HC Deb 29 July 1952 vol 504 cc1411-2

Lords Amendment: In page 12, line 40, leave out subsection (4) and insert: (4) An order made under this section shall be subject to special parliamentary procedure.

Mr. H. Macmillan

I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

This is a new point and it is one of some importance. The House may remember, and those hon. Members who were on the Committee will also particularly remember, that there was some discussion as to what should be the proper procedure when, perhaps many years hence, it comes to unwinding these arrangements and making the necessary Orders for distributing the assets and liabilities and making a fair settlement between the local authorities concerned. As we had first contemplated, it was to have been by an Order of the Minister, subject to an affirmative Resolution.

But the local authorities felt—and I always try to give a good deal of weight to their collective wisdom—that perhaps it would be better to have what is called the special Parliamentary procedure to untangle what may be extremely complicated financial arrangements which will have to be dealt with, long after I have gone, in futures times when these schemes reach their completion. So this Clause empowers the Minister to make an Order subject to special Parliamentary procedure.

In view of the feeling when this Amendment was moved in another place and accepted on all sides as probably the best in all circumstances, I hope that the House will agree that when it comes to the rather complicated disentangling of these financial responsibilities this is a procedure more generally acceptable and one which will relieve the Minister of the day of a difficult and perhaps complicated situation.

Mr. G. Lindgren (Wellingborough)

I and my colleagues do not disagree in any shape or form with the general principle outlined by the Minister, but I am certain that the Minister will agree that perhaps the persons most affected by this are likely to be the local authorities concerned. It would be interesting, therefore, if he could let us know what, prior to this suggestion, was the reaction of the local authorities' associations.

Mr. Macmillan

If I may, by leave of the House, answer the hon. Member, this has been really pressed upon me by the local authorities' associations. They all preferred it to the procedure contemplated in the original Bill.

Question put, and agreed to.