HL Deb 15 July 1935 vol 98 cc370-4

Local Authorities' Contributions.

1. In respect of a scheme carried out by the local authority under the Act of 1919, a contribution for each financial year during the remainder of the period during which loan charges in respect of money borrowed for the purposes of the scheme are payable, of an amount equal to the produce, ascertained as provided by paragraph 8 of Part II of this Schedule, of a rate of one penny in the pound for that year levied in the area chargeable with the expenses of the scheme, together with the amount of any loan charges for that year in respect of money borrowed for expenditure in connection with the scheme which was not approved by the Minister for the purpose of the determination of the Exchequer contributions:

Provided that in respect of any year during which no contributions are payable by the Minister in respect of the scheme, this paragraph shall have effect with the substitution, for the reference to an amount equal to the produce of such a rate as is therein mentioned, of a reference to an amount equal to the estimated loss (ascertained as provided by paragraphs 3 to 7 of Part II of this Schedule) for that year in respect of the scheme.

LORD RANKEILLOUR had given Notice of an Amendment in the proviso in paragraph 1, after "Provided that," to insert "(a)," in order to insert the following at the end of the proviso: (b) where the area chargeable with the expenses of a scheme or schemes is or has been altered by reason of the coming into operation of the provisions of an order made by the Minister under Section 46 of the Local Government Act, 1929, the Minister shall make such equitable adjustment by reduction of the amount ascertained in accordance with paragraph 8 of Part II of this Schedule as is required by the circumstances in respect of each year subsequent to the date of alteration.

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this is a highly technical matter. It has reference to a situation which, I think, only arises in certain places, but it does cause considerable grievance in certain places, and particularly to some of my country neighbours. Put very shortly, it is this, that before the last Local Government Act certain small councils, rural district councils or, possibly, urban district councils, incurred a certain liability in respect of the houses they built, that liability being limited to a penny rate. These areas have been merged in larger areas, and, through some wording which I believe was not foreseen, the amount payable locally in consequence of the amalgamation is very much higher than it was. The Treasury is relieved of a burden to that extent, while the localities are burdened in respect of houses with which the major part of the area had nothing to do and for which up to 1929 they would have had no liability. All this Amendment asks is that the Minister shall have power to make such adjustments as he considers equitable in a matter like this. It does not press for any hard and fast rule, but merely asks that he shall be given a certain dispensing power in respect of a situation which was certainly quite unforeseen, and, in certain areas, has caused considerable hardship. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 85, line 3, after ("Provided that") insert ("(a)").—(Lord Bankeillour.)


My Lords, this matter, as my noble friend has said, is an extremely technical one, and it arises, as he has also said, in consequence of the readjustment of local boundaries following upon the county review that was consequent upon the Local Government Act of 1929. The point is really not a difficult one. The arrangement, as I understand it, was that the houses that are commonly called Addison houses, after the then Minister of Health, were to be built on the financial basis that the local authority was to find the produce of a penny rate and the Exchequer was to make up any loss there might be over and above what that penny rate represented. On that basis the finance was arranged. My noble friend will observe that there was no undertaking that the Exchequer should pay a fixed sum to any particular local authority. The Exchequer undertaking was that it should pay whatever might be the difference between the yield of a penny rate and the loss on these particular houses. The yield of a penny rate does, in fact, vary from time to time. It may go up and it may go down, and in some cases indeed, either owing to industrial causes or owing to rearrangement of local authority boundaries, the yields of a penny rate have varied sometimes in favour of the Treasury, sometimes against it, and the thing has more or less equalised itself out from the general point of view of the Exchequer.

The general principle of the difference between the yield of the penny and the economic cost of the houses has been maintained. It will be observed that no ratepayer who is in a local authority area to which area some other area has been added, with the consequent result that the yield of a penny rate has been increased and the sum to be drawn from the Exchequer has been diminished, is any worse off, because he continues to pay the same as he paid before; but, owing to the inclusion of other people into that area, the general yield of a penny rate is greater, and therefore the call upon the Treasury is less. It is not unreasonable, I think, to point out that in this particular branch of the housing question last year the figures were something like £6,000,000:paid by the Treasury as against £1,000,000 paid by local authorities through the penny rate. Therefore, while very naturally any local authority will deplore the fact that not so much money is coming to it from the Exchequer as was coming before, yet, having regard to the fact that the strict pledge of the Exchequer is being faithfully kept and that no ratepayer is worse off, and that in fact even if this Amendment were adopted it would be impossible to give effect to it without a new Financial Resolution in another place—and that is very difficult at this stage of the Bill's fortunes—I do hope that my noble friend will not think it necessary to insist on his Amendment.


My Lords, think the strongest argument put forward by my noble friend was that a new Financial Resolution would be required. Is it quite certain that that is so?




Well, if that is so, I admit that the position at the moment is hopeless and I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


My Lords, in view of what the noble Viscount has said, do not move the next Amendment in my name.

Sixth Schedule [Consequential, drafting and minor Amendments]


My Lords, all the Amendments down in my name to this Schedule are either drafting or consequential. I beg to move.

Amendments moved—

Page 90, line 41, after ("houses") insert ("or other work")

Page 91, leave out lines 11 to 13.

Page 91, line 41, at end insert:

("The Local Government Act, 1933.—In the Eighth Schedule, for the reference to public utility societies there shall be substituted a reference to housing associations.")

Page 92, line 39, at end insert ("In Section ninety, in subsection (4), in paragraph (b), after the words fee simple ' there shall be inserted the words absolute in possession '".)

Page 93, line 21, leave out from the beginning of the line to ("in") in line 23.

Page 94, line 8, after ("Schedule") insert ("for the words ' sub-paragraphs (i) and (iii) ' there shall be substituted the words sub-paragraph (iii) ',").—(Viscount Halifax.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Seventh Schedule [Enactments repealed Os from the commencement of this Act]:


My Lords, on this Schedule these is a small consequential Amendment which is necessitated by the Amendment that my noble friend was good enough to accept with regard to the omission of the words "habitually used as a sleeping place" from subsection (1) of Section 18 of the Act of 1925. The Amendment is at page 95, line 25, where the necessary consequential words should be inserted. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 95, line 25, column 3, at end insert ("In Section eighteen the words habitually used as a sleeping place '").—(Lord Balfour of Burleigh.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


My Lords, the Amendment in my name to this Schedule is consequential. I beg to move.

Amendment moved—

Page 95, line 50, column 3, at end, insert:

("In Section one hundred and thirty-five, the definition of 'Public utility society '").—(Viscount Halifax.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

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