§ 2.51 p.m.
§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ LORD AMULREE
My Lords, the Pharmacy and Poisons Act, 1933, lays down that certain monies are to go to the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, which is the body that controls the chemists of the country. The money needed to run the Society comes from two sources: from the individual chemists who are members of the Society and from the owners of chemists' shops. The fee which comes from the owners was laid down by Parliament to be £3 a year. The Society has been running into considerable financial difficulty and has cut up the fees which are paid by the individual members. The point of the Bill which I am introducing to your Lordships is to enable the 10 fee paid by the owners of chemists' shops to be raised to a maximum figure of £10 a year—though in actual fact, so far as one can see, the fee which the owner will be charged will not, at the present time, be more than £5. This sum has been agreed to by the private chemists, by chain-store chemists and by the Co-operative Society chemists; so I shall not need to take up any more of your Lordships' time.
Before I ask your Lordships to give the Bill a Second Reading I should like to say how extremely pleased I am that the first occasion on which the noble Marquess, Lord Lothian, is taking part in the business of the House in his new position should be on a Motion of mine. I beg to move that the Bill be now read a second time.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(Lord Amulree.)
§ BARONESS SUMMERSKILL
My Lords, I have only one or two comments to make on this very short Bill. It seems rather curious that it should be necessary to wield the sledgehammer of an Act of Parliament to deal with this little nutshell of the increased permitted registration fees. If this procedure were adopted by the innumerable statutory organisations which deemed it necessary to increase their registration fees, then Parliament would be constantly diverted to deal with these very small domestic matters. However, I have given more thought to the matter, and, on reflection, I am inclined to think that Parliament is right to exercise some control over the powerful Pharmaceutical Society in the interest of limited companies, which, I understand cannot be members of this Society. Therefore, I am only too happy to support this Bill on behalf of my noble friends.
§ LORD FERRIER
My Lords, as has already been said, this Bill is literally non-controversial, but the Motion for its Second Reading gives me the opportunity to associate myself with what the noble Lord, Lord Amulree, has said and, from this side of the House, to welcome the noble Marquess to the Despatch Box on this, his first appearance in his new responsibility.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LOTHIAN
My Lords, I should like to thank the noble Lord, Lord Amulree, and the 11 noble Lord, Lord Ferrier, for what they have said. I do not wish to comment on the Bill—as the noble Lord, Lord Amulree, has explained it so carefully and clearly to us—except to say that the Government entirely accept it, and hope that your Lordships will give it a Second Reading.
On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.