§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ LORD STRATHCONA AND MOUNT ROYAL
My Lords, the object of this Bill, which is a very short one, is to extend the maximum period of repayment of money borrowed by Scottish local authorities for the purpose of water supply and sewerage schemes. Under the general law contained in the Public Health (Scotland) Act, 1897, the maximum period of repayment is at present thirty years. This Bill proposes to extend that period to sixty years, subject to some degree of Departmental control. Schemes are now being developed in the interests of efficiency and, ultimately, of economy, on a regional basis, and the present period of thirty years is often unnecessarily short, especially as the effective life of the capital work under regional schemes is considerably in excess of that period. Certain local authorities that desire to proceed with important and much needed schemes have made representations that the restriction to thirty years is proving a barrier to the carrying out of their proposals. The Bill will give Scottish local authorities substantially the powers that local authorities have in England and Wales, and it will give to the authorities by general legislation powers that a number of authorities have in fact obtained under Local Acts. The Bill proposes in the interests of future ratepayers that the Department of Health for Scotland shall fix the actual period of repayment in excess of thirty years. The position of local authorities under existing legislation is not, however, altered in any way. If a local authority does not desire to borrow over more than thirty years it will not require to come to the Department at all. I beg to move.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(Lord Strathcona, and Mount Royal.)
§ On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.