§ Mr. G. Campbell
I beg to move Amendment No. 15, in page 3, line 24, at end to insert:(4) The powers conferred on the Board by virtue of this section shall apply to—When we discussed Clause 4 in Committee, we were informed by the Government that the acquisition of land by the Board could take place anywhere in Scotland. It was not restricted to the Highland area as defined in Clause 1. We were concerned about this wide power, especially the compulsory acquisition aspect. The Minister of State also explained that the power was necessary beyond the defined area of the Highlands and Islands so that the Board could acquire land in adjacent areas. He gave some examples of places where the Board might be hampered because its power disappeared at the county boundaries on the edge of what are at present the crofting counties.
- (a) any land as described or designated in terms of section 1(2) of this Act, and
- (b) any land adjacent thereto which the Board reasonably require for the provision of services thereto or for the purpose of any of their functions under this Act
We recognise that this could be a disability for the Board and we have, therefore, attempted to meet the point by providing this additional subsection, which would make these powers available to the Board in the area defined as the Highlands and Islands and, in addition, in:… any land adjacent thereto which the Board reasonably require for the provision of services thereto or for the purpose of any of their functions under this Act.943 We believe that this meets the requirement indicated by the Minister of State as being outwith the Highland area. We do not believe it necessary for the Board—or, rather, the Secretary of State, because compulsory acquisition will require his permission—to have the power to acquire land perhaps 200 or 300 miles away from the Highlands when what is really required is power in adjacent areas only.
We realise that in this the Board would have to use its power nonetheless wisely, taking into account the wider interests of the adjacent areas as well as the interests of the area for which the Board is to be responsible. But we feel that a board of the quality and integrity of the kind we hope will come into being will certainly take the interests of the surrounding areas to heart as well as those of the area for which it is responsible.
The power of compulsory acquisition in this Clause can be coupled with powers under Clause 6. We were told in Committee that Clause 6 would have effect anywhere in the United Kingdom and not just in Scotland. The present Administration have made it clear that they regard the Clause 6 powers as in reserve, but a Government perhaps more left-wing which which determined, perhaps for doctrinaire reasons, to take over a business in the Highlands or elsewhere in Scotland, whether flourishing or not, would have power to acquire land and buildings in the first place under Clause 4 and could then make the situation intolerable and virtually impossible for the business to carry on, finally acquiring it by agreement under Clause 6. Therefore, in considering the area over which the Board could operate Clause 4 powers, we must also consider their combination with the powers available elsewhere in the Bill.
The Minister should be able to accept our Amendment in view of his previous explanation in Committee as to why powers were needed outwith the Highland area. If we have not drafted the Amendment entirely as it should be in technical and legal terms in order to carry out the intention, we hope that he will say so and perhaps improve the drafting by an Amendment in another place.
We feel that the compulsory acquisition of land allied to the other powers all over Scotland is quite unnecessary power for 944 the Government to seek in this context. It is Parliament's task to provide the power which may be required for its will to be carried out but not to provide wholesale powers which are unnecessary to the Executive—in this case, the Secretary of State for Scotland.
The Board itself ought to have more say in its own affairs. We think that the Board is not being given enough discretion. But at the moment we are concerned about the powers which are virtually being given to the Secretary of State and the Government and not to the Board. Those powers are far too wide under this Clause.
§ Mr. Grimond
The hon. Gentleman speaks of the need—with which I agree—to give the Board more discretion. I see that in Standing Committee it was stated by his colleague that it might be useful for the Board to be able to acquire property in London. It might also be useful to acquire a depôt in Perth or Aberdeen. Is this the sort of discretion that the hon. Gentleman would like to leave to the Board? Would this be covered by the word "adjacent" in the Amendment, or is this just the sort of thing that the Amendment would cut out?
§ Mr. Campbell
In Committee, the Minister of State was saying that, under the Bill as drafted, such a thing was possible. Clause 4 powers extend to the whole of Scotland. He said that Clause 6 powers extend to the whole of the United Kingdom. So land and buildings in Scotland and a business in London could be acquired by agreement.
The Minister explained that the situation visualised by the Government had to be met in the areas adjacent to the Highland area. Our Amendment is different from the one we moved in Committee and tries to meet the point which the Government put. The Government were not prepared to accept entirely what we said in Committee. We have tried to put into writing a more restricted form of words which would cover what the Minister of State in Committee said was required. I am the first to admit that our drafting may be imperfect but I hope that the intention is quite clear. Although it may be possible for the Board to acquire buildings and land under the Bill in places far removed from the Highlands, that is not really the problem we want to meet by Clause 4.
§ Mr. Campbell
I am coming to that. I want first to make it clear that we consider that the Board should have more say in its own affairs. That will become clear in later Amendments in which we would give it more say in its own affairs and more discretion. The powers to which we are objecting are those being given to the Government, not those being given to the Board.
The purpose of the Amendment is clear from my opening remarks. Instead of limiting the power to acquire land, including compulsory acquisition, to the Highlands and Islands as defined in the Bill, which is what we proposed in Committee, we are now suggesting that it should be extended to a wider area, which would cover the adjacent areas, and that the Board should have a discretion to decide whether they are areas in which it requires the provision of services, and so on, as laid down in the Amendment.
§ Mr. Campbell
The right hon. Gentleman suffers from the fact that he was not present in the Committee. I have provided him with a copy of our proceedings there, and I am sure that he is now catching up with his homework.
Having listened to the arguments put forward in Committee by the Government, we have now brought forward an Amendment which we think the Government ought to be able to accept. That is why I referred to the Committee stage, during which we put forward an Amendment restricted to the area of the Highlands and Islands. Because of the arguments advanced in Committee by the Minister of State and after considering the matter carefully, we thought that the area should be extended to the adjacent areas, which the Minister said were the places where the Board might wish to use these powers. It is for this reason that we have paragraphs (a) and (b) in the Amendment.
946 We are not wedded to the form of words. The right hon. Gentleman has available to him facilities in the way of drafting expertise, and so on, which are not available to us. If he thinks that the wording can be improved, we shall not object to the Amendment being altered in that respect. The Minister has not put forward a case, or tabled an Amendment, for giving the Board power to purchase land in Fife, or the Borders, to help the Highlands and Islands.
§ Mr. David Steel (Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles) rose—
§ Mr. Campbell
I cannot give way to the hon. Gentleman. Perhaps he will have the opportunity to make his own speech in due course.
The Minister of State and the Government have not shown that there is any reason for these powers to be extended to the Borders. We have therefore tried to help the Government by putting down an Amendment to provide what the hon. Gentleman said was required in the way of powers to acquire land by the Board. The Amendment is not the same as the Amendment which we tabled in Committee upstairs. It tries to meet what the Minister of State said was required, and I had hoped that we had done this successfully.
§ Mr. Archie Manuel (Central Ayrshire)
Having heard the hon. Gentleman's speech, it is very difficult to decide what is the purpose of the Amendment. I think that we have now reached the stage, which we reached on several occasions upstairs, when we ought to have a clear statement from the Opposition about where they stand on certain basic issues.
I agree that we cannot deal with Clause 4 without thinking of Clause 6. I do not want to get out of order. To do what we envisage in Clause 6, we need the land that can be provided by Clause 4, because that Clause deals basically with the acquisition and disposal of land. What the Opposition have lamentably failed to tell Scotland is how they propose to deal with the situations which were posed by 947 my hon. Friend the Minister of State, by myself, and by other of my hon. Friends in the Committee upstairs. We have not heard what they propose to do in respect of an area which is bereft of employment agencies, into which no private enterprise industry is prepared to go, and from which people are migrating because they are unable to find work. What the Opposition have to tell us is whether they are prepared to give the Board power to secure land to set up employment agencies which will employ people and restore the economy of those areas—something which should have been done long ago.
§ Mr. Noble
I think that the hon. Gentleman is thinking about a different Clause in some other part of the Bill. What we are trying to do is to restrict the powers of the Secretary of State and of the Board in respect of acquiring land outside the Highlands and their adjacent areas and setting businesses there which will be of no benefit to the Highlands. I think that the hon. Gentleman has missed the point of the Amendment.
§ Mr. Manuel
That may be the intention of the Amendment, but I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman was present when his hon. Friend the Member for Moray and Nairn (Mr. G. Campbell) said that we could not deal with this matter without remembering what was in Clause 6. We know what powers are contained in that. Clause; we need land before we can use them. The hon. Gentleman has skated round the Amendment. It may have been put down to try to secure the position which the right hon. Gentleman wants in regard to land outwith the seven crofter counties, but the fact is that it has a much wider implication.
The hon. Gentleman says that he is talking about giving more powers to the Board and less to the Secretary of State, but on reading the Clause one sees that the motive power is expected to come from the Board, and the Secretary of State will then O.K. the proposals, Subsection (1) says:For the purpose of any of their functions under this Act the Board maydo certain things. I take it that the ideas will flow from the Board, which will collect its information from its agencies and from consultations with the 948 local authorities concerned and other bodies in the area.
§ Mr. G. Campbell
The hon. Gentleman may have misunderstood what I was saying. I tried to make it clear—and this is the statement of policy for which the right hon. Gentleman has asked—that we accepted the need to give power to acquire land, including compulsory acquisition, within the Highland area, within the area for which the Board is responsible, and also within adjacent areas. We are not arguing about that.
§ Mr. Manuel
I appreciate that, and I shall say very little more about it. Does the hon. Gentleman object to the Board compulsorily acquiring land in order to provide employment?
§ Mr. Campbell
The hon. Gentleman knows that we have objections to Clause 6. I think that I would be out of order if I were to pursue the matter now, but I think that the Amendments on the Notice Paper are indicative of our objection to that Clause.
§ Mr. Manuel
I shall not proceed with that any further. But it would appear that the basic reason for the Clause is to acquire land and to dispose of land. The rubric of the Clause is "Acquisition and Disposal of Land." The Amendment is drafted in order to fit in. I am aware of the fears of hon. Members opposite. I know that they have been trying to stimulate interest in the Highlands area and that they have had some success with some lairds and landowners. They are talking as though the Secretary of State were going to take over vast areas merely for the sake of taking them over. That is quite untrue, as has been explained on many occasions. But we shall not allow the Highlands to die as hon. Members opposite did for the past 13 years.
§ Mr. J. Bruce-Gardyne (South Angus)
Can the hon. Member explain where he wants the Board to have power to acquire land? What is the area he is talking about? He does not seem to have grasped the point of the Amendment.
§ Mr. Manuel
The areas that I am keen about are the areas in the seven crofter counties. I know the views of hon. Members opposite quite well. Would the 949 hon. Member allow the Board to operate the Spey Valley scheme, or would he oppose it?
§ Mr. Bruce-Gardyne
I made it clear that because Badenoch lies within the Highland area we would not object to the Board having powers of compulsory purchase in that area, but if it tried to acquire land in Fife, which is well over 100 miles away, we would think it was quite unnecessary.
§ Mr. Manuel
I shall not detain the Committee for long. The intention of the Amendment is quite clear. Despite what has been said about this question of the acquisition and disposal of land causing great resentment in the Highland areas, I know that even certain landowners think that the powers are necessary, and are prepared to go the whole hog in order to bring work into these areas.
§ Mr. Johnston
I shall try to explain what I think it means. It is an Amendment with which I have great sympathy. In Committee the hon. Member for Moray and Nairn (Mr. G. Campbell) moved an Amendment which had a comparable objective, and I voted against it, because it was not properly worded and did not do what was really intended.
§ Mr. G. Campbell
It was restricted to the Highland area. This one goes further, to the adjacent areas.
§ Mr. Johnston
Looking at the Bill as a relatively rational individual, I would have thought that the words in Clause 1(2)The area within … which the functions of the Board shall be exercisedwould also cover any powers embodied in subsequent Clauses. This would seem to be logical. Consequently, I feel that the Amendment is covered by the provisions of Clause 1(2). However, in a discussion which we had in Committee on an Amendment proposed by the hon. Member for Moray and Nairn it appeared that according to legal definition these powers in reality cover the whole of 950 Scotland and not merely the area defined in Clause 1(2).
If I may quote the much quoted Minister of State, in Committee he saidThe Act is limited … to Scotland, but the hon. Member is correct in his interpretation of this Clause in saying it is not limited wholly and solely to the seven crofting counties. The reason is that we visualise it might be necessary in connection with works to be carried out on the borders of the seven crofting counties to do something over those borders for which it might be necessary to acquire the land."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Scottish Standing Committee, 27th April, 1965, c. 453]That argument was used to justify what appears to be the legal position. I do not pretend to understand why it is that the powers contained in the Clause apparently apply to the whole of Scotland, but if this is the case I would have thought that the Amendment was reasonable and sensible, in that it restores what we all thought was the original situation, namely, that the powers contained in Clause 4 were covered by Clause 1(2). According to the hon. Member for Moray and Nairn that is precisely the sort of situation that he wishes to assure. If that is the object I do not think that the Minister can reasonably oppose it.
§ Mr. Willis
Perhaps I may intervene at this point. This debate covers a great deal of the ground that was covered in Committee. As the hon. Member for Moray and Nairn (Mr. G. Campbell) said, its effect would be to limit the Board's powers to the acquisition of land, whether by purchase, feu, lease, or excambion, in the areas defined as the Highlands and Islands under the provisions of Clause 1(2), and to any land adjacent thereto which the Board may reasonably require. Clearly, most of the land required by the Board will be in the Highland area. This is not a question of the main operations of the Board being outside the Highland area. Its main operations will be in the Highland area.
I suggested in Committee that there might be times when the Board would require to obtain land outside that area for the purpose of carrying out its functions within the seven crofting counties. To that extent we thought it necessary for it to have the power to acquire land outside the Highland area. During our discussions I gave a number of examples where it might be necessary to acquire 951 a piece of land just over the boundary in order to complete a job just within the border of the Highlands. There are other cases. These areas would be adjacent; in fact, they would be contiguous.
I am not sure what the definition of "adjacent" in the Amendment is. The areas need not be contiguous, as I understand it, but can be separated. But how far away can they be? What does the word mean—two miles, five miles, 10 miles, 15 miles, or 20 miles?
§ Mr. Russell Johnston
Will the hon. Gentleman tell us what he thinks is the meaning of the word "proximity" in Clause 1(2)?
§ Mr. Willis
My right hon. Friend says, "Not on this Amendment". It means "nearness", but we are not discussing that definition at present. What we are discussing is the Amendment. We are not asking questions about Clause 1(2). We have a right to ask what "adjacent" means.
We have heard much about the Spey Valley scheme. It is always being quoted, and it has now become so familiar that every hon. Member who was on the Committee knows what we are talking about. Let us assume that the Board tackled the Spey Valley drainage scheme and for that purpose it became necessary to acquire land and carry out works 30 or 40 miles away in the hon. Gentleman's constituency. Would that be "adjacent"?
§ Mr. G. Campbell indicated assent.
§ Mr. Willis
If so, is 50 miles away adjacent? When does the hon. Gentleman stop? I think that he is agreeable to allow his constituency to be "adjacent" if it is to the benefit of his constituency.
§ Mr. Campbell
In that scheme any works carried out would be much closer to the nearest boundary of a crofting county. It might be 30 miles from Badenoch, where the work was being carried out. It might not be in Morayshire or Banffshire. It would probably be 15 miles away from the boundary. We have said that we are not wedded to the wording of sub-paragraph (b). 952 However, as the Government use the word "proximity" for "near", we are willing to use "near" in place of "adjacent". The purpose is to meet the position which the hon. Gentleman has described.
§ Mr. Willis
The hon. Gentleman agrees that it would be in order for the Board to have power to acquire land in Moray or Nairn. That might be 30 or 40 miles away. I asked what limit the hon. Gentleman puts on the distance if a piece of land is required to fulfil the Board's functions in the seven crofting counties.
§ Mr. G. Campbell
I can explain. That is the reason for the wording:which the Board reasonably require.If it is something which is clearly directly connected with some operation within the designated area of the Highlands, it is very unlikely to be much of a distance away.
§ Mr. Willis
But the Clause says this. There is no reason for the hon. Member's Amendment to say it. The opening words of the Clause are:For the purpose of any of their functions.The functions are defined in Clause 1. There is no need for the Amendment.
I asked the hon. Gentleman to what distance he was prepared to go to allow the Board to acquire land to fulfil its function. He pointed out that he has put certain words in his Amendment. I suggest that they are already covered by the opening words of the Clause. But the hon. Gentleman has not answered the question. If it is helping the Board to carry out its functions in relation to the seven crofting counties to have an information centre in the central belt of Scotland—in Edinburgh or Glasgow—is he prepared to let the Board have the land for that?
§ Mr. Campbell
As has been explained, and as the hon. Member for Inverness (Mr. Russell Johnston) so quickly pointed out, the purpose is to bring Clause 4 into line with Clause 1 that we have drafted the Amendment. If the hon. Gentleman wants to use the words "within the proximity of" instead of "adjacent to" we are happy about that. We do 953 not think that powers like these are needed for the sort of situation which the hon. Gentleman has described, for an office in Edinburgh. An office could be provided in a very different way.
§ Mr. Willis
The purpose of the Amendment is that the powers conferred on the Board by virtue of this Clause shall be applied to any land described or designated in terms of Clause 1(2) and any land adjacent thereto. But this Clause deals with land acquired by agreement, whether by way of purchase, feu or lease or whether by acquisition by agreement or compulsory acquisition. Apparently, the hon. Gentleman is not going to let the Board do anything.
§ Mr. Campbell indicated dissent.
§ Mr. Willis
The words are:The powers conferred on the Board by virtue of this section shall apply".This is why we are not disposed to accept the Amendment. We feel that efforts made by the Board to fulfil its functions in the area might well require it to purchase a piece of land, to acquire a piece of land by agreement or even to acquire compulsorily a small piece of land outside the Highland area in order to enable particular work to be carried out. For instance, it might be a small reservoir for the purpose of an industrial undertaking, and it might be 30 to 40 miles away. It is important for industries to have a proper water supply. The right hon. Gentleman opposite should know this from the case of the pulp mill at Corpach, because that was one of the determining factors in deciding that it should be where it is.
Suppose the Board wanted to do this, but could not. The hon. Gentleman would not give it the power to do it. We believe that the Board ought to have powers to do these things. The fears expressed by the hon. Gentleman and several others—not a very large number, I am glad to say—are quite unrelated to the function of the Government in relation to the Board. Hon. Gentlemen opposite talk as though this was a roundabout way of nationalising not only the Highlands, but a larger part of Scotland still. There is no such intention.
954 This is not a Bill for the purpose of nationalising the Highlands or any other large part of Scotland. It seeks to promote the economic and social development of the Highlands. It gives the Board the powers that we consider to be necessary to enable it to do that job. We consider that for the purpose of its duty it might find it necessary to acquire a piece of land by feu, lease, acquisition by agreement or compulsory acquisition, and, if so, we feel that it should be given the powers to do so.
There are two safeguards which I would point out to the hon. Gentleman and to the Liberal Party. First, the Board cannot acquire land unless it is related to the purpose of any of its functions. That is the first limitation. The second limitation or control over the activities of the Board is that the action has to be approved by the Secretary of State. The responsibility of the Secretary of State in this respect is another guarantee that the powers will not be abused. I emphasise that we have these guarantees against the abuse of powers given to the Board in the Clause, and we believe that these safeguards will ensure that the Board will act as we expect it to do.
The hon. Gentleman said that it would mean that a Left-wing Government could take land in the south of Scotland. If there were a Left-wing Government with a big majority in the House and it wanted land in the south of Scotland, it would take it without a Highlands and Islands Development Act. Therefore, do not let hon. Members say that this is an excuse or means for a Government to do that.
§ 6.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Brewis
Will the hon. Gentleman consider a case in which the Board acquires land compulsorily against the wishes of a local authority? Why should not the local authority acquire the land, which could then be purchased by the Board? Why do we need all this procedure?
§ Mr. Willis
The answer is that the Secretary of State would decide. The Board would not be able to acquire the land, if it was wanted by the local authority, without the authority of the Secretary of State. That is the safeguard and that is the short answer. These powers are limited by the words of the 955 Clause. There are safeguards in the Bill to ensure that these powers will not be abused. We feel that they are necessary if the Board is to be equipped to do the job which we ask and expect it to do. For these reasons, I ask the House to reject the Amendment.
§ Mr. Russell Johnston
The hon. Gentleman knows that I am not criticising those powers. What I wish to make clear, and what the hon. Gentleman in Committee promised to make clear, was whether these powers in Clause 4 cover the whole of Scotland or whether his advice is that they are confined to the area defined in Clause 1(2). If it is the latter, I am quite happy, but it is because I am afraid that it is not that I support the Amendment.
§ Mr. Willis
I made this clear in Committee. These powers to acquire land apply to land outside the Highland area, but it has to be related to the functions of the Board and the Board's functions are related to the Highland area.
§ Mr. Wylie
All this began as a result of what the Minister of State said in Committee. The hon. Member for Inverness (Mr. Russell Johnston) has quoted one passage from the speech of the Minister of State when he said:The act is limited by Clause 18(2) to Scotland, but the hon. Gentleman is correct in his interpretation of this Clause in saying it is not limited wholly and solely to the seven crofting counties. The reason is that we visualise it might be necessary in connection with works to be carried out on the borders of the seven crofting counties to do something over those borders for which it might be necessary to acquire the land.That is fair enough.
The hon. Gentleman went on to say thatat the moment, as I have said, our ideas in connection with the Board are that we would like it to have the powers to obtain land by lease, by feu, by excambion—I must use that word—or by compulsory acquisition just outside the area of the seven crofting counties in order to enable the Board to carry out schemes approved by the Secretary of State and, where it is found necessary, to acquire the land neighbouring that particular scheme in order to carry it out successfully."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Scottish Standing Committee, 27th April, 1965; c. 453–5.]It now looks as though, on further thought, the Government had other ideas as to the purposes for which they require 956 those powers. If what the hon. Gentleman said in Committee was what was required, the Amendment, with all its undoubted imperfections—because we do not have the guidance of Parliamentary draftsmen—meets those requirements in toto.
The Amendment is an attempt to clarify the area over which the statutory powers in relation to land can be exercised. It clarifies those powers as being in relation to the area specified in the opening provisions of the Bill or any area subsequently designated under the powers contained in those opening provisions and, secondly,any land adjacent thereto which the Board reasonably require for the provision of services thereto or for the purpose of any of their functions under this Act.I thought, obviously wrongly, that we were going out of our way to accommodate the Minister in what he was asking. In Committee, I for one stated that I fully understood the need for that kind of requirement and I agreed that provision of that nature would be necessary.
§ Mr. Manuel
We now understand who drafted the Amendment. I am puzzled about this. Clause 1(2) defines the area in which the Board can carry out any of its functions. That enables cases to be dealt with on the borders of the counties—fringe areas, areas of proximity or whatever we call them. We know what we mean. The Amendment goes further in paragraph (b), where, after referring to Clause 1(2), it goes on to state:any land adjacent thereto which the Board reasonably require".Is that land adjacent to the land that is already adjacent to the crofter area? How much further can one go in this way? Obviously, paragraph (b) of the Amendment does not mean the land adjacent to a crofting county, but land adjacent to land which is adjacent to a crofting county.
§ Mr. Wylie
I do not entirely follow that line of thought. Clause 1 defines the area as the counties of Argyll, Caithness, and so on. Then there is a reserve power to extend that area, because subsection (2) goes on to say:and such other areas in Scotland as, having regard to their character and proximity to 957 the said counties, the Secretary of State may, by order made by statutory instrument, from time to time designate.That means that with the passage of time, on cause shown, the Secretary of State can extend the area within which this legislation applies.
The object of the Amendment relates to the acquisition of land—and one should avoid confusion between carrying on a business under Clause 6 and the acquisition of land, because they are not by any means the same thing; there are powers under Clause 6 which could be exercised without any problem of the acquisition of land arising. We are dealing in Clause 4 with the acquisition and use of land. The aim of our Amendment is that not only should the Board's power to acquire land compulsorily, if need be, be exercised within the Highland area—either the original Highland area or what it becomes as a result of subsequent Statutory Instruments, or any adjacent land thereto which is reasonably required—
§ Mr. Clark Hutchison
I have looked up the meaning of "adjacent". According to the Oxford Dictionary, it means lying near to, adjoining or bordering.
§ Mr. Wylie
The Oxford Dictionary is not necessarily conclusive in a court of law. I did not appreciate that the Minister of State would have this difficulty; it was all kinds of other difficulties which, I understood, would arise. I am sure that if one looked up Stroud's Judicial Dictionary, almost certainly it would be found that the word "adjacent" in some statutory connection or other has been the subject of legal definition. The Minister of State cannot make too much of the question of what is meant by "adjacent".
§ Mr. David Steel
Is it the effect of the Amendment to add to the powers of the Board? If what we have been told is true, and while, under subsection (2), areas in proximity or adjacent areas must be approved by the Secretary of State, according to the Amendment the Board is being given this further blanket power.
§ Mr. Wylie
There may be circumstances in which it is necessary to go beyond the border, beyond the line, because it would be ludicrous to frustrate an enterprise substantially within the area just because the Board had no powers to acquire land outside the area.
The question is: where do we draw the line? That is the whole question. The kind of situation which the hon. Gentleman has been suggesting was certainly not suggested in Committee, and I wonder whether the Government have really thought out what kind of thing this Board is to do. Is it necessary, when we define an area in which the powers are to be exercised, to say, in addition to that, that in order to enable it to fulfil its functions this Board must have power to acquire land by compulsion anywhere in Scotland? It may be a question of degree. We think that that is going unnecessarily far; that it is quite unnecessary; and that the same result can be achieved by an Amendment like the one we have moved, with the Board exercising its functions within the designated area or within an area adjacent thereto in circumstances which require the exercise of those powers.
It is not open to the hon. Gentleman to say, "Oh, we could not carry on an advertising agency or we could not carry on anything else unless we can acquire land." That is not so, because at the moment there are powers in Clause 6, quite distinct from those in Clause 4, to acquire by agreement and carry on business. That is not affected by the powers to acquire land. In the following Clause—and this is very apposite to the question of publicity which one hon. Member raised—in Clause 7(b) there is power to which no exception has been taken,to promote or assist in the promotion of publicityand, in Clause 7(c),to engage in such other activity as the Board may deem expedient".959 Where, by Statute, powers of that nature are given there is implied by law consequential power to take the necessary steps to do it. Those facilities are quite distinct from the whole question of the acquisition and use of land under Clause 4.
The hon. Gentleman talks about the limitations imposed on the Board—
§ Mr. A. Woodburn (Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire)
I am rather interested in the hon. and learned Gentleman's argument. He may be right, but there is just the possibility that he could be wrong, and if the Amendment proves to be quite frustrating, one which prevents the Board from doing something which really ought to be done, would it not be rather ridiculous that, to get that remedied, we should have to have another Act of Parliament, instead of having flexibility and common sense to deal with this, rather than try to tie the hands of the Board behind its back?
§ Mr. Wylie
I do not think that it is a question of common sense. It is a question of reading the Bill and seeing what facilities are available. The Board has facilities to carry on business or carry on publicity organisations or "engage in such other activity," and so on. There seems to have been confusion of thought between that type of activity and the acquisition and use of land, which is specially the feature dealt with in Clause 4. This Clause relates to the acquisition and use and disposal of land.
The question is: over what area are these powers to be exercised?
§ Mr. Wylie
Of course they say that. They say they must have the powers of compulsory purchase which they can exercise anywhere in Scotland. These are powers, however, relating to an area designated in Clause 1 and we say that we can achieve the same result as the Govern- 960 ment want by an Amendment similar to this.
This Amendment was taken out of the New Towns Act. If the hon. Gentleman is worried about the use of the word "adjacent", by all means let us use another word, or incorporate a definition of it in the Interpretation Clause. There are all kinds of ways in which the parliamentary draftsman can clear up doubts of the kind the hon. Gentleman has expressed about the use of the word "adjacent".
Finally, just one other point on something the Minister of State said. He said that nobody has got any reason to worry about the powers because if anybody thinks the Board has too much power he can go to the Secretary of State. That, of course, begs the whole question, because our criticism of this whole set-up is that the Secretary of State and the Board are far too close, and this arises very sharply on the question of compulsory purchase, because although, under the Acquisition of Land (Authorisation Procedure) Act, 1947, the Board, it is quite true, would have to apply to the Secretary of State to have a compulsory purchase order confirmed, of course, as was pointed out in Committee, so close are the Board and the Secretary of State, and so tight the directions which the Secretary of State can give to the Board, that what is happening is that the Secretary of State and the Board, particularly on the question of compulsory purchase, are one and the same thing. Therefore, the Secretary of State is, in that event, deciding a semi-judicial issue in a matter to which he himself is a party.
We all recognise in this day and age that statutory bodies have to be given wide powers. Nobody is suggesting otherwise. What we are saying, as, I think, we are entitled to say, is that it is the duty of this House to examine these powers before it grants them, and to be satisfied that there is a social and economic need for these powers before it grants them, and nothing has been said, on Second Reading, or in Committee, or today, which justifies, in my submission, refusing the kind of Amendment we have put forward in all good faith at this stage.
§ Mr. Ross
We have had quite a long debate on this Amendment, and very 961 much longer than I had anticipated, particularly in view of the progress which we had made. I want to pay this tribute to the Opposition, because when we started on this Bill they were so frightened about the powers in the Bill that I am perfectly sure they were prepared to vote against the whole lot of them.
Now we have the hon. Gentleman the Member for Moray and Nairn (Mr. G. Campbell)—and this should be understood by everyone—saying that the Opposition are now prepared to support the Government in respect of the powers they need under this Clause for the purchase of land either by agreement or by compulsion. When, in Committee, we looked at this from the point of view of the needs of the Board, they went one step further, and they said, "We even think it might be necessary to acquire land outside the area designated in Clause J."
I am a little surprised that the hon. Gentleman should have made such a song and dance about this. It is a question of definition: how far do we go?
§ Mr. Ross
I do not go the whole way. I am trying seriously to meet the hon. and learned Gentleman's argument and Amendment. He limits the exercise of this power to get land whether by purchase. lease, or any other way, outside the area. It is limited by the words "adjacent to". This is the only point, I think, between us. I admit right away that, for the greater part of the work of this Board, the land which it will require will be within the designated area. We have said that there may be occasions when it may need land just outside of it. To get that land which is outside it may be absolutely essential to apply these powers of acquisition, compulsory or otherwise, if, without that land, the Board were to find itself hampered in any essential project.
The question arises whether the word "adjacent" meets all the possible cases. It does not. I can remember arguments on these very words on a Bill quite recently. I think that it was the Spray Irrigation (Scotland) Act, of celebrated memory. It might be that some of the works connected with these projects might be a considerable distance away and 962 even over the Border. The hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh, Pentlands (Mr. Wylie) said that the wording of the Amendment came from the New Towns Act, 1946. This was from Section 4, dealing with land use. Paragraph (a) dealt with any land within the area designated. Paragraph (b) dealt with any land adjacent to that area required for purposes connected with a development of a new town, but the hon. and learned Gentleman did not mention paragraph (c) which refers to:Any land, whether adjacent to that area or not …
§ Mr. Ross
All right, there may be essential requirements relating to projects in the Highland areas which would require land outside and which could not be covered by the word "adjacent". I hope that the hon. and learned Gentleman will see that we are not seeking in this way to nationalise the whole of the land of Scotland. Unless he gets rid of his original fears about the Bill he will not get our intentions right.
§ Mr. Wylie
Will the right hon. Gentleman accept paragraph (c) from the New Towns Act since he has quoted it and it is perfectly acceptable for this Amendment?
§ Mr. Ross
We would be discussing something which is not on the Notice Paper, and on Report we must limit our discussions to what is on the Paper.
It might be desirable for the Board to have offices in different parts of Scotland which could not be construed as in any way adjacent. It might require a market stall or a publicity exhibition centre. We would not be able to acquire that land by purchase, feu, lease or excambi[...]. Hon. Members opposite are making far too heavy weather of this. The Secretary of State has to give authority and the hon. and learned Gentleman's fears are quite unjustified. The hon. and learned Gentleman has taken a step forward but it does not meet the whole point and I think that he now sees that the word "adjacent" might be limiting. I assure him that we shall look at the matter further but I hope that he will not hold up the proceedings of the House on a fairly narrow point in which there is a 963 question of distrust of motive and of intention rather than any real substance.
I hope that the House will see its way to resist the Amendment.
§ Question put, That those words be there inserted in the Bill:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 81, Noes 103.963
|Division No. 186.]||AYES||[6.54 p.m.|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.)||More, Jasper|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Errington, Sir Eric||Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael|
|Anstruther-Gray, Rt. Hn. Sir W.||Eyre, Reginald||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Foster, Sir John||Peyton, John|
|Baker, W. H. K.||Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)||Pym, Francis|
|Balniel, Lord||Gardner, Edward||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife)||Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)|
|Batsford, Brian||Glover, Sir Douglas||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Goodhew, Victor||Shepherd, William|
|Bell, Ronald||Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)||Stodart, Anthony|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)||Griffiths, Peter (Smethwick)||Taylor, Edward M. (G'gow,Cathcart)|
|Biffen, John||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Thomas, Sir Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Bingham, R. M.||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd)||Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Hastings, Stephen||Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. J.||Heald, Rt. Hn. Sir Lionel||Walker, Peter (Worcester)|
|Boyle, Rt. Hn. Sir Edward||Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hn. Dame P.||Webster, David|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Whitelaw, William|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Iremonger, T. L.||Williams, Sir Rolf Dudley (Exeter)|
|Campbell, Gordon||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)||Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Selwyn (Wirral)||Wise, A. R.|
|Corfield, F. V.||McAdden, Sir Stephen||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)||McLaren, Martin||Woodhouse, Hon. Christopher|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Cunningham, Sir Knox||McMaster, Stanley||Wylie, N. R.|
|Curran, Charles||Mawby, Ray||Younger, Hn. George|
|Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F.||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.|
|Doughty, Charles||Meyer, Sir Anthony||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Eden, Sir John||Monro, Hector||Mr. MacArthur and|
|Mr. Dudley Smith.|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Hazell, Bert||Page, Derek (King's Lynn)|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Herbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret||Palmer, Arthur|
|Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Holman, Percy||Park, Trevor (Derbyshire, S.E.)|
|Bessell, Peter||Hooson, H. E.||Pentland, Norman|
|Bishop, E. S.||Horner, John||Rankin, John|
|Bowen, Roderic (Cardigan)||Howie, W.||Redhead, Edward|
|Bradley, Tom||Hoy, James||Rhodes, Geoffrey|
|Brown, Hugh D. (Glasgow, Provan)||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Brown, R. W. (Shoreditch & Fbury)||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Rodgers, William (Stockton)|
|Buchan, Norman (Renfrewshire, W.)||Hunter, A. E. (Feltham)||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Buchanan, Richard||Jeger, George (Goole)||Rose, Paul B.|
|Carmichael, Neil||Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Ross, Rt. Hn. William|
|Chapman, Donald||Johnston, Russell (Inverness)||Shinwell, Rt. Hn. E.|
|Dalyell, Tam||Jones, Rt.Hn. Sir Elwyn (W.Ham, S.)||Short, Rt.Hn.E. (N'c'tle-on-Tyne, C.)|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Kenyon, Clifford||Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton, N.E.)|
|Doig, Peter||Lomas, Kenneth||Silkin, John (Deptford)|
|Driberg, Tom||Loughlin, Charles||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Dunnett, Jack||Lubbock, Eric||Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)|
|Ennals, David||McCann, J.||Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)|
|Fletcher, Sir Eric (Islington, E.)||MacColl, James||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||Mackenzie, Alasdair (Ross&Crom'ty)||Steel, David (Roxburgh)|
|Floud, Bernard||Mackie, George Y. (C'ness & S'land)||Taverne, Dick|
|Garrow, A.||MacMillan, Malcolm||Thomas, George (Cardiff[...] W.)|
|Ginsburg, David||Mahon, Peter (Preston, S.)||Thornton, Ernest|
|Gourlay, Harry||Manuel, Archie||Tomney, Frank|
|Grey, Charles||Mason, Roy||Walden, Brian (All Saints)|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hn. James (Llanelly)||Millan, Bruce||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Grimond, Rt. Hn. J.||Miller, Dr. M. S.||Wallace, George|
|Hale, Leslie||Molloy, William||Warbey, William|
|Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Murray, Albert||Weitzman, David|
|Hamilton, William (West Fife)||Norwood, Christopher||Whitlock, William|
|Hamling, William (Woolwich, W.)||Ogden, Eric||Willis, George (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Harper, Joseph||O'Malley, Brian||Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.|
|Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Orme, Stanley|
|Hart, Mrs. Judith||Oswald, Thomas||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Mr. Lawson and Mr. Fitch.|