HL Deb 11 August 1881 vol 264 cc1508-11

Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee read.


said, that he felt bound to take advantage of that opportunity of again expressing his objection to Clause 14, which would entail heavy expense upon the ratepayers of the entire Metropolis, though the proposal had been made without Notice in the other House, or any preparation to contest its expediency or justice. The Bill, in fact, affected the interests of the ratepayers without giving them power to appear and protect those interests. He protested against legislation of that character being brought forward at this period of the Session, and in such a hurried way. The Amendment which was proposed to be moved by the noble Earl (Earl De La Warr) should be agreed to, as the proposition of the promoters of the Bill was most unusual.

House in Committee.

Clauses 1 to 13, inclusive, agreed to.

Clause 14 (Expenses of inquiry as to markets).


rose to move an Amendment which, he said, would have the effect of merely giving power under the clause to the Board of Works to make inquiries into the food supply of the Metropolis, without authorizing them to obtain further powers from Parliament. He submitted that if their Lordships agreed to the clause as it stood, the interests of the City would be se- riously affected, especially seeing that power would be given to set up rival markets against the City markets without notice having been given to the parties interested. It had been stated in the debate on the second reading of the Bill that the measure would not affect the interests of the Corporation of the City of London; but he was at a loss to understand how that could be. He contended that it did in a most important matter. Sums amounting to up wards of £3,000,000 had been invested in the City markets, upon the security of the Corporation; and he contended that that body was both willing and competent to do all that was required in the matter. The origin of this attempt to establish new markets was, of course, the alleged inadequacy of Billingsgate; but the lately issued Report of Mr. Spencer Walpole confirmed the view taken by the Corporation—that the true complaint against Billingsgate Market was, not that it was in every way insufficient, but that it was not easily accessible. The Corporation had already enlarged the market, and, having received the Report of a Committee, who had in an exhaustive manner inquired into the fish supply of the Metropolis, they were prepared, as far as possible, to do what might be necessary to make the market more easy of access. Before long they had every reason to believe they would be able to bring about that desirable result. Mr. Walpole had stated that it would be a serious loss to the public if the fish market were removed from the river side. There was no objection whatever to these markets being improved. It was not only the Corporation of London that was interested in this question. The ratepayers of the Metropolis were also largely interested. The effect of the Metropolitan Board taking into their hands all the markets of the City would be enormously expensive. Millions of money would be required to establish these markets, and the burden would fall upon the ratepayers, who were already overburdened with taxes, and were petitioning that some of those taxes should be removed. This Bill would give to the Metropolitan Board of Works power to borrow more money chargeable to the ratepayers for the supply of fish to the public, a large portion of whom were not ratepayers. He moved to omit all the words of the clause after the words "Management Act, 1855."

Moved, In page 6, line 39, to leave out from ("Metropolis Management Act, 1855") to end of clause.—(The Earl Be La Warr.)


said, he could not accept the noble Earl's Amendment, and felt he had some reason to complain of the course taken by the noble Earl with reference to this Bill. The other evening he gave the noble Earl a fair opportunity of taking the sense of the House on the question he had just raised; but he did not avail himself of that opportunity. The course now pursued appeared to him to be slightly unusual, inasmuch as the noble Earl had given no Notice of the Amendment to the House. Nor had he himself received private Notice of it.


said, he had sent Notice of it to the noble Lord.


said, in that case, no Notice had reached him. This was certainly a money clause, as it contained distinct provisions for money to be expended with a specified object. He could not agree with any of the arguments adduced by the noble Earl. The case was stated very fully the other evening, and he had nothing to add to that statement.


pointed out that the clause would not empower the Metropolitan Board of Works to establish a market in any part of the Metropolis. It only enabled them to make preliminary inquiries and arrangements for the introduction of a Bill, when the proper time would arrive for the City to make any objections they pleased to its proposals. The monopoly of Billingsgate doubled the price of fish, and led to the destruction of the unsold fish. The improvement of markets was necessary for the public good, and ought not to be sacrificed to a rivalry between the Metropolitan Board and the Corporation of the City. He hoped their Lordships would not agree to deprive the Board of the power they ought to possess of considering whether there should not be a fish market in the Metropolis in addition to that of the City. The objection of the Corporation was invented too late. If it had been valid it ought to have prevented the Hungerford and Columbia markets.


said, the Corporation of the City of London did not object to the establishment of any number of retail markets.


remarked that, if that were so, he could not understand why they objected to this clause, seeing that it afforded the only practical means by which a great public want could be met.

On question, resolved in the negative.

Clause agreed to.

Remaining clauses agreed to.

Bill reported without amendment; and to be read 3a To-morrow.