HC Deb 14 April 1959 vol 603 cc946-7
Mr. Speaker

The two Amendments to the Clause seem to go with the new Schedule— (Modifications of certain provisions in relation to factories occupying parts of buildings). Perhaps they can all he taken together.

Mr. Iain Macleod

I beg to move, in page 11, line 7 to leave out from the second " of " to " shall " in line 8 and to insert the Schedule (Modifications of certain provisions in relation to factories occupying parts of buildings) to this Act ". I agree, Mr. Speaker, that this and the following Amendment, in page 11. to leave out from the beginning of line 9 to the end of line 18 on page 12, are paving Amendments to the new Schedule. I will read my brief without comment. It is thought that these changes will make the provisions easier to understand. Whether that is true, I do not know.

Mr Lee

Is that in the brief?

Mr. Macleod

No, I have left it. I am now on my own. I am told that for some reason, which I do not understand, it is easier to draft in simpler terms in a Schedule than in a Bill. That is why it is better to move virtually the whole of the Clause into the new Schedule.

Perhaps I should say in a sentence what the Schedule does. It is essentially an allocation of responsibilities between the owners and occupiers of what are called tenement factories and of other factories in what are called multiple-occupancy buildings. The only point to mention on the Schedule is one which arises in paragraph 6. Its purpose is to meet an important and valuable point raised by the hon. Member for Lewisham, North (Mr. MacDermot). We now provide that a fire alarm in a Section 102 factory shall be audible in every part of the building used for the purposes of that or any other factory. I think that most anxieties which people have about these fire alarms in those buildings in which there is more than one factory will be met.

The Amendment and the next are really paving the way to the new Schedule, and the key point in the Schedule is the one which I have outlined.

Mr MacDermot

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for the Amendment he is making to the law in redrafting this and putting it in the form of a new Schedule. As to his comment about making the matter clearer, I think, speaking in a professional capacity as a lawyer, that I would agree that it does make it clearer, but I very much doubt whether to anyone who is not a lawyer the new Schedule could possibly be described as clear. It is impossible that it should be, because it is an intensely complicated matter which is being dealt with. Equally, however, it is extremely important that the occupiers of the factories should know what the law is on the matter, because this affects the division of responsibilities where there are several factories within the same building, the division of responsibilities between the occupiers of the different factories and the owner of the building.

I would suggest for the consideration of the Minister that it might be wise to get out a leaflet in language which a layman can understand and which summarises what is the effect of these provisions, for otherwise I find it very difficult to see how any occupier of a factory will know what it is that he is meant to do and what it is that the owner of the building is meant to do.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: In page 11, line 9, leave out from beginning to end of line 18 on page 12.— [Mr. Iain Macleod.]