HC Deb 23 April 1958 vol 586 cc1112-5
Mr. Hare

I beg to move, in page 6, line 16, at the end to insert: after consultation with such organisations as appear to the authority to represent the interests concerned". We got into trouble last time for using rather a lot of words partially to try to assist the Opposition in getting some of the things they had put forward with great force in Committee inserted in the Bill. In this Amendment, I think that in a few words I am fulfilling an undertaking given by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary in Committee. I think it was the hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) who then moved an Amendment to the effect that there should be consultation by the local authorities with local interests before submitting their slaughterhouse reports to the Ministers.

I think we all agree that good local authorities—and most local authorities are good—would certainly consult local interests about these important issues which will have to be set out in their reports, and in particular about the dates which they recommend should be fixed when the new regulations should apply to all slaughterhouses in their districts. Local interests would include such people as meat traders, workers in slaughterhouses, owners of slaughterhouses, and so on. We all entirely agree that it is right, although most local authorities would do this, that local authorities should be under obligation to do it. After all, the Minister himself is being put under an obligation to consult. I hope, therefore, that this Amendment will be welcome to both sides of the House.

This may not please hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, because they did not agree with my reasoning before, but we are once again not attempting to list the organisations which should be consulted by local authorities. I do not want to go into great detail now about this, but we certainly think that to set out in a Bill a list of those who might be concerned would cause difficulties. Any omission from the list would be bound to be invidious, and there might possibly be a local authority which would consult only those interests specifically mentioned and not look beyond them. This omission may disappoint hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, but I certainly undertake in circulars to local authorities to name all interests concerned which I think, looking at the position today, they should consult. I hope that, with that assurance, this Amendment may be accepted.

Mr. Robens

I appreciate very much the fact that the right hon. Gentleman has put forward this Amendment, which appeals to us. I can readily see the reasons why he could not in these circumstances put down the list of interested parties whom the local authorities ought to consult. There is a difference between the last discussion we had on listing the parties who might be consulted, and this discussion, because those were interested parties whom the Minister had to consult. There is a big difference between the Minister's binding himself and his successors to consult certain parties, and interested parties whom he may not have mentioned, and specifying in the Bill the parties whom the local authorities should consult.

One sees immediately there would be great difficulties in doing that. Some local authorities will have in their areas organisations which they can consult quite readily to get the kind of advice they need in making these reports. In smaller areas it may well be that there are not the same organisations available to consult. I myself have no objection to the fact that the Minister is not able to put in this list of organisations.

What, however, endears this Amendment to me is the latter part of the right hon. Gentleman's speech, when he said he would give some advice to the local authorities as to the parties whom he as Minister thinks they should consult if they are available. I hope he will make mention of the fact that for many years now there has been an excellent organisa- tion, the joint industrial council for the meat trade, which represents both the organised workers and the employers in the industry, and which has district representatives who would be readily available for consultation. They are all men of great experience in the industry, who have given much public service in a voluntary way and would continue to do so. There are also the consumer interests which must be recognised. I have no doubt that the local authorities feel they can express them.

I welcome the Amendment and particularly welcome that the right hon. Gentleman has indicated that he will do his best to produce a list of organisations he thinks a local authority might consult it there are representatives of it in the area.

Amendment agreed to.

11.30 p.m.

Mr. Godber

I beg to move, in page 6, line 36 to leave out from "1954" to the end of line 39.

Since this is purely consequential on an Amendment we had in Committee when events overtook us somewhat in relation to Clause 6, it is not one on which I need detain the House.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: In page 6, line 40, leave out "or an order".—[Mr. Godber.]

Mr. Willey

I beg to move, That further consideration of the Bill, as amended, be now adjourned.

I think this is an appropriate time to ask the Government what their intentions are in regard to the present consideration of the Bill.

Mr. Hare

I think we ought to try to make a little more progress. We are not doing too badly. We are considering a very important Bill and I think some more time ought to be spent on it. I shall not press too hard, but I think we can get on a little further.

Mr. Wiley

I am much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for saying that we are commending ourselves to him. It is a question now of how little is "little" It might suit the convenience of the House if the right hon. Gentleman would indicate that.

Mr. Hare

I suggest it is not unreasonable that we should get to the end of Clause 5.

Mr. Willey

I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Motion.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.