§ Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee, read.
§ Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(Lord Gainford.)
§ VISCOUNT HALDANE
My Lords, I have not put down the searching Amendments which this Bill would require before it could be placed into satisfactory form. I have not done so because I relied on what I gathered was the attitude of the Government, that it was a Bill to which they intended to give close scrutiny. I have only to point out——
THE EARL OF CRAWFORD
May I interrupt the noble and learned Viscount? I do not think that either my noble friend 296 Lord Peel or I announced that we were going to give close scrutiny to the Bill. Certainly my noble friend Lord Peel has not put any Amendment on the Paper.
§ VISCOUNT HALDANE
I gathered from what the Government said on the Second Reading that they intended to look very closely at this Bill, and they must. Just look at Clause I. The noble Earl hardly realises what it does. All the duties and powers of any Government Department in relation to mines and minerals are to be transferred to the Board of Trade. That transfers all powers relating to health, relating to the protection of the men in point of wages, in point of check-weighing, in point of hours—all the powers of inspection in regard to those things go from the Home Office, where they are at present, to the Board of Trade. All the powers of the Department of Research under the Privy Council in relation to surveys also pass to the Board of Trade. The measure is retrograde in the last degree. Whether it will pass this House I do not know, but I am quite sure that when it gets to the other House it will have very close attention. And it will require re-casting, not only in respect of Clause 1, but in respect of the Advisory Committee in Clause 2. I must leave the responsibility to the Government.
§ LORD GAINFORD
In reply to my noble friend I should like to say that instead of this Bill being a retrograde proposal in regard to Clause I it is really a progressive proposal. These proposals have been thoroughly thrashed out by a most competent Committee, who have come to the conclusion that, instead of a large number of matters dealing with milling concerns being separated in different Government Departments, it would be far better if they were all housed under one roof. It is with a view to securing the co-ordination of all the matters relating to mining under one Government Department that I have accepted, on behalf of those for whom I speak, the proposals of Mr. Leslie Scott's Committee, which recommended this unanimously with a view of securing the more effective and better production of minerals in this country.
THE CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES (THE EARL OF DONOUGHMORE)
In the interests of saving your Lordships' time I drew attention, in the course of the 297 debate on the Second Reading, to one particular point, and I see that my noble friend (Lord Gainford) has put down a number of Amendments to meet it. He has been good enough to discuss the amendments with me, and I think that they most satisfactorily meet the anxiety that I felt. I am very much obliged to him for the trouble he has taken.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.
§ House in Committee accordingly.
§ The EARL OF DONOUGHMORE in the Chair.]
§ Clause 1:
§ Establishment of Mines Department of Board of Trade.
§ 1. For the purpose of improving in the national interests the production and development of minerals there be established under the Board of Trade (in this Act referred to as "the Board") a Minis Department, to which shall be transferred, as from such date or dates as His Majesty in Council may by Order determine, all powers and duties of any Government department in relation to mines and minerals, and through which, under the direction of the President of the Board, shall be exercised and performed all Lowers and duties by this Act committed to the Board.
§ VISCOUNT HALDANE
As the Government do not appear to have given any attention to the contents of this Bill, I draw attention to Clause 1. My noble friend Lord Gainford said that this was founded on Mr. Leslie Scott's Committee. Mr. Leslie Scott's Committee was concerned with the acquisition of land. It was not concerned with inspection; it was not concerned with the conditions under which the mining population lives in the mine; it was not concerned with checkweighing; it was not concerned with wages or with hours. These are matters which belong to quite another Department from that of production, which is the Department of the Board of Trade. They belong to the Home Office, which handles them at the present time.
If the Government choose to treat these things with indifference, very well; the consequences be on their own heads. And the consequences will be upon their own heads. The whole of this Bill is founded upon the conception that there is one matter, and one matter only, with which a Bill to make provision for the production and development of coal and other minerals is concerned, and that is 298 simply its production. There is not a reference and not a consciousness in it that there is another and an enormous set of questions of which the public will probably very quickly hear from those whose lives and conditions of existence are intimately concerned with them. All these it is proposed to transfer to a Department which has hitherto had nothing in the world to do with them, and which is not accustomed to work with them—and this at a time when what is being called for in the public interest is closer attention to these things.
This Bill will go elsewhere, and no doubt there will be those whose concern it is to make their voices heard upon these things, and I have very little doubt that they will. But meanwhile I have only to point out that Clause 1, if it were to become law, would take away from the branch of Government which is charged with the duty of attending to those interests of which I have spoken a duty which is quite inapposite to a Department of Government like the Board of Trade.
THE EARL OF CRAWFORD
I wish to say one word, not on the merits of Clause 1 so much as on the question of procedure. Lord Haldane appears to think that it is the duty of the Government to put down a variety of Amendments to Clause 1. He differs from Clause 1. I do not think he was in the House when I had occasion to address your Lordships about this Bill a week or two ago.
THE EARL OF CRAWFORD
I in my humble capacity likewise protested against Clause 1, which I did not like. But I must remind your Lordships that this Bill was avowedly introduced as an alternative to a measure announced in the gracious Speech from the Throne, but which has not yet been presented. I really think it is stretching too far the responsibilities of the Government to say that, having promised a Bill, they are bound to put down Amendments to all sorts of Bills which are introduced in anticipation of and in substitution for their own. That is the reason why the Government has not put down Amendments to this Bill, because in due course of time it hopes to introduce its own proposals upon the subject.
THE MARQUESS OF CREWE
It appears to me that the complaint of the noble Earl opposite does not exactly meet either the Bill or the point of my noble and learned friend (Lord Haldane) behind me. The noble Earl, I think, stated that this Bill was introduced by my noble friend as an alternative to the proposal by the Government, the details of which we are all awaiting—namely, that minerals should be nationalised. But that has no apparent bearing on the particular changes contemplated by Clause 1. My noble friend's Bill clearly covers a great deal more ground than the announced measure of His Majesty's Government, so far as we know it.
I have no prepossessions one way or the other as regards the content of Clause 1, but I do not precisely follow why my noble friend Lord Haldane regards the transfer of certain powers from the Home Office to a new Ministry as retrograde. It may or may not be a desirable thing to do to form a new Ministry of Mines, which is to undertake all the functions now exercised partly by the Home Office, and some of which, I take it, might very naturally fall under the domain of the Ministry of Health; but I cannot myself see that it involves any retrograde step. The staff of the Home Office for purposes of inspection—and my noble and learned friend mentioned the safeguarding of checkweighing and other matters affecting the men—has being very efficient, but if a new Ministry were formed I assume that that particular staff would be transferred to the new Ministry. It appears to be a matter rather of machinery than anything else. I do not express any opinion as to whether it is a desirable piece of machinery because I have not followed the Committee's Report on which my noble friend relies, but it appears to be in itself a harmless suggestion, and not one deserving of any very particularly harsh criticism.
§ Clause 1 agreed to.
§ Clauses 2 and 3 agreed to.
§ Clause 4:
§ Applications for compulsory powers for production or development of minerals.
§ 4.—(1) Any person may make an application, in accordance with regulations made by the Board under this Act, to the Board showing, in accordance with such regulations, that the applicant is a person having an interest in the production and development of the minerals specified in the application, and that the production or 300 development of the minerals is impeded or prevented contrary to the national interests.
§ (2) The Board shall consider any such application duly made, and (unless the application appears to the Board to be frivolous) after referring the application to the Advisory Committee and considering their report may, if the applicant, and the persons concerned in the application fail, or by reason of any disability in law or otherwise are unable, to come to an agreement, make recommendations thereon to the Sanctioning Authority.
§ (3) An application for power to produce or develop minerals otherwise than by agreement shall be made only to the Board, provided that if, upon considering the report of the Advisory Committee, the Board is of opinion that the application raises a question of policy or principle which should be determined by Parliament, the Board shall refer the application to the Chairman of Committees of the House of Lords, the Chairman of Ways and Moans in the House of Commons, and the Chairman of the Sanctioning Authority (in this Act referred to as "the chairmen"), and if the chairmen by a majority certify that the application raises a question of policy or principle which should be determined by Parliament, the application shall not he proceeded with except by way of promotion of a Private Bill.
§ LORD GAINFORD moved, in subsection (3), before "determined by Parliament," to insert "considered in detail by Parliament and." The noble Lord said: This Amendment meets the point which the noble Earl in the Chair raised on the Second Reading in connection with Parliamentary control. It provides that not merely should a question of policy and principle be determined by Parliament but that it should be considered in detail. It is with a view to giving more effective Parliamentary control that I propose these words.
Clause 4, page 3, line 32, after ("be") insert ("considered in detail by Parliament and").—(Lord Gainford.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ LORD GAINFORD
My next Amendment is not quite consequential, although it meets the same point. It is to restrict to the purview of the Chairman of Committees of your Lordships' House and the Chairman of Ways and Means in the House of Commons to determine these matters without the help of the Chairman of the Sanctioning Authority. In that way it also promotes the more effective control of Parliament.
Line 34, after ("Lords") insert ("and").—(Lord Gainford.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.301
Clause 4, page 3, line 35, leave out from ("Commons") to end of line 36
Clause 4, page 3, line 37, leave out ("the chairman by a majority certify") and insert ("either of such chairmen certifies")
Clause 4, page 3, line 38, after ("be") insert ("considered in detail by Parliament and").—(Lord Gainford.)
§ On Question, Amendments agreed to.
§ Clause 4, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 5:
§ Powers of Sanctioning Authority.
§ 5.—(1) The Sanctioning Authority shall have power, on any application on which a recommendation has been made by the Board, or on any application made by the Board in accordance with the provisions of this Act, to make a Compulsory Order, subject to such conditions as they think fit and to the due assessment of compensation, for the purpose of enabling the minerals specified in the application to be produced and developed in such manner, consistent so far as may be with the custom of the district, as in the opinion of the Sanctioning Authority is desirable in the national interests, and to that end may incorporate in the Compulsory Order provisions empowering and requiring any owner or limited owner of land or minerals, or any person having any right or interest in, under, or over any land or minerals affected by the Compulsory Order, to do such acts and comply with such requirements as may be specified in the Compulsory Order.
§ (2) A Compulsory Order may incorporate the Lauds Clauses Acts subject to the modifications of those Acts specified in the schedule to this Act, and the chairmen may by regulations provide for the assessment of compensation by an arbitrator appointed under the schedule to this Act, and any matters preliminary and incidental thereto, in respect of anything which the Sanctioning Authority has power to deal with by Compulsory Order and for which provision is not made in the Lands Clauses Acts: Provided that in any case of disputed compensation any person concerned shall have power to agree that the amount of compensation which he is entitled to receive or is required to pay under a Compulsory Order shall be assessed by the Sanctioning Authority, and thereupon the Sanctioning Authority shall assess the amount of such compensation, and for this purpose the Sanctioning Authority shall be deemed to be an arbitrator appointed under the schedule to this Act.
§ (3) A Compulsory Order shall have effect as if enacted in this Act on the twenty-eighth day after the date on which it is made: Provided that if before a Compulsory Order comes into force it is certified either by the Board or by the chairmen that a question of policy or principle is involved which should be determined by Parliament, the Compulsory Order shall not take effect, and thereupon any person interested may proceed by way of promotion of a Private Bill.302
§ (4) The Sanctioning Authority may, if in their opinion the circumstances so require and on such terms and conditions as, subject to regulations under this Act, they think fit, make an Interim Order restraining, pending the decision of an application which is before the Sanctioning Authority, all or any dealing with any land or minerals affected by the application, and an Interim Order shall be final and conclusive for all purposes and shall have the same force and effect as an injunction granted by the High Court: Provided that no such Interim Order shall be operative for a period of more than six months.
Clause 5, page 4, line 19, leave out ("the chairmen") and insert ("the Chairman of Committees of the House of Lords, the Chairman of Ways and Means in the House of Commons and the Chairman of the Sanctioning Authority (in this Act referred to as the chairmen')").—(Lord Gainford.)
§ On Question Amendment agreed to.
LORD GAINFORD moved to leave out subsection (3), and to insert the following new subsections—
(3) A compulsory order shall be laid forthwith before both Houses of Parliament if Parliament is sitting on, or is due to sit within twenty-eight days after, the date on which the compulsory order is made, and if either House within the next twenty-one days on which that House has sat after the compulsory order is laid before that House passes a resolution disapproving the order, the order shall not take effect; but if a resolution disapproving the order is not so passed by either House the order shall become final and have effect as if enacted in this Act.
(4) If Parliament is not due to sit within twenty-eight days after the date on which the compulsory order is made the order shall be forthwith referred to the Board and the Chairmen, and if the Board and the Chairmen jointly certify that it is proper and expedient that the order should take effect notwithstanding Parliament is not sitting, the order shall become final and have effect as if enacted in this Act as on the date of such certificate; but in default of such certificate the order shall be laid before both Houses of Parliament as soon as may be and shall be subject to the provisions of subsection three of this section.
(5) If a compulsory order has been disapproved by a resolution of either House of Parliament as aforesaid, any applicant for the compulsory order may proceed by way of promotion of a Private Bill, and, subject to standing orders, the notices published and served and deposits made for the compulsory order shall be held to have been published and served and made for a Private Bill applying for similar powers.
The noble Lord said: The object of omitting subsection (3) and introducing these new subsections is, again, with a view of securing
much more effective and adequate Parliamentary control. I think the procedure must be a valuable one and will be acceptable to your Lordships' House.
Clause 5, page 4, line 33, leave out subsection (3) and insert the said new subsections.—(Lord Gainford.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause 5, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clauses 6 and 7 agreed to.
§ Clause 8:
§ 8.—(1) Section nineteen of the Coal Mines Act, 1911 (which relates to notices of Opening and abandonment of mines), shall have effect as if in relation to paragraphs (i) and (iii) the words "not less than two months before" were substituted for the words "within two months after," and as if in relation to paragraph (ii) the words "not less than three months before" were substituted for the words "within two months after."
(2) Section twenty-one of the Coal Mines Act, 1911 (which relates to plans of abandoned mines), shall have effect as if for subsection one the following subsection were substituted:—
(1) Where any mine or seam is abandoned, the person who is the owner of the mine or seam shall, not less than three months before the abandonment, send to the Secretary of State, an accurate plan showing such particulars, together with such section of the strata sunk through, or, if that is not reasonably practicable such section of every seam in the mine or of the seam as the case may be, and such information generally in relation to the mine or seam as may be prescribed either generally or in any particular case.
(3) After section nineteen of the Coal Mines Act, 1911, the following section shall be inserted in that Act, and that Act shall have effect accordingly:—
19A.—(1) Any person who proposes to put down a bore for minerals shall give notice in writing to the Geological Survey of his intention to do so not hell than twenty-one days before the work is commenced, and shall deliver within the prescribed period to the Geological Survey a certified copy of the journal of such bore, and shall give reasonable facilities to officers of the Geological Survey to inspect and take samples.
(2) The journal and any other information relating to the bore which in the opinion of the Geological Survey should be preserved (in this section referred to as "the record of the bore") shall be delivered by the Geological Survey to the Secretary of State, and shall be preserved under his care.
(3) No person, except an inspector, shall be entitled without the consent of the person who put down the bore (or his successor in title) or a licence of the Secretary of State, to see the record of the bore whilst in the
custody of the Geological Survey or preserved as aforesaid until after the expiration of ten years from the commencement of the work, but such licence shall not be granted unless the Secretary of State, after considering any objections, is satisfied that the inspection of the record of the bore is necessary in the national interests.
(4) If any person fails to comply with this section he shall be guilty of an offence against this Act.
§ LORD GAINFORD moved to omit except an inspector "from subsection (3) of the new section 19A to be inserted in the Coal Mines Act, 1911. The noble Lord said: This Amendment is moved merely to meet a view which has been expressed to me by representatives of the Geological Survey. Hitherto confidential information has been retained in their possession. This Amendment will enable the Secretary of State to issue a licence, in the event of the national interest requiring it, to persons—of course including inspectors, if so desired—who might then have access to confidential information connected with bore-holes. As the matter would be in the power of the Secretary of State it seemed to me to be undesirable to make it an obligation that the information should be given to inspectors if it were not required or thought necessary by the Secretary of State.
Clause 8, page 7, line 7, leave out ("except an inspector").—(Lord Gainford.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause 8, as amended, agreed to.
§ Remaining clauses agreed to.
(4) Where the land is glebe land or other land belonging to an ecclesiastical benefice, the order shall provide that sums agreed upon or awarded for the purchase of the land or to be paid by way of compensation for the damage to be sustained by the owner by reason of severance or other injury affecting the land shall not be paid as directed by the Lands Clauses Acts, but shall be paid to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, to be applied by them as money paid to them upon a sale under the provisions of the Ecclesiastical Leasing Acts of land belonging to a benefice.
The provisions of this paragraph shall not apply to Scotland or Ireland.
§ LORD GAINFORD moved, at the end of subsection (4), after "Ireland," to insert "and in its application to Wales the representative body of the church in Wales shall be substituted for the Eccle- 305 siastical Commissioners as respects any glebe or other land belonging to an ecclesiastical benefice to which the Welsh Church Act, 1914, applies, and the reference to the Ecclesiastical Leasing Acts shall not apply."
§ The noble Lord said: Instead of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners being called upon, as originally proposed in the Bill, to receive sums in connection with glebe lands or other land belonging to Ecclesiastical benefices, I have endeavoured to meet a point raised by Lord Dynevor on the Second Reading and to insert the proper authority in the case of Wales.
Schedule, page 9, line 11, after ("Ireland") insert the said words.—(Lord Gainford.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Schedule, as amended, agreed to.