§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ LORD TEMPLEMORE
My Lords, this Bill used to be in the old days what was called a hardy annual, but the war has rather interrupted its course, and the last time a Bill of this kind was introduced was in 1941. This present Bill provides for an amount of £15,000,000 which will last probably about eighteen months or two years. Your Lordships will see that the Bill is in the usual form. It proposes to write off, under Clause 2, the principal of various loans to the amount of nearly £10,000, and in accordance with the procedure indicated this sum will require to be made good to the Local Loans Fund by Vote. Those of your Lordships who have taken an interest in this Bill in the past—I do not know whether there are any—will have seen year after year an item referring to the Eyemouth Harbour Trustees. I regret to inform your Lordships that this is the last appearance of that old friend because the principal, amounting to £457, is extinguished and the arrears of interest are remitted by 15 Clause 3 of the Bill, so that we shall see it no more. There is one novel feature of the Bill, and that is Clause 4, which empowers the Commissioners to appoint one of their assistant secretaries to perform any or all the duties of the secretary, if he happens to be ill. The reason for the insertion of this provision is that the late secretary had a somewhat long and serious illness. He was so bad that papers and documents had to be taken down to his house in the country to be signed, which really was not conducive to the dispatch of public business and caused a great deal of delay. That is the reason for the insertion of the provision. I do not think I need trouble your Lordships any further, but I shall be happy to answer any questions any noble Lord may wish to ask. I beg to move that the Bill be read a second time.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(Lord Templemore.)
§ On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.