§ Lord STRACHIE rose to ask His Majesty's Government, whether they can assure the House that the Milk and Dairies (Consolidation) Bill is purely a Consolidation Bill and does not alter the existing law in any respect: whether they will state why subsection (3) of Section 17 of the Milk and Dairies Act, 1914, is not re-enacted in the Consolidation Bill, and what is the object of the Fifth Schedule to the Bill; and whether such a Schedule is usual in Consolidation Bills.
The noble Lord said: My Lords, I must apologise to my noble friend for giving him such short notice of this Question, but the subject is one which is very much exercising the minds of the dairy farmers
of this country; and the British Dairy Farmers' Association, on behalf of whom I am acting, are anxious to be assured that this Consolidation Bill does not alter the existing law in any respect. Their suspicion that an alteration in the law was contemplated was aroused from the fact that subsection (3) of Section 17 of the Act of 1914 is not re-enacted. For the information of your Lordships I will read subsection (3). It runs—
Section thirty-four of the Contagious Diseases (Animals) Act, 1878, as amended by Section nine of the Contagious Diseases (Animals) Act, 1886, and this Act shall, notwithstanding anything in the Public Health (London) Act, 1891, extend to London.
On the face of it, therefore, it would appear that the Milk and Dairies Act, which did extend to London, will not extend to London in the future. Like myself, the noble Lord who represents the Local Government Board is interested in all that appertains to dairy questions, and is perfectly well aware that until the Milk and Dairies Act of last session was passed we always had enormous trouble and difficulty with London, on account of London coming down and insisting on interfering with us in our local administration. It is feared that there may be something in this Consolidation Bill which takes away the benefits that were conferred by that Act upon the provinces. Anyhow, it does seem strange that in a Consolidation Bill certain existing provisions should not be re-enacted and no explanation given. I hope, therefore, that on this point the noble Lord will be able to satisfy those upon whose behalf I speak; and I trust that those members of your Lordships' House who sit upon the Joint Committee by whom this Consolidation Bill is being considered will take care that it is purely a consolidation measure and that it does not make the slightest alteration in the existing law.
§ LORD HYLTON
My Lords, in reply to the Question put by my noble friend Lord Strachie, I hope to be able to satisfy him and the House that the measure to which he refers is purely a Consolidation Bill. It is not designed to alter the existing law in any respect, but merely to reproduce in one Act provisions included in the Contagious Diseases (Animals) Acts, 1878 and 1886, and the Milk and Dairies Act, 1914. It was introduced in fulfilment of a pledge given last year by Mr. Samuel during the passage of the Bill of 1914.
53 The noble Lord asks why subsection (3) of Section 17 of the Milk and Dairies Act, 1914, is not re-enacted in the Consolidation Bill. That subsection provided that Section 34 of the Act of 1878, as amended by Section 9 of the Act of 1886, should apply to London. This was necessary as these sections did not apply to London, which was governed by Section 28 of the Public Health (London) Act, 1891, but this Section 28 was repealed by the Act of 1914. The Consolidation Bill now before the Joint Committee will be found to incorporate Section 34 of the Act of 1878 as amended by Section 9 of the Act of 1886, and those sections, as thus now incorporated, apply to London as well as to the rest of the country. In these circumstances the, reproduction of subsection (3) of Section 17 of the Act of last year is unnecessary.
The other point on which my noble friend asked for information was as to the object of the Fifth Schedule. This Schedule is an attempt to collect for the information of dairymen the chief provisions affecting them outside the scope of the present Bill. I believe that, as a matter of fact, it is rather unusual to add a Schedule of this character in Consolidation Bills, but it was thought, in the special circumstances of the case, that it might be convenient. As my noble friend knows, if the Joint Committee to whom the Bill has been referred consider the Schedule in any way inappropriate they can strike it out. It is in no sense an extension of the existing law, and will not affect in any way the scope of the Bill.