§ [Queen's Recommendation signified]
§ Considered in Committee under Standing Order No. 88 (Money Committees).
§ [Sir WILLIAM ANSTRUTHER-GRAY in the Chair]
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That, for the purposes of any Act of this Session to establish a National Ports Council; to provide for the control of harbour development and for giving financial assistance for the improvement of harbours; to make other provision respecting the construction, improvement, maintenance and management of harbours; to make provision with respect to charges of certain harbour authorities and lighthouse authorities; and for purposes connected with the matters aforesaid, it is expedient to authorise the making of provision for the financial purposes mentioned below, that is to say,—
§ (1) as regards the said Council,—
- (a) for the payment by the Minister of Transport out of moneys provided by Parliament of grants to the said Council in respect of expenses incurred by them in consequence of their complying with a direction given to them by the said Minister under any provision of the said Act;
- (b) for the issue out of the Consolidated Fund of such sums as may be required to enable the said Minister to make loans to the said Council of sums they may require for the exercise and performance of any of their functions under the said Act, but so that the aggregate of the amounts outstanding in respect of the principal of such loans shall not exceed £250,000;
§ (2) as regards any person or body engaged in improving, maintaining or managing a harbour,—
- (a) for the issue out of the Consolidated Fund of such sums as may be required to enable the Minister of Transport to make loans to any such person or body—
- (i) in respect of expenses incurred by that person or body for the purposes of or in connection with the harbour, in a case where the said Minister is satisfied that the expenses are such as ought properly to be regarded as being of a capital nature;
- (ii) to enable that person or body to repay the whole or part of the principal of, or to pay the whole or part of a sum due by way of the payment of interest on, a loan made to them by the said Minister in respect of such expenses;
- (b) for the payment by the said Minister out of moneys provided by Parliament of giants to any such person or body in respect of such expenses incurred by him or them as are mentioned in sub-paragraph (a)(i) of this paragraph or to enable him or them to repay the whole or part of a sum due by way of payment of interest on a loan made to him or them by the said Minister in respect of such expenses,
§ (3) for the raising under the National Loans Act 1939 of any money required for the purpose of providing sums to be issued as mentioned in paragraphs (1) and (2) above, or for the replacement of sums so issued;
§ (4) for the payment into the Exchequer of any sums received by the said Minister in respect oil loans mentioned in paragraphs (1) and (2) above and the issue of such sums out of the Consolidated Fund and the application of such sums, in so far as they represent principal, in redemption or repayment of debt, and, in so far as they represent interest, towards meeting such part of the annual charges for the national debt as represents interest;
§ (5) for defraying out of moneys provided by Parliament any increase attributable to the said Act of this Session in the sums payable out of moneys so provided by way of Rate-deficiency Grant or Exchequer Equalisation Grant under the enactments relating to local government in England and Wales or in Scotland:
§ (6) for the payment into the Exchequer of any sums, other than those mentioned in paragraph (4) above, falling to be so paid in consequence of any of the provisions of the said Act of this Session.—[Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallelt.]
§ 10.1 p.m.
§ Mr. Graham Page (Crosby)
We cannot let this Motion pass without one comment on the figures.
My hon. and gallant Friend the Parliamentary Secretary said that the National Ports Council would cost £200,00 a year. I think that probably that was an underestimate when one looks at the powers given in Clause 1. However, under the Money Resolution the Government are to contribute by way of loan only £250,000. If this Motion is passed, we cannot alter that figure in the Bill. The Council will have to get out a scheme of charges in order to pay for itself. It will then have to collect those charges.
There may have been a miscalculation in my hon. and gallant Friend's figure of £200,000, or in the Council's scheme, as to how much in charges it will collect. All the Council will be lent is £250,000, but, even on my hon. and gallant Friend's figures, it will cost it £200,000 a year to 1494 run the business. This is an extremely small margin, and I ask for an under- taking that, if we find in Committee that this sum will not meet the bill, and that the Council may go bankrupt if we do not alter it, the Money Resolution will he amended at a later stage.
The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport (Vice-Admiral John Hughes;. Hallett)
I did not say that the National Ports Council would cost £200,000. I said that if it worked up to that figure—it cannot be costing anything like that at present—the levy would amount to a very small cost per ton.
The Council has been in existence for some weeks as a non-statutory body, during which time the expenses have been borne on my right hon. Friend's Vote. The Bill, however speedily we may deal with it in Committee, is bound to take some time to go through. During that time the Council is capable of making the necessary preparations and calculations on which the levy will have to be based. I do not foresee any great delay between the time that the Bill reaches the Statute Book and the time that it is ready to put the levy into execution.
§ Question put and agreed to.
§ Resolution to be reported.
§ Report to be received Tomorrow.