HL Deb 18 March 1892 vol 2 cc1181-3


Order of the Day for the Third Reading, read.


My Lords, I have to ask your Lordships to accept an Amendment that I have ventured to propose, and I think I ought to explain why it is I have introduced it at so late a stage. The other day in the Standing Committee the noble Marquess of Huntly, who is not in the House to-day, suggested that a difficulty had arisen in the County of Aberdeen in consequence of two decisions that had been given by two legal authorities in Scotland, as to the power of the County Councils to divide the rating as between the districts and the whole county. At that time the noble Marquess asked me to postpone the Bill, so that the difficulty might be reconsidered, and, if necessary, some arrangements made to get rid of it. I was unable to acquiesce in the suggestion of the noble Marquess for postponement, because it is absolutely necessary under the circumstances that the Bill should be passed as soon as possible; but I have since gone into the question and I find that a certain amount of difficulty has arisen, and therefore I venture to propose an Amendment to your Lordships to get rid of the difficulty that the noble Marquess then suggested. The circumstances are these: Under the Roads and Bridges Act, 1878, Section 58, the then Road Authorities had power in the case of the construction of new roads, or the building of bridges, to assess either the districts or the whole county for the purpose of such construction of new roads or bridges. Under the Local Government Act of 1889 unfortunately the power of levying rates by the County Council was placed, not according to the regulations under Section 58 of the Act of 1878, but under Section 52 of that Act which only affects the maintenance of roads and bridges; and what I propose to ask your Lordships to give effect to, which is the object of the Amendment, is to restore that power to the County Councils which they had under the Roads Act of 1878, and to give them the power to levy rates for the purpose of the construction of new bridges only either over the districts or over the whole county. But in addition to that the Amendment has another object which I think your Lordships will agree is a desirable one—namely, that the County Council should have power to levy a differential rate, so to speak, upon the districts and upon the county; that is to say that while the chief rating should be upon the districts immediately affected, and immediately interested by the construction of the bridge, the County Council should have power to give what would practically be an assistance from the remainder of the county towards that object. Those are the objects of the Amendment that I ask your Lordships to accept, and I have now to move that this Amendment be agreed to.

Amendment agreed to.

Bill read 3a (according to order); Amendments made; Bill passed, and sent to the Commons.