HL Deb 21 July 1885 vol 299 cc1338-41

Amendments reported (according to order).


said, it was a most important and excellent Bill, and was proposed with the best intentions. But, at the same time, in its present shape, in regard to several of its clauses, it was difficult to be understood, being entirely unintelligible to the ordinary lay mind; and he would suggest that the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Salisbury) should prepare an explanatory Memorandum, which would clear up the references to many other Acts on the same subject.


said, that the suggestion of his noble Friend (the Earl of Longford) might be a very reasonable one, if the matter of the Bill were entirely new; but only a few weeks ago there had been laid before the House the Report of a Commission, containing not only an account of the changes that were proposed, but of the reasons which justified them. If he (the Marquess of Salisbury) were to prepare and circulate such an abstract as the noble Earl suggested, he should only be reprinting what had been laid on the Table in the language of the Commissioners only a few weeks ago.

On the Motion of the Marquess of SALISBURY, the following Amendments made:—In Clause 1, page 1, line 17, leave out ("from") and insert ("published by"); page 2, line 15, at end of line insert ("except after a fresh application, inquiry, and certificate"); line 31, leave out ("further") and insert ("fresh"); page 3, line 17, after ("declared") insert ("at the time of the publication of the certificate"); line 38, after ("works") insert— ("And in the application of the said Acts to a rural sanitary district. 'district' shall mean the said district, and 'board' the rural sanitary authority"); and in Clause 2, page 3, line 42, at end of line insert— ("And the purposes of the said Act shall ho deemed to include the provision of such houses and cottages").

Amendment moved, In Clause 3, add at the end ("Provided that the price shall not be less than the price paid for the land when it was purchased on behalf of Her Majesty or of the county of Middlesex respectively").—(The Marquess of Salisbury.)


said, it was clear, whether the land was sold at a reduced price, or whether a sum of money was given out of the Government funds, the effect was precisely the same, provided a site was found with the money given. The noble Marquess said that the benevolent intention of the Bill was to redress certain wrongs apparently sustained by the working classes through the demolition of buildings in the Metropolitan area for railways and other public improvements. Why should we wait to do that until Millbank ceased to be a prison? If a site were found, why should not the money be given at once? If it were right that the thing should be done, why should it not be done at once? He trusted that there was enough money in the Treasury; and, if so, it might as well be applied at once to the benevolent purpose which the noble Marquess desired to carry out.


said, if the noble and learned Lord were not a member of the Legal Profession ho should ask him whether ho had ever heard of such a thing as double costs? It was difficult to argue the point with one who professed an innocent ignorance of the nature of solicitors' bills. If the money were given at once to buy a new site, and it were to be recouped afterwards by the sale of the old site, there would be two sets of solicitors' bills; and the Report of the Select Committee showed that solicitors' bills were an enormous element in the cost of such operations, and had stood much in the way of their being carried out. He preferred when the land became available, that it should be used for the purpose, thereby avoiding the costs upon the sale of one site and the purchase of another. Ho believed that the process proposed in the Bill was the more economical, and the suggestion of the noble and learned Lord would lead to a much larger expenditure. If this humble scheme did not succeed, then the more ambitious scheme of the noble and learned Lord could be taken into consideration.

Amendment agreed to; words added accordingly.


said, he learnt from a medical man, who for years had had exceptional opportunities of knowing, that gipsies were singularly exempt from zymotic diseases, and, indeed, were a very healthy race. The sanitary visitation and inspection proposed by the Bill would be quite superfluous in the case of the gipsies, and would be correspondingly offensive to them; and ho therefore would move the omission of the word "tent" from various parts of the Bill. His object was to make the necessarily inquisitorial power given by the Bill as little oppressive as possible.

Amendment moved, in Clause 10, page 6, line 34, to leave out the word|("tent"). —(The Earl Fortescue.)


said, he was afraid there was evidence that the condition of dwellers in tents was not quite so Arcadian as the noble Earl seemed to suppose; but, at any rate, he doubted the desirability of giving them special privileges. He could not understand why the dwellers in tents should have more licence to commit a nuisance than those who lived in vans. The question was quite as much a moral as a sanitary question.

Amendment negatived.


said, he wanted to know what was the meaning of the words in Clause 12, Sub-section 2— Any corporate body holding' land may sell, exchange, or lease such lands. Did it mean to give them power to sell where they had no power to sell at present, or did it empower them to sell at a lower price without committing a breach of trust, or did it mean both?


said, the clause undoubtedly bore the interpretation which the noble and learned Lord had, put upon it. It was intended to give public Corporations, with public objects in view, a clearer power than they had now.


asked whether there would be any limit to the benvolence of any owner in London, say, near the River, near Salisbury Street; in fact, would there be any check to the devotion of the whole of such a property to the benevolent purpose of building working-men's dwellings, or any benevolent undertaking of that kind?


said, he did not know what check the noble Earl could have, other than the personal interest of the owner of the land, which had been found to be a very strong one.

Bill to be read 3ª on Friday next; and to be printed, as amended. (No. 196.)