HC Deb 29 July 1963 vol 682 cc168-70

Considered in Committee; reported, without Amendment.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

Mr. E. G. Willis (Edinburgh, East)

It would be unfortunate if the Bill went through without a single word being said about it. Scottish hon. Members like to facilitate the passage of Measures through Parliament and we are always anxious to get on with our business. We have done so on this Bill to the extent that so far we have not said a word.

Despite this, the Under-Secretary appears to be armed with a long speech. I would hate to see him have to leave the Chamber without making it. I am therefore providing him with an opportunity to do so and to tell us all about the Bill, what it does, which Acts it consolidates and what benefits will be derived from that consolidation, for I have no doubt that a great number of benefits must be in store. We consider that this process of consolidation should be carried further for Scottish legislation and that it is not going fast enough for certain Measures, but I would be out of order to pursue this line of thought. We are pleased that the legislation has been consolidated. In recent years the Government have passed a number of Measures dealing with this subject. Parts of them are now included in the Bill. Many people in Scotland will be glad that the legislation has been consolidated.

We should express thanks to those who have been responsible for bringing the Bill before the House. We should express our appreciation of the work which has been done by those who have consolidated this legislation and thus made it possible for those who have to deal with these problems—local Government officials, lawyers, and so on—to be able to do so more easily in the future than they have in the past. I express my appreciation of the work that they have done. I hope that they will receive some encouragement from the gratitude now expressed to proceed as fast as possible with all the other groups of legislation which require to be consolidated.

10.26 p.m.

The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Gilmour Leburn)

I am happy to join the hon. Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Willis) in conveying thanks to all those who have been responsible for the tiresome and arduous task of consolidating these four Acts of Parliament. I sought an opportunity on Friday on the Second Reading of this Bill to explain it to the House in the hope that the hon. Member would be here. I know how interested he is in these matters. As the hon. Gentleman was not here then, I am happy to try to explain shortly what we are doing.

The prime purpose of the Bill is to bring into one Statute all the existing provisions applying generally to the assessment of compensation for land acquired compulsorily. The basic Act for this purpose is the Acquisition of Land (Assessment of Compensation) Act, 1919, Section 2 of which sets out the rules to be followed. These, however, have been greatly affected by planning control, and the convenience of gather- ing together the many relevant provisions now dispersed over the three major Planning Acts of 1947, 1954 and 1959 represents the main part of the case for consolidation.

I know that it would be out of order to go into the question of other consolidation Measures, but I am happy to tell the hon. Gentleman that I hope that, now that we have done this, we shall be able in the not too distant future to tackle the other planning Acts. In the meanwhile, I hope that we shall give the Bill its Third Reading.

10.28 p.m.

Mr. Thomas Fraser (Hamilton)

It has come to my attention that there is not one Scottish Member from either House of Parliament on the Committee dealing with these consolidation Measures. Would the Under-Secretary make a note of this and see if it can be rectified at the first opportunity?

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed, without Amendment.