§ [SECOND READING.]
§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
THE SECRETARY FOR SCOTLAND (The Marquess of LINLITHGOW)
My Lords, the Bill which I now ask you to read a second time seeks to enlarge the powers of the Congested Districts Board for Scotland. Section 4 of the original Act of 1897 confers upon the Board certain powers of expenditure of money placed at their disposal, but eight years experience has proved that those powers are insufficient. So long ago as the year 1899 my noble friend Lord Balfour of Burleigh introduced and passed through your Lordships' House a somewhat similar Bill to the one which I now present to you. It went to the House of Commons but did not obtain a Second Reading there. In the year 1893, and again in 1894, a similar measure was introduced into the House of Commons, but did not reach its Second Reading. The provisions of this Bill are briefly these; to enable the Board to make 1444 provision for the practical instruction of youths and girls in agriculture, trades, and other industries within the congested districts. Boys are to be taught seamenship, carpentering, tailoring, and other trades, and girls cooking, laundry work, and housework, so that they may be turned out into the world useful citizens, not forgetting, of course, that this practical instruction should only be supplementary in all cases to the ordinary school course. The second provision is to permit grants in aid of public health objects to be given to hospitals, and in respect of medical attendance and nursing in districts where the full statutory public health rate his already been levied or where the burden of general rating is oppressive and local resources are exhausted. In the third place it provides that advances are to be made for the improvement of existing and the erection of new dwellings. The Board are confident that if these powers are granted they will greatly accelerate the improvement which is already showing itself amongst the people in the congested districts. I ought to mention that the Board are by this measure restricted to devoting a maximum of one-fifth of the whole of their funds to the new objects under the Bill. I trust that your Lordships will pass the Bill and that before the end of the session it will become law, for it is a very necessary piece of legislation.
§ Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a."—(The Marquess of Linlithgow.)
§ On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the whole House on Monday next.