HC Deb 19 February 1948 vol 447 cc1435-6

So much of any statutory provision as authorises or requires any dispute arising in relation to water rates to be determined by a court of summary jurisdiction shall have effect as if it authorised or required that dispute to be determined by the county court for the county court district in which the property in question is situated.

(2) The power to make orders conferred by Subsection (2) of Section forty-nine of this Act (which enables the Lord Chancellor to combine county court districts or direct that one county court district shall be included in another county court district for the purposes of that Section) shall include power to make orders in relation to the purposes of this Subsection, and the said Subsection (2) shall have effect accordingly.—[Mr. J. Edwards.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

8.50 p.m.

Mr. J. Edwards

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

The Clause meets an undertaking given during the Committee stage. Together with the Amendment which is to be moved in page 51, line 39, it brings all these properties of the same kind into line with the appeals on rating valuation laid down for the future in Part III of the Bill. The later Amendment does this in the case of premises covered by Clause 83. This new Clause brings all similar provisions in general and local Acts into line.

Mr. Turton (Thirsk and Malton)

I wish to say how pleased I and many of my hon. Friends are with this new Clause. It fulfils the undertaking given by the Government in Committee. It has always been quite wrong that matters relating to civil debts between the local authority and the ratepayer should be decided by local magistrates in a court of summary jurisdiction and not in a county court. This Clause gives an opportunity for this to be remedied in the case of water rates. It is only one of the defects which require to be remedied. I am glad that the Home Secretary is listening, and I hope he will consider, at some future time, the question of whether rate recovery generally by the local authority against the ratepayer who is in arrears shall also be transferred to the county court. He will do well to follow the example which the Minister of Health is setting in this Bill.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.