HC Deb 21 July 1961 vol 644 c1625

Lords Amendment: In page 16, line 5, leave out "is" and insert "are".

Mr. Vane

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

The Authority is plural, and in this case it was printed as being singular. I feel that we should be consistent.

Mr. John Hall

I do not think that that we can let my hon. Friend get away with it as easily as that. After all, a great deal often hangs on one small word—often the difference between plural and singular.

This is the great problem of the collective noun. Do we say that the company is or that the company are? Is the Authority singular or plural? Are we to say authorities are "and" the Authority are"? It does not sound quite right. Are we to have Amendments to change other Clauses in the Bill? In Clause 18 there are the words "the Authority render". There we have the plural. The same thing applies to Clause 19.

Are we right in this? Should not we amend those as well and turn them into the singular? Are we right in accepting this Amendment without further thought? We do not want to have to come back to change a number of things from singular to plural. Is my hon. Friend sure that this is the right approach to the problem?

Question put and agreed to.