§ Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee read.
§ Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(The Earl of Gainsborough.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.
§ House in Committee accordingly.
§ [The LORD AILWYN in the Chair.]
§ Clause 1 [Drainage rates in the case of certain land improved by drainage operations]:
§ On Question, Whether Clause 1 shall stand part of the Bill?
§ LORD CHAMPION
During the Second Reading debate my noble friend Lord Alexander of Hillsborough expressed some disquiet about this Bill and its effects on those who have been rated for drainage purposes under the procedure set out in the 1943 Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, an Act which was subsequently repealed by another Act. He felt that in this Bill we might be doing something behind the backs of the people concerned, and that the very least we could do would be to bring to their notice what we were doing, by including the names of the nineteen drainage boards concerned in the Schedule to the Bill. As a result of his concern, and with a view to embodying such a Schedule in the Bill, I consulted the noble Earl in charge of the Bill and the noble Lord, Lord St. Oswald. I must say they were both very helpful in this regard. We agreed that perhaps the best way to tackle this matter would be by administrative means rather than by introducing a lengthy Schedule, which to be effective would 1223 have to set out not the 19 drainage boards concerned but the 33 hereditaments which have been affected.
I have a question, of which I have given private notice, which I am now going to put to the noble Lord, Lord St. Oswald. I put it to him because it will be the Department's job to take the administrative steps necessary; and this is no discourtesy to the noble Earl, Lord Gainsborough, who is in charge of this Bill. The question is as follows. It is clearly desirable that the drainage ratepayers whose properties are covered by the proposal should be made aware of the provisions of the Bill. Therefore, I shall he grateful if the Government can give an assurance that they will ask the drainage boards concerned to let their drainage ratepayers know about the Bill and its effects.
THE JOINT PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FOOD (LORD ST. OSWALD)
Yes, indeed, the Government would agree that the drainage ratepayers whose properties will be subject to the terms of this Private Member's Bill should be informed. The Government will, if this Bill becomes law, request the drainage boards concerned to take all reasonable action to ensure that the drainage rate-payers will have the provisions of the Bill drawn to their attention.
THE EARL OF GAINSBOROUGH
Without wishing to delay your Lordships, I should like to thank the noble Lord, Lord Champion, for his courtesy in dealing with this matter and for raising this important point. I should also like to thank the noble Lord, Lord St. Oswald, for his co-operation and help in getting this Bill through this further stage in your Lordships' House. I am sure it will be welcomed by the people concerned in the areas where these rates are levied. It is undoubtedly a good thing for as many people as possible to be made aware of the fact that, after the Bill becomes law, if it does become law, the drainage certificates procedure will be able to be used again without fear of legal difficulties afterwards. I am very grateful to the noble Lords concerned.
§ Clause 1 agreed to.1224
§ Clause 2 agreed to.
§ House resumed. Bill reported without Amendment.
§ Report received.