HC Deb 04 May 1965 vol 711 cc1136-8
The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government (Mr. Robert Mellish)

I beg to move Amendment No. 1, in page 3, line 20, after "Board" to insert "(a)".

May I suggest that we discuss, with this Amendment, Amendment No. 2 and Amendment No. 4.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Dr. Horace King)

I have no objection, if neither side of the House has.

Mr. Mellish

The three Amendments are linked. They have one object. These Amendments cure a small defect in Clause 3, and make consequential changes in the drafting of the Scottish applications in subsection (9). The Amendment of substance is Amendment No. 2, in page 3, line 25. Most of Clause 3 is designed to ensure that the gas industry pays the same amount of rates when the Gas Council makes or supplies gas at any place in Great Britain as it would pay if the gas had, instead, been made or supplied by the local area gas board.

Clause 3(2) is concerned with gas supplied by the Council to consumers at any place in Great Britain. It provides for such gas to count in the annual adjustment of the local board's rateable value as if the gas had, in fact, been supplied by the board. It should, but at present does not, provide for this gas also to count in the apportionment of the adjusted total rateable value between different rating authorities within the board's area.

This omission should be put right. Otherwise, if the Council should supply a quantity of gas in any rating area, there will be no rate benefit to that area but, instead, an undeserved increase in the rate benefit gained by other rating authorities within the board's area. Therefore, the necessary correction for England and Wales is made by Amendments Nos. 1 and 2. Amendment No. 4 introduces the corresponding Scottish references and will lead to the consequential tidying up of subsection (9) by which the Clause is applied to Scotland.

Mr. Peyton

I think that we can deal with this matter very briefly. I only wish to call attention to the virtue and the strength which have habitually been shown by the Opposition in the passage of the Bill and to congratulate ourselves on the way we have refrained from following the abominable example set in previous Parliaments by previous Oppositions. Whenever a Scottish matter was raised, there was an agonised squeal, "Why have we not got a Scottish Minister to deal with it?" It must be taken as evidence of our broad-mindedness and, indeed, of our regard for the Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government that we do not raise that type of fatuous point.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

I hope that the hon. Gentleman will be a little careful as to the width, breadth and significance of his remarks.

Mr. Braine

I rise to seek your guidance, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, as to whether, since I have a rating point to raise, I could conveniently raise it on these Amendments, or whether the rules of order permit me to discuss it on the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill".

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

The hon. Gentleman's Amendment is not selected and there is no opportunity at this stage of a Bill to discuss the Question, That the Clause stand part of the Bill. I must, therefore, disappoint the hon. Gentleman.

Amendment agreed to.

Farther Amendments made: In line 25, after "enactment", insert: and (b) for the purposes of paragraph 4(3) of that Schedule (which provides for apportioning that total among rating areas and for ascertaining the proportion to be allocated to each area) and the corresponding Scottish enactment".

In page 4, line 42, leave out from beginning to end of line 13 on page 5 and insert:

  1. (a) section 3 of the Local Government (Financial Provisions etc.) (Scotland) Act 1962 is the Scottish enactment corresponding to section 11 of the Local Government Act 1958 and paragraph (a) of the said section 3 is the Scottish enactment corresponding to subsections (2) and (3) of the said section 11;
  2. (b) Schedule 4 to the Valuation and Rating (Scotland) Act 1956 is the Scottish enactment corresponding to Schedule 3 to the Rating and Valuation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1955 and paragraphs 5 and 11 of the said Schedule 4 are the Scottish enactments corresponding respectively to paragraphs 4(3) and 12 of the said Schedule 3.—[Mr. Mellish.]