§ Queen's Recommendation having been signified—
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That, for the purposes of any Act of the present Session to enlarge the functions of the Commission established under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 and to make provision as respects the countryside, it is expedient to authorize—
§ 4.1 p.m.
§ Mr. H. P. G. Channon (Southend, West)
I do not wish to delay the House at this hour of the day, but I did make some points about the Money Resolution and perhaps the Minister of State might feel inclined to answer them.
§ The Minister of State, Ministry of Housing and Local Government (Mr. Niall MacDermot)
The hon. Member for Southend, West (Mr. Channon) asked 1515 two questions. The first was whether the Money Resolution would exclude Amendments designed to allow a higher grant than 75 per cent. The answer is that it has that effect. As a former Financial Secretary, may I say that we do appreciate the importance, in the traditions of this House, of not drawing Financial Resolutions narrowly so as necessarily to exclude debate and Amendments. There is one well recognised exception, which is that the Government have the right, and indeed the duty, to draw Money Resolutions in such a way as to protect the Exchequer in the way that I find necessary. It would not be right to bring the Bill forward in any misleading way. We think that a 75 per cent. grant is a generous one and we cannot contemplate a higher percentage than that.
May I take this opportunity of saying one thing to clear up any possible misunderstanding. I appreciate that some of the areas where we might hope these country parks will be sited may well be poor areas where a 25 per cent. contribution would mean a very heavy rate burden. I do not see things working that way. In those circumstances, what I would expect and hope for, and what we will certainly do all we can to further, is that there would be an agreement between that authority and the neighbouring urban authority from which the likely urban users of the park would come, under which the urban authority could either just agree to make a grant towards the cost or itself participate in running the park, or even take it over and be entirely responsible for the remaining 25 per cent. I am glad to have this opportunity to show that this does not mean that a 25 per cent. burden has necessarily got to fall upon the county or county district in which the park would be situated.
The hon. Gentleman's second question was whether the Money Resolution is drawn in such a way as to prevent an Amendment being discussed recommend- 1516 ing some form of compensation for owners against malicious damage to property. As I read the Money Resolution, and on the advice which I have received, I see nothing whatever to limit such debate.
§ Question put and agreed to.