HC Deb 22 March 1948 vol 448 cc2714-5

Lords Amendment: In page 85, in line 23, after "Fund," insert being expenses for which provision is not otherwise made.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."—[Mr. J. Edwards.]

Mr. Challen

This is an Amendment which we do not altogether welcome, but for my part it has been made much more satisfactory than it appeared originally. It raises a point which was rejected on the Committee stage, but has now been made good in another place. Ai the present time the expenses of the Metropolitan Police courts are paid for by precept, and the whole of the Metropolitan area is wider than the area of the Metropolitan boroughs which, generally speaking get the benefit of the Metropolitan Police Force. Of course, that wider area has its own petty sessional courts, and an anomaly arises in those areas outside the Metropolitan boroughs which have to pay the Metropolitan police rate. I think the opinion in London was that this kind of amendment could best have waited until a more suitable occasion. For my own part I am grateful to the Minister for having met this little difficulty.

It so happens that the borough I represent possesses not only a Metropolitan Police court but a petty sessional court as well. About half, or little less than half, of the borough has is own petty sessions, and the other half comes in the Metropolitan Police area, so that under this Clause we should have had to be- differentially rated, as between two halves of the borough. It would not have saved very much for the one half and it would have cost a great deal in complication, far outweighing any saving. That has been met by giving the Minister certain powers which can be invoked by local authorities. I do not know whether there are any other cases—I do not think that there are; we are satisfied with the Clause, though, I repeat, on the whole we would rather it had not been there.

Mr. Pargiter (Spelthorne)

I am very grateful to the Minister for meeting the point which I raised previously. I hardly anticipated when he promised to look at this again that we should be successful in getting a very complicated Amendment inserted in the Bill at so late a stage. I appreciate the handsome way in which the Minister has met us.