HL Deb 08 September 1887 vol 320 cc1632-4

(The Viscount Cross.)


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

Moved, "That the House do now resolve itself into a Committee upon the said Bill."—(The Viscount Cross.)


said, that, while he fully appreciated the difficulties of Her Majesty's Government in dealing with the course of Public Business in the other House of Parliament, at the same time he thought a measure of this importance, dealing, as it did, with the proprietary rights of the landowners of this country, should have been considered by their Lordships at a time when it could receive the full attention of the House. He regretted that the Bill had been put down for Committee at such short Notice, as he knew that there were several noble Lords who had wished to discuss the question. With regard to the general object of the measure, he had always expressed his opinion in favour of increasing the number of allotments available for the working classes. He objected, however, to the compulsory powers given by the Bill. They had had no evidence before them which would show that there was any difficulty in obtaining allotments; and he thought that before they adopted the principle of the compulsory taking of land contained in the Bill they might have had some further inquiry. It would have been far batter to have rested the Bill upon the readiness of landowners to give allotments, rather than by this compulsory clause to rob them of any credit in the matter. Before adopting that principle they should have tried the voluntary system, and if they had found it fail they could have gone back on to compulsion. He denied, however, that the voluntary system would have failed. He regretted that Her Majesty's Government, whether from Parliamentary or electoral exigencies, had gone as far as they had done in this Bill. He did not propose, however, to offer opposition to the passage of the measure, or to detain their Lordships by moving Amendments.


said, that if the Bill had come before their Lordships at an earlier period of the Session, he might have felt disposed to move certain Amendments. But he did not disapprove of the Bill as a whole, and he cordially-approved of its object. He should be sorry to see it delayed or endangered, and he therefore hoped that it would pass through the House without Amendment, or, at all events, without any Amendment of a contentious character. He thought the Government, especially the President of the Local Government Board, had dealt very fairly and reasonably with the subject in the circumstances in which they had been placed towards the end of the Session.


said, he did not consider the Bill altogether incapable of amendment. If there were time and opportunity it would be possible to make suggestions perhaps of some value in the way of simplifying the methods and machinery of the measure; but it would be most unfortunate at that period of the Session if any Amendment were made which would tend to delay, and possibly to defeat, the Bill. He desired, to know whether Clause 12 of the Bill would permit of the allotment managers turning part of the common land into meadow for the purposes of securing hay. There was some doubt on this point. He must be allowed to express his personal satisfaction, and he also believed that of the great majority of their Lordships, at Her Majesty's Government having been able to deal with the allotments' question that Session; and in spite of the somewhat ominous circumstance that his noble and learned Friend (Lord Bramwell) was in favour of the Bill, he thought it would be found to work well.


said, he also approved of the Bill; but he desired to move an. Amendment to Clause 12 if, in its present shape, it would not permit the allotment managers to set apart common land for hay, as it would be of little use supplying pasturage for labourers' cows, if moans were not also taken to supply them with hay during winter. He should like to know whether the point had been considered by the Government.


said, the point had been considered, and the Local Government Board were advised that there was nothing in the clause to prevent the allotment managers making provision for the supply of hay, as suggested.


said, that he, too, had been assured by a high authority that the clause in its present form would have the effect desired.


said, he could not allow the debate to close without expressing his acknowledgments to the House for the way in which the Bill had been received.

Motion agreed to; House in Committee accordingly; Bill reported without Amendment, and to be read 3a To-morrow.