HC Deb 22 February 1951 vol 484 cc1489-91

Considered in Committee under Standing Order No. 84 (Money Committees).—[King's Recommendation signified.]

[Major MILNER in the Chair]

Motion made, and Question proposed, That for the purposes of any Act of the present Session to secure the satisfactory construction, lighting, sewerage, furnishing and completion of streets adjacent to new buildings; to provide for the approval of such streets by local authorities; to make such approval a condition of certain licences and permissions, and to oblige and empower local authorities to adopt streets so approved, it is expedient to authorise the payment out of moneys provided by Parliament of any increase, attributable to the said Act in the sums payable under the Local Government Act, 1948, out of moneys so provided.—[Mr. Lindgren.]

4.57 p.m.

Miss Horsbrugh (Manchester, Moss Side)

We thought that we would not have been able to agree to this proposal, but drastic alterations have been made to the Bill. I should like to say how much we appreciate the work that has been done by the hon. and learned Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison) and my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Ilford, North (Mr. Hutchinson), in trying to solve the difficult problem of finding how to eliminate a grievance which we all wanted to eliminate, without causing a great deal of hardship to a great many more people. We also came to the conclusion that the Bill would have been impracticable from the point of view of its operation by local authorities. It was an impracticable Bill and a bad Bill, but we now feel that it is a better Bill, and we are therefore able to support this Motion.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Local Government and Planning (Mr. Lindgren)

But for the speech of the right hon. Lady the Member for Moss Side (Miss Horsbrugh), I would have let this Motion go through "on the nod," but I do not think that one of her remarks should be allowed to go without question. This is not an impracticable Bill by any stretch of the imagination, but I agree with her that, in fact, it is to the advantage of this House generally that, where there are points of dispute, there should be negotiation and agreement. It is certainly not unreasonable that, where there has been payment of a deposit before the actual carrying out of the work, that work shall fall to be done at the cost of the local authority.

The Chairman

The hon. Gentleman must not go into the merits of the Bill on this Motion. I am not sure that I did not allow the right hon. Lady to go too far, and I think the hon. Gentleman is entitled to reply to her but no more.

Mr. Lindgren

That is the point. The right hon. Lady has referred to the fact that the Bill as drafted was unfair to the local authorities in regard to the making up of private streets. I do not accept that in any shape or form, but I do agree that there has been a difference of opinion as between the two sides of a House which is very narrowly divided, and that a mutual agreement has been arrived at. In the light of those circumstances, I am prepared to accept the right hon. Lady's view concerning that agreement; but that it is unfair for a charge to fall on the rates to pay for street works, I am not prepared to accept.

Miss Horsbrugh

I said nothing about a charge falling on the rates, or about the charge being unfair. I never used such words.

Mr. Lindgren

With all due respect, Major Milner, that was the only inference that could be drawn from the right hon. Lady's words. The only point under dispute is whether or not the difference between the actual deposit paid by a person in respect of street works is the final payment, or whether or not a local authority—

Mr. Manningham-Buller (Northants, South)

Are we entitled to go into these matters on a Money Resolution. Major Milner?

The Chairman

I have already indicated to the hon. Gentleman that the discussion should not go any further. The Bill is not now before the Committee. At the same time, the right hon. Lady did, if she will forgive me for saying so tend to transgress the strict Rule relating to Money Resolutions. But I hope that both sides are now satisfied.

Question put, and agreed to.

Resolution reported forthwith, and agreed to.