HL Deb 18 March 1941 vol 118 cc791-809

Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee read.

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(The Lord Chancellor.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly:

[The EARL OF ONSLOW in the Chair.]

Clause 1:

Power to make orders with respect to certain schools.

(2) As respects any other school, being a school with respect to the endowments of which the Board of Education has power to make, or to establish, or to approve and certify, a scheme under the Endowed Schools Acts, 1869 to 1908, or under the Charitable Trusts Acts, 1853 to 1925, the Board may by order, upon the application of the governing body of the school, make such provision as appears to the Board to be necessary or expedient as aforesaid.

(3) Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing provisions of this section, any Order in Council or order made thereunder with respect to any school may in particular provide for enabling the governing body of the school—

  1. (a) to apply, during the war period, the income or capital of any endowment of the school for purposes other than those for which, apart from the provisions of the order, such income or capital might be applied;

Provided that any Order in Council or order conferring on a governing body the powers mentioned in paragraph (a) or paragraph (6) of this subsection shall provide that those powers shall not be exercised—

  1. (i) in the case of an Order in Council without the consent of the Lord President of the Council; or
  2. (ii) in the case of an order, without the consent of the Board of Education.

LORD QUICKSWOOD moved to add to subsection (2): Provided that no Order in Council or order by the Board of Education made under this or the preceding subsection shall affect any property or capital held under any trust or other instrument of endowment, except in respect to the income derived from it in the war period,".

The noble Lord said: The subject of the Amendment which I now propose appears under various headings in this Bill, but they are all essentially one, the subsequent Amendments being purely consequential. It deals with a matter which was discussed on the Second Reading, and it has been to some extent discussed in the Press. I am, therefore, able to condense what I have to say by way of answer to the arguments that were then put forward in favour of the Bill as it stands. My proposal is strictly in accordance with the principle of the Bill and with its main purport, to confine the operation of the Bill to the war period and not have anything in it which will have effect after the war period is over.

That I conceive to be the general purpose of the Bill, and the introduction of a power to use capital, which is alien to that general purpose, is an excrescence which can be removed without any injury to the main body of the Bill. The case made by the Lord Chancellor in this House, and made in the Press and elsewhere, is that in the emergencies that the war has brought upon some schools it would not be sufficient to take merely the income which arises from trust funds, which will naturally not very often be usable, and in any case might fairly be taken for the temporary purpose in view, but that the capital also should be taken. The Lord Chancellor mentioned the case of funds that might have been collected with a view to rebuilding a chapel, or building a new chapel in a school, and said that if the old chapel had been destroyed by a bomb it might be more desirable to build a new chapel than to restore the old one. That is a case, I suppose, which is not of the Lord Chancellor's imagination but a matter of record, and if so it surely can very easily be dealt with by two resources. There is first, of course, the provision of money under the War Damage Bill which will be shortly in force. They will be able to have money to repair that chapel given them like other people who have suffered war damage. Even if there is delay in making payment—I do not quite know how long the delay may be—(there is really no difficulty in borrowing money to a small amount by a school which has good credit.

The noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor said borrowing is impossible in war-time. I think that comes from his laving been a Minister accustomed to deal with vast millions. No doubt a school which wanted to borrow a million pounds or even £100,000 would find it difficult, but a loan of a few hundreds would be easy, especially if it were known that the money would be paid back in compensation for war damage. I do not think, therefore, that any difficulty would arise under that head. I saw with great suspicion a letter in The Times which referred to "obsolete endowments," and I think that expression was repeated in another letter. If there are obsolete endowments they should have been dealt with long ago. There is abundant provision under the ordinary law for going to the proper authority—the Board of Education, I think, in the case of education charities—and obtaining a scheme by which whatever is obsolete may be removed and something more useful substituted for it. Why was that not done? Why should it be done now in the midst of war without any of the safeguards which the ordinary law provides?

I cannot help feeling a suspicion that those who advocate this kind of use of capital are prompted by the motive which we often see of using a great national event—sometimes it is a calamity, sometimes it is a festivity—to effect some improvement which has really nothing whatever to do with the calamity or the festivity, but which by being connected with it may be made an object which will appeal to the generosity of private persons. I do not think schoolmasters are so unscrupulous as the parochial clergy, but I think they are very possibly subject to some temptation of that nature. Whenever anything sensational happens the parochial clergy are forward in suggesting that the event may be commemorated by an improvement which they had long desired on grounds that have nothing to do with public interest. So I cannot help fearing, when I hear of obsolete endowments, that there is an intention of carrying through an improvement which may be very proper but which ought to be done under the ordinary law, subject to the safeguards which the ordinary law provides.

I do not know that there is any other argument that has been put forward. A piteous picture is drawn of schools at the last gasp which can only be saved if they are able to use the capital of trust funds to carry them over the war period. I do not myself belief that any school is quite in that position. As I said just now, it is quite easy for a school with reasonable credit to borrow now and in peace-time, to pay back when presumably pressure will not be so great. At any rate the whole theory of this Bill is that pressure will not be so great when peace-time returns. If there really is a school in that position then, as I ventured to urge on Second Reading, is it not better that it should close down at once? No pillaging of trust funds will be more than a temporary resource. If they cannot borrow money even to carry them over the war period, they must be in such a position that whatever happens they must go under. They must, that is to say, reconstruct, they must go and get some plan of amalgamation with another school, which is very often proper, or they must get from the Board of Education a scheme under which they will pass from the class of independent school to the class of school which is grant aided. The trust funds are not so ample that by robbing them you could really save a school threatened with bankruptcy. Therefore, on every ground it seems better to confine assistance from trust funds to the income.

That is reasonable. It keeps the Bill within its proper sphere, the sphere of the war period. Income that is consumed will be renewed in the natural way after peace comes; but if you take capital you will no longer have endowments to help in the difficult period which will follow after the war. Reasonable prudence surely dictates that the Legislature should not enable governing bodies to spend money out of capital for a temporary emergency—always an imprudent financial device—but should confine them to the use of income which will be renewed. It is said that governing bodies may be trusted in this matter. They may of course be trusted in a great many matters, but this is precisely one in which they cannot be trusted because they are people who want to use money, which was given by certain benefactors under certain restrictions, without regard to those restrictions. They are the very people to whom the motive of cupidity appeals. You might as well say that the thief should be trusted in respect of the safe which he is breaking open. He is the very person against whom safeguards are designed. The law which protects trust funds is precisely framed in order that a governing body should not do what, under this Bill, it is proposed they should be able to do. They want to go in flat contradiction of the whole purpose of the original benefaction and of the legal trust which protects it, and I do not see any case for so revolutionary a change.

I have not discussed the Amendments that appear on the Paper in the name of the noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor, the noble Lord, Lord Rankeillour, and others, which no doubt would be a mitigation. I know that the standard of relevance is rather lower in your Lordships' House than that which prevails in the House of Commons—it more resembles that with which I am familiar in the Church Assembly—but I do not want to go beyond the rules of order. In so young a member of your Lordships' House that would be very unseemly. Therefore, I will not discuss them until they are properly moved before the Committee. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 1, line 22, after ("aforesaid") insert the said proviso.—(Lord Quickswood.)


Although I admit that the Amendment which has been put down in the name of the noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor has greatly eased the situation, I rise to support the Amendment which has been moved by my noble friend, although not quite for the same reasons which he has given. I had the honour of attending every debate in your Lordships' House for over six years and I noticed that in this House no member speaks unless he has some knowledge or experience of the subject under discussion. My title to address your Lordships to-day must be the fact that I happen to be, and have been for a great many years, a member of the governing body of four or five great public schools. One of them ranked among the three or four oldest and most famous schools of the Kingdom; the others are of more modern foundation. How far the headmasters of those schools wish for this Bill I do not discuss, or how far the governors wish for it I do not discuss, but I venture to think that there are many arguments why this Amendment would be supported.

Will your Lordships forgive me for occupying your attention for two minutes only upon the magnitude of the problem which you are discussing? In the Headmasters' Conference 215 public schools are represented. Thirty of them are Dominion overseas schools, seven or eight of them are either in Northern Ireland, Eire or Scotland; the number of public schools in England and Wales is 173 or 174. The number of boys in these schools is just over 70,000. The largest boarding school is Eton and the largest day school is Manchester Grammar School, each with 1,100 boys. There are in those 173 schools a great number of day schools with very large numbers. There are over seventy with numbers of 400. But I am not going to talk at the present moment about day schools. Their problem is entirely different from that of the boarding schools, and in the boarding schools you have 20,000 boys at the present moment from I most of whom you draw candidates for the important positions held in the Kingdom. That may be altered later on. But with regard to that 20,000 permit me to say that the public schools are not in such a desperate condition as to need desperate remedies.

I should be very sorry to approach any problem, whether a public school problem or any other public problem, in a defeatist spirit, but I venture to support this Amendment because, although it may, for the moment, seem good, I have great fear as to what the ultimate effect of allowing capital to be used may be. Now there are two sorts of capital. Many of these public schools are very old ones which have some endowment, but the great majority of them are of comparatively recent foundation; many of them about the years 1848–1850. All of them, I believe, have been able to accumulate some reserve funds, all of them have been able to accumulate some, not much, capital, and that capital is usually devoted to enable boys to go to the schools—either sons of old boys or sons of members of the professions, or different classes of His Majesty's subjects. There can be no serious objection to any public school altering he use of capital which it itself has accumulated. It may not be a wise thing to do. You may do it under pressure of events which has made you afraid for the future of the schools. But it is quite another question when you want to interfere with capital which has been left on trust for the purposes of the school.

Will your Lordships permit me to put before you several particular cases to show that, although this endeavour to appropriate capital may seem a great help at the present time, it is likely in the ultimate result to do great harm to the schools? I want to approach it from two points of view; first the point of view of the donor of the capital, and next the point of view of the good of the school. Now as to the donor. Supposing a man has put down a large sum of money to enable boys to go to his old school or to enable members of his old school to go to Oxford or Cambridge; it will be possible to take it away and devote it to payment of past debts or to payment of expenses which ought not to have been incurred. I will deal in a moment with what are supposed to be safeguards, but I ask, is that fair to the donor? It is said "Oh, but both Houses of Parliament can pass judgment on the scheme." Supposing the donor is not a member of either House of Parliament, what is he going to do? It would be another thing if you had to go before a Court and get the sanction of some Judge before whom you could appear. But a man may have given large sums of money; these may be taken away and the purposes for which he intended them will never be accomplished. Do you think that is likely to encourage future donors?

That is the first example. Let me put another before you. I suppose that everyone of us is very much attached to his own part of the country, and his own county. Some of us have to come to London to endeavour to get on, but we always have a great love of our own county and our own home. Supposing you leave a sum of money to enable boys of your own county or neighbourhood to go to any public school—that is to say, for the purpose of benefiting them. Let us say you have become a rich man, that you are one of the lucky ones, but you do not happen to have children of your own and you leave a sum as large as you can afford, the interest of which may be devoted to sending boys to a public school or to Oxford or Cambridge. Under this Bill all that money can be taken away. True that proposal can be opposed in Parliament, but that is not likely to bring you any great satisfaction, especially if you have no opportunity of being heard yourself because you are not a member of either House of Parliament. May I give a third instance? Supposing one of your Lordships makes a will to-day and leaves a considerable sum the interest of which is to enable boys to go to your old school, and supposing—though God forbid it should happen—that you were killed to-morrow, that money may never reach the people to whom you left it. That means that, although you have left money in your will and although you have said it is to be given to certain people to enable them to send their sons to your old school, your desire is frustrated.

I agree that one cannot expect one's will to prevail for ever. I agree that, supposing money was left five hundred years ago and has been faithfully administered for hundreds of years, different circumstances may apply to-day, which may mean, as pointed out by the noble Lord who moved the Amendment, that the trust has failed. A scheme can always be promoted in the Court of Chancery to apply funds of this sort to a proper purpose. But it is one thing to take old endowments which have ceased to be of any utility because the objects to which they were to be devoted have ceased to exist, and quite another to take modern endowments left or given in the last twenty or thirty years. It may be, under pressure, perfectly proper to take income, but recollect what you are doing if you do take income. Supposing a sum of money is left to enable boys to go to a public school, and you take that away, you are going to deprive the present boys, boys of thirteen, fourteen and fifteen years of age, of any chance of going to a public school. It is quite one thing to take away income temporarily; but to take away capital for all time surely is not a thing which will commend itself to your Lordships. Do you think that this provision is likely to increase the gifts to schools? Do you not think that it will undermine public confidence? What is wanted in the public schools is rigid economy, a simpler life and reduction of expenses. As I say, I am a member of five or six governing bodies and I know the temptations, and I ask whether you think, if we are entitled to take capital in this way, that it is likely to promote economy in the public schools. It is an easy way out.

Let me put this point. After the last war, many schools overbuilt. They have large debts, which they will gradually pay off by means of a sinking fund. What a temptation it is, however, to seize this opportunity of taking capital! "Hope springs eternal in the human breast," and of course they hope and intend to replace it; but is it to be supposed that after the war any of us will be in a position to leave large sums of money to anybody? If the public schools who have a little endowment now are going to find themselves without any endowment, but merely with the hope that later on it may be replaced, then heaven help the public schools!

The last argument is this: Would not you rather see your public school saved than that it should go down? That is an argument derived from the war of nerves; it is an argument of defeatism. If the public schools are determined upon this matter and reduce their expenditure, as many of them have, they will pull through. But is it wise to give them this power? As I have said, the Amendments to be moved by the Lord Chancellor have eased the situation, but I have already pointed out that those Amendments are not really likely to bring any help, and, so far as certain persons are concerned at any rate, these persons will have no chance at all of objecting to their money being diverted from the purposes for which they gave it. I therefore hope that your Lordships will have faith in the future of the public schools, and will not promote this desperate remedy for a situation for which it is really not necessary. I ask you to recollect that you will be creating a precedent which later on may recoil upon you, not only to the disadvantage but to the destruction of many of the public schools of this land.


We have all listened very carefully, of course, to what has been said by the two noble Lords who have spoken, but I must interpose at this point briefly to state what is the view which is taken by the Government and by the Board of Education. I hope that I may be forgiven if I say to my noble and learned friend whose powerful speech has just finished, that I really think that in this matter he is unduly alarmist. If you choose to stand by the principle that never in any circumstances must the provisions of any trust be even temporarily interfered with as long as the trust can operate, that at least is a principle; but that would, of course, apply to the provisions of this Bill about the transference of income as well as to the provisions of this Bill about the transference of capital; and I really do not think that the proposal in the Bill which is now being criticised can be fairly judged unless a slightly more extended reference is made to the other provisions in the Bill, and to the Amendment which I am to propose, largely to meet these anxieties.

My noble friend Lord Quickswood spoke as though a reference to this would be some departure from the strict rules of relevance, but, with great humility, I venture to think that it would be strictly relevant in the House of Commons, and it is strictly relevant to any argument based on common sense. If it was true that what this Bill proposed was to give to the thief seeking to break open a safe—I think that that was the elegant expression used; in other words, to the governing bodies of our public schools—full licence to commit this act of robbery without check, without supervision and without authority other than his own, then perhaps these rather violent expressions could be understood; but the fact of the matter is, as everyone who has looked at the Bill and at the Order Paper knows, there is a series of very strict safeguards suggested.

I draw the sharpest distinction between the case of income and the case of capital, because unquestionably to lay hands on capital in any circumstances is a specially serious matter; and for that reason, adopting in part a proposal which was made by the noble Lord, Lord Rankeillour, in the Second Reading debate, I have put down an Amendment to this effect, that if there be any order made which touches in the least degree any trust capital of a school, then that order cannot come into effect at all until the terms of it, specifying what is the maximum that might be taken, specifying the purpose for which it is now being used, and specifying the new purpose for which it is proposed to authorise it to be used during the war, are laid upon the Table of both Houses for forty days, with the opportunity—certainly in this House, where we have time for it—to challenge, if thought right, the particular proposal. I do not think it gives a fair account of the matter to the Committee to-day unless that proposal is at least put into the scale, and I think that that should relieve the minds of those who are afraid that the governing bodies of these great schools, or of many smaller schools, are likely, as my noble and learned friend said just now, to succumb to this terrible temptation. What a temptation to dangle before the eyes of people who are merely members of the governing body of a great public school! Here is a chance of getting some money which they ought not to get! I really cannot adopt that view of the matter at all; it seems to me quite outside everything that is reasonable.

The actual circumstances are these—end here I speak both with the authority of the Board of Education and also on the basis of some inquiries which I have myself made. If this Amendment is carried, my noble and learned friend who spoke last will not find, I think, that he is right in supposing that all the great public schols will find it so easy to carry on. I do not, of course, want to mention any names, and I can well believe that the great institution of Eton is far above these mere financial difficulties; but there are great public schools, so I am informed by the Board of Education, that are terribly anxious as to how they are going to meet the most urgent liabilities, connected, it may be, with the fact that in the public interest they have had to remove to another part of the country, or connected with the fact that some of them have suffered particularly in connection with the war. There are public schools which may well desire to ask whether some help can be given them in this way; and, if they ask for it, they will not get it unless the Lord President of the Council, acting on his personal responsibility, thinks it right, and unless the Order in Council is one which the Government are prepared to accept, and unless the Board of Education, examining the matter, are prepared to agree.

Is it reasonable in this Committee to take the view that the Board of Education in this matter will merely help the thief who is seeking to break open the safe? Is it reasonable to assume that they will be anxious and willing on all occasions, and without due cause, to enable the governors of schools, who find themselves overwhelmed by this "temptation" of which we hear, to succumb? I do not think so. I apprehend that without some such provision it would not even be possible for the governors of a school to raise money on the security of any fund of this kind which they hold. While I agree with my noble friend who spoke first that the raising of a few hundred pounds (I think he said) might well be within the borrowing powers of many of these institutions, we must not imagine that we are dealing in this Bill solely with the great historic public schools. As my noble and learned friend who spoke last said, there are great numbers of schools which may come under the provisions of this Bill. We must not slam the door on them all; we must not say, "I do not care what your difficulties are; I stand by the principle that in no circumstances is one farthing of capital ever to be affected by the provisions of this Bill." I would most willingly fall in with the views already expressed, or with the general view of the Committee, if that were the case, if it were not that in this matter I have a duty to discharge. My duty is this. I have been entrusted on behalf of the Government with the conduct of this Bill, and it is contrary to my conception of my duty to say, "Very well then, strike out capital and leave many of these institutions—as I am assured they would be left—without even the possibility of the help which in very extreme circumstances they might need."

I will not say more now, but I have endeavoured to assure your Lordships that there are considerations on the other side, considerations which were stated, both yesterday and to-day in the columns of The Times newspaper, considerations which I can well believe do not affect in the least one or two or a limited number of great institutions, but which vitally affect some of those bodies which I believe to be carried on with very great devotion and great public spirit by their governors; and certainly many of them have got headmasters who, to my knowledge, are greatly concerned to know whether this Bill is in this respect going to be carried into law. I therefore regret I have to take a different line. The noble and learned Viscount, Lord Sankey, says that what is wanted here is rigid economy and the cutting out of waste. Well, that is no doubt very just, but is he suggesting that these schools—some of them that are most hard pressed—are not being carried on with the most rigid economy? Has he informed himself as to how far masters' salaries have been reduced and every other sort of extra service has been cut down in some of these institutions? And are your Lordships really going to say that you are not going to give one of these schools the chance to get what it regards as necessary help, with all these safeguards contained in the Bill and the further safeguard which I am prepared to move if this Amendment is not made?


I rise to support this Amendment. I think we must all be grateful to the Lord Chancellor for the Amendments which he has put down, because they do act very definitely as safeguards in the matter of the expenditure of this money. But I had hoped from what we heard from his lips on the last occasion that he had rather an open mind as between the expenditure of income and capital, and I hope that if your Lordships do decide that it would be a mistake to interfere with capital he will be of the mind which I thought he showed on the occasion of the Second Reading. I am glad that the Amendment reduces the sum of money which any governing body can propose to employ. My fear is that a proposal might be made by one or other governing body to spend some of the money now put within their reach on subsidising the fees of boys. If that were carried very far it would alter the whole character of the school, and it might do by a side-wind what it appears to me ought to be done by a definite Bill introduced for that purpose. The income that the governors have put into their hands by this Bill should be quite enough for any ordinary subsidies, and at some of the schools with which I am acquainted money is paid, up to a certain limit, to those who seem specially entitled to it, especially, for example, boys whose fees are paid in full when their fathers are alive but who, on the death of the father, have to be immediately withdrawn from the school unless some help is given to them.

However, we are assured that the phrase "for other purposes" will be rigidly examined and carefully dealt with by the Board of Education in certain cases and by the President of the Council in others. Again I gratefully read the Amendment which the Lord Chancellor has put down and I think your Lordships will probably accept it. But I am not sure that the Committee have fully appreciated the great temptation there is in schools short of pupils before the war to see in this Bill a chance of repleting their ranks and saving themselves from the disaster of having to close the school, which, as the noble Lord, Lord Quickswood, suggested, might otherwise be in front of them. I may, however, point out that in one school with which I am acquainted there is a way in which the capital can be used to help the income as suggested, because there is no objection to the capital of the school being invested under the Acts which govern such things. I know one school where the capital of the school is from time to time loaned, as required, to the school for the purpose of carrying on, the capital being repaid, or to be repaid, at the right time and the interest being very low. That appears to me to be a very reasonable plan, and it is one of which I have some knowledge; but outright to say that the capital should be used by the governors both in the ways plainly indicated and in other ways that might be imagined, would I think be rather a mistake. I therefore support the Amendment, and I hope that the Lord Chancellor will come back to the frame of mind I thought he showed on the Second Reading.


I shall detain your Lordships only for a few minutes for the purpose of putting the views, or at any rate the interests, of certain schools which have suffered very, very severely owing to the present war. But before mentioning that aspect, I should like to say that I think there would have been a great deal to be urged in favour of the Amendment but for the Amendment which the Lord Chancellor has put down. Because there was perhaps a risk under the Bill as it stood that the power to use capital might be abused. I cannot help thinking that anybody who carefully reads the Amendment in the name of the Lord Chancellor will see that really that risk has now been taken away. With the safeguards proposed by the Lord Chancellor, if they should be accepted by the Committee, I take the view that capital will be employed in only a very small number of cases, but I cannot take the view that the interests of the schools in those cases ought to he disregarded.

I can imagine wealthy people thinking that the interests of their class are not going to be affected by a particular measure, and I can imagine that that to some extent influences the minds of those who are concerned with the interests of very wealthy schools; but I know schools which are in debt It is easy enough to say that they can borrow money, but they have already been borrowing money, and the patience of bankers is soon exhausted. I am thinking in particular of schools on the coasts of Kent and Sussex which have either had to be removed at great expense and with great difficulty to parts of the country which are supposed to be safer, or which have suffered by the not unnatural fact that parents have removed their sons in order that they should not be exposed to the danger of almost daily bombing from German aeroplanes. The air of Kent and Sussex, as your Lordships may be well aware, has always been a very favourable one, owing to belief in its very healthy character, for modern schools.

The question your Lordships have to consider on this Amendment is whether any harm would be done having regard to the great safeguards which it is proposed to impose by the Lord Chancellor's Amendment, leaving the clause in other respects as it stands. I can assure your Lordships from my own personal knowledge that there are schools which will be greatly affected by the carrying of this proposal which, as I see it, can do no harm to the wealthier schools, and will do a great deal of good to those who are in a very unfortunate position owing to the circumstances of the war.


It has been stated by a correspondent in today's Times that I am associated with Lord Quickswood in his present distrust of this Bill. I should like to intervene just to make it clear that the right reverend Prelate who expressed that distrust was not I but the Lord Bishop of Norwich. I am in favour of this Bill and against this Amendment. I would associate myself much more with another letter in The Times to-day written by my successor, as Headmaster of Repton, but I do not wish to enlarge on the reasons for; opposing this particular Amendment. We have had cases quoted in which it would be regrettable that capital should be used. No doubt there are a, vast number of cases in which capital should not be used, but there arc ample safeguards to see that proper care is taken before leave is given for spending any part of the capital. I have been a headmaster, and I trust headmasters as a class to value, above everything else, the interests of their schools. I am a member of more than one governing body, and I trust governing bodies to do everything possible for the best interests of their schools. Beyond that I know the Board of Education, from long experience, is, as indeed is its duty, extraordinarily careful to see that the best interests of every school are safeguarded. With all these safeguards my instinct, as always, is to trust those who know.


I am not quite convinced by these arguments, but it would be an inconvenient course to challenge a Division, and therefore I shall allow the Amendment to be negatived.

On Question, Amendment negatived.

THE LORD CHANCELLOR moved, in subsection (3), after "Provided that," to insert: '(A) any Order in Council or order conferring on a governing body the powers as to capital mentioned in paragraph (a) this subsection shall state specifically the maximum amount of the capital that may be applied by virtue of the powers, the purposes for which it may be so applied and the purposes for which it could have been applied apart from the provisions of the order; and, where such an Order in Council or order is proposed to be made, a draft of the Order shall not be presented to His Majesty in Council, or the order shall not be made, as the case may be, until a copy thereof has lain before each House of Parliament for a period of forty days, and, if either House within that period resolves that the draft be not so presented, or that the order be not made, as the case may be, no further proceedings shall be taken thereon; and (B)'

The noble and learned Viscount said: I now move the Amendment which does provide, I think it will be admitted, a very substantial additional guarantee, and I should like at the same time, if I may be allowed, to express to Lord Quickswood my own feelings of gratitude that, after the forcible case which he advanced, he has accepted what I believe to be the more general view in the Committee. That makes it the more necessary, therefore, that the Committee should insert the additional protection which I have put on the Order Paper. The proposal is that, so far as any touching of capital is concerned, it shall not be possible to deal with it merely by the consent of the Lord President of the Council or by an Order in Council without a further opportunity being given to each House of Parliament to examine what is proposed. Consequently, before the Order in Council or the other order is made, it shall, in draft, lie on the Table of each House for a period of forty days, as now ordinarily calculated, and also the Paper which is laid is not to be a mere general Paper, but is to be one that will state the maximum amount of capital that may be applied by the powers, the purpose for which it may be so applied, and the purposes for which it could have been applied apart from the provisions of the Order. I trust your Lordships will feel that this addition very materially strengthens the Bill, and I believe it will give a measure I of real satisfaction to those who have felt more doubtful about the merits of the proposal than I have done myself. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 2, line 15, after ("that") insert the said new paragraph.—(The Lord Chancellor.)


May I ask the Lord Chancellor why no provision is made for the replacement of capital after the war? Every letter in The Times has inferred, as a matter of course, that there will be replacement; but there is no provision to ensure it.


It is not proposed in the Bill that that should be made a condition. It would be very difficult to draw such a clause and insert it in the Bill, but obviously the consideration which the noble Earl has just mentioned, and which is an important one, is one that will be weighed and borne in mind in determining whether or not authority in a particular case shall be given.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


The three following Amendments on this I clause are consequential.

Amendments moved—

Page 2, line 16, after ("powers") insert ("as to income")

Page 2, line 17, at the beginning insert ("the powers mentioned in")

Page 2, line 22, at end insert: ("'(4) In reckoning for the purposes of proviso (A) of the last foregoing subsection the period of forty days therein mentioned, no account shall be taken of any time during which Parliament is dissolved or prorogued or during which both Houses are adjourned for more than four days.'").—(The Lord Chancellor.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Clause 1, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 2 [Application to Scotland]:

THE LORD CHANCELLOR moved, in paragraph (c), after "Provided that," to insert: '(A) any order conferring on a governing body the powers as to capital mentioned in paragraph (a) of this subsection shall state specifically the maximum amount of the capital that may be applied by virtue of the powers, the purposes for which it may be so applied and the purposes for which it could have been applied apart from the provisions of the order; and no such order shall be made until a copy thereof has lain before each House of Parliament for a period of forty days, and, if either House within that period resolves that the order be not made, no further proceedings shall be taken thereon; and (B)'

The noble and learned Viscount said: This is a corresponding provision to apply to Scotland.

Amendment moved— Page 3, line 32, after ("that") insert the said new paragraph.—(The Lord Chancellor.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


The remaining Amendments are consequential.

Amendments moved—

Page 3, line 33, after ("powers") insert ("as to income")

Page 3, line 34, at the beginning insert ("the powers mentioned in").—(The Lord Chancellor.)

On Question. Amendments agreed to.

Clause 2, as amended, agreed to.

Remaining clause agreed to.