§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ 5.13 p.m.
§ LORD TEMPLEMORE
My Lords, Section 5 (2) of the Mining Industry Act, 1920, limits the expenditure of the Mines Department to £250,000 in any one year. This has been interpreted as including allied services (for example, Office of Works and Stationery Office). With the increase in the work of the Department in recent years it has been increasingly difficult to keep within this limit, and this has been recognised by Parliament, which has provided that the expenditure incurred under the Coal Mines Act, 1930, and the Coal (Registration of Ownership) Act, 1937, should not be taken into account for the purposes of the £250,000 limit. The action already being taken administratively as a result of the Report of the Royal Commission on Safety in Coal Mines, and the decision to introduce legislation on the question, will add 298 considerably to the annual cost of the Department. Steps have already been taken to strengthen the administrative staff at headquarters, and the headquarters inspectorate, and the strengthening of the inspectorate in the provinces has been announced in another place.
The annual expenditure involved when these administrative steps have been taken would raise the Department's estimate above the limit of £250,000, and as it would not arise directly out of an Act of Parliament the expedient used in 1930 and 1937 of excluding it from the limit is not available. I would like to point out that the passing of this Bill cannot, of course, affect in any way the necessity for submitting estimates in respect of all expenditure. The Bill is a Money Bill within the meaning of the Parliament Act. I beg to move that it be now read a second time.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(Lord Templemore.)
§ LORD RANKEILLOUR
Might I ask the noble Lord one question? I gathered from what he said that the whole of the expenditure under this Bill would appear upon the estimates of the appropriate Departments, and that nothing would be charged on the Consolidated Fund.
§ On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.