HC Deb 09 November 1966 vol 735 cc1417-9
Dr. Dickson Mabon

I beg to move Amendment No. 19, in page 6, line 39, after 'Treasury' to insert: 'and after consultation with such associations of local authorities as appear to him to be concerned,'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

It would be convenient if the Opposition's Amendment No. 20, in page 6, line 39, after 'Treasury' to insert: 'and after consultation with such associations of local authorities'. were considered at the same time.

Dr. Mabon

The Amendment is self-explanatory. It meets an obligation which I accepted in Committee.

Mr. G. Campbell

We are glad to see the Amendment on the Notice Paper, but it does not entirely meet our suggestion. There is a difference between the Government's Amendment and our Amendment No. 20.

The reason why the Government's Amendment goes only halfway is this. Perhaps the Under Secretary of State will be able to meet us on the other half. The specific grants to which the Clause refers will be deducted from the aggregate under Clause 2(2). All the local authorities are concerned about this because if one particular group of local authorities were to receive large specific grants that would automatically reduce what is left over to be divided among all the local authorities as rate support grant.

If the Under-Secretary of State can tell us that his interpretation of local authorities as appear to him to be concerned is that it includes the three local authority associations with which he normally negotiates, this would meet the point. But we think that our Amendment would have covered it much better.

Dr. Dickson Mabon

We wished to be consistent. It is conceivable that the Association of District Councils, or some regional grouping of local authorities—for example, the northern burghs or Border counties—might also demand audience of the Secretary of State on this subject even though they may have no locus standi. We therefore thought it better to say with such associations of local authorities as appear to the Secretary of State to be concerned. In this way, the question of who comes to the meeting is placed firmly in one corner, namely, with the Secretary of State, rather than be left to the associations to argue. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will accept this. We did it in previous Amendments in response to some of his objections in Committee. We thought that we should be consistent.

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. Wylie

I beg to move Amendment No. 21, in page 7, line 18, at the beginning to insert: 'Without prejudice to the generality of the preceding provisions of this section any.'

The Clause gives the Secretary of State certain powers to proceed by regulation. Those powers are broadly stated in subsections (1) and (2) and subsection (3) goes on to state that Regulations under this section may provide", after which follows a number of detailed examples.

This is purely a drafting Amendment. I do not regard it as essential, but in legislation of this nature it is common practice to have a proviso of this sort; and the Minister undertook to consider whether it was necessary or desirable to insert it. The Amendment is presented for that reason.

Dr. Dickson Mabon

I am happy to accept the Amendment. Since the hon. and learned Member feels that we ought to make this further clarification, I do not quarrel with him and I recommend that we incorporate it in the Bill.

Amendment agreed to.