry. I said no such thing, and it is a little unfortunate that so much publicity was given to that remark.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

We are getting very far away from the Amendment, which has nothing to do with local inquiries.

Mr. Walker-Smith

It is true that the right hon. and learned Gentleman, in his intervention, trespassed a little beyond the bounds of Order, but it is not right to say—

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

That is no reason why the hon. Member should go further along that path.

Mr. Walker-Smith

I have no desire to follow the right hon. and learned Gentleman in this or any other of his trespasses, but I must point out that the proviso already in the Bill, at line 13, provides for the holding of a local inquiry. The Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member for Drake (Mr. Medland) would add to that the necessity of a Parliamentary Resolution. The right hon. and learned Gentleman said that it is not necessary to have a Resolution in the House because a local inquiry is already provided for in the Bill. That being so, I conceive it to be almost impossible to argue the merits of this Amendment one way or the other without referring to the machinery for a local inquiry. All I wanted to say was that the provision for a local inquiry is not of itself enough, not only because of the view that the right hon. and learned Gentleman expressed in the courts, but also because no action necessarily follows from a local inquiry except that it is given consideration by the Minister; in other words, the executive decision after a local inquiry still remains with the Minister, and what the hon. Member for the Drake Division, who is a democrat, wants is that that decision shall rest with Parliament. That is what he wants, and that I consider to be the better constitutional approach.

The right hon. and learned Gentleman deprecated the introduction of Prayer procedure on this matter. With great respect, I think he is mistaken. The Resolution here suggested is an affirmative Resolution and not a negative Resolution subject to annulment by Prayer of the House, that is to say, the House will have to pass an affirmative Resolution before these Orders can be made. I think it is right that where there is disagreement between two local authorities which cannot be resolved—which is the case envisaged in the Amendment—it is right that Parliament should be the arbiter, because disagreement between two elected bodies is a matter of high importance, and disagreement between two democratically elected bodies is not a matter for arbitrary decision by the Minister, but is a matter for reference to the higher democratic body, which is Parliament. That being so, all the arguments advanced by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney-General against this proposition fall to the ground, and I have great pleasure in supporting the Amendment which was moved by my hon. Friend on behalf of hon. Members opposite.

Mr. Medland

Adversity makes strange bedfellows, and I find myself in somewhat embarrassing circumstances tonight. I would, however, like to express my thanks to those hon. Members who, while I was out getting something to eat, moved and supported this Amendment on my behalf. I do not think any hon. Member can charge me with having neglected this Debate, for I have spent many hours here during the discussion on various Clauses. The Amendment on the Order Paper in my name is one that I attempted to move in Standing Committee, and it asks that after there has been a public inquiry and the Minister has decided that he will make a county council, a county borough council and another county council into a joint planning board, he must first have the assent of the House.

Two of the bodies which I have enumerated, the county council and the county borough council, are probably the most responsible forms of local government in our local government set-up, and certainly they carry the greatest powers of any local government bodies. Where there is disagreement, the Bill provides that the Minister shall hold a local inquiry. If a county council do not want to join with a county borough council, the Minister holds a public inquiry; the county council state their objections and their requirements; they put their views before the public inquiry; the inspector, who is an official of the Minister, makes his report to the Minister; what is in the report they do not know, and then the Minister makes a decision. In other words, he has taken from them their rights in town planning, and he has done so administratively. I am advised that there is not even power to pray against an Order which he might make. This is an administrative action, and is a power which I do not think should rest with the Minister in such circumstances. We may not always have the same Minister of Town and Country Planning. For that reason I have put down this Amendment to ensure that the powers of a county council or a county borough council with respect to its planning authority shall not be taken away at the instigation of any Minister of the Crown without the approval of this House.

I think this is something more than administrative action. Where by Act of Parliament we give powers to county councils and county borough councils, we ought not at the same moment to give the same powers to a Minister to take away those powers from them and put them into a joint planning authority. Such a matter ought to be decided in this House, and it is upon those grounds that I move this Amendment. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] At any rate, I support this Amendment, as I am too late to move it. [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear."] The Tories will not always cheer me. There will be many occasions when they will want to do something else. Even Ministers, and good Town and Country Planning Ministers, sometimes make mistakes. It is because I think the Minister has made a mistake in this case, and because I am quite sure the local authorities are behind me in this matter that I support this Amendment.

Mr. Manningham-Buller

We have had the unusual experienceof hearing two hon. Members moving the same Amendment, and of the two I think the speech made by my hon. Friend the Member for Torquay (Mr. C. Williams) was perhaps not so loud but at any rate more persuasive. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney-General, whose answer to the Amendment I regret the hon. Member for the Drake Division of Plymouth (Mr. Medland) did not hear, stated that the fact that we on this side supported this most reasonable Amendment was a sign that we were moving to the Left. I am sure the hon. Member for the Drake Division would agree that it really is a sign that the Government have not adopted the right attitude to a reasonable proposal. I do not wish to repeat the cogent arguments which have been put forward, except to say that it is clear that without any consent of the councils concerned, at the whim of the Minister, Lancashire can be made to work with Yorkshire, and Plymouth city with Devon county. What are the remedies if they protest, and the Minister makes a wrong marriage between local authorities? There is no possibility of divorce under this Bill, so far as one can see. All we are told is that there can be a local inquiry in advance.

What does the right hon. and learned Gentleman answer? He says that if this Amendment is accepted it will delay the Business of this House. Is that an argument to which much attention should be paid, when the course proposed is one that is depriving responsible local authorities of an important part of their functions at the direction of the Minister? When county councils or city councils object to an amalgamation proposed by the Minister, is it not right that the matter should come before this House and be ventilated? The only answer to that is that it would take up time in this House. Of course, I quite understand that the right hon. Gentleman, with his ideas, does not want proper debate on matters of this sort. He then said that if the Minister made a wrong amalgamation there were opportunities of challenge. He did not go on to define what those opportunities were. This Amendment does give an opportunity of challenge if a wrong decision is made. If there ought to be an opportunity for challenge, as I think there ought to be, then I hope hon. Members opposite, in addition to the hon. Member for the Drake Division of Plymouth and the hon. Member for the Sutton Division of Plymouth (Mrs. Middleton) will join us in the Lobby to preserve some of the democratic rights which they were sent here to maintain.

9.15 p.m.

Mr. Beechman

I feel sure I can say, on behalf of all the Liberals in the House, that if the hon. Member for the Drake Division of Plymouth (Mr. Medland) takes the Amendment on the Order Paper in his name, which was moved by the hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. C. Williams), to a Division, we shall support it. Nothing so fortifies liberty as the work of local authorities, and it will be a very sad day when we suffer local authorities to be prejudiced without hon. Members of this House having an opportunity to say something about it.

Mr. Douglas Marshall (Bodmin)

I rise for a few moments in support of the Amendment, moved by my hon. Friend the. Member for Torquay (Mr. C. Williams), which is on the Order Paper in the name of, and was supported by, the hon. Member for the Drake Division of Plymouth (Mr. Medland). I am always glad to see hon. Members opposite, at any time, put down an Amendment such as this, which carries out such truly democratic principles. After all, when any Member of the Government on the Treasury Bench comes to this House and suggests that such an Amendment as this is not proper and would only delay the business of the House if it were accepted, it is only right and proper that such a statement should be refuted, because this Amendment definitely states that any decision the Minister may have to make will have to be passed by Resolution of this House. It is for that reason that I support this Amendment.

Sir John Mellor (Sutton Coldfield)

I wish to ask the Attorney-.General one question on the subject of the Order being exposed to Parliamentary challenge. Clearly, it is only exposed to Parliamentary challenge after the event, and, presumably, could only be challenged either at Question time or on the Adjournment, in which case nothing effective could be done. In the event of it being evident that Parliamentary opinion was very strong against the Order, is it then competent for the Minister to revoke the Order? Unless it is competent for him to do so, obviously the Parliamentary challenge is completely worthless. Could I have an answer?

Mr. Deputy-Speaker rose

Sir J. Mellor

I think my question calls for an answer.

Division No. 206.] AYES. [9.21 p.m.
Agnew, Cmdr. P. G. Headlam, Lieut.-Col Rt. Hon. Sir C Orr-Ewing, I. L
Allen, Lt.-Col. Sir W (Armagh) Hollis, M. C. Peto, Brig. C. H. M
Amory, D. Heathcote Howard, Hon. A. Pickthorn, K.
Baldwin, A. E. Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S (Southport) Ponsonby, Col. C. E
Barlow, Sir J. Hulbert, Wing-Cdr. N. J. Prescott, Stanley
Beamish, Maj. T. V H Hutchison, Col. J R. (Glasgow C.) Prior-Palmer, Brig O
Beechman, N. A. Jarvis, Sir J. Raikes, H. V.
Bennett, Sir P. Jennings, R. Ramsay, Maj. S.
Birch, Nigel Keeling, E. H. Rayner, Brig. R.
Bower, N. Lambert, Hon. G. Reed, Sir S. (Aylesbury)
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A Langford-Holt, J. Reid, Rt. Hon. J. S. C. (Hillhead)
Braithwaite Lt.-Comdr. J. G. Lindsay, M. (Solihull) Renton. D
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W Linstead, H. N. Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)
Brown, W. J. (Rugby) Lipson, D. L. Ropner, Col. L.
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T Lloyd, Selwyn (Wirral) Sanderson, Sir F.
Bullock, Capt. M Low, Brig. A. R. W. Scott, Lord W.
Byers, Frank Lucas, Major Sir J. Shepherd, W. S. (Bucklow)
Challen, C. Lucas-Tooth, Sir H. Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir W
Channon, H. Mackeson, Brig. H. R. Spearman, A. C. M.
Clarke, Col. R. S. Macpherson, N. (Dumfries) Strauss, H. C. (English Universities)
Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G. Maitland, Comdr. J. W. Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Conant, Maj. R. J. E. Manningham-Buller, R. E Teeling, William
Cooper-Key, E. M. Marlowe, A. A. H. Thornton-Kemsley, C. N
Corbett, Lieut.-Cot. U. (Ludlow) Marsden, Capt. A. Thorp, Lt.-Col. R. A. F.
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E Marshall, D. (Bodmin) Wadsworth, G.
Cuthbert, W. N. Maude, J. C. Walker-Smith, D
Digby, S. W. Medland, H. M Wheatley, Colonel M. J.
Dodds-Parker, A. D Mellor, Sir J. White, Sir D. (Fareham)
Donner, Sqn.-Ldr. P W Middleton, Mrs. L. Williams, C. (Torquay)
Drayson, G. B. Morris, Hopkin (Carmarthen) Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Foot, M. M. Morrison, Maj. J G. (Salisbury) Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale) Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (C'nc'ster) Winterton, Rt. Hon Earl
Gage, C. Mott-Radclyffe, Maj. C E York, C.
Hannon, Sir P. (Moseley) Neven-Spence, Sir B.
Hare, Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge) Noble, Comdr. A. H. P. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Harvey, Air-Comdre. A. V. O'Neill. Rt. Hon. Sir H Mr. Studholme and Mr. Drewe.
Adams, Richard (Balham) Bard, J Braddock, Mrs. E M. (L'pl, Exch'ge)
Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South) Balfour, A. Bramall, E. A.
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. Barstow, P. G Brook, D. (Halifax)
Allen, A. C. (Bosworth) Barton, C. Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Battley, J. R. Brown, George (Belper)
Alpass, J. H. Bechervaise, A. E. Buchanan, C.
Anderson, F. (Whitehaven) Benson, G. Burden, T. W
Attewell, H. C. Binns, J Burke, W. A.
Austin, H. Lewis Blenkinsop, A Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.)
Awbery, S. S. Blyton, W. R. Carmichael, James
Ayles, W. H. Boardman. H Castle, Mrs. B. A.
Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B Bottomley, A. G. Chamberlain, R. A
Bacon, Miss A Bowden, Flg.-Offr. H. W Champion, A. J
Mr. Deputy-Speaker

The right hon. and learned Gentleman need not answer the question unless he so desires.

Sir J. Mellor

On a point of Order. With great respect, it was evident that the learned Attorney-General was about to reply. That was the reason I resumed my seat. Then perhaps I had better resume my speech. I think this is a matter of some importance.

The Attorney-General

I am quite prepared to deal with the point. In my view, the Minister can revoke.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes, 105; Noes, 278.

Chater, D. Irving, W. J. Rankin, J.
Chetwynd, G. R. Janner, B. Reid, T. (Swindon)
Clitherow, Dr. R, Jay, D. P. T. Rhodes, H.
Cobb, F. A. Jager, G. (Winchester) Ridealgh, Mrs. M.
Cocks, F. S. Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E.) Robens, A.
Coldrick, W. John, W. Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)
Collindridge, F. Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools) Rogers, G. H. R.
Colman, Miss G. M. Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin) Ross, William (Kilmarnock)
Comyns, Dr. L. Keenan, W. Scollan, T.
Cook, T. F. Kenyon, C. Scott-Elliot, W
Cooper, Wing-Comdr. G. Key, C. W. Shackleton, E. A. A.
Corlett, Dr. J. King, E. M. Sharp, Granville
Corvedale, Viscount Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E Shawcross, C. N. (Widnes)
Cove, W. G. Kinley, J. Shawcross, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (St. Helens)
Crawley, A. Kirby, B. V. Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
Crossman, R H. S Lang, G. Shurmer, P.
Daggar, G. Lavers, S. Silkin, Rt. Hon. L.
Daines, P. Lawson, Rt. Hon. J. J. Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)
Davies, Edward (Burslem) Lee, F. (Hulme) Skeffington, A. M.
Davies, Ernest (Enfield) Leslie, J. R. Skeffington-Lodge, T. C.
Davies, Harold (Leek) Levy, B. W. Skinnard, F. W.
Davies, Hadyn (St. Pancras, S.W.) Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton) Smith, C. (Colchester)
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Lewis, T. (Southampton) Smith, Ellis (Stoke)
Deer, G. Lipton, Lt.-Col. M. Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)
Delargy, H. J Logan, D. G. Snow, Capt. J. W.
Diamond, J Lyne, A. W. Sorensen, R. W.
Dobbie, W. McAdam, W. Sparks, J. A.
Dodds, N. N. McEntee, V. La T. Stamford, W.
Driberg, T. E. N. McGhee, H G Steele, T.
Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich) Mack, J. D. Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)
Dumpleton, C. W. McKay, J. (Wallsend) Strachey, J
Durbin, E. F. M. Mackay, R. W. G. (Hull, N.W.) Stross, Dr. B.
Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough, E.) McKinlay, A S. Stubbs, A. E.
Edwards, John (Blackburn) Maclean, N. (Govan) Swingler, S.
Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel) McLeavy, F. Sylvester, G. O.
Evans, E. (Lowestoft) MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles) Symonds, A. L
Evans, John (Ogmore) McNeil, Rt. Hon. H. Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)
Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury) Macpherson, T. (Romford) Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Ewart, R. Mallalieu, J. P. W. Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)
Fairhurst, F. Mann, Mrs. J. Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)
Farthing, W. J. Manning, Mrs. L, (Epping) Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)
Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.) Marshall, F. (Brightside) Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Ed'b'gh, E.)
Forman, J. C. Martin, J. H. Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)
Foster, W. (Wigan) Mellish, R. J. Thurtle, Ernest
Fraser, T. (Hamilton) Mitchison, G. R Tiffany, S.
Freeman, Peter (Newport) Monslow, W. Titterington, M. F.
Gallacher, W. Moody, A. S. Tolley, L.
Ganley, Mrs. C. S. Morley, R. Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G.
Gibbins, J. Morris, Lt.-Col. H. (Sheffield, C.) Turner-Samuels, M.
Gilzean, A Mart, D. L Viant, S. P.
Glanville, J. E. (Consett) Moyle, A. Walkden, E.
Gooch, E. G. Murray, J. D. Walker, G. H.
Goodrich, H. E. Naylor, T. E Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)
Gordon-Walker, P C Neal, H. (Claycross) Warbey, W. N.
Grenfell, D. R. Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.) Watson, W. M.
Grey, C. F. Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford) Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)
Grierson E. Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brantford) Weitzman, D.
Griffiths, D (Rother Valley) Wells, W. T. (Walsall)
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly) Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J. (Derby) West, D. G.
Griffiths, W. D. (Moss Side) Noel-Buxton, Lady Westwood, Rt. Hon. J.
Guest, Dr. L. Haden Oldfield, W. H White, C. F. (Derbyshire, W.)
Guy, W. H. Oliver, G. H. While, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Hale, Leslie Paget, R. T. Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Hall, W. G. Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth) Wigg, Col. G. E.
Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R. Paling, Will T, (Dewsbury) Wilcock, Group-Capt. C. A. B.
Hannan, W. (Maryhill) Palmer, A. M. F. Wilkes, L.
Hardy, E. A. Pargiter, G. A. Wilkins, W. A.
Hastings, Dr. Somerville Parkin, B, T. Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)
Henderson, Joseph (Ardwiak) Paton, Mrs. F. (Rushcliffe) Williams, D. J. (Neagh)
Herbison, Miss M. Paton, J. (Norwich) Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)
Hewitson, Captain M. Pearson, A. Williams, Rt. Hon T (Don Valley)
Hobson, C. R. Pearl, Capt. T. F. Wise, Major F. J
Holman, P. Platts-Mills, J. F. F Woodburn, A.
Holmes, H. E (Hemsworth) Porter, E. (Warrington) Woods, G. S.
House, G Porter, G. (Leeds) Wyatt, W.
Hoy, J. Price, M. Philips Yates, V. F.
Hubbard, T. Pritt, D. N. Young, Sir R. (Newton)
Hudson, J. H, (Ealing, W.) Proctor, W. T Zilliacus, K.
Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Pryde, D. J.
Hutchinson, H. L. (Rusholme) Pursey, Cmdr. H. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.) Ranger, J. Mr. Simmons and
Mr. Popplewell.

9.30 p.m.

The Attorney-General

I beg to move, in page 3, line 19, to leave out "Part II," and to insert "Parts II and III."

This is purely a drafting Amendment. It is really proposed in anticipation of an Amendment put down to the First Schedule. That Amendment, which is on the Order Paper, will insert a new Part into the First Schedule in connection with planning committees. As there will then be three parts, this is a necessary preparatory Amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: In page 3, line 20, after the first "of," insert "planning committees and."—[The Attorney-General.]