§ 5.38 p.m.
§ Order of the Day for the Third Reading read.
§ LORD MATHERS
My Lords, in rising to move that this Bill be read a third time, I want first of all to ask a question of the noble Lord who has dealt with the Bill on behalf of the Government. But before I do that, I should like to take the opportunity of thanking all those who have been responsible for the Bill right from its inception. My honourable friend in another place was very fortunate, I consider, to have the idea of promoting a Bill of this kind. He was fortunate also in getting support from all sections in another place; and that fortune continued when it came to dealing with the Bill further, because there was real support and help from the Ministers in the Scottish Office. When the Bill came here, the same kind of atmosphere prevailed, and the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, was most helpful. Now we have reached the present stage where the Bill is certain of passing into law.
This is an important Bill. Its provisions, as they will apply to those who take advantage of them, are most important. The question I want to put to the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde is this. Can he say what steps will be taken by the Government or by other agencies to make the terms of this Bill and the new and favourable concessions that it embodies known throughout the country? I put it in that simple way. I think there is a need to give great publicity to what is provided in this Bill, and I ask the noble Lord whether he can give us information on that particular point.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 3a.— (Lord Mothers.)
§ LORD STRATHCLYDE
My Lords, I should first of all like to express my thanks to the noble Lord for the gracious remarks which he made about my colleagues at the Scottish Office. I hope that what I have to say will give him some reassurance as to the publicity which will be given to this matter. The Registrar General intends to send out immediately to all registrars concerned a circular explaining this new measure and instructing them how to operate it. The Church of Scotland will also be notified about its enactment, so that they may take such steps as they consider 352 appropriate. In addition, the proceedings of the Bill have received a good deal of attention in the Scottish Press, and in that way its contents must have become fairly well known over a fairly wide area. Moreover, I have no doubt that the noble Lord's observations to-day will further draw attention to the beneficent provisions of the Bill. I hope that in some way that will reassure the noble Lord that the matter is receiving attention and that wide publicity will be given.
§ LORD MATHERS
My Lords, may I thank the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, for what I consider to be an adequate answer.
§ On Question, Bill read 3a, with the Amendment, and passed, and returned to the Commons.