HC Deb 03 February 1960 vol 616 cc1084-5
Mr. J. Rodgers

I beg to move, in page 6, line 4, to leave out "persons appearing to the Board" and insert a person appearing to the Board to have adequate experience of industrial matters, a person appearing to them to have adequate experience in the organisation of workers, and one or more persons appearing to them". During the Committee stage, the right hon. Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay) moved Amendments to increase the membership of each corporation from five to seven and to include among the numbers people with experience of (a) local government and (b) the organisation of workers. My right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade undertook to consider all these Amendments, but made it clear, I think, at that stage that the Amendment which impressed him most was the provision for the inclusion of a trade union representative.

With regard to the increase in number from five to seven, my right hon. Friend said—and I must say that I have great sympathy with him, as I am sure many hon. Members on both sides of the House have—that he would like to keep the number at five—a chairman and four members. It will be the experience of most hon. Members that the smaller a committee, the better job it does.

Concerning the possible inclusion of a local government representative, the right hon. Member also said in Committee that it would be a pity to bring people with a local authority viewpoint into a sphere where it was not appropriate; it would only waste their time and, possibly, lead to a corporation with more people than were needed. The Government Amendment, in conformity with the provisional views expressed by the right hon. Member in Committee, provides for each corporation to include a person having adequate experience in the organisation of workers but does not provide for a local government representative or for an increase in numbers. The effect of the Amendment is that each corporation will consist of a chairman and four other members, the five members to include a trade unionist, an industrialist and at least one member experienced in accountancy, building or estate management.

Mr. Jay

Here again, the Parliamentary Secretary comes some way to meet us but feels himself inhibited, as usual, from coming the whole way. We very much welcome the inclusion of those experienced in the organisation of workers. One only wonders why the Government themselves did not think of this before introducing the Bill.

I cannot agree with the hon. Gentleman that local authority representatives would not be suitable. Several of the industrial estate companies in the past fifteen or twenty years have had persons who were experienced in local authority work, particularly on building and land, with the estate management type of qualification. It is not fundamental to the Bill whether this is included. It is a pity that the Parliamentary Secretary has left it out, but I hope that even though he does not now lay a statutory duty upon himself to include local authority experts, the Government are not prohibiting themselves from selecting somebody of that kind if there is an individual who seems to them particularly suitable far the job.

Amendment agreed to.