§ Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee, read.
§ Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(Lord Hylton.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.
§ House in Committee accordingly.
§ [The EARL OF DONOUGHMORE in the Chair.]
§ Clause 1:
§ Postponement of Milk and Dairies Acts.
§ 1. The Milk and Dairies Act, 1914, and the Milk and Dairies (Scotland) Act, 1914, shall, notwithstanding anything in those Acts, not come into operation until such a date, not being later than the expiration of one year after the termination of the present war, as the Local Government Board and the Local Government Board for Scotland may respectively by order appoint.
§ LORD STRACHIE had on the Paper two Amendments, the effect of which would be to make Clause 1 read as follows, "The Milk and Dairies Act, 1914, and the and Dairies (Scotland) Act., 1914, shall, notwithstanding anything in those Acts, not come into operation until such date, not being earlier than the expiration of one year after the termination of the present war, unless Parliament otherwise determines."
§ The noble Lord said: I should like to ask my noble friend in charge of the Bill the reason for taking power for the Local Government Board to settle when the Bill should come into operation. As this clause stands in the Bill, it provides that the Act of 1914 shall not come into operation until a date not later than the expiration of one year after the termination of the present war. I have no wish to delay the coming into operation of the Act or unduly to force its operation upon the dairy interest, but I think it desirable that we should have some indication of the view of the Local Government Board as regards this matter. We should know whether their intention is to postpone the operation of the Act until after the end of the war or whether they think it might come into operation next year even if, unfortunately, the war is not then over. My object in putting down these Amendments is to get some expression of opinion as to what is in the mind of the Department in this matter. If the noble Lord cannot 175 accept the Amendments standing in my name on the Paper, I should like to ask whether he would accept an Amendment to insert, after "Local Government Board," the words "with the concurrence of the Board of Agriculture." My reason for asking that these words should be added is that the whole active part of the Act is under Orders issued by the Local Government Board, and, as the noble Lord knows, those Orders cannot be made except with the concurrence of the Board of Agriculture. It would give more satisfaction to agriculturists if, in the same way, it should be provided that the Act should not come into operation at a particular time unless the Board of Agriculture approved of its so doing.
Clause 1, page 1, line 8, leave out ("later") and insert ("earlier").—(Lord Strachie.)
§ LORD HYLTON
I explained yesterday in moving the Second Reading of the Bill, why it is suggested in Clause 1 that the Milk and Dairies Act, 1914, should not come into operation until such date, not being later than the expiration of one year after the termination of the present war, as the Local Government Board may by Order appoint. The reason, as I stated yesterday, is this. There is a great dearth at present of officers connected with the public health staffs of local authorities and also of the Local Government Board and of the Board of Agriculture, and the number of officers available for service under the Act is likely to be further diminished as time goes on owing to their being detached for military service. Therefore the Local Government Board thought well that the operation of the Act should be postponed for a period not more than twelve months after the end of the war. The Act of 1914 was a child of my noble friend opposite, and I think he is taking rather an unfortunate attitude towards his own offspring in wishing to put off its operation for a still further period. At the time the noble Lord was passing the Act of 1914 through your Lordships' House he invited you to trust the Local Government Board in the matter. The view of the Local Government Board is that it would be improper to postpone the operation of the Act for a longer period than twelve months after the war. With regard to the other question of the noble Lord, as to whether 176 there would be any objection to inserting the words "with the concurrence of the Board of Agriculture," I would point out that he has placed no Amendment to that effect on the Paper, and I suggest that if he wishes to move that Amendment he should put it down for a later stage.
§ LORD STRACHIE
I was only anxious to find out whether inv noble friend would object to that Amendment. Had he been inclined to agree to it, I could have moved its insertion straight away. As to the noble Lord's inference that I lack confidence in the Local Government Board, I beg to say that that is not the case. When my noble friend has had as long an official experience as I have had he will know that you always have complete confidence in the Department you represent, for if you have not you cease to represent it.
§ LORD HYLTON
I hope I may have as long an official experience as my noble friend has had. But with regard to his suggested Amendment to insert the words "with the concurrence of the Board of Agriculture," I must ask him to place it on the Paper for a future stage of the Bill.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ LORD STRACHIE did not move his second Amendment on the Paper.
§ Clause 1 agreed to.
§ Remaining clause agreed to.
§ Bill reported without amendment, and to be read 3a To-morrow.