HC Deb 23 July 1958 vol 592 cc492-3

Lords Amendment: After Amendment last inserted, insert new Clause "C": .—(1) The minutes of—

  1. (a) the proceedings of a local authority,
  2. (b) the proceedings of any committee appointed by a local authority so far as such proceedings relate to any of the authority's functions under the National Health Service (Scotland) Act, 1947, the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act, 1947, or the National Assistance Act, 1948. and
  3. (c) the proceedings of any joint committee or joint board established for the purpose of performing all or any of the functions of two or more local authorities under any of the Acts mentioned in the last foregoing paragraph.
shall be open to the inspection of any local government elector for the area of the local authority, or, in the case of a joint committee or joint board, the area of any of the local authorities represented on the joint committee or joint board, on payment of a fee not exceeding one shilling, and any such local government elector may make a copy thereof or an extract therefrom. (2) In this section "local authority" and "local government elector" have the same meanings as in the Act of 1947.

Mr. Ross

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is my Amendment in line 2 of the Lords Amendment last dealt with not being called? It is purely drafting, but it is very important.

Mr. Speaker

The first two Amendments on the Paper to the first Lords Amendment, in page 9, line 25, and to the third Lords Amendment in page 9, line 25 (New Clause B) are not selected. The third Amendment, that is, the one in the name of the hon. Member for Hamilton (Mr. T. Fraser) and his hon. Friends, to move, That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment, is not necessary. He may disagree without such a Motion. As to whether an Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross) will be called, he has an Amendment to the Lords Amendment in page 26, line 35, to leave out paragraph 2 of the New Schedule A.

Mr. T. Fraser

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. The Amendment which stands in my name and the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross), in page 9, line 25, of the third Lords Amendment, would seem to be necessary to make the thing sensible. It does not seem to make sense as it is, and my drafting Amendment would make the matter clear.

Mr. N. Macpherson

Further to that point of order. It might be for the convenience of the House if I explain that Clause 18 (4) deals with that matter.

Mr. Speaker

I understand that the point is covered by Clause 18 (4) of the Bill.

Mr. J. N. Browne

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

This new Clause implements the proposals in paragraph 14 of the White Paper. The intention is fully consistent with the whole purpose of the Bill, which is to encourage local electors to take a greater interest in local government.

Paragraph (a) of subsection (1) requires, for the first time, the minutes of full council meetings to be made available on payment of 1s. to any local elector who wishes to read them, take a copy of them or take abstracts. Paragraph (b) does no more than preserve what is already a statutory right to inspect the minutes of the committees referred to. The reference to health, planning and welfare committees is necessary because the new Schedule which we have not yet discussed—this is referred to in paragraph 10 of the White Paper—abolishes the statutory requirement that these committees must exist as separate entities. Paragraph (c) ensures that the minutes of joint committees and joint boards dealing with health, planning and welfare, shall also be open to inspection.

Question put and agreed to.