HL Deb 12 August 1966 vol 276 cc1925-8

(No. 1.)

Clause 1. page 1, line 17, at end insert— (c) for carrying on the business of a hotel or a restaurant.

(No. 2.)

Clause 1, page 2, line 10, at end insert— (f) the extraction of timber and works ancillary thereto.

The Commons disagreed to these Amendments for the following Reason:

Because they involve a charge on public funds, and the Commons do not offer any further Reason, trusting the above Reason will be sufficient.


My Lords, your Lordships will have seen that the House of Commons Reason for disagreeing to this Amendment was one of Commons Privilege. I am sure that noble Lords will accept this Reason, but I should like this morning to make a few very brief points of substance against the Amendment, and I hope that after my explanation noble Lords will not insist on the Amendment.

We had a fairly lengthy debate on this matter at the Committee stage, and I do not wish to go over what has been so often reiterated both here and in another place; otherwise, I should come under the Commons odium of tedious repetition. The Government cannot accept this Amendment, because it breaches the whole principle of discrimination in favour of manufacturing industry. It would be invidious to single out one service from all the others. The modification of the original Amendment at the Report stage in the House of Lords by deleting the reference to "licensed premises or other like establishment" has scarcely any narrowing effect, since the Board of Trade are advised that the words "hotel or restaurant" have so wide a meaning that most boarding-houses, transport cafés and pubs, as well as tourist hotels and restaurants, would be covered.

The Government, however, are sympathetic to the hotel industry and are trying to help in other ways. In common with other service industries it will get the new high rate of initial allowances. The development areas now include large tourist areas, and hotels there will qualify for 25 per cent. building grants. In addition, the Government have recently announced development loans for major capital expenditure on constructional work or fixed equipment, when that will play a significant part in attracting visitors from overseas to the hotels concerned. That is my brief statement on the position as it is. I beg to move that this House doth not insist on Amendment No. 1 to which the Commons have disagreed.

Moved, That this House doth not insist on the said Amendment No. 1 to which the Commons have disagreed.—(Lord Rhodes.)


My Lords, we on this side of your Lordships' House are deeply disappointed that the Government have been unable to see their way to accept our Amendment. It is, of course, possible to argue, as the noble Lord, Lord Rhodes, has done, that our Amendment was cast in such wide terms that transport cafes, boarding-houses, et al, were all included. But if the Government had had any will to accept the spirit of our Amendment, they could have devised a definition of their own choosing which would have excluded the (shall we say?) obvious absurdities of the transport cafes and the smaller-boarding houses, but made sure that the hotel industry as a whole would have benefited properly.

As I say, we are very disappointed. I do not think it worth while to rehearse the arguments yet again—they are well known to your Lordships—but I should like to place on record the deep disappointment of noble Lords on this side of the House.

On Question, Motion agreed to.


My Lords, I beg to move that this House doth not insist on Amendment No. 2, to which the Commons have disagreed. I will not again go over the Commons' Reason for disagreeing to this Amendment, but will go straight to the few brief remarks that I wish to make. Cutting down timber is essentially the harvesting of a crop and does not fall within the scope of the Bill, which is concerned with manufacturing, construction and mining. The needs of forestry should be considered as a whole, in the same way as those of agriculture and fisheries, and on this basis the Government do not consider that in the present economic circumstances this industry falls within the category of those requiring the highest priority for further special Government assistance. Forestry already receives some financial assistance; the position is regularly reviewed, and I can promise noble Lords opposite that the situation will be carefully watched. I beg to move.

Moved, That this House doth not insist on the said Amendment No. 2 to which the Commons have disagreed.

—(Lord Rhodes.)


My Lords, here again, we on this side of the House are very disappointed that the Government have not seen fit to accept our Amendment, or the spirit of it. We thought that it was a good case. It was argued well, both in your Lordships' House and in another place. I will not go over the arguments again, but I will use this opportunity to say something to the Government. There is one thing for them to learn, and it is that they ought occasionally to accept an Opposition Amendment. It can do more to sweeten the Opposition than almost anything else, as we found during our thirteen years of office. We worked for two long Committee days in this House on this Bill—a pretty poor Bill, at that—in a sincere effort to improve it. After those two days' work here, the Government have not seen fit to accept even one of our Amendments. We are deeply disappointed. We hope that they have learnt their lesson, and that next Session some of our Amendments will be accepted.


I take the noble Lord's point. I only wish the noble Lord could realise and know the struggle that I had in trying to persuade other people.

On Question, Motion agreed to.