HL Deb 05 June 1918 vol 30 cc85-7

Debate upon the Motion for the Third Reading resumed (according to Order).


My Lords, when this Bill was before the House in the earlier stages of the debate I took exception to its going forward until there should be a clear statement from the Board of Trade as to policy. I drew attention to the fact that the waste of coal under the existing systems is enormous, and that after the war it will be vital that we should save very large sums indeed, which might be saved if a proper system of national electrical supply were adopted. Since the previous debate the Board of Trade have published a very important Report upon electrical supplies, following up the Report of the Coal Conservation Committee of which I was Chairman. That new Report is so far-reaching and so important, containing, as I gather it does, the broad principles of which the Board of Trade approve, that it makes a great difference in my view about this Bill. I object to any Bills going forward that are not in accordance with the general policy laid down by the Board of Trade. I think that we are in sight of something like a general policy as evidenced by the publication of this Report; and this Bill had put into it in the Committee over which Lord Muir Mackenzie presided Clause 40, which is a sterilisation clause, and which will enable the District Electrical Councils which the Report proposes to set up to purchase the undertaking proposed to be established by this Bill in such a fashion as will lead to no public loss. In these circumstances I think that the Board of Trade have taken the right course, and that I should have no justification at all, nor have I any desire, to put any further difficulty in the way of this Bill passing.


My Lords, on behalf of the Board of Trade I will, with the permission of the House, say a word on this stage of the Bill. The point on which the Lord Chairman moved the adjournment of the debate on the last occasion has, I understand, been met by the Amendments which were moved by the promoters, and which the Lord Chairman will presently indicate. The only other point is that referred to by the noble and learned Viscount opposite, and I am glad to understand that the insertion of the sterilisation clause (Clause 40) is satisfactory to the noble and learned Viscount and meets the objections which he previously indicated. The Report of the Electric Power Supply Committee is now being received, and is being presented to both Houses of Parliament. It is under consideration at this moment by the Board of Trade, but the problems involved are of great magnitude, and it is not yet possible for the Government to formulate any statement of general policy. The proposals contained in the Bill, as amended by the Select Committee, do not, however, conflict with any of the recommendations contained in the Report of the Electric Power Supply Committee or of the Coal Conservation Sub-Committee; nor do they appear likely to conflict with any action that is likely to be taken as the result of those Reports. The Board of Trade understand that the additional facilities under the Bill in question are urgently requited, and they accordingly do not desire to raise any question as to the further progress of tills Bill.


My Lords, as it was on my Motion that there was further consideration of this Bill on Third Reading, perhaps I ought to say a word. Your Lordships may, perhaps, remember that upon that occasion I expressly stated that I had no desire that there should be any delay in the progress of the Bill, and that the action taken was not on account of any objection that I entertained myself or had to mention on behalf of the Committee; but by the promoters themselves it had been pointed out that very important national interests were affected by the proposals in the Bill, and the Committee were of opinion—although they approved of the Bill. with the Amendments and limitations which they put into it. and in the usual way reported to the House that they thought with these Amendments the Bill might proceed—that it was not right that they should deal with a subject which appeared to raise questions of exceptional importance affecting large pro ects which were understood to be under the consideration of the Government. The Com- mittee therefore decided to call the attention of the House to the fact that the Bill was not one which should simply go through as a matter of course, without the House, which on Third Reading becomes responsible for the Bill, being acquainted with what it was and how it might affect those great interests to which I have referred. I am very glad to hear—and I am sure I may speak on behalf of the Committee—that this subject has now been fully considered, and that the Government and the House are aware of the scope of the Bill; and certainly I may say, on behalf of the Committee, that we wish to see the Bill go down to the other House in due course.

On Question, Bill read 3a.


My Lords, there are two Amendments with regard to which I do not desire to detain your Lordships. They have been referred to already by my noble friend. They are printed and before your Lordships. Their object is to bring the Bill into harmony with the Act of 1899; and I therefore, in accordance with the usual custom, formally move that the Amendments be agreed to.

Amendments moved—

Page 4, after Clause 1, insert the following clause:— This Act shall be deemed to be a special Act within the meaning of the Electric Lighting Acts 1882 to 1909 and the Electric Lighting (Clauses) Act 1899 but Sections 2 and 3 of the Electric Lighting Act 1888 shall not apply to the Company or the undertaking.

Page 4, Clause 2, at the end add:— And the provisions of the Schedule to the Electric Lighting (Clauses) Act 1899 except the following provisions that is to say Section 2 subsection (2) Sections 3, 5, 7 to 9, 21 to 29, 30 (so far as regards a supply to authorised undertakers) 31 to 37, 41, 48, 75 and 78 and any provisions (other than those of Section 69) with respect to the revocation of the special order and the sections and provisions so excepted from incorporation shall not apply to the Company or the undertaking and Section 81 of the said Schedule shall not apply to any generating station or works erected on any of the lands described in the First Schedule to this Act."—(The Earl of Donoughmore.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Bill passed, and sent to the Commons.

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