HC Deb 27 October 1966 vol 734 cc1399-400

8.30 p.m.

Mr. Willey

I beg to move Amendment No. 91, in page 66, line 14, to leave out 'entitled' and to insert:

  1. (a) the developing owner in relation to the project, or
  2. (b) entitled (otherwise than as developing owner).
I think that it would meet the convenience of the House, Mr. Deputy Speaker, if we considered at the same time two further Government Amendments, Nos. 92 and 97.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

If that is agreeable to the Opposition.

Mr. Graham Page indicated assent.

Mr. Willey

These are Amendments which clarify and simplify provisions which were criticised in Standing Committee as not being simple enough.

Mr. Rossi

I thank the Minister for that. We had some discussion in Committee on the subject of Amendment No. 97, and we warned the Minister that he stood in danger of being clobbered by the right hon. Member for Nuneaton (Mr. Cousins) if he persisted with the Clause as it stood. The Clause creates a rather ridiculous result. Any person who begins a material development is liable to a penalty not exceeding £500. Therefore, the very first workman who turns up on the site with his spade and digs the first hole is beginning a material development and, under the Bill as it stood, becomes liable to pay that fine of £500.

The Government are already in sufficient trouble with the trade unions. We tried to spare the Minister dangers of that kind, but he would have none of it. He said it was all nonsense. But we are glad to see that, during the Recess, after, no doubt, being very near to being clobbered by the right hon. Member for Nuneaton, he has seen discretion as the better part of valour and thought fit to amend the Clause as we urged him to do in the first place.

Amendment agreed to.