HL Deb 06 May 1943 vol 127 cc431-47

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


My Lords, in moving the Second Reading of this important Bill I desire to say that, although it is non-Party both in origin and purpose, and although its aim has been generally approved, it nevertheless aroused considerable controversy which began in the form of a strenuous Blitzkrieg and ended with a "Peace with honour" compromise. Yet one does not know why controversy should have arisen, for there is nothing unique or revolutionary in the Bill. As its title indicates, its aim is to make provision for regulating the remuneration and conditions of employment and general welfare of workers and for improvement and development of the industry as a whole. The Bill provides for the continuation and expansion of the long-accepted principle of collective bargaining which may be said to have begun with the inauguration of the fair-wage clause as long as fifty years ago. That innovation was followed by the Trade Boards Bill which aimed to improve conditions in what were then known as the sweated industries. Your Lordships will see, therefore, that the Bill neither arouses Party controversy nor inaugurates a new policy. It provides means whereby the standard of wages and conditions may be established in a large and important industry; it provides machinery to make possible an independent and constructive examination relating to the health and conditions of the workers, and for the general improvement of the industry.

The justification for the Bill is also obvious. There is much to be said for avoiding any form of controversial legislation in a great war emergency such as that with which we are now faced. On the other hand, this industry is both large and essential, and it is for the most part unorganized. It is necessary that something should be done to prepare for postwar expansion, and in particular for the period of transition between the end of the war and the establishment of a settled peace. Your Lordships may easily believe that immediately the war is over there will be an unparalleled need for rest and recreation on the part of those who have worked hard and who have grown increasingly fatigued. If it is asked why this Bill should be introduced now, the answer is that it is necessary in order to deal with the war-time problems of labour supply, including the mobilization and proper utilization of all labour. In that connexion, it must be remembered that workers in other industries are directed to work in certain industrial establishments for war purposes, but they have a recognized standard of remuneration and conditions. In this large catering industry, however, there is no standard which could serve as a basis.

It may be expected that, when the war ends, there will be a very considerable expansion in this industry, which is an industry which, for the most part, British workers have tried to avoid. It is desired that the industry should not again become the invasion point of cheap foreign labour, provided by those who come for the most part in order to learn the English language. It is also necessary, even under present conditions, that the industry should not suffer any serious reduction in staff, below the level of the public need. Before the war, there were some 500,000 people employed in the industry in all its branches, and there is certainly room for double, if not treble, that number. Canteens, for instance, have increased from a few hundreds to 8,000 at the present time, and there are being trained in the various Services, military and other, as many as 100,000 people, who will be available for the expansion of this industry when the war is over. We must reconcile ourselves to the fact, even if we do not welcome it—as most of us do—that these canteens and this system of feeding school children and of having works hostels and so on, have come to stay, and it is wise on all grounds to prepare for them. With good organization and with general improvement in the conditions of the service, that service will expand. That will be to the good of the industry itself. I repeat that thousands of trained cooks and other workers will be needed, and the industry will benefit very considerably from the service of these trained people. So far as wages and conditions are concerned, it is felt that if the industry could be made more attractive by providing a basic minimum of wages and conditions it would be to the great benefit not only of the workers and of the industry but of the nation as a whole.

I should like to indicate as briefly as I can what the Bill proposes to do. It has two mains aims. The first is the regulation of wages and conditions affecting the welfare of the workers. The fact that such a Bill can be introduced and debated in Parliament at the present time is an assurance both to the workers and to the nation that these workers are not being neglected. The second great aim is the efficiency and the development of the industry. The framework of the Bill follows the principle recognized by the Whitley Committee in 1917, which was that where possible representatives of organized employers and workers should be brought together for the settlement of wages and working conditions, and that, where adequate organization did not exist, the Government should establish trade boards—the first board of this type having been set up in 1909—and these boards should deal with wages and conditions, and initiate inquiries and make proposals to the Government. It has been decided that trade boards are not wholly appropriate to this industry, and that more flexible machinery is advisable. To meet that need, this Bill sets up a permanent, independent statutory Commission, whose duties will be to make arrangements for regulating the conditions of employment and to make recommendations to the Minister, who may, if he so decides, set up a trade board. Not more than seven persons will be members of the Commission, including persons with special qualifications to represent the views of employers and workers, but who are not directly connected with the industry. The Commission may decide to recommend the setting up of wages boards. If it is decided to make that recommendation, then the Commission must give notice of such intention and consider any representations which are made, and if necessary make further inquiries, before submitting the recommendation to the Minister.

With regard to the scope of the Bill, the aim is to bring all workers within it, if engaged in any of the activities listed in the Bill in Clause 1 (2). The Bill does not refer to workers on board ship. This has been thought too difficult a matter to include in the present Bill. The Commission will have, as I have said, to make exhaustive inquiries before their recommendations are made and before what they recommend is put into effect; and, in order that the Commission may be properly advised, they may appoint assessors with experience and expert knowledge to give them that advice. The Commission will therefore bring together the representative views of various sections and it is hoped thereby to secure complete co-operation.

The Bill has a four-fold object: (1), to encourage the development of joint machinery for the regulation of voluntary agreements between the organizations of employers and of workers; (2), to set up machinery for such regulation where it does not exist or, if it exists, is not or cannot be made adequate; (3), to enable the industry to make its proper contribution to post-war settlement; and (4), to keep under survey and to make recommendations affecting the general development of the industry. The Bill, when it becomes an Act, may also have a very considerable part to play in general reconstruction. As I have previously indicated, the industry is largely unorganized and therefore unable to play its rightful part. It varies in quality: some sections of the industry will compare with the best in the world, other sections do no credit either to the industry or to the nation.

It would be right at this point that I should acknowledge the enormous improvement that has taken place in the industry during the last fifty years. Those of us who can remember the old-time, dark, often evil-smelling working class cafes in London know that they were both unhealthy and repellent. The tea was stewed, the food was stale and badly cooked, and the cups were as thick as horse troughs and as unattractive to drink from. Since that time a few well-known firms whose names I need not mention have created new standards in the industry. It may be said that now the majority of cafés are well-lighted, clean and attractive; and we should not neglect to believe that what they have provided has been a great aid to the sobriety of the nation, and that they have therefore performed a service of great value. A further commendation of them may be that they did not call upon their customers to pay in tips the wages of their staffs. From the standpoint of the worker the catering industry- was not a wage-earning paradise. It was, and is, precarious, and no calling inflicted more humiliating conditions. The worker was frequently in a position where any cad with a shilling to spend could reveal the nature of his character by bullying those who had to serve him. But we may be thankful that conditions have improved and I, as one who has known the industry from the inside as well as the outside, have great pleasure in recording the fact on my own personal behalf.

Your Lordships will allow me very briefly to refer to the clauses. Clause 1 embodies the real important principle of the Bill; it deals with the Commission and its scope. The First Schedule deals with the Commission in detail. Clause 2 describes the general functions of the Commission. Clause 3 deals with the particular functions of the Commission in regard to the wages regulating machinery. Clause 4 deals with the recommendation for wages boards, and makes provision for inquiry and representation. Clause 5 provides for the scope of the wages boards to be varied or for a board itself to cease to exist. Clause 6 gives the general provision as to the wages boards. They may request the Minister to appoint a committee for any of the workers within its scope. Clause 7 empowers the Minister to provide for a register of employers to be established in any section of the trade in which a wages board has been set up.. Clause 3 confers on wages boards the power to make proposals for a regulated remuneration and other matters. Clause 9 provides for the modification of contracts and penalties for infringement. Clause 10 prescribes the rules for determining what, for the purpose of the Bill, is the remuneration being received by the worker. Clause 14 provides a penalty for making or producing false records. I will not delay your Lordships by mentioning the particulars of the other clauses. Those that I have already mentioned contain the main provisions.

I desire finally to commend the Bill to your Lordships on more general grounds. We have for some years now sought to induce foreign visitors to come to Britain. The "Come to Britain" movement is a new and important factor, and we have indeed something very rare to offer to those who come. We cannot offer them the glories of the Swiss mountains, nor cloudless skies; but the student of human affairs may find here a greater store of accumulated experience in the art of government than in any other place in the world. Here he will see a people with a long and unbroken record of steady and peaceful development; here he will see a land where a man may speak the things he will; a people who give an almost instinctive obedience to laws which are broad-based upon their own will; who combine freedom with a sense of responsibility, who secure change without tumult, progress without disorder, and caution without reaction. We have not made enough of this great inheritance, but if we are to induce visitors to come we must provide for them the conditions of comfort. Tired men will not say, with Sir John Falstaff, "Shall I not take mine ease in my inn?" unless they can rely on finding there the ease that they seek. Your Lordships may remember Mr. Walter Hines Page, the distinguished American Ambassador of some years ago, and remember also that in his published letters, which were private letters to President Wilson, there were some relating to our country. One of them said: "The English have no coffee fit to drink. They have only three vegetables, two of which are cabbage." Then he suddenly palled himself together and said: "Nevertheless they have the high art of living. They are a great people, and I like them." I have as briefly as possible presented the general case for this important Bill, and I now invite the House to give it a Second Reading. I beg to move.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2.—(Lord Snell.)


My Lords, my noble friend Lord Snell has given a clear and ample description of the purpose and scheme of this Bill. My task, on behalf of my noble friends, is to say quite shortly why we support the Bill. From the description which my noble friend has given it will have been clear to your Lordships that this is no new-fangled or revolutionary proposal. In fact it is in line with a long tradition of legislation whereby the social conscience has been applied to the amelioration of industrial conditions. It began a century ago with the Factory Acts and the Mines Acts. Three-quarters of a century ago marked the beginning of the great and beneficent system of collective bargaining. Half a century ago there was introduced as common practice the fair-wage clause. A generation ago came the first of the Trade Boards Acts to which my noble friend referred, and which was limited to the position of the sweated industries. Then, a quarter of a century back, were the notable Reports of Mr. Whitley's Committee in 1917–18 which dealt with joint industrial councils so far as the better organized industries were concerned and with trade boards in regard to the less organized industries. But be it noted that the trade boards in the Act passed in 1919 dealt with the less-organised industries in general. There was no limitation, as there had been in the 1909 Act, to sweated industries. Indeed, as the Minister of Labour, Mr. Ernest Bevin, made clear in the course of the Second Reading in the House of Commons, it is no part of the argument of the advocates of this Bill to suggest that the catering industry is a sweated industry.

The case for this Bill rests on far wider grounds than that. It is indeed directed to an end which was referred to by Mrs. Sidney Webb, whose death last week was so serious a loss to the country and so sad a bereavement for her husband and partner, Lord Passfield, a colleague of ours upon these Benches. She said that a national minimum of civilized existence must be legally ensured for every citizen. That is part of the purpose of this Bill. During the period that has passed since the last legislation to which I have referred, practically every important industry and service in the country has either established its joint industrial council or has become the object of a trade board. Of the great important industries, the catering industry is almost alone in standing outside that general scheme. It is an important industry from whatever aspect it is regarded, if only from the standpoint of the number of persons which it employs. The figure of no fewer than 500,000 has been mentioned as the number of its employees. It is a considerable industry if we take into account the number of those it serves; it is a considerable industry from the standpoint of the capital invested in it; it is an industry which operates in every part of the country. It is a sprawling and untidy industry, and now is the opportunity to tidy it up.

There are many branches of it, or perhaps I should say there are many industries within the industry. We have the line drawn from the luxury hotel at the top through the less luxurious hotel, the road-house, the hikers' hostel, the guest house, the seaside boarding house, and the seaside lodging house. Again we have the smart restaurant, then the tea shop, the eating-house, the pull-up for carmen, and the coffee stall. During these past few years the industry has been greatly extended by the large additions made to it through hostels, British Restaurants, and industrial canteens. Be it noted that this Bill applies—rightly, I believe—not only to profit-making enterprise but also to non-profit-making enterprise, so that great voluntary associations which conduct a business which comes within the purview of this Bill will also be subject to its conditions. I have said sufficient, in supplement of what was said by my noble friend, to make it clear, I hope, that there is nothing new-fangled, as I have said, in this Bill. It is in the line of tradition, and I can see no reason why this traditional, accepted, and continuous process should stop short of the catering trade, almost the only important industry now outside the scheme.

It has been said, why introduce this Bill now? What complaint is there to make against the condition of this industry now? It is a disingenuous argument, for now, at this time, there is no unemployment or depression or over-supply of labour. But the conditions are abnormal and in order that employees may be attracted into the industry, and in order that they may not leave the industry, conditions have to be provided which may be better than those that prevailed in normal times and will certainly be better than those which may prevail in an unorganized industry after the war, when large numbers of men and women on demobilization will be returning to civil life and looking for employment. An argument which may also be advanced in support of this Bill is that, as the noble Lord indicated, we must be ready for demobilization, ready for the post-war period. The Commission contemplated by the Bill should be able to formulate schemes which would obviate seasonal unemployment, periodic depression and casual labour, the traditional evils which have to be removed by the traditional means, the regulations to which we have been well accustomed now for a long period of years.

The fact, and of course it is the fact, that very good conditions prevail in certain parts of the industry and among certain firms in various parts of the industry is no argument against regulations such as are contemplated by this Bill. Good employers have nothing to fear at all. During the war the industry has been greatly expanded by the creation of a system of communal feeding, the British Restaurants, under the noble Lord, Lord Woolton, and the experience of those restaurants is such that I have no doubt it will be desired that they shall be continued. I equally have no doubt that it will be essential that they should continue. The industry has been expanded further by the creation of a very great number of workers' hostels and also industrial canteens. I believe there are now something in the neighbourhood of 8,000 industrial canteens. I say nothing of the canteens which are operated for the benefit of those in the Services because, as I understand the Bill, they do not come within the purview of its provisions. If I am wrong in that perhaps my noble friend will correct me, but if they do come within it then the expansion is even greater than that which I have indicated. What has really happened during the war is that upon the existing industry, the pre-war industry, already considerable, there has been superimposed the new industry created by the media to which I have just referred. The need for common standards and for regulations, to ensure that the worst is brought up to the standard of the best, therefore becomes even greater.

As my noble friend Lord Snell said in placing this Motion before the House, when the war ends very large numbers of people, men and women, will be released for civil employment. Many of them will doubtless wish, in surveying the possibilities open to them, to enter the catering industry. Some of them will, during the war period, have attained some liking for the sort of work that is involved in the catering industry. Very large numbers have been engaged in the various Forces of the Crown in cooking and in other ways relative to cooking in the wide conception of the term. It is within my own observation during the past three years or more that the standard of cooking in the Forces has improved beyond what anyone would have thought possible, and that applies both to men and women who have been cooking for very large numbers on what I may call a wholesale scale, cooking for hundreds at a time, and also to those who have been cooking on the smallest possible scale for the small groups of eight or ten or twelve men or women at some isolated site in searchlight or defence stations in the country. They have got a liking for it and they have attained to very considerable skill in it.

I hope opportunities will be found when the war is over for giving them further training so as to enable them to qualify themselves better for dealing with the varieties of civilian occupation in the catering industry, for I am certain that large numbers will wish to go into the industry. I am equally certain that it is in the public interests that large numbers should go into the industry because it is and will be an expanding industry. As has been said both by the Minister of Labour in another place and also by the noble Lord to-day, when the war is over great numbers of those who have been exhausted by the exertions of the war will want to take a holiday, and it is essential that adequate provision should be made for them both as regards accommodation and feeding.

It is equally important that those who are to provide the feeding and those who are to serve in the accommodation should have reasonable and decent conditions in which to work and that those conditions should be sufficiently attractive to draw them into the industry. It will be natural for those who are contemplating going into the industry to say: "How much am I going to earn in the industry; what is the pay?" Payment will, of course, be partly in cash and partly in kind, and in that connexion perhaps my noble friend at a later stage will say whether he has considered the relation of the Truck Act to the provisions of this Bill. But when they ask how much they will earn, what sort of answer are they going to have? There has been a widespread, and to my mind at least—I speak for myself here—a pernicious tendency to make the tipping habit universal. It is surely wrong that employees entering an industry should have to calculate their probable earnings by taking into account the uncertainties of what they may receive in the way of tips. I hope the Commission contemplated by the Bill will take this into consideration and, speaking for myself, I should say that the tipping system should be abolished. It honours neither the one who gives nor the one who takes. It is an affront to the dignity of both and I hope the system may soon be brought entirely to an end.

I have spoken about the expansion of the industry in relation to holidays and I should like now to say something with regard to another matter to which my noble friend referred, the tourist traffic. I subscribe to everything that my noble friend has said with regard to the desirability of inducing people from abroad to come and visit these islands. There are what I may call political reasons, for the more we get to know one another the safer and happier will the post-war world be for all of us. But apart from political and social and sentimental reasons there is a good, sound, solid business reason why we should make this country attractive to tourists. We shall want all the foreign exchange we can get when this war is over, and the tourist industry is an invisible export. The more we can attract people from abroad to this country the better will our situation be for buying our needs—materials and food and the like—from abroad. I need not point out to your Lordships how vital the tourist industry was before the war to Switzerland, to Austria and to France. We must try and make it equally important, and for the same reasons, in this country.

I say therefore that this Bill, if it is operated in a forward-looking spirit, such as has been indicated by the Minister of Labour in another place and by my noble friend here, will perform useful positive objects in helping to reorganize the industry and in providing employment under decent conditions and fair standards for those returning from the Forces and in bringing large numbers of friendly visitors from abroad. On behalf of my noble friends I would say that we believe this Bill is an essential element in the practical new world of full and fair employment, efficient work and decent standards. That is the world to which we look forward and that is why we support the Bill.


My Lords, I am sure we are all indebted to the noble Lord in charge of the Bill for the very clear and interesting account of the Bill which he has given to us. As I myself happen to have been connected formerly with the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms, I should like, if I may, to congratulate the Honourable Corps on having such an expert Parliamentarian as my noble friend as Captain of the Corps to-day. The Second Reading of the Bill in your Lordships' House seems to be practically assured and therefore I do not propose to say anything at length. I gather that the immediate need for the Bill was that conditions in the catering trade were well known to be unsatisfactory, and that owing to war conditions it was necessary for the Minister of Labour to oblige men and women to go into this trade and that he was unable to do so unless he was convinced that conditions both of wages and of labour were satisfactory. Hence arose the present necessity for this Bill. I gather from what I have read in the Press that the Bill did not have a very easy passage in its later stages through the House of Commons but, so far as I can gather, it was skilfully piloted through the Committee stage by the Minister of Labour and his lieutenant Mr. McCorquodale. Now that it has reached your Lordships' House I hope it may have an easier passage here than in another place.


My Lords, I desire to intervene for a few moments only to make some very brief observations with regard to the Bill explained to us just now by my noble friend Lord Snell. He commenced his speech—do not know whether he was making any recommendations to your Lordships—by saying that it has caused so far both a "Blitz" and a peace conference. So far as this debate has gone in your Lordships' House, my noble friend has had a peace conference. I asked him whether he is inviting me to provide him with a little "Blitz." I should always be most willing to oblige my noble friend. I fear, however, that I must leave it to him to decide whether the few remarks that I shall submit to your Lordships are in that nature or not. The reason that I wish to say a few words is that for a considerable number of years I have been associated in what I think I may describe as an honorary and titular capacity with the Hotels and Restaurants Association. In that capacity, although only an outsider, I have had opportunities of seeing the complexity, the diversity and the individualistic character of the hotel and catering service.

Looking at this Bill it seems to me that there are in the main two considerations most prominent in connexion with it—first, the objects described by my noble friend which it is desired to secure; and secondly, the manner by which, under the Bill, it is proposed to secure them. As I understand it, of the two main objects, apart from other considerations, the first is to secure that as and when more and more men and women are called up there should be left in the industry on a satisfactory basis provided by some suitable means sufficient staff to maintain the industry in the interests of the well-being of the community. The second main object for introducing a Bill of this kind seems to me to be to secure that when men and women are demobilized and desire to return to or to enter the catering Indus- try, they shall be assured of obtaining decent wages and proper conditions of service. Those are objects which I take it we should all desire to support the Government in securing by legislation if and where there is any doubt of their attainment without it. So far as I am aware the hotel and catering industry itself does not admit the Bill to be necessary, on the ground that such previous inquiry as there has been has shown that remuneration and conditions of labour in general have not been unsatisfactory; but I observe that in a statement issued a month or two ago the Joint Committee of the catering trade say that they accept the principle of wage regulation whenever it may be found to be necessary.

The point I wish to make then is that there appears now to be some general measure of assent, including that of those engaged in carrying on the industry, to the proposal to deal with this matter in a Bill, both as to its general objects and in the principle of the method by which it is proposed to secure them wherever it may be found necessary. Strong objection has, however, been taken, as has been seen in another place, to certain features of the Bill as introduced there. It has been claimed that the Bill goes, in certain important directions, beyond the necessities of the case and that the machinery proposed to be set up under the Bill is not the most suitable or the most efficient for the purpose. The Bill, however, has, in its progress in another place, been amended in certain particulars, and some of the objections to it in its original form have undoubtedly been removed. At any rate, in the form in which the Bill is now before your Lordships' House for consideration it has been accepted in another place, and, accordingly, I understand that the hotel and catering industry accept the position, and will do their best to work the Bill fairly.

In order to induce easy and smooth working in what is undoubtedly, as your Lordships will admit, a complicated matter in an industry or block of industries of this kind, it is, I believe, proposed by some noble Lords in addition to myself to submit certain Amendments, on the Committee stage, for the consideration of the Government. They will be not Amendments of a wrecking character or with any intention of that sort, but Amendments designed solely to remove any obscurity that may be found, and to promote, so far as possible, the easy and equitable working of the Bill, not only in the interests of those engaged in the industry now, or of those who may come to it after the war, but also—for I believe that this is an important point in connexion with this industry—in the interests of the general public whom the industry serves. Before resuming my seat, I would like to take the opportunity of asking my noble friend Lord Snell if he would indicate before the conclusion of this debate whether any particular date is suggested for the taking of the Committee stage.


My Lords, I understand that, as has been stated by my noble friend Lord Bessborough, it is proposed, at a later stage, to put forward certain constructive Amendments. I think that some of those Amendments are framed from the point of view of public interest; the public interest in the service which this great industry, the catering industry, gives to the general public from the highest to the lowest in the land. I do not know whether it has ever occurred to your Lordships what tremendous variations there are in this industry. Conditions at no two establishments are the same. At one establishment it may be that the train which brings the guests arrives at six o'clock in the morning. At another practically the whole of the trade is done during the week-end. At yet a third place the trade is entirely a lunch-time trade. You have even the restaurant in Covent Garden which has to serve meals at four and five o'clock in the morning. But the industry exists to serve the public. The public is the goose which lays the golden egg, and unless the public receives service it will not support the industry. Lord Snell and Lord Nathan have mentioned that vastly important matter of the tourist traffic from overseas—the catering for the migratory goose, a timid bird, my Lords, a very timid bird, I know of certain countries where in consequence of over-regulation of hours and wages—I do not say just regulation but over-regulation—the tourist trade has had a great deal of harm inflicted upon it, in fact it has been almost ruined.

I would also like to mention that the catering industry is different from any other industry in that each individual employee has a particularly personal rela- tionship with the customer. It is not like a business where only the heads of undertakings and a few of their salesmen deal with the public. Practically every single man in the catering industry deals with the public, and the success or failure of a catering establishment depends greatly on that personal service. The little touches that each individual gives count for so much. How important it is to remember that somebody likes thin toast, or what his favourite paper is, or that somebody else always wants his hot water bottle filled. All these little personal points contribute to efficient service, and it is because of such matters that the custom of tipping exists in the industry. I think it is a custom which will not die away; it must be faced. Therefore, I would like to see this very important point considered carefully in this Bill and not be—as I think it has been up to the present—rather skated over and ignored. Those are all the points I wish to bring forward today. And, finally, I would say this: important as the Bill may be, and desirable as it may be, let it not in any way wreck that very personal touch between the catering industry and the public.


My Lords, I beg first of all to thank those noble Lords who have spoken for the friendliness of their criticism which, of course, will be carefully noted. The noble Lord, Lord Nathan, asked specially about canteens. The Bill is intended to cover civilian workers in canteens; it does not apply to persons enrolled in His Majesty's Forces. Canteens for men in the Services are therefore covered where they are provided and run by civilian organizations such as the Y.M.C.A. With regard to the Truck Act in relation to this Bill, the matter is so complicated and obscure that perhaps your Lordships will forgive me if I do not enter into it at this stage. The noble Earl, Lord Bessborough, while stating that the Hotels and Restaurants Association would accept the Bill and would do their best to work it, indicated that some Amendments would be moved. There is no need for the noble Lord to apologize for that; that is what Parliament is for—to consider carefully the Bills that it passes—and I am sure, from what he has said, that the Amendments will be reasonable. I hope that the Government reply, whatever it may be, will be satisfactory to all concerned. With regard to the Commit- tee stage, it is proposed to take this on the first sitting day after the next series of sittings.

On Ouestion, Bill read 2, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.