HC Deb 18 July 1963 vol 681 cc863-4
Mr. Temple

I beg to move, in page 81, line 44, to leave out "one" and to insert "five".

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

I suggest that it might be convenient to discuss at the same time Amendment No. 89, in page 82, line 3, to leave out "one-tenth" and to insert "one-half".

Mr. Temple

I am much obliged, Mr. Deputy-Speaker.

The Clause deals with the building up of replacement funds. Significantly, I think, the hand of the Treasury must have been at work. In one respect, the amount is only 1 per cent. per annum and in the other it is only one-tenth of 1 per cent, per anum. Even by Treasury standards, these figures are far too small. My right hon. Friend the Member for Guildford (Sir R. Nugent) and I therefore suggest the more realistic figures of 5 per cent. instead of 1 per cent. and one-half per cent. instead of one-tenth per cent. This will make a difference to river authorities building up replacement funds, and I trust that the proposal will be acceptable to the House.

I ask my hon. Friend one question about the building up of replacement funds. The House will know that some river authorities will be in a position very different from that of others in their need for these replacement funds. Will the Minister, if possible, allow certain river authorities in exceptional circumstances to go beyond even the amended figures which we propose?

Mr. Corfield

The Government are willing to accept both Amendments. We recognise that the original figures probably were low in certain circumstances. I think I am right in saying that, in any case, the top limit will still require my right hon. Friend's approval. I am grateful to my hon. Friend for bringing the matter to our attention.

Mr. Temple

I hoped to have a reply to my question. What would happen in exceptional circumstances? Would it be possible for a river authority to exceed this particular figure?

Mr. Corfield

I think that the answer to that depends on how exceptional the circumstances are. My right hon. Friend has certain powers of allowance, but the whole idea of this is a sinking fund. If a fund required exceptional drafting into it, one would have to have very exceptional circumstances since the whole object of the exercise is that it should be available for what is likely to be paid out of it.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: In page 82, line 3, leave out "one-tenth" and insert "one-half".—[Mr. Temple.]