HC Deb 26 July 1963 vol 681 cc2013-4

Lords Amendment: In page 53, line 5, at end insert new Clause "B": B.—(1) An inspector appointed under this Act by a local authority may, if duly authorised in that behalf by a general resolution of the authority, make a summary application under section 22 of this Act with respect to any premises with respect to which the authority have power to enforce any of the provisions of sections 4 to 21 of this Act; and for the purposes of this subsection the expression 'premises' includes a common part of a building to which section 42 or section 43 of this Act applies. (2) An inspector appointed under this Act by the authority discharging in any area the functions of fire authority under the Fire Services Act 1947 may, if duly authorised as aforesaid by the authority, make a summary application under section 32 of this Act with respect to any premises in that area with respect to which they are the appropriate authority for the purposes of that section.

Mr. Whitelaw

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

Under Clause 22 of the Bill an enforcing authority can make a complaint to a magistrates' court, or in Scotland a summary application to a sheriff, in respect of dangerous conditions and practices in premises. There is a similar procedure under Clause 32 as regards means of escape in the case of fire. Circumstances may be such that action under these provisions should be taken without delay. It has been suggested, however, that it might be necessary for a local authority inspector to submit a particular case to the next meeting of a council or committee to obtain authority to take proceedings under these Clauses, and, of course, there would be an inevitable lapse of time before a complaint or summary application could be made.

I have carefully looked into this suggestion and I am satisfied that in England and Wales powers exist in the Local Government Act, 1933, and the London Government Act, 1939, which enable a local authority to authorise one of its officers to exercise discretion for the purpose of instituting proceedings under Clause 22 or Clause 32 in a particular case. But so far as Scotland is concerned, I do not believe that the provisions of the Local Government (Scotland) Act, 1947, are sufficient for this purpose. For that reason the Government tabled this new Clause, which will give similar powers to Scottish local authorities.

Question put and agreed to.

Subsequent Lords Amendment agreed to.