HC Deb 15 July 1952 vol 503 cc2047-9
Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I beg to move, in page 222, line 45, column 3, to leave out from "words," to the end of line 47.

This Amendment, as I indicated at the time is consequential on the Amendments which the Committee has already accepted to the Schedule.

Amendment agreed to

Schedule agreed to.

Bill reported, with Amendments; as amended (in the Joint Committee and on re-committal), considered.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."

7.7 p.m.

Mr. Geoffrey Bing (Hornchurch)

I only want to say that I think somebody on this side of the House ought to say a word of thanks to those people who have worked so hard to carry this Measure through, and how fortunate it is that the Government, when they wish to get a Measure of this sort through, have an Opposition who are perfectly prepared to facilitate its passage. This Bill has 321 Clauses and 12 Schedules, all of which have been dealt with in the space of half an hour or so without any speeches, except from the Financial Secretary.

I think it provides a good opportunity of showing how the House of Commons can facilitate the passage of such legislation and of giving a direct lie to those who suggest that there are hon. Members on this side who seize upon legislation for the purpose of obstructing the work of the House of Commons. If that were so, we should surely have chosen this Bill for such a purpose when we should have been engaged for weeks on end in dealing with it, and Parliament would have had no holiday at all.

As it is, we all feel—in view of the work done by the Select Committee and by the original Committee on the Bill—that this is a Measure which we should do all we can to facilitate. In these circumstances, and in view of the confusion surrounding the Government's time-table it would be wrong for anyone to speak as lengthily as one would like on this matter. It will be remembered that I took a little time on Second Reading. I am not going into the points I then raised because I hope that in the Finance Bill next year we shall have the opportunity of putting right the various anomalies which now exist and which are conveniently codified for us in this monumental work. Therefore, I hope the House will give the Bill a unanimous and speedy Third Reading.

7.10 p.m.

Major Sydney Markham (Buckingham)

I should like to say how much we on this side appreciate the words which have just come from such a discriminating and helpful quarter. All that we hope is that this helpfulness will be continued in other directions, and then we shall all be satisfied.

7.11 p.m.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I do not want to be outdone either by the hon. and learned Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Bing) or by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Buckingham (Major Markham) in valediction to this Bill. A great many people over the last year or two—indeed, more than two years—since the late Sir Stafford Cripps set inquiries on foot in this direction, have done an enormous amount of devoted work to tidy up what I described on the Second Reading as "the jungle of the law" on this subject. The right hon. Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Gaitskell) and a number of hon. Members and others representing industry and business collaborated in these efforts.

They considered it for some months, and a Select Committee of both Houses examined the matter in the greatest detail. It would be a trifle churlish if I failed at this stage to express the gratitude of the Government, and I hope I may say of the whole House, to the very large number of people who have done a great deal of hard and difficult work in making the law clear.

It will be of the greatest advantage to those who are concerned with business and industry in this country to have the law on this subject reasonably clear for perhaps the first time in our history. They and we are grateful to those who have done this work. I hope I may include in these remarks the devoted officers of Her Majesty's Customs and Excise, without whose technical skill and devotion to duty it would not have been possible to make headway. I trust that we can now speed it on its way, on what I might describe as its "errand of mercy."

Bill accordingly read the Third time, and passed.