HC Deb 26 January 1960 vol 616 cc61-2

4.34 p.m.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade (Mr. John Rodgers)

I beg to move, in page 1, line 11, to leave out "commencement of this Act" and to insert: end of March, nineteen hundred and sixty". The object of the Amendment is to make more time available for consideration of the Bill in another place. Section 44 of the Act of 1938 defines the renters' licensing year as a period of twelve months beginning on the first day of April in any year and ending before the expiry of Section I of the Act of 1948. Section I of the Act of 1948 is due to expire on 1st October, 1960, and but for Clause 1 of the Bill, which extends that Section to the end of 1967, the present renters' licensing year would be the last and would expire on 31st March next.

Clause 18 (5) provides for most of the Bill—including Clause 1—to commence on the first Sunday falling after the expiration of one month from the day on which it is passed. But for the Amendment, therefore, it would be essential, if a new renters' licensing year is to start on 1st April next, for the Bill to receive Royal Assent by 27th February, that is, one month before the last Sunday before the present renters' licensing year expires. It may not be possible for the Bill to pass through all its stages in another place and receive Royal Assent by that date. The Amendment will preserve the effect of Clause 1 and allow a further time, namely, up to and including 31st March for the Bill to pass.

Mrs. Eirene White (Flint, East)

We have no objection to the Amendment. It is purely a matter of procedure. At one time the Government had hoped to get the Bill through before Christmas, but we took a little longer than expected in committee because of inadequate care in the drafting of the Bill. It is only sensible now to accept the Amendment.

Amendment agreed to.