HC Deb 28 July 1965 vol 717 cc640-1

Order for Second Reading read.

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

12.7 a.m.

Mr. Graham Page (Crosby)

I should have thought that this Bill would have warranted some word from the Solicitor-General, because it is not altogether a satisfactory consolidation Bill. The Long Title says that it is an Act to consolidate the Land Clauses Acts as applied by Part I of Schedule 2 of the 1946 Act, and for certain other enactments, and to repeal certain provisions of the Land Clauses Acts. By that means it leaves a substantial part of the Land Clauses Acts still on the Statute Book. The Bill only partially consolidates them. Certain Sections of the Land Clauses Acts are reproduced in this consolidation Bill, and yet they are not repealed. They still remain in order to be applied to other subjects.

If I understand this consolidation Bill correctly, it consolidates only compulsory purchase by local authorities and Government Departments. Any other authority which may desire to gain compulsory purchase powers must either look to this Bill or adopt the Land Clauses Acts. This seems to me an unsatisfactory form of consolidation. I should have thought that it would have been far better to do away with the Land Clauses Acts altogether and have a completely consolidating Act.

The other way in which I think that is unsatisfactory is that it seems to cut across the Land Compensation Act, 1961. That was a consolidation Measure dealing with compensation. Compensation and compulsory purchase are so closely tied together that I should have thought that it would have been better to have them all in one consolidation Measure. Indeed, in practice I have found it difficult to refer to the Land Compensation Act, 1961, in that there are many gaps in it as a consolidation Measure. This Compulsory Purchase Bill fills in a number of those gaps—not even all of them—and it would have been much clearer to the person who has to refer to this type of legislation—local authorities, Government Departments and ordinary lawyers in practice—if we could have had it all in one Bill dealing with compulsory purchase and compensation.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read a Second time.

Committed to a Committee of the whole House.—[Mr. Gourlay.]

Committee this day.