§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY OF THE MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE AND FISHERIES (THE EARL OF STRADBROKE)
My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a second time.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(The Earl of Stradbroke.)
§ LORD PARMOOR
My Lords, before the Motion is put might I ask the noble Earl one question? I happen to have been acquainted with the Ouse Drainage Bill from the start, having been Chairman of Quarter Sessions before which the matter came on a legal point. The decision then given led to a large number of subsequent proceedings. I want to ask the noble Earl whether the proposals now contained in the Land Drainage Provisional Order Bill are agreed to.
THE EARL OF STRADBROKE
My Lords, the object of this Provisional Order Bill is to alter the provisions of a Provisional Order Act of 1920 relating to the area under the jurisdiction of the Ouse Drainage Board set up by the Land Drainage (Ouse) Provisional Order Confirmation Act, 1920. Following on the passing of that Act, considerable dissatisfaction was shown with the rating provisions by certain owners and occupiers in the upland area on the ground that they were being rated without deriving any benefit thereby. This dissatisfaction culminated in passive resistance and forced sales being held. As a consequence of this, Provisional Order Acts were passed in July, 1925, and August, 1926, suspending up till January, 1928, the rating provisions in these areas.
A special Commission was set up by Lord Irwin, the late Minister of Agriculture, in August, 1925, to consider the whole problem of the Ouse, and as a result of the Report of that Committee a Bill was introduced into Parliament in March of last year to deal with the question. That Bill contained a clause extending the suspensory period for rating in the area covered by this Bill until a day to be appointed by the Minister of Agriculture. On November 11 of last 458 year, after a lengthy hearing, a Joint Committee of both Houses decided that the Bill could not proceed. The effect of that Bill being thrown out was that the suspensory period in respect of the area covered by this Bill came to an end on January 1. In consequence, notice was given of the introduction of this Bill. The Bill follows the usual precedent of Provisional Order Bills made under the Land Drainage Act, 1918, and provides that no rating can be levied in this contentious area during the suspensory period, the suspensory period being after December 31, 1927, until such day as the Minister of Agriculture may by Order determine. During the suspensory period no works may be executed by the Drainage Board in these areas, except with the consent of those representing the area concerned.
§ LORD PARMOOR
I am perfectly aware what is in the Provisional Order scheme, but I wanted to know whether it was an agreed scheme. I know that I have not given notice of this question and if the noble Earl cannot answer it I will not press it.
§ THE LORD PRIVY SEAL (THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY)
If the noble Lord will give my noble friend notice he will get an answer directly.
§ On Question, Bill read 2a.