§ Order of the day for the Second Reading read.
LORD BALFOUR OF BURLEIGH
My Lords, your Lordships will be glad to hear that it is not necessary for me to occupy many moments of your time in asking for the Second Reading of this Bill. The Bill is an old friend of your Lordships, having passed this House with practical unanimity two years ago. Its object is to enable local authorities to exercise a certain reasonable amount 1297 of control over the display of advertisement boards within their districts. Past experience has shown that, when there is no power of regulation, appeals to common sense and to good feeling are rather apt to fall upon deaf ears, because the competition in this matter is sometimes very keen, and everyone who wishes to advertise at all is anxious to get the most prominent place and to display his advertisement in the most prominent way. There, have been some very flagrant cases, and although the wiser men in trade deplore this class of competition those who are less scrupulous out-bid them in the nature of the advertisements which are displayed. There have been, as I have said, some very flagrant cases, notably at Edinburgh and at Dover, and in both those cases and in others somewhat stringent provisions have had to be inserted in local Acts of Parliament. It is common ground between the promoters of this Bill and the Government Department concerned that the chance insertion of clauses in various local Acts is not a satisfactory way of dealing with this important matter, and the object of the Bill is to lay down certain general regulations. When the local authority have made their by-laws they will require confirmation by the central authority after due inquiry. This year the Bill has passed the other House of Parliament, and I am hopeful that the Government Departments concerned entirely approve of it. There will be one or two points which may require attention in Committee—in fact, I shall have myself to suggest to your Lordships one or two Amendments; but obviously it would be better to postpone the explanation of those points until we reach the Committee Stage, if your Lordships are good enough to give the Bill a Second Reading. I beg to move.
§ Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a."—(Lord Balfour of Burleigh.)
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
My Lords, I am sure the object of this Bill will commend itself to every Member of your Lordships' House, and I am instructed by His Majesty's Government to say that they will be very glad to do all they can to assist its passage into law.
1298 On Question, Bill read 2a (according to order), and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Thursday next.