HL Deb 04 May 1955 vol 192 cc737-40

3.50 p.m.

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

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

House in Committee accordingly.

[The LORD TERR1NGTON in the Chair]

Clause 1:

Granting by local authorities of travel concessions (5) In respect of travel concessions granted by them to qualified persons the council of a county borough or county district may, if they think fit, from time to time transfer to the credit

think there is anything further that I can add to what has been said. Obviously, we shall continue to differ from noble Lords opposite on certain points, but I hope the House will accept this Motion.

On Question, Whether the Motion shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided:—Contents, 60; Not-Contents, 7.

Kilmuir, V. (L. Chancellor.) Colville of Culross, V. Haden-Guest, L.
Falmouth, v. Hawke, L.
Cholmondeley, M. FitzAlan of Derwent, V. Henderson, L.
Waterford, M. Gage, V. Jessel, L.
Goschen, V. Leconfield, L.
Bessborough, E. Hall, V. Lloyd, L.
Dundee, E. Hudson, V. Mancroft, L.
Dundonald, E. Portman, V. Milner of Leeds, L.
Fortescue, E. [Teller.] Stonehaven, O'Hagan, L.
Grey, E. Swinton, V. Pakenham, L.
Home, E. Templewood, V. Raglan, L.
Huntingdon, E. Woolton, V. Rathcavan, L.
Jowitt, E. Saltoun, L.
Listowel, E. Ailwyn, L. Sandys, L.
Lucan, E. Burden, L. Savile, L.
Onslow, E. [Teller.] Chesham, L. Sempill, L.
St. Aldwyn, E. Chorley, L. Shepherd, L.
Selkirk, E. Crook, L. Silkin, L.
De L'Isle and Dudley, L. Strang, L.
Alexander of Hillsborough, V. Fairfax of Cameron, L. Stratheden and Campbell, L.
Bledisloe, V. Glyn, L. Teviot, L.
Wise, L.
Amulree, L. Moynihan, L. Rea, L.
Grantchester, L. [Teller.] Nunburnholme, L. [Teller.] Sinha, L.
Strabolgi, L.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

of the account of their transport undertaking sum, from the general rate fund, being sums not exceeding the cost to them of granting the concessions or so much of that cost as would not fall to be met out of the general rate fund apart from this subsection.


I beg to move the Amendment standing in my name on the Marshalled List. This and two other Amendments are put down at the instance of the Association of Municipal Corporations in order to make clear a matter which may be construed in the courts differently from the clear and undoubted intention of the Bill. The advisers of the Association have looked carefully at this Bill and feel that the clauses, as they now stand, might be construed to cover only administrative costs and not the costs on transport. There is nothing one can do at this stage, but I am sure noble Lords will listen with interest to what may be said on this point by the noble Lord, Lord Hawke, who is in charge of the Bill. I assume noble Lords will then have to accept the situation. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 2, line 43, leave out ("to them of granting") and insert ("of").—(Lord Burden.)


I am glad to have the opportunity of giving the noble Lord the assurance that he wants on behalf of the Association of Municipal Corporations. I understand that they fear that the words "cost to them of granting the concessions" are open to the interpretation that cost might mean merely the administrative cost within the local authority—for instance, the extra bookkeeping involved—and not the substantial cost which is intended and which is felt to be quite clear. The intention of my right honourable friend the Minister in this Bill is that it is the short-fall in revenue, due to the granting of the travel concession, which can be charged to the rate fund, and he is advised that no amendment of the Bill is necessary in order to achieve this result. I hope that this assurance will satisfy the noble Lord and that he will not press this Amendment or the other two Amendments allied with it.


I am grateful to the noble Lord, and with that assurance I beg leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 1 agreed to.

Clause 2:

Expenditure by local authorities under this Act

2.—Any expenditure incurred by the council of a county borough or county district in defraying the cost of the granting (whether before or after the passing of this Act) of travel concessions to qualified persons (whether by the council or by a joint board or joint committee of which the council are a constituent authority) or in making contributions under subsection (4) of the last foregoing section shall be left out of account in computing the expenditure of the council for the purposes of section four of the Local Government Act, 1948.


I beg to move this Amendment standing in my name. It will be seen that in the marginal note to Clause 2 there appear the words: Expenditure by local authorities under this Act. I believe I am correct in saying that the marginal note will not form part of the Bill, if and when it becomes an Act. From time to time it has been urged from both sides of your Lordships' House, "Put it in the Bill." The words "under this Act" do not appear in the clause, and I submit this Amendment to your Lordships in order to remedy that omission. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 3, line 25. after ("incurred") insert ("under this Act").—(Lord Burden.)


The marginal note is at any rate an evidence of the intention of Her Majesty's Government, and I can give the noble Lord an assurance on this matter. Where the local education authority arrange for travel facilities to be provided in the circumstances permitted by Section 55 of the Education Act they will obviously attract a 60 per cent. grant. Where, however, concessions are granted outside the orbit of those permitted under the Education Act, that is to say under paragraphs (b) and (c) of subsection (2) of Clause 1 of this Bill, then they will not attract a grant under the Education Act but will be chargeable to the local rate. While I am dealing with that particular question I would take the opportunity of putting right a small mistake which I made yesterday in a reply to the noble Lord, Lord Lucas of Chilworth. In an interchange of question and answer I used some words (OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 192 (No. 51), col. 714) which could mislead people, were they taken out of their surroundings. Where I said: That is the intention of the Bill. I should have added: in cases where a grant was already being attracted. I had already made clear in my previous remarks that nothing in this Bill could alter the question of whether or not children's travel would attract an education grant, but I am glad of the opportunity of setting matters right and I apologise for any misunderstanding which may have occurred.


In view of the assurance given by the noble Lord, for which I am grateful, I beg leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 2 agreed to.

Remaining clauses and Schedule agreed to.

House resumed: Bill reported without amendment.

Then, Standing Order No. 41 having been suspended (pursuant to the Resolution of April 20), Bill read 3a and passed.

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