§ 4.17 p.m.
§ Report stage resumed.
§ Clause 174 [Provisions supplementary to sections 170 to 173]:
Page 122, line 45, leave out from ("not") to ("above") in line 46 and insert ("that other body falls within any of paragraphs (b) to (f) of subsection (1)").—(Lord Sandford.)
§ Clause 176 [General provision for transfer of functions]:
LORD SANDFORD moved Amendment No. 105:
Page 124, line 6, leave out ("on and after 1st April 1974").
§ The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 105. We now come to thirty Amendments, not all following this one consecutively, which together remove the references to April 1, 1974, as a starting date in the body of the Bill, and replace them and other phrases associated with the commencement by a new comprehensive commencement clause after Clause 267 (Amendment 308A), which, on the happy occasion when we reach it, will perhaps be the right moment to have a substantive debate on this matter. I would suggest meanwhile that we leave these associated Amendments and regard them, as this one, as paving Amendments to that one. In that sense, I beg to move.
§ Schedule 14 [Amendment and modification of Public Health Acts, etc.]:
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords, Amendment No. 106 is another of the commencement Amendments, and so is Amendment No. 107. I beg to move.
Page 291, line 33, leave out ("on and after 1st April 1974").—(Lord Sandford.)
Page 291, line 35, leave out ("that date") and insert ("1st April 1974").—(Lord Sandford.)
Page 294, line 43, after ("functions") insert ("solely").—(Lord Sandford.)
§ Clause 179 [Town and country planning]:
§ 4.20 p.m.
LORD SANDFORD moved Amendment No. 108C:
Page 128, line 16, leave out ("Part I of that Schedule") and insert ("In that Schedule—
(a) Part I")
§ The noble Lord said: I beg to move Amendment No. 108C. This is the first Amendment of two groups of Amendments dealing with the important subject of conservation. One group is in the names of my noble friends Lord Amory and Lord Molson, the noble Baroness, Lady White, and the noble Lord. Lord Garnsworthy. Another group of Government Amendments are in my name, and the substantive one is Amendment No. 142, which is on page 8 of to-day's Marsalled List. It might be helpful if I invited. our Lordships to address your attention to that Amendment, and particularly to the first paragraph of it which appears after the number 48.
§ I want to stress straight away that the substantive Amendment, Amendment No. 142, is not the provision which we were considering at the Committee stage. It has been considerably modified and strengthened since then in the light of the views expressed by your Lordships to give my right honourable friend the Secretary of State the power to supervise and influence arrangements made for getting access to specialised advice in this field in a very direct and positive way. He is enabled to issue a direction to an authority to ensure that adequate arrangements are made for specialist advice on conservation to be available in all cases where that authority has to take a decision about listed buildings, conservation areas or anything to do with the conservation of 1852 our historic heritage. The significant phrase is in the first paragraph and your Lordships will sec that the Secretary of State is taking power here to direct the district planning authority to submit to him for his approval within a period specified in the direction the arrangements which the authorities propose to take. If we are not satisfied about that we can, after consultation, give the necessary directions as set out in paragraph 49 which forms part of Amendment No. 142.
§ Now I will say something about conservation generally and how responsibilities and functions are shouldered and discharged at present. I would ask the House to have in mind that there are two aspects of conservation. The first is the protection of individual buildings by a process known by those who are engaged in it as "listing". Noble Lords will know that listing is carried out by my Department on the advice of trained investigators and there are at present about 160,000 historic buildings on these lists. We are increasing this number each year by the addition of about 14,000 buildings. Additionally when a local planning authority considers that a building at present unlisted is in some danger, threatened in some way, and therefore should be listed, they may serve a building preservation notice upon the owner. The effect of this is to give similar protection to that unlisted building for a temporary period while my right honourable friend and I consider whether the building should be added permanently to the list. Further, any local society or private person may ask that a threatened building not at present protected should be included in the list. Such requests are considered carefully, quickly and, if necessary, acted upon.
§ The process of listing is a process the importance of which in this context it is impossible to exaggerate. This is why I stress it so much. The identification of and the giving of statutory protection to our heritage of individual historic buildings is vital if we are to safeguard that heritage as a whole. Because of the importance of these buildings and this system, consent may not be granted by a local planning authority for an alteration or a demolition of such a listed building unless my right honourable friend has first been notified and given an opportunity to call in the application 1853 for his own decision. In other words, a right of veto over a decision of a planning authority to grant consents already exists. The veto is already there on the consent to the demolition or alteration of a listed building. That will continue to exist in respect of each individual listed building after local government reorganisation. It is not the least bit affected or diminished by any of the provisions in this Act.
§ No local planning authority, be it county or district, city or town, is able now, or will be able in the future, to permit the demolition of a listed building without first notifying my right honourable friend. It is true that exemption may be granted, and has been granted to a small number of particular authorities, from the need to notify my right honourable friend of alterations to listed buildings. This has been given in only a limited number of cases where the authority has been able to show us that it has the staff, the skills and judgment—the skills of the officers and the judgment of the members—to handle these important decisions itself. At this point I turn to the second aspect of conservation, the protection of historic towns. This is achieved in the main by development control and exercised with special attention—
§ BARONESS WHITE
My Lords, before the noble Lord leaves the point of the special exemption for those who are regarded as fit to deal with their own alterations to listed buildings, may I ask whether the noble Lord did not rather mislead us on an earlier occasion in suggesting that for the most part these parties were the boroughs rather than the counties? We have since been informed that that was not so; it was the other way round.
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords, I am sorry if that is so. It is a very small number. The majority are county councils but there are county boroughs among them.
I was coming to the second aspect of conservation, the protection of whole areas and historic towns. This is mainly achieved by development control, with particular and special attention being given to designated conservation areas. It provides the framework and impetus for the preparation and implementation 1854 of conservation policies. Since the passage of the Town and Country Planning (Amendment) Act earlier in this Session, designation of a conservation area now enables authorities to control the demolition of unlisted buildings in the conservation area. A conservation area is the kind of area an authority may well feel should be an area of special control of advertisements, in which less intrusive traffic signs, which are available for use in these circumstances, would be appropriate. But, above all, it is the kind of area in which specially skilled attention should be given to the control of development.
At the moment 141 authorities may designate conservation areas, of which 83 are county boroughs and 58 are county councils. The cities that are now county boroughs exercise, and have for long exercised, development control in their own right and many of them have built up excellent specialist teams. County councils, on the other hand, have very largely delegated their development control powers to their district councils. Indeed, if a district has a population of over 60,000 it can claim automatic delegation. We have, therefore, the situation to-day where designation of conservation areas has to be undertaken by counties, and of course by county boroughs, but the essential development control is exercised by districts under delegated powers. This split of the functions in counties, as opposed to county boroughs, has proved awkward for all concerned.
Against that background, I should like now to explain the effect, as I see it, of the Government Amendments and compare them with those appearing in the names of the four noble Lords and Baronesses who have tabled the other group of Amendments. But may I first deal with one point on which I believe there can be no real disagreement. No one, I take it, is claiming that class for class county councillors are better judges than district councillors on preservation and conservation matters. It has been said that district councillors are much nearer to development pressure groups and could therefore be influenced by them. But, if that is said, by the same token they are much nearer to the many hundreds of local amenity societies, growing daily, which are not slow to make their views known, often very forcefully, on local matters, which is what these 1855 matters are. In my view, it is right that decisions affecting the local environment should be taken where all the local pressures and views can best be appreciated; and it is on that basis that the Government have taken the decision that development control should henceforward be exercised in the sphere of the district authorities.
I appreciate that what concerns us all is not that county councillors are better at conservation than city councillors. If that were the contention I could produce plenty of evidence to rebut it. Rather, we are all concerned, I take it, that decisions crucial to the safeguarding of our heritage should not be taken by any group of councillors without their having access to the advice of skilled specialist teams. Cur problem is how best to ensure that. Our aim is to ensure that the system proposed in the Bill functions satisfactorily in respect of both the preservation of single buildings and the conservation of historic towns. May I remind your Lordships that paragraph 25 of Schedule 16 (the part we are dealing with and relating to the Amendment I referred to) enables my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Environment to direct the district planning authority to submit for his approval details of the arrangements they propose to make in order to obtain the specialist advice needed to carry out their preservation and conservation functions. A circular will be issued explaining how this advice might best be obtained. For example—these are the matters to which the circular will chiefly be addressed—district authorities may enter into an agreement to use the services of an existing team, which could be either a county or a county borough team. They may also act jointly to take over an existing team, or to recruit a new one; or they may continue to employ their own team, if, as is true in many cases, they already have one; or they may continue to employ a consultant—something else which again is done by several cities, some cities following both the last two procedures together. Circumstances already vary considerably throughout the country and arrangements such as these must be kept flexible.
It may interest the House to know that, for example, in West Sussex, and 1856 in the future county of Avon, discussions have already begun to see how existing teams can advise the new district authorities. In the one case the county team will be doing it; in the other, a district team—a team based upon the city of Bath. Similar discussions are no doubt taking place elsewhere. We set great store on these arrangements and by our power to influence them and, if necessary, give directions to bring them about. I must say that the other group of Amendments, proposed by four noble Lords and Baronesses, would take away the power which my right honourable friend needs to require these arrangements to be submitted for approval, and would put in its place a right of veto to the county planning officer over the planning authority of the towns and the cities that will make up the future districts. I will return to the question of the veto in a moment.
As I say, in our view the availability of specialist staff is the central issue here, and we therefore propose to strengthen the provisions relating to staff arrangements as I have indicated. What we propose, to be more precise, is that where a district planning authority fail to specify that they have made satisfactory arrangements of the kind I have just described for obtaining specialist advice, they may be directed either to use the staff of another authority or to arrange for a discharge of their functions by another authority. This proposal in our view has four clear advantages which I should like to spell out. The fact that action can be taken against an authority with unsatisfactory arrangements will urge all authorities into making arrangements that are satisfactory without. I hope, our having to use our directive powers in more than a few cases. We can, as I say, specify in a circular what criteria and standards we expect to be followed. Secondly, we can influence matters to ensure the optimum deployment of skilled staff, which all of us agree is in short supply. The third advantage under the arrangements which we propose is the avoidance of double handling of applications. This is an inevitable consequence of one of the noble Lords' Amendments which is asking for concurrent powers. The fourth advantage we see is that a possible source, if not an almost certainty, of intense resentment at cities that are going to become districts (and which have 1857 carried out these conservation functions quite satisfactorily) being put under the supervision and subject to the veto of counties will be avoided. This is one of the worst effects which my noble friends' group of Amendments will lead to.
I would now return to the right of veto that is proposed. Of course, this right would exist only in respect of certain decisions taken by a district planning authority. The Amendments would also give the county concurrent powers with the districts to designate conservation areas, serve building preservation notices, and protect unlisted buildings in conservation areas. Before I pass on to the question of staffing, I must say that I feel that something is wrong with the proposal which would give a county planning authority—and I say this however well meaning this proposal may be—a right of veto over planning decisions of cities that have been county boroughs and which have done as much in the field of conservation and preservation as any of the counties. It would mean setting the county of Norfolk, which until recently had only just designated one conservation area, over the city of Norwich, which is among the foremost cities in the country in this field and has designated six or seven. It would mean setting the county of Cheshire (against whom I have nothing in this field) as tutor over Chester, which spends probably more per head in conservation than any other city in the land. Chester has admirable staff of its own and employs one of the best consultants on this subject. What would be gained by setting Winchester under Hampshire, when both city and county have long proved themselves to be entirely capable of discharging their respective functions? I beg your Lordships to believe that such arrangements would not only be wasteful of skilled staff but bound to lead to the most intense resentment between town and country—just the very bodies we are seeking to reconcile throughout this Bill.
But the argument remains, and has to be met, that if all the districts compete for the existing experienced officers there will not be enough to go round and as a result the work will suffer; we shall lose valuable buildings and we shall harm 1858 attractive areas. I have therefore carefully considered the Amendments to see how they would help to avoid this pitfall, and I am bound to say that I cannot see how they could fail to make the situation worse, or at least very much increase the risk of the situation deteriorating. Just let us examine in detail the passage of an application through its various stages if the Amendments of my noble friend and noble Lords and Baronesses opposite were in force.
An application would go first to the district planning authority and the members (not the officers) would need to reach a conclusion on what they wished to do with it. However, as lay members they would need professional advice, and therefore the district would have to employ, or have access to, some professional staff capable of giving that advice. It is argued that they need not do so, but they may need such staff. However, there is nothing in the Amendments tabled by my noble friend which would compel them to seek skilled advice, whereas my right honourable friend and I are taking power under our Amendment to ensure that there are proper arrangements for engaging skilled staff to advise them on development and control matters in conservation areas. I am satisfied that where a right of veto is given to another authority, as it would be under these Amendments, it is unlikely in practice to produce the kind of relationship that would result from our Amendment; it would be much more likely to produce conflict and disagreement.
But to continue with this application for development in a conservation area. If the district authority, say in the city of York, decide that they wish to grant permission, the application would, under the operation of these Amendments, be then referred to the county planning authority at Northallerton. None of them has been hitherto. The whole procedure among county officers and county officials of the North Riding would then be repeated. Quite apart from the length of time that it would take to reshape a final decision, the handling of the application by two sets of officers and two councils and two committees must surely mean that more—not fewer—authorities will be competing for the existing professional staff. 1859 Noble Lords will already have heard all the other details about these proposals—the preparation of local plans and the control of development are closely related to the designation of conservation areas and the control of works to listed buildings. The former are all to be the responsibility of the districts, and I submit to your Lordships that it is not only logical but also a more economic use of scarce staff to allocate the conservation and preservation functions to them also. Furthermore, there are drafting defects in these Amendments but I will not lay any stress on that. What I would do is to stress the advantages in the Government Amendments. I believe these will encourage districts to make satisfactory arrangements to obtain specialist advice, and I am sure that the most satisfactory arrangements in a large number of cases—probably the majority of cases—will be for them to make arrangements with the counties for the county teams to be kept in existence and to be made available to the districts: and I am quite certain that the financial arrangements in the Bill are sufficiently flexible for that to be done.
My Lords, before my noble friend sits down can he explain one thing to me, which no doubt shows great ignorance on my part. In my experience, conservation and the protection of listed buildings depends a great deal on money; somebody paying for it—either the owner, the district, the county council or, in the old days, the Office of Works. What I do not quite understand is this. If the Minister is assuming the considerable position that he appears to be occupying, will he be in a position to contribute anything to this conservation work out of separate funds or will be more or less direct other authorities to spend it out of their funds?
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Viscount for affording me an opportunity to explain this matter. It is not easy to do it briefly, because it is quite a complex package, but broadly speaking it is as follows. In the case of individual buildings, the owners can apply to the Historic Buildings Council, who will look at the applicalion. If they consider that the building 1860 is of national significance and importance, and that what is proposed can be approved, they will advise my right honourable friend to give a grant of whatever size they think appropriate and at whatever rate they think appropriate. In other words, they might decide to recommend 50 per cent. or 70 per cent. or some other percentage. They will make a contribution of a certain percentage towards the work in hand, the owner contributing the rest. The owner can also apply to his local authority, which is also authorised to contribute in the same way. The general pattern is that grants from the Historic Buildings Council up to the maximum budget they are allowed per annum, running at present at £1½ million, tend to contribute to buildings of national importance while the local authorities tend to contribute to the buildings of local importance. That is the basic system.
On top of that there are arrangements whereby, in what are called town schemes, groups of buildings in conservation areas, including buildings which individually do not come up to the standard to attract grants in their own right, can be assisted by way of town schemes. In that case the grants are also administered on the advice of the Historic Buildings Council: 50 per cent. of the cost of the works is borne by the owner; 25 per cent. by the local authority and 25 per cent. by the Exchequer. On top of that there are the newly introduced conservation grants under the Town and Country Planning (Amendment) Act in which it is open to local authorities, the owners of buildings or amenity societies to put forward conservation schemes of a general kind (not necessarily concerned with work on individual buildings) for the enhancement of outstanding conservation areas, and here again grants are available on the advice of the Historic Buildings Council for the support of that work.
My Lords. I hope there will be enough money from these different funds to help substantially.
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords, we have doubled the amount available since coming to power. I commend the group of Government Amendments to your Lordships in the belief that these proposals will, first, encourage districts to 1861 make satisfactory arrangements to obtain specialist advice (and I think that in the majority of counties this might best be done by keeping the county teams together and have the districts contributing to them); secondly, that it will avoid the double handling of planning applications, such as I have described in some detail—remember, double handling would be inevitable if the concurrent powers being sought in the counter proposals were to be given: thirdly, that since the power of veto which the counter proposals would involve will not exist under the Government's arrangements, this serious danger of conflict and resentment between cities and counties will be avoided; and fourthly, that it will be possible, by the exercise of the powers that my right honourable friend proposes to take, to avoid the undesirable deployment of staff which I am afraid would otherwise result. I apologise for speaking at such length, but this is not only an important but a somewhat complicated subject. I welcome this opportunity to discuss it and I look forward to hearing the views of other noble Lords.
§ 4.52 p.m.
§ LORD MOLSON
My Lords, the House will be grateful to the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the broad explanation he has given both of the proposals of the Government and of the alternative proposals that have been put forward by noble Lords including myself. It is convenient that we should discuss this whole matter and see the issue as a problem of policy before we consider the individual Amendments and the extent to which they are effective for the purposes we have in mind. I very much hope that as a result of what the Parliamentary Under-Secretary has said and of my remarks it may be possible for us to reach a compromise which will effect the purposes we have in mind and at the same time not require the Government to go back on their considered policy.
Before we begin to consider this problem may I repeat what is of course well known to all your Lordships but what is fundamental to any consideration of this problem? Under the law as it has been, all these conservation and preservation matters have been the responsibility of the local planning authorities, which are the county councils and county borough councils. The effect of this Bill as drafted 1862 would be to transfer those powers almost completely to the newly created district bodies. It is not in any way to cast reflections on these future district bodies if I point out that all existing experience and expertise is at present in the hands of the county councils and county borough councils, and when Parliament decides to transfer important functions from one set of bodies to another it is extremely important to ensure that as much as possible of the accumulated wisdom and experience is preserved and not sacrificed.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary wrote to me saying that after studying what had been said in Committee—when, your Lordships will remember, not one noble Lord from either side supported the Government's proposals as they then were—he thought that two main considerations had emerged. The first was the question whether county councils were likely to be more responsible guardians of our heritage than district councils, and the second was how to make the most economical and efficient use of the limited number of specialist staff concerned with these matters.
The Government deny that the county councils would be better guardians of our heritage than the district councils. I have already pointed out that the existing experience rests with the county councils and county borough councils. When expenditure is to be incurred on conservation, preservation or anything of that kind, the pressure on councillors from a small area which will have to meet out of a comparatively small rateable area the heavy expenditure which is involved in preservation and conservation is very much greater than it would be in the case of a county. The very expenditure is a much greater burden on a district than on a county council. It is only a natural human weakness, to which I am sure we would all be subject, to be concerned about a proposal which will involve heavy expenditure out of our own purse on some artistic or historical cause.
There is a clear distinction to be drawn between those district councils which are to be based on great historical cities like York, Chester and Norwich, and what I might call the ordinary run of district councils of which there will be 1.200 to 1,400. My noble friend Lord Colville chose to take these few district councils which will be based on these historic 1863 cities as the example from which he drew general conclusions. It is often unwise for someone with professional experience to rely on his own experience rather than on the statistics. He said that of the 12 local authorities which had so distinguished themselves that they were given special exemption from informing the Secretary of State of proposed alterations to listed buildings, 9 were county borough councils and 3 were county councils. The facts are that 12 have indeed been exempted, but 11 were county councils and only I was a county borough council. I agree with what my noble friend Lord Colville said—
§ LORD MOLSON
My Lords, I agree with what my noble friend Lord Colville said about the distinguished record of these historic cities, and I accept entirely that my noble friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary has again said to-day, that it would be entirely wrong for Norwich, Chester or York to be put into subordination to the county surrounding. Surely, my Lords, the position is reasonably clear. There is an immense difference between different categories of district councils. Some are large and wealthy, and will be based upon these great historic cities. Others—and no reproach attaches to them—are poorer, both in financial resources and in their architectural heritage, and the degree of autonomy that could properly be given to Chester, York or Norwich, say, would not be apropriate in the case of a number of district councils without any of the same distinguished heritage from the past. Indeed, a vital distinction is that in those cases that the Government have mentioned these great historic cities have already been county borough councils and, therefore, planning authorities. What is now being proposed is that on the strength of this limited number of historic cities it is proposed to give these greatly increased powers to district councils which never have been county borough councils, have had no experience as planning authorities and are not likely in the 1864 future to be able to exercise the same knowledge and the same discretion.
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords, I wonder whether I may interrupt my noble friend before he leaves this point. I was at some pains to mention another city which is not a county borough, a long way below the population level of a county borough, namely, Winchester, and I could mention another, Stamford. There are much smaller areas which have, I should have thought from my own personal experience, exercised with perfectly admirable skill as many conservation functions as it is possible for them to have. I would submit that it is not the fact that an authority has to be of a certain size before it is capable of doing this. There is a combination of factors involved: good judgment by councillors; good officials exercising development control, and so on. I cannot agree with my noble friend that at a certain level of size—county borough size—conservation suddenly becomes possible. It is being carried out admirably within the constraints of the legislation by much smaller authorities.
§ LORD MOLSON
My Lords. I am much obliged to my noble friend and I am glad to say that his intervention fits in entirely with the proposal that I am about to make. In view of what he has said, I am naturally encouraged to think that he will find my proposal—which will really reconcile the differences between us—acceptable.
The real spirit of the Government's proposal is that all district councils in the future should be given that increased authority and discretion which they have said would be appropriate in the case of these great historic cities, and I entirely agree with the point my noble friend has now made; that there will be a number of other district councils which might very properly be put into the same category. Our proposal is that the Secretary of State should have power to give to district councils—which will be those historic cities mentioned by two Ministers and these other deserving and admirable smaller bodies that my noble friend has just mentioned in his intervention—these extra powers, but that the general run of district councils should not be given these powers which are not suitable for all district councils.
1865 The Government accept this proposition because they have put down an Amendment by which they are going to subject to discipline and control district authorities that do not show themselves at the beginning to be sufficiently responsible. My Lords, the difference between the Government and my friends and myself can be largely boiled down to this question: should we legislate, as my friends and I suggest, for the general run of district councils, giving the Secretary of State a discretionary power to grant special additional powers to the district councils in whom he has confidence, or should we, as in the Government's proposal, legislate for those with a higher degree of expertise and then issue circulars, directions, and so forth, in order to bring those which lack these special abilities, expertise and experience up to the ordinary standard? I suggest that our proposals are much the better, first because we are legislating for the majority and giving power for special treatment to be accorded to the elite minority, and secondly because it means that privileges are given for good work to those district councils that show themselves to be deserving of them.
My Lords, I turn now to the Government's Amendment No. 142. Naturally I will not go into detail because that can be done, if necessary, later. What I am bound to ask the Parliamentary Secretary, however, is to what extent will this be effective? In paragraph 49(a) of the proposed new Part III reference is made to the arrangements for the services of officers, and so on. Subparagraph (b) says that the Secretary of State may:direct the district planning authority and another local planning authority so specified to enter into arrangements for the discharge by the latter of any of the functions mentioned in that paragraph and also direct that the arrangements shall contain terms so specified or terms on lines laid down by him".I should like to have from the Parliamentary Secretary a definite assurance that that wording would enable the Secretary of State to give directions to a district council to carry out necessary conservation work and that it would not be considered to be any adequate answer if the district authority wrote back to the Ministry and said, "We very much regret we cannot comply with your instruction because it would involve imposing an additional burden upon our ratepayers".
1866 The second point which the Parliamentary Secretary made in his letter to me emerged from our debate at the Committee stage, and was the importance of making the most effective use of specialised staff. I was fearful of what would happen even before the speech of my noble friend Lord Colville of Culross at the Committee stage. What he then indicated was that the wish and intention of the Government was far worse than anything I had expected. At column 925 (OFFICIAL REPORT, 19/9/72) he said:… where we have a good county team now "—he was referring to the technical staff necessary for this purpose—there is nothing to prevent it either from staying with the county under the Bill as it stands or being shared by the districts … or indeed, I suppose, being taken over by one of the districts and available to others, if they should so wish.The idea of these specialised staff leaving the county council and going to one of the district councils appeared to me to be so deplorable that I asked him later whether that was exactly what he meant. I said (col. 927):Does the noble Viscount mean that they should not be broken up but that the whole county team should go to one of the district councils?And he replied:Yes; in some cases that would be most suitable—most suitable indeed.If we are short of specialised staff, and if a county council has built up a staff of that kind, with these great and important powers being transferred to the districts (and there may be eight or ten districts in a county), the idea that perhaps the richest and most enlightened of those districts should take over the county staff, to the deprivation of the county council and all the other district councils, appears to me to be wholly deplorable. But I have heard the Parliamentary Secretary to-day (consultations, no doubt, have taken place in the Department), and he has said that the best thing would be for the county council to retain a skilled staff of that kind. In the Government Amendment (No. 142) it says that a local planning authority may be directed to enter into arrangements with another local planning authority. I take it that that means that a district council may be instructed by the Secretary of State to enter into arrangements with another district Council. I hope that it also means— 1867 and I should far prefer that we spelled it out—that where these concurrent powers, as I hope they will be, are exercised, any arrangements of that kind should be between the district councils and the county councils.
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords, I wonder whether I might interrupt my noble friend once more before he leaves that point. If I may say so, I think he is generalising too much. I would not dispute a word of what he is saying about what might be a likely pattern in, say, 20 or 30 counties. It may well be the best arrangement. and it may be an arrangement about which we shall agree to or make positive directions; that the county team remains together and serves the districts and helps them by providing that expert advice in discharging their functions. But it may by no means happen everywhere. If I may speculate about the new county of Avon, it contains two big cities which will each form districts under the future pattern of local government. I have reason to believe that what will happen there is that Bath, which because of its nature has a powerful team of officers dealing with the conservation of the city, and Bristol, another of our larger historical cities, between them will serve the other districts that, together with them, will make up the new county. There we shall have the functions of conservation in that new county being served on behalf of all the districts of the county by two districts rather than by a county team. So there are variations—I assure the noble Lord I have done a little desk exercise throughout the country—between the kind of county he has in mind and the kind I have described, by way of example, the county of Avon. There is very much more variation in this, and it is impossible to generalise.
§ LORD MOLSON
All of which confirms me in my feeling that it should be quite possible to arrive at an entirely satisfactory compromise between the Government and ourselves and make appropriate arrangements according to the particular county. I am not at present persuaded that the most effective way of doing that is to have no statutory foundation for this co-operation and merely 1868 giving the power to the Minister to issue circulars followed by directions.
I apologise, my Lords, for speaking at length, but this Amendment covers a number of important matters. There is also the financial position. Again my noble friend Lord Colville referred to finance as though it were not of any great importance. It is, of course, of great importance. The destruction, the decay, of so much of our architectural heritage at the present time is due not to lack of architectural advice as to what ought to be done, but the inability of people to find the money to carry out the work that is necessary. That will certainly bear very much more heavily upon districts than it would upon counties.
Another very important financial aspect which my noble friend did not mention—indeed he skated over it—is that in conservation areas there is a tremendous temptation for the local ratepayers to press for the demolition of picturesque ancient buildings which are not profitable like a modern office block, and for them to be replaced in that way. The larger the area and the greater the resources of the authority concerned, the less dangerous that pressure is likely to be.
I come to a point which I believe the Parliamentary Secretary has anxiously in mind, although he did not refer to it in his speech to-day. How can a county council justify to its ratepayers the retention of a skilled staff—an architect; perhaps an inspector of ancient buildings; a surveyor, a clerk of the works; all those skilled people who are necessarily working together as a team to carry out this work—when in fact the county council has no statutory responsibility, no locus standi whatsoever in dealing with conservation areas? It is asking too much of county councils to expect them to carry the burden of maintaining this staff if in fact they have no right of intervention, no right to declare a conservation area, no right to do anything except to co-operate with district councils if and when the Secretary of State calls upon them to do so.
Running through my noble friend's speech there was perpetual reference to advice and consultation. Of course that is a first essential: nothing can be done until the right advice is given. But 1869 advice does not result in action, and I can see nothing except paragraph 49(b) of Amendment No. 142 which gives the Secretary of State any power whatever to ensure that anything effective is done. When we are legislating and setting up a new structure of local government in this country it is essential that we should be satisfied that it will be effective for its purpose, and not be satisfied merely with the powers of discussion and consultation between a number of different local authorities, who are going to find it extremely difficult to carry out and finance the work which is urgently necessary if our architectural heritage is to be preserved.
§ 5.21 p.m.
§ LORD GISBOROUGH
My Lords. I should like very briefly to support my noble friend Lord Molson in what he has said. There is the world of difference between those districts which have been mentioned—that is to say, Winchester, Bath, Norwich, and so on—and the districts which are made up of perhaps half-a-dozen towns of 10.000 inhabitants, or less, where they have never had their own planning teams. When it comes to planning teams, it is not a question of councils' being short-staffed the supply of qualified staff is totally inadequate, and at the moment many planning officers are working very much above their qualifications simply because the qualified staff are not there, and will not be there for many years. So those staff who are going to be shared will have many masters, and I do not think that staff like having many masters.
Finally, anybody who has been in county planning will know well enough that many decisions which are referred to the county planning department by local planning officers are really wrong decisions on any count, and are taken by the local districts acting through local sympathies and local pressures.
§ 5.23 p.m.
§ BARONESS WHITE
My Lords, I should like briefly to intervene in very warm support of what has been said by the noble Lords, Lord Molson and Lord Gisborough, because this is one of the subjects on which one had hoped for so much, if I may say so frankly, from a Conservative Government. We had hoped 1870 so much that they would have taken more deeply to heart the kind of questions which the noble Lord, Lord Molson, has so eloquently put before us, and that they would have thought this subject through with greater purposefulness. I recognise that a great deal of work has been done, but the results are so disappointing because, as I am sure noble Lords who have had experience of local government will appreciate, what we are left with by the Government Amendments (although they improve somewhat the original form of the Bill), is something which I think most of us would feel will not work very satisfactorily except in the few areas of very special effort, such as the places mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Sandford—Norwich, Chester, Winchester, York, and one or two others. He mentioned, too, some places like Stamford. I am not denying for a moment that the proposed arrangements would possibly work in those instances, but there are so many other areas—the noble Lord himself said 20 or 30 counties—where you do not have such centres of excellence, with experts both on the councils among the elected members, among the staffs, and among the inhabitants. If Winchester, cannot look after itself, for goodness, sake! who could?
There are so many other places which many of us must have in mind. If one must mention places, take Aylesbury, which makes me weep whenever I go near it. Aylesbury was a perfect example, as some of your Lordships may know, of a very pleasant market town with a very agreeable market square. Perhaps it did not have any one building which you could point to and say, "That is of absolutely outstanding merit", but the total ambience of the place was agreeable. It was charming; it was attractive; but the horrors that have been committed in the centre of Aylesbury, such as that ghastly monstrosity of concrete which has now been put there! All those pleasant buildings, the hotel, the shops, the old market square, and everything there in that part of Aylesbury has been ruined. Take Shrewsbury. Some of the best buildings there have been knocked down in the sacred name of development. I will not particularise further. I mention just two places that are close to my heart, and both of which make me almost 1871 physically ill when I go there nowadays. I am happy to say that there are parts of Shrewsbury and Aylesbury which are still pleasant and agreeable, but when you think of what the whole might have been, it really is very sad indeed.
The noble Lord, Lord Molson, was perfectly right in saying that in very many of these smaller places the local councillors feel passionately that they must go for development at all costs. One does not blame them. One can appreciate that they are concerned with the business, the prosperity, of their community. They are under considerable pressure from their friends, their neighbours, their colleagues, and their relatives. We all know the position very well and it is because of considerations of that kind that one needs a much wider base. It is not that we want in any way to deny to the local communities some authority and some interest in this matter, but something more widely based is needed. It is here that the Government have failed lamentably in their proposals, unless they are going to act with considerable vigour on subparagraph 49(b)—and I find that hard to believe. One knows very well how reluctant Government Departments are to intervene in these matters and to tell local authorities that some other authority must take over their job. They will not do it, except in the extreme cases, when a great deal of damage will already have been done. If it has not been already done, they will find it very difficult to prove their point.
It seems to me that the proposals of the Government, although they are a slight move in the right direction, still leave us with a situation in which, in order to maintain the position and the authority of a relatively small number of admittedly important and well managed towns and cities—mostly former county Boroughs, though not exclusively such—:hey are prepared to sacrifice a large area of the country so far as conservation is concerned. As the noble Lord, Lord Gisborough, I believe was indicating, it is surely unrealistic to expect county teams to remain: they will not. What self-respecting staff would remain under those conditions? They would not. This is where I frankly despair when the noble Lord, Lord Sandford, puts this proposal forward as a serious proposition. If he 1872 were a highly skilled person of professional standing, would he want to work for an authority which had no powers itself of any kind, in order to be at the beck and call of a number of disparate local authorities and without having any secure base with his own authority? I just do not believe that people of real skill and eminence in these fields would remain in those circumstances. I do riot think it is realistic. That is one of the main reasons why I am so much disturbed by the proposals.
The other point that the noble Lord, Lord Molson, emphasised related to cash. I can only look back to some of my own associations in Wales. I have said to your Lordships before that we do not have very many conservation areas in Waes; we have natural beauty, but not a great deal of man-made beauty. When I think of the relative position and interest of the major authorities of the counties and of the districts, and even the districts as they are going to be, the district just will not have the money and I believe in most instances will not wish to spend the money, except the historic towns and Baedeker cities. They will, but I do not think the others will be disposed to spend their money in the way that very often the counties would. The counties have greater resources, they are able to take a broader view, they are very often able to call on a wider range of interests among their elected members as well as among their officers. It seems to me, therefore, that it is of the greatest importance that there should be at the least concurrent powers.
There is one small point on which I should be grateful to have Lord Sand-ford's enlightenment. I was a little worried about what would happen under the concurrent powers. As I understand concurrent powers, it means that either authority may take action; it does not necessarily have to go through both.
§ BARONESS WHITE
The way in which the noble Lord was putting it to the House was indicating that in all circumstances you would have to go through a double process. I think with respect, that that is not so.
§ BARONESS WHITE
You probably would, but it does not by any means follow. If you have concurrent powers, the county would at least be able in appropriate circumstances to take some action, and for reasons on which I am sure other noble Lords will elaborate I hope very much that we can come to some kind of—I almost said compromise, but something which will provide for concurrent powers in the counties.
§ BARONESS EMMET OF AMBERLEY:
My Lords, I had not intended to intervene in this debate, but having listened carefully to the speeches on both sides I cannot but support the noble Lord, Lord Molson, and the noble Baroness, Lady White, for three simple reasons. The first is the difficulty of finance in the case of a district council; the second is the impossibility to my mind of arrangements for staff under the present suggestion; and the third is that undoubtedly there are pressures which can be better resisted by the county councils than the district councils.
§ LORD NUGENT OF GUILDFORD
My Lords, may I add a word to this very difficult debate? I should like to thank my noble friend Lord Molson for having developed so clearly the opposite arguments to those which were developed by my noble friend Lord Sandford. To myself who has an uncommitted mind—and such personal affections as I have are with the county council—I find it extremely difficult to make up my mind where the right balance lies. My noble friend Lord Molson made out as cogent a case from his point of view as my noble friend Lord Sandford made out for his. I do not think my noble friend Lord Molson dealt with a point of substance which my noble friend Lord Sandford made in his speech: that at the present time there are no less than 83 county boroughs who have these preservation powers against the 58 county councils. This made a considerable impact on my mind. I trust that I am right in what I am quoting. If my noble friend Lord Sandford wishes to correct the figures I have given no doubt he will. But if those figures are correct, I am trying to make up my mind where the split had better come, because if the Amendment which has been moved by my noble friend and the noble Baroness and noble 1874 Lords opposite is accepted, we are undoubtedly going to create disappointment and despondency for a very large number of county boroughs who are at present carrying out their job satisfactorily.
I thought my noble friend's best point was on finance. This is a matter with which all of us are familiar in the local government world. All too often, small authorities have, as the noble Baroness, Lady White, said, gone for development rather than preservation because they could not face the cost. I suppose we must place against that now the fact that the new county district authorities are going to be so very much bigger and, therefore, stronger financially, than they have been in the past, so that at any rate to some extent that danger must be reduced. We do not yet have an answer to my noble friend's second point on finance, the cost of paying the salaries of the county teams which are going to be shared by the county district authorities, and I am hoping that my noble friend Lord Sandford will explain that point. Clearly, some provision will have to be made for that. It would be quite unreasonable to expect county councils to continue to pay their salaries when they are no longer working for the county council, and they would have no statutory responsibility.
My Lords, I thought the noble Baroness made a cogent point in regard to these teams when she said that it would not be a very attractive job to be working, as it were, in mid air, for this authority and that authority and not to have any certain masters. I think there is a practical difficulty here to which I hope my noble friend Lord Sandford will address himself when he replies to the debate. I am hound to say that the noble Baroness's graphic reference to Aylesbury created some doubt in my mind as to whether she is completely right. My knowledge of Aylesbury leads me to know that the worst and most monstrous building in Aylesbury—that large bulbous building that looks as if it is pregnant with quadruplets—is the county council building. The town of Aylesbury is responsible for it.
§ BARONESS WHITE
My Lords, the town of Aylesbury presumably gave planning permission for that monstrosity to be erected.
§ LORD NUGENT OF GUILDFORD
My Lords, I should not like to say just what the interplay was between the county council and the authority of Aylesbury. My recollection is that Aylesbury is a non-county borough so they would have only limited powers in the matter. Undoubtedly, it was the county architect who designed the thing and the county council is responsible for its monstrous shape. But that is only a passing point. In fact, mistakes have been made everywhere in the past. We are trying now to get a structure which will make fewer mistakes in the future and will ensure that the interests of the local preservation societies, the people who are interested in the preservation of valuable buildings and valuable preservation areas are brought to hear effectively on the relevant targets. Here my noble friend has the best point of all. There is no doubt that in the towns these local preservation societies are the most active. They are cheek by jowl with the members there and can undoubtedly bring far greater pressure to bear on them than they usually can on the county council members. I should have thought that in that respect my noble friend has a point.
My conclusion on what I have heard and on the subject in which I and indeed other noble Lords have the greatest interest is that to my mind less violence would be done to the existing structure of expert teams by what my noble friend is proposing than what is being proposed in the Amendments. But I still think that my noble friend Lord Sandford has to address himself to some formidable arguments of finance, some formidable arguments on keeping these expert teams together and some formidable arguments on exercising the control which is indicated in his latest Amendment—I think No. 142—on how he would ensure that these expert teams worked satisfactorily if they did come under the county district authorities. I still think that there is a formidable case to answer. Whether it is possible to have concurrent powers on the lines which the noble Baroness was indicating I am not sure, but I shall be very interested to hear what my noble friend says if noble Lords give him leave to reply to the debate.
§ 5.40 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT AMORY
My Lords, my noble friend Lord Molson, in a very powerful and lucid speech. outlined so well the case for the Amendments which stand in his name and in the names of some others of us about why, in our view, the Government's Amendments are inadequate, that I merely want to underline one or two of the points that have already been made by him, by the noble Baroness, Lady White, by my noble friend Lord Gisborough and by my noble friend Lady Emmet of Amberley. My noble friend Lord Sandford is always so reasonable, so friendly and so persuasive that I hate finding myself unable to agree with him all the way along the line. But though the Government's Amendments go a little way in dealing with the problems of technical staffs, they do not really help us with the other aims of the Amendments in the names of my noble friend Lord Molson and the rest of us.
I have just two questions on the Government's Amendments. It is very difficult for my noble friend to give me the kind of assurance I want, but there is a kind of doubt about whether the Government will always use their powers in cases like this and, when they do use them, whether they will do so in time. In this case, time is of the essence and it seems to me essential that any powers should be able to be used before April 1, 1974; but I suppose that that point can be dealt with. But I should like to underline what my noble friend Lord Molson said, that the object of these Amendments is not to seek to put all the powers in the hands of county councils, or to place responsibilities in the county councils' hands if those responsibilities can be exercised as well by districts.
We entirely agree with the principle of exemptions. I should like to say a word of comfort to my noble friend Lord Nugent of Guildford about county boroughs. We believe that the principle of exemptions by the Secretary of State is sound, and those exemptions which we have in mind would not apply only to very big places; they could come down to small places. I should have thought that our Amendments would provide for any of those county boroughs 1877 being given exemptions if, in the opinion of the Secretary of State, they could carry out their responsibilities effectively. I am going to remain neutral on Aylesbury until I have visited it, particularly in view of what my noble friend Lord Nugent said about the ownership of the building in question. But even if the building is an eyesore—and I reserve judgment on that—I should have thought it would be more likely to be puller down by one of the entirely new county councils, if that were necessary, than if it were left to any other authority to deal with. But where districts clearly have the technical resources, the enthusiasm and the financial resources to perform their duties effectively, then we agree that there is no need for the county councils to be involved. But we continue to have real doubts about whether all districts will have the resources and the enthusiasm to do so.
We agree about the need for flexibility, but we believe that in these conservation issues it is important that the new counties should have at any rate what one might call long-stop powers. That is why we want to press as strongly as we can the need for concurrent powers, which seem to us to be essential. My noble friend Lord Sandford has told us how much the Secretary of State can do, but if it is the Government's wish that central Government should disengage wherever they can and leave responsibilities with local government, this is surely an opportunity to do so. It seems to me that the new counties will be almost ideal authorities to exercise some of the responsibilities where individual decisions have to be taken which at present rest with the Secretary of State. I do not think that the Secretary of State must have appellate functions, but it seems to me that many of the decisions which the Secretary of State takes can really be taken effectively by these new bodies.
As my noble friend Lord Molson said, the weakness of the Government's proposals is that the county councils will be left with no statutory position at all in this matter, and from that flows the kind of difficulty to which the noble Baroness, Lady White, referred; that is, the difficulty of visualising how, in those circumstances, counties can justify trying to keep teams together, and whether they would 1878 succeed in doing so if they tried. But, to me, what is almost a stronger argument is that unless the counties have some statutory position, there will be no incentive to them to participate. We all know that without participation at county level many of these desirable things will not happen, even though other authorities may receive the technical advice they need. I think the technique envisaged of leaving it to district authorities, perhaps under direction from the Secretary of State, to share teams is a very cumbersome one. Finally, the point which my noble friend Lord Matson made so effectively was that, while advice is the prerequisite, advice by itself is not everything. Advice is useful only if it leads to good action afterwards.
My conclusion is that, as an absolute minimum, concurrent powers for county councils, so that they have some statutory part to play in this business, are absolutely essential. I hope that my noble friend Lord Molson, and others who have added their names to the Amendments, will continue to press the Government on this point, in particular, because it seems to me a great pity if we cannot get agreement when our aims here are so similar. If the county councils could be left with some statutory responsibilities—and the minimum is concurrent powers with districts—we should have the essence of what we are all looking for.
§ 5.49 p.m.
§ LORD GARNSWORTHY
My Lords, when this matter was before us in Committee I had the privilege of speaking at some length, and I have no intention of repeating all the arguments and trying to re-make to-day the points that I endeavoured to make on that occasion. But I would say that had I been moving these Amendments tabled in the names of the noble Lord, Lord Molson, the noble Viscount, Lord Amory, my noble friend Lady White and myself, I should have wished to do so in the admirable way that the noble Lord, Lord Molson, did so. I thought his speech was excellent in every regard—a mastery of facts, well presented and with sound argument; and I think that the strength of his argument will prevail. It certainly prevails at the present time. The disquiet of your Lordships in regard to this matter can almost 1879 be felt, and the noble Lord, Lord Sandford has my sympathy in that he is called upon to put to the House a point of view which obviously finds little or no support among those Members who have been listening to the debate.
The important thing is that in this field we ensure that the job which has to be done is done well, because mistakes that are made are seldom rectified, even if it is possible to rectify them—and all too often there is no possibility of rectification. What is being asked from the Government is that they will accept that there is an overwhelming case for concurrent powers that will ensure that, throughout the length and breadth of the country, the job will be well done. If there is anything by way of argument in regard to what has been said about the records of county boroughs and other towns with excellent records, I would put this point to the noble Lord, Lord Sandford. If they carry on doing their job in the excellent way in which they have been doing it, what fear is there of the veto being used at county level? I rather think that far too much has been made of the power of veto that is suggested, and I think sensibly, at county level. But if a veto has to be exercised, if it becomes necessary, is it not better that it should be operative at a more local level than that it should be left to the Secretary of State? At least people serving on county councils know their county, and they have in their midst some members who are familiar with the details of local implications.
I believe that this is an instance where the Government ought to accept the advice, not only of the many experts who have spoken in your Lordships' House at Committee stage and at this stage but also of the many societies and associations, of national and international repute, who have done so much by way of pioneer work in this field—the advice that these concurrent powers should be operative. It is quite clear that the disquiet that there is exists in large measure because many of us are positive that the Government's proposals put at risk, and at serious risk, teams that have been built up painfully and over the years at county levels; teams of specialists with excellent records and with vast experience. It is wrong that those teams should be placed 1880 at risk, as undoubtedly would happen under the Government proposals. I trust that all that has been said will persuade the Government that they can on this occasion make a concession that will be in accord with the wishes of, I am quite certain, the overwhelming majority of the Members of this House who have listened to the arguments.
§ LORD REDCLIFFE-MAUD
My Lords, may I delay your Lordships for just a moment, before the Minister replies? I think that perhaps I speak for many of us when I say that this has not been at all an easy matter on which to make up our minds. We were immensely helped by the speech of the Minister and by the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Molson, as to which I entirely agree with what the noble Lord, Lord Garnsworthy, has just said. For my part, I have been helped by all the speeches which have been made. Nevertheless, I do not feel perfectly happy in my own mind in being asked to go into the Division Lobby in favour of or against the Amendments which we have before us at the moment. I personally feel that if we can find something that is not quite either what the noble Lord, Lord Molson, and his friends are suggesting or what the noble Lord, Lord Sandford, is at the moment suggesting, then the House will have done its duty even better than if it opts for one or the other.
I may be quite wrong—and, if so, the noble Lord, Lord Sandford, can tell us all that I am wrong when he comes to speak in a moment—but it seems to me that what the Government are now proposing in their Amendments must mean giving statutory powers and duties to the county in certain circumstances. What it seems to me the noble Lord is suggesting (and, if he is, this is why I am in favour of what is in his mind, though I am not quite clear that it is on the Order Paper at the moment) is that we should move from the position in which we were at Committee, because those of us who have been unhappy before have wanted to make it absolutely plain that a great variety of circumstances are needed in different parts of the country.
If I may go back to the county of Avon, which the noble Lord, Lord Sandford, mentioned, he quite rightly exposed himself, in a sense, by saying 1881 that he had been doing a little pencil work on his desk and he saw the splendid team which already exists in Bristol, and another in Bath, continuing in existence in some way as part of district teams. In a sense I can see that that is true. But he went on to say that he could not help feeling that the county of Avon would wish to be served by those splendid experts at present serving in Bath and in Bristol. If that is so, of course, they must change their employment. They will become the servants of the county of Avon in some sense; they will therefore cease to be paid solely by the ratepayers of Bath or of Bristol, respectively; and they will not be paid, I suggest, by the future ratepayers of the new districts, which may or may not be called Bath and Bristol, respectively. This merely illustrates the fact that what we want under the Bill is an arrangement whereby in, for example, Avon it will be possible for a group or groups of experts to be made available to help throughout the county of Avon to do the sort of work which will have to be done not only in a particular way in Bath and in a particular way in Bristol but also all over the county in one way or another, though very much less in many parts of the county than in Bath and Bristol. The same is true all over the country.
I suggest, therefore, that it comes down to this. When the noble Lord, Lord Sandford, replies he will, I am sure, tell us who is to pay that 25 per cent. which, if I understood it correctly, the local authority are going to contribute in a case where the Historic Buildings Council has advised, and where the Secretary of State for the Environment has accepted that advice, that there should be, shall we say, a 50 per cent. grant from the Historic Buildings Fund, that the owner should pay a certain proportion and that the local authority should pay 25 per cent. Which local authority, my Lords? That is the crucial question. In some cases, surely, it will not be either Bath or Bristol. It may be Avon; or there may be a contribution from the wider constituency. That is why the noble Baroness, Lady Emmet of Amberley, was right when she said that at the moment, unless we are clear on this, we cannot have it. We must be clear where the expense will fall. Unless the county has a statutory duty, I would say, as well 1882 as power, the expense, as I see it, except by some complicated method of delegation or arrangement, will not fall there. Yet as I read the Government Amendment, it is intended that it shall be so arranged, and this is exactly the sort of arrangement which, under the Government Amendment, the Secretary of State can, if he likes, direct. We all, I am sure, hope that there will be as little direction as possible, and the Minister himself has made it plain that that is in the mind of the Secretary of State. Of course it is. We are reforming local government to leave as little as possible to the Minister and to Whitehall.
This is where I do not like the proposals of the noble Lord, Lord Molson, because the idea of a veto suggests continuing animosity between these two types of authority, the county and the district. There is of course going to be such animosity, but we want to discourage it and we want to phase it out as soon as possible. Therefore if it can be so arranged that in each place, without a direction but under the guidance of an elaborate and well-worded circular from the Department of the Environment, this is worked out—in Avon in one way, in Oxford in another, and so on—it should be, so that the teams are chosen and employed in the most sensible way possible: and this must include employment and payment by counties in some cases, and I should have thought in the majority of cases. Therefore it would have been far simpler if the county had been the authority which had the statutory duty and then it could make arrangements to delegate or make other arrangements for the district to carry it out.
But in my opinion, it is no good asking for that at this stage, because the Government have given development control to the district. This we have to bear in mind. We are at the end of a long passage in which the Government have at various stages changed their mind, I think regretfully. I am sorry that they have given as much away as they have from what they thought the counties originally should have. As the districts are going to have most of the development control, fortunately, the counties are still going to be responsible for structure plans, and it is natural, as part of their responsibility for structure planning and for deciding in many cases that they will 1883 do the development plan and the development plan scheme, so also in these matters of the experts they will be the people who should have a responsibility where it is most appropriate. Each county will vary in the pattern, both of where the cost falls and who the staff are employed by, in the same way as might have been achieved if another of the Government's original ideas had been possible which was to have staff employed by the districts and the counties interchangeable and in fact all on the one strength. That was dropped for reasons that we all understand and, naturally, the local authorities did not like it. But in this particular area we want to get back as far as possible to collaboration between the staffs of the districts, as development control authorities, and the counties as structure planners and in general responsible for the strategy of the whole county.
I cannot help feeling that perhaps the noble Lord, Lord Sandford, may be able to meet those of us who are very unhappy with the Bill as it stands—in my case not very happy about the wording of the present Amendment in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Molson, and his friends—and those who would very much like to see (as I think there is a general narrowing of the gap between us) some kind of assurance from the Government which would enable the movers of the Amendment to withdraw it.
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords, it has been a most useful and helpful debate. The first point I should like to take up is the one made so helpfully by my noble friend, Lord Nugent, and to some extent by the noble Lord, Lord Redcliffe-Maud. We have to bear in mind here that we are not talking about the small district authorities, the Aylesburys and other places of that size, who have been exercising development control under delegated powers in the past. All that is entirely swept away. No new district authority, or very few, will be under 75,000. They will have far greater resources; they will be able to take a far more balanced view over a wider area and on a broader base than any of the districts which we have been thinking about and whose mistakes perhaps we have in mind. Furthermore, these are authorities which, in any case, whatever 1884 we do about these Amendments and counter-proposals, will have the function of development control in their own right.
We have to bear in mind not only that we are dealing with bigger authorities with more resources but that they are authorities which are already undertaking development control—and development control is the whole basis of conservation. The designation of conservation areas and the protection of listed buildings is but a part and to some extent a frill. We are starting from quite a different point from the position we are in at the moment. There has been the suggestion—it is contained in my noble friend's counter-proposals—that there is need for a county veto over planning decisions by districts in their conservation areas. I wonder whether that is really necessary, bearing in mind that much as my right honourable friend wishes not to intervene in local government, as the noble Lord, Lord Redcliffe-Maud, was saying, when it comes to the protection of listed buildings he has a statutory function from which he cannot escape. Much as he may wish not to interfere with a local authority decision, in the case of listed buildings, my right honourable friend has a statutory function to discharge. Even if those of my noble friend's Amendments which contain this provision for veto were carried, my right honourable friend would still have to discharge this particular function in respect of listed buildings; he cannot avoid it.
§ BARONESS WHITE
My Lords, the noble Lord mentions listed buildings. As was said on Committee, these are not the greatest danger; it is the conservation areas where he does not have these powers that are the real danger.
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords, I agree. Conservation areas are another aspect of it. The point that I was making is, as I said before, that these district authorities have the development control function under the Bill in their own right. This is something we must reckon with. It is different from the situation which pertains at the moment where the exercise of development control is under delegation from the county authority. This is the new starting point that we must reckon with.
1885 My Lords, may I now turn to the question of the expense of this special staff. All that I would say about that is that if this continues to be a factor it will not be so great a factor as in the past because the districts will be larger. But these considerations are among those which I am sure would tend towards the districts going to the county team and would tend wherever it is appropriate to lead to agency agreements under which the county teams would be kept in existence. For any small district which has only a limited amount of conservation work to do, the use of the existing county team on an agency basis would certainly be the most economic way of getting access to expert specialist advice, and to that extent I would say that the economic factor points in the direction in which I think my noble friend and others of us wish to go; namely, towards the retention of the county teams for these purposes.
My right honourable friend very much wishes—and it is part of the philosophy of this Bill—that central Government should if possible disengage from local government, and we are in the process of removing as many controls of central Government over local government as we can. The fact of the matter is that we cannot disengage from listed building control because we have a statutory role to play there. Equally it is part of the philosophy of this Bill that we should avoid wherever possible the situation where one sphere of authority, the counties, exercises supervision and tutelage over another sphere. In this particular case, to introduce amendments which would have the effect of giving counties the power of veto over district decisions would, I suggest, be running badly counter to that philosophy, particularly bearing in mind that there are 83 county boroughs which will become the nucleus of new districts which have been discharging these conservation functions in their own right, compared with 58 counties who have been doing likewise. This is why I see some danger of resentment in some of my noble friends' Amendments.
§ LORD MOLSON
My Lords, if I may interrupt my noble friend, I thought I made plain in my speech that we propose to give complete discretion to the Secretary of State to exempt any suitable district council and if my noble friend and 1886 his Department consider that it is desirable to exempt them we are perfectly willing that that should be done. It is merely to catch in a general net those who have not the qualifications; so that if that is all the argument that my noble friend is putting up, I hope it means that he is prepared to accept our alternative proposals.
§ LORD GARNSWORTHY
My Lords, before the Minister goes further may I say that what we want to know is whether he can give any indication that he is accepting anything. The House is waiting to know whether he is prepared to make any concession. With the greatest respect to the noble Lord, up to the moment he has given no indication that he is prepared to snake any concession at all, and that is what we are waiting to hear.
§ LORD SANDFORD
I wonder whether, for the moment, I could do my best to commend the Amendment standing in my name, though I welcome the opportunity to discuss the two proposals side by side. I have already moved my Amendment and we can come to a decision on that when I have finished my remarks. The proposals of my noble friend are nut wholly incompatible with it and when he comes to his Amendment I can give a view upon it. But I have not said that the two proposals are totally incompatible. What I am trying to do at the moment is to commend the Amendment in my name as the best way to deal with the matter. If I fail to persuade your Lordships that that is so, we will turn to consider the merits of Lord Molson's Amendment as well. I am not saying that they are mutually incompatible at all, but I hope I shall have succeeded at the end of my remarks in showing that the powers that the Secretary of State is taking will at any rate be extremely useful and valuable, even if I fail to persuade noble Lords that they will do the whole job. My own view is that they will. I wonder whether, on that basis, I may continue.
§ LORD GARNSWORTHY
My Lords, I take the point that the noble Lord is making, but we have discussed this matter 1887 at some length. If the noble Lord, Lord Sandford, is indicating that the time will arrive shortly when we shall be called on to make a decision that is fine, and we know exactly where we are going. But I think the House would like to know whether the Government are prepared to make any kind of concession. If they are, I think this is the time when that should be made quite clear. Noble Lords opposite as well as those sitting behind me are anxious to know, before they are called on to go into the Division Lobbies, the limit that the Government are prepared to travel to meet the disquiet which I think has been pretty universally voiced this evening.
§ LORD NUGENT OF GUILDFORD
My Lords, may I put this point to my noble friend before he proceeds with his speech? I think it would be of great help if it were possible to deal with the Amendment moved by my noble friend and others at the same time while my noble friend Lord Sandford is winding up the debate, because the Amendments all fit together. I think that we should have a far less satisfactory debate if my noble friend deals with the merits of his own Amendment now and afterwards with the merits of the Amendments being moved by other noble Lords when they are called. I am sure that it would help us very much if he could deal with them all.
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords, I think that in a way I have already dealt with one aspect of this namely, that we see objections to—may I call it "Lord Molson's Amendment"? though I recognise that it is also in the names of three other noble Lords. If his Amendment were carried, whatever merits it has, and I certainly recognise that it has some, it would breach one quite important aspect of Government policy which runs right through this Bill, by setting one authority over another authority. It would put fifty-eight counties in a position to exercise a veto over decisions taken by a whole group of districts containing eighty-three county boroughs who have hitherto on their own adequately discharged the functions, in this field and to that extent it would be a serious breach.
1888 Perhaps I may now turn to the question of the attitudes of the staff in the existing county council teams. I think that is very important, and it is that which has been giving so much anxiety to so many noble Lords. It has from time to time sounded, though I am sure this is not the real intention, as though the objective were to keep these county teams together. Surely, my Lords, our objectives should be to ensure that arrangements for getting specialist advice are secured to those authorities who have the function of discharging conservation duties. I have said that in my view the Amendment that I have moved will lead to my right honourable friend so exercising his powers under that Amendment that a very considerable number of the county teams will stay together, because that will be the best way to provide the specialist advice to the authorities that have to discharge these functions. I have been urged to consider, and to agree, that concurrent powers would be a good way to do it; but I have also pointed out to your Lordships that concurrent powers will lead to a serious duplication of staff because two authorities will keep staff to do a job which in our view ought to be done and can be done by one authority, provided that they have access to specialist staff. For that reason we think it is better for the Secretary of State to have power to direct precisely what sort of arrangements should be made up and down the country in the very variable pattern that exists.
§ LORD MOLSON
My Lords, I apologise for interrupting my noble friend again, but it is important that we should get these things clear. There are two points. The first is very important, and I apologise for not having made it in my opening speech. I am not at all sure that under the Bill as it is at present drafted the Secretary of State can issue any instructions before April 1, 1974. Obviously, as the Bill is due to come into effect next year the interval between the time when the present dispensation comes to an end and the time when the Minister would be able to issue instructions might result in the whole of the existing arrangements dropping to pieces. The other thing which I think I ought to say is that noble Lords must not think 1889 that I am opposing the Government Amendments. We can come to our Amendments afterwards, but this point about timing is a matter of great importance.
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords, I will certainly deal with it in just a minute. May I say a word or two more about the position of the staff about whom we are talking, most of whom at the present moment comprise county teams. I understand the anxieties that they feel. I do not share them, because we know for a fact that counties—I mentioned West Sussex—are already engaged in discussion with their districts with a view to coming to just the kind of arrangements which we all want and which I fully recognise will be the right arrangements in the majority of the existing counties. This is already going on, so I cannot fully share the scepticism, fears and doubts that the arrangements which we have provided will lead to the large scale disbandment of these teams.
The other point I want to make is that the arrangements which my right honourable friend is taking power to secure are not just ad hoc, day-to-day arrangements where a particular officer can be called up at short notice on an ad hoc basis from county hall. What we are talking about are proper agency arrangements, with financial arrangements; arrangements about the secondment of staff; long-term affairs giving plenty of continuity and assurance about terms of service and so on. As I say, they are not just ad hoc arrangements for borrowing a chap from day-to-day and from time to time as the need arises. I hope that that helps to allay your Lordships' fears on that score.
I turn now to the question of timing raised by the noble Lord, Lord Molson, because it is important. I confirm—and I ought to have confirmed before—that the power to make these arrangements will come into force immediately the Bill receives the Royal Assent. We have every intention of getting on with the whole business of bringing these arrangements into force expeditiously and energetically, getting the necessary circulars out and so on. My noble friend Lord Amory asked: Will the Government use their powers? I can give an assurance that we certainly will. We are very conscious 1890 that in doing this, and in order to make satisfactory arrangements over a complex variety of situations which it is quite impossible in our view to provide for adequately by Statute, we are taking upon ourselves heavy responsibilities for influencing these arrangements so as to secure that the specialist staff at the right level is available in all quarters. I assure noble Lords that we have every intention of exercising them expeditiously and energetically from the moment that we have them, which will be the moment when the Bill gets its Royal Assent; and we shall continue to exercise them until we are satisfied that the arrangements are right and that districts have access to the specialist staff that they really need.
My Lords, I am sorry that I was unable to satisfy all the anxieties and fears in noble Lords' minds when we began this debate. I hope that I have satisfied them now, and have persuaded your Lordships that the Amendments that I am moving, of which this is the first, will enable us to secure what everybody wants; namely, that the districts, who will have the main duty here, will also have access to the specialist staff that they need, and furthermore, that some of the best staffs that are now available in the counties have every chance of remaining in being under the arrangements which we now have power to direct the districts to make. I think this arrangement is the more flexible of the two that are proposed, and I would in that sense, now that we have disengaged the two, commend my proposals to your Lordships.
§ LORD MOLSON
My Lords, if I may explain our point of view, we do not intend to oppose this Amendment, but we do intend to press some of our own Amenments later—Nos. 118, 136, 137, 138 and 141.
§ 6.24 p.m.
Page 128, line 19, leave out ("and Part II of that Schedule") and insert—
("(b) Part II").—(Lord Sandford.)
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords, Amendment No. 110 is also consequential on the Amendment that we have just been discussing. I bog to move.
Page 128, line 23, at end insert ("and
(c) Part III shall have effect with respect to arrangements for obtaining advice in connection with certain of those functions").—(Lord Sandford.)
LORD SANDFORD moved Amendment No. 111:
Page 128, line 34, leave out from ("replacement") to ("shall") in line 36 and insert ("and section 65 (waste land)").
§ The noble Lord said: My Lords, this is the first of a series of technical Amendments in the general field of planning. I can assure your Lordships that they are all technical. There are two main groups. The first group consists of corrections, drafting improvements and simplications, and the other main group consists of consequential Amendments or Amendments which are designed to reckon with the fact that in future we shall have two types of planning authority, district and county, at different spheres in every area, whereas before we had only one type of planning authority in a single area, either a county or a city. I should be very ready to answer any points noble Lords may wish go make as we reach the particular Amendments, but I would suggest, subject to your Lordships' leave, that I should move each one by reference to it as a minor technical planning Amendment: it will fall into one or other of those categories. I would recommend to the House that it is unnecessary to consider any one of them in any further detail than that which I have just given. I beg to move.
§ Schedule 16 [Functions under, and Amendment and modification of, enactments relating to town and country panning]:
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords. Amendment 111A is one of the Amendments to which I have just referred. I beg to move.
Page 296, line 43, leave out from ("Act") to ("the") and insert ("examine").—(Lord Sandford.)
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords, I beg to move Amendments Nos. 112, 113 and 114, which come in the category of technical planning Amendments.
Page 297, line 36, leave out sub-paragraph (2).
Page 298, line 23, leave out paragraph 4.
Page 300, line 37, leave out ("the council of").—(Lord Sandford.)
Page 303, line 44, leave out paragraph 22 and insert—
("22.—(1) In section 28(2) (publicity for applications affecting conservation areas), for the words "The local planning authority" there shall be substituted the words "In Greater London the local planning authority, in a National Park the county planning authority and elsewhere the district planning authority".
(2) Where it is the duty of the district planning authority to take the steps required by section 28(2) in relation to an application which falls to be determined by the county planning authority, the district planning authority shall as soon as may be after taking those steps notify the county planning authority of the steps which they have taken and the date on which they took them.
22A. In section 31(1) (directions as to method of dealing with applications for planning permission), for paragraph (c) there shall be substtuted the followng paragraph—
(c) for requiring that. before planning permission for any development is granted or refused, local planning authorities prescribed by the order or by directions given by the Secretary of State thereunder shall consult with such authorities or persons as may be so prescribed".").—(Lord Sandford.)
Page 304, line 24, at beginning insert ("Subject to sub-paragraph (2) below").—(Lord Sandford.)
Page 304, line 26, leave out ("section 58 (building preservation notices)").—(Lord Molson.)
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords, may I say a word on this Amendment in a slightly schizophrenic condition—I am trying to consider the technical planning Amendments, my own Amendments and the Amendments of the noble Lord, Lord Molson, all at once. I think this is the moment for me to say that if, as I believe is the case, I have not been able to persuade the noble Lord. Lord Molson, and his colleagues that my own group of Amendments alone will achieve all that is necessary in this whole sphere of conservation, I should be in a position, if the noble Lord wishes to press the matter, to accept the following of his Amendments: 118, 136, 137, 138, and 141. Those Amendments are compatible with my own Amendments and can be accented. I do not think the others can. I hope the noble Lord and his colleagues will be satisfied with that arrangement.
§ LORD MOLSON
My Lords, there is an old motto that "Half a loaf is better than no bread", and when one is offered half a loaf one might as well be gracious about it; so I would thank the Government for having gone as far as they have to meet us in this way. We very much appreciate. I am sure, the general spirit in which the debate has been conducted. If we are not entirely convinced by the line of reasoning of the Government, I gather that they are not completely convinced by our reasoning either. At any rate, we are glad to accept this concession and we thank the Government for what they have done.
§ LORD GARNSWORTHY
My Lords, may I say that the House has struggled hard. We were hoping to get a mountain but we shall be grateful to get what may be regarded as something of a molehill. However, the noble Lord has made the concession extremely graciously and he has given the appearance of this being a notable victory for the House. We are pleased that we have been able to prevail to the extent that we have. I think nobody could have been more courteous than the noble Lord, and I am sure he has hid the sympathy of the whole House while he has had to bat alone, with no support from around him or behind him and, if I may say so, with a great deal of interruption from his own Front Bench.
§ VISCOUNT AMORY
My Lords, may I just add that when one reaches a certain degree of hunger even half a loaf is very acceptable.
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 121. This is another technical planning Amendment.
Page 304, line 29, leave out sub-paragraph (2) and insert—
("(2) The power of defining areas of special control for the purposes of regulations under section 63 by orders approved by the Secretary of State under section 63(4) shall be exercisable both by county planning authorities and by district planning authorities.")
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 122. Before speaking to it, perhaps I could express my gratitude to the House for dealing so well with this very vexed and difficult problem. I apologise to noble Lords and the noble Lord, Lord Garnsworthy, for the fact that occasionally I may not have been showing full attention to the matter in hand, but when one is deciding how to play something like this it is necessary to have consultations from time/to time during the debate. However, think the issue is very satisfactory.
Now, my Lords, we can take a run at it. Amendments 122 to 134 inclusive are all technical minor planning Amendments, and unless any noble Lord wishes to raise a point on any one of them I would suggest that we take them all en bloc. I beg to move Amendments 122 to 134 en bloc.
Page 304, line 35, leave out paragraph 26 and insert—
("26.—(1) Sections 45 and 49 (planning inquiry commissions) shall be amended in accordance with sub-paragraphs (2) and (3) below.
§ (2) The copy of the notice required to be served by section 49(2) on a local planning authority shall, in the case of a proposal that a government department should give a direction under section 40 or that development should be carried out by or on behalf of a government department, be served on the local planning authority who, in the opinion of the Secretary of State, would have been responsible for dealing with an application for planning permission for the development in question if such an application had fallen to be made.1895
(3) References in sections 48(6)(b) and 49(3) to the local planning authority shall be construed as references to the local planning authority on whom the said copy is required to be served.")
Page 305, line 5, leave out from ("authority") to end of line 6 and insert ("named in the order")
Page 305, line 13, leave out ("local") and insert ("district")
Page 305, line 15, leave out paragraph 29 and insert—
("(2) In section 54(11) for the words after "consult with" there shall be substituted the words—
§ 29. In sections 91(1) and 93(4)(b) (enforcement notices) and section 108(2) (enforcement of orders under s. 51 requiring discontinuance of use, etc.) any reference to the local planning authority shall be construed as a reference to the authority who served the notice or made the order in question or, in the case of a notice served or an order made by the Secretary of State, the authority named in the notice or order.
29A. The local planning authority who may appeal to the Crown Court under section 106 (further appeals in connection with notice as to waste land) shall be the authority who served the notice in question under section 65 or, if the notice was served by the Secretary of State, the authority named in the notice.")
Page 306, line 16, at end insert—
("(dd) the carrying out of operations in, on, over or under land, or any use of land, which is situated partly in and partly outside a National Park.")
Page 306, line 21, at end insert—
("31 A. In section 134(4) (interpretation of Part VII), for the words after "interest therein" there shall be substituted the words "and local planning authority", in relation to a planning decision, means the authority who made the decision".")
Page 306, line 45, leave out from ("authority") to end of line 49 and insert ("named in the relevant order or stop notice of the Secretary of State").
Page 307, line 8, leave out ("and")
Page 307, line 9 leave out second ("and")
Page 307, line 13, leave out from ("authority") to end of line 14 and insert ("named in the order.
33A. The local planning authority by whom compensation is to be paid under section 237(1)(a) to statutory undertakers shall be the authority who referred the application for planning permission to the Secretary of State
and the appropriate Minister, or from whose decision the appeal was made to them or who served the enforcement notice appealed against, as the case may be.")
Page 307, line 16, leave out paragraph 34 and insert—
("34. The duty of the Secretary of State to give notice under section 182(2)(c) (procedure on purchase notices) to the local planning authority shall be a duty to give it
§ 34A. The local planning authority by whom compensation is to be paid and on whom a claim for compensation is to be served under section 187(2) (compensation where purchase notice served) shall be the district planning authority.
§ 34B. In section 209A (stopping up and diversion of highways) in subsection (2)(b), for the words from "any local" to "order" there shall be substituted the words " any county council or London borough council specified in the order or, if it is so specified, the Greater London Council or the Common Council of the the City of London".
§ 34C. The following subsection shall be substituted for section 210(4) (stopping, and diversion of footpaths and bridleways):—
"(4) In this section "competent authority" means, in the case of development authorised by a planning permission, the local planning authority who granted the permission or, in the case of a permission granted by the Secretary of State, who would have had power to grant it and in the case of development carried out by a government department. the local planning authority who would have had power to grant planning permission on an application in respect of the development in question if such an application had fallen to be made".")
Page 308, line 1, at end insert—
("36A. In section 1 (local planning authorities)—
Page 308, line 3, at end insert—
§ ("37A. In section 192(1) (scope of blight provisions), the reference in paragraph (f) to the local planning authority shall be construed, in relation to land in a National Park, as a 1897 reference to the county planning authority and, in relation to land elsewhere, as a reference to the district planning authority.
§ 37B. In section 245(7) (proceedings for questioning the validity of certain orders, etc.) for the words from "and any reference" onwards there shall be substituted the words" and any reference to the authority directly concerned with any order or action to which this section applies—
- (a) in relation to any such decision as is mentioned in section 242(3)(i) or (j) of this Act, is a reference to the council on whom the notice in question was served and, in a case where the Secretary of State has modified such a notice wholly or in part by substituting another local authority or statutory undertakers for that council, includes a reference to that local authority or statutory undertakers;
- (b) in any other case in Greater London, is a reference to the local planning authority; and
- (c) in any other case outside Greater London, is a reference to the local planning authority who made the order in question or made the decision or served the notice to which the proceedings in question relate, or who referred the matter to the Secretary of State. or, where the order or notice in question was made or served by him, the authority named in the order or notice.".
§ 37C.—(1) The local planning authority to whom the Secretary of State may give directions under section 276(1) (default powers) and whom he is required to consult under that subsection, or service with a notice of his proposals under section 276(4) shall be the county planning authority or the district planning authority, as he thinks appropriate, and references in those subsections to the local planning authority shall be construed accordingly.
§ (2) In section 276(5) any reference to the local planning authority shall be construed—
- (a) in relation to a listed building enforcement notice, as a reference to the district planning authority; and
- (b) in any other case, as a reference to the county planning authority or the district planning authority, as the Secretary of State thinks appropriate.")
§ 6.35 p.m.
Page 308, line 7, leave out ("and not") and insert ("but").—(Lord Molson.)
Page 308, line 14, at end insert ("and a county planning authority shall consult with the council or councils of the district or districts of which any part is included in the area to which the proposed determination relates").—(Lord Molson.)
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 138A. This is another minor technical planning Amendment.
Page 308, line 43, after ("15") insert ("22, 22A, 28, 31A, 34B, 34C, 36A, 37B").—(Lord Sandford.)
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords. I beg to move Amendments 139 and 140 together. They are both drafting Amendments.
Page 310, line 21, leave out first ("any") and insert ("planning")
Page 310, line 22, leave out from ("reasonably") to ("granted") in line 23 and insert ("have been expected to be").—(Lord Sandford.)
Page 311, line 6, leave out ("exercised") and insert ("exercisable both by the county planning authority and").—(Lord Molson.)
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords, this is the substantive Amendment we have been discussing. I beg to move Amendment No. 142.
Page 311, line 8, leave out sub-paragraph (2) and insert—
§ ("PART III
§ ARRANGEMENTS FOR OBTAINING ADVICE
§ 48. The Secretary of State may from time to time direct a district planning authority to submit to him for his approval within a period specified in the direction the arrangements which the authority propose to make to obtain 1899 specialist advice in connection with their functions—
- (a) under section 55, 56, 58, 96 or 99 of, or Schedule 11 to, the Town and Country Planning Act 1971;
- (b) under section 277 of that Act; or
- (c) under section 8 of the Town and Country Planning (Amendment) Act 1972.
§ 49. If the Secretary of State is not satisfied about any arrangements mentioned in paragraph 48 above, he may after consultation with the district planning authority and the other authority concerned—
§ (a) direct the district planning authority and another local planning authority specified in the direction to enter into an agreement under section 111 above for the placing at the disposal of the former, for the purpose of giving them any such specialist advice as is mentioned in that paragraph, of the services of officers employed by the latter who arc qualified to give such advice; or
§ (b) direct the district planning authority and another local planning authority so specified to enter into arrangements for the discharge by the latter of any of the functions mentioned in that paragraph and also direct that the arrangements shall contain terms so specified or terms on lines laid down by him.")—(Lord Sandford.)
§ Schedule 17 [Functions with respect to National Parks and the countryside]:
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords, I beg to move Amendments 143 to 147 en bloc. They are ail technical planning Amendments.
Page 312, line 16, leave out ("under section 100 above")
Page 312, line 34, leave out ("affecting") and insert ("in, on, over or under land")
Page 312, line 37, leave out from ("to") to ("are") in line 38 and insert ("any such operations or use")
Page 313, line 40, leave out ("under section 100")
Page 315, line 38, after ("35") insert ("of the 1949 Act").—(Lord Sandford.)
§ Clause 182 [Town Development]:
Page 132, line 15, leave out ("On and after 1st April 1974").—(Lord Sandford.)
§ Clause 183 [Traffic and transportation functions]:
LORD SANDFORD moved Amendment No. 149:
Page 133, line 10, leave out ("and") and insert—
("(b) amendments extending the powers of parish and community councils in relation to parking places so as to empower them to provide, maintain, and regulate the use of, off-street parking places for all classes of vehicles, as well as parking places for bicycles and motor cycles, and").
§ The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 149. Together with Amendment No. 151, it concerns the provision of parish car parks. I do not think there is any need for me to go into it extensively. These Amendments fulfil an undertaking given during the Committee stage on the Amendments moved by the noble Baroness, Lady Phillips. I will go into it more fully if any noble Lord wishes it.
§ LORD CHAMPION
My Lords, we ought to thank the Government for putting down these Amendments. They constitute a welcome extension of the functions of parishes and community councils. Many of these successor councils will be councils that have had very much greater power, and this will add something to the powers which they will retain and will have. This will undoubtedly remove some of the sense of frustration that is bound to exist in some of these councils. On behalf of my noble friend who moved the Amendment at the Committee stage, to which the Government have now acceded. I welcome the decision of the Government to include these Amendments on the Marshalled List.
§ 6.41 p.m.
LORD SANDFORD moved Amendment No. 150:
Page 134, line 20, at end insert—
("(7) In subsection (6) above, 'local authority' includes any existing county borough or county district council and the Common Council.").
§ The noble Lord said: My Lords, this Amendment gives existing local authorities power from the date of the Royal Assent to fix fares on ferries which they operate. This Amendment, in conjunction with the new version of the commencement provisions which is tabled for 1901 consideration on Report, will give existing local authorities freedom to fix their own charges from the date of the Royal Assent. Without this Amendment this power could be given only to new authorities and passenger transport executives and could in that event become operative only on April 1, 1974. I beg to move.
§ Schedule 19 [Amendments of Enactments relating to road traffic and abandoned vehicles]:
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 151 which is consequential on Amendment No. 149.
Page 324, line 36, at end insert—
("21A. After section 49 there shall be inserted the following section:—
provision by parish or community councils of off-street parking places for vehicles generally.
§ 49A.—(1) Subject to the following provisions of this section, the power of a parish or community council under subsection (1) of section 46 of this Act to provide and maintain within the parish or community suitable parking places for bicycles and motor cycles shall extend to the provision, otherwise than on roads, of parking places for vehicles of other descriptions or for vehicles generally and the maintenance of such parking places; and references in that section and section 47 of this Act to parking places shall be construed accordingly.
§ (2) The council of a parish or community shall not exercise their power under section 46(1) of this Act as extended by subsection (1) above without the consent of the council of the county in which the parish or community is situated, and any consent given by the county council may be subject to such conditions or restrictions as they think fit.
§ (3) A parish or community council proposing to exercise their power under section 46(1) of this Act as extended by subsection (1) above shall—
- (a) for the purpose of obtaining the consent of the county council under subsection (2) above, make an application in writing to the county council giving details of the parking place which they propose to provide; and
- (b) send a copy of that application to the council of the district in which the parish or community is situated;
§ (4) The power under subsection (5) of section 46 of this Act to make byelaws with 1902 respect to parking places shall not apply in relation to a parking place provided under subsection (1) of that section as extended by subsection (1) above; but, subject to the following provisions of this section, section 31 of this Act shall apply in relation to such a parking place as if—
- (a) the parish or community council were a local authority for the purposes of those sections and section 28 of this Act, and
- (b) the parking place were provided by the parish or community council under section 28 of this Act.
§ (5) A parish or community council shall not, by virtue of subsection (4) above, make an order under section 31(1) of this Act without the consent of the county council, and any consent given by the county council may be subject to such conditions or restrictions as they think fit.
§ (6) Where, by virtue of subsection (4) above, a parish or community council propose to make an order under section 31(1) of this Act, the council shall submit a draft of the order to the county council who may, without prejudice to their power to give or withhold consent to the making of the order, required such modifications of the terms of the proposed order as they think appropriate.
§ (7) The powers of a county council under section 31 of this Act shall apply in relation to a parking place provided by a parish or community council under section 46(1) of this Act, as extended by subsection (1) above, as they apply in relation to a parking place provided by a county council, and the power to vary or revoke an order made by a parish or community council under section 31(1) of this Act shall be exercisable by the county council as well as by the parish or community council.
§ (8) if, by virtue of subsection (7) above, a county council propose to make an order under section 31(1) of this Act in relation to a parking place provided by a parish or community council they shall sand a copy of the proposed order to the parish or community council".").—(Lord Sandford.)
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 152. Amendments Nos. 152 and 153 are consequential Amendments, still on parish car parks.
Page 325, line 36, at end insert—
("(6C) Where the Secretary of State—
neither subsections (5) and (6) nor subsection (8) of section 49A of this Act shall apply in
relation to anything done in pursuance of the direction or, as the case may be, in relation to the making of the order by the Secretary of State.")—(Lord Sandford.)
Page 325, line 48, leave out ("and 35A(5)") and insert ("35A(5) and 49A(7)")—(Lord Sandford.)
§ Clause 185 [Amendments of Highways Acts]:
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 153A. This is a paving Amendment to the major Amendment at the end of the Bill on commencement.
Page 136, line 26, leave out ("on that day").—(Lord Sandford.)
§ Clause 187 [Sites for gipsy encampments]:
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 154 which has the effect of bringing the Ordnance Survey Act 1841 into line with the provisions of this Bill. I think the subsections of the Amendment speak for themselves.
After Clause 187, insert the following new clause:
§ Ordnance survey
§ (2) An application under section 1 of the 1841 Act shall be sent to the proper officer of either a county council or a district council and, where such an application is made, the function of appointing a person to assist in examining, ascertaining and marking out reputed boundaries shall be exercisable -by the council to whose proper officer the application was sent.
§ (3) The newspapers in which copies of an application under section 1 of the 1841 Act are to be inserted shall be those circulating in the area of the council to whose proper officer the application was sent.
§ (4) References, in whatever terms, in the 1841 Act—
- (a) to the justices by whom a person is appointed under section 1 of that Act shall
1904 be construed as references to the county council or the district council, as the case may require, and
- (b) to the clerk of the peace for a county shall be construed as references to the proper officer of the county council or the district council as the case may require.
§ (5) Without prejudice to section 15 of the 1841 Act (which among other things extends the meaning of the word "county" in that Act) references in that Act to a county include references to any local government area within the meaning of this Act."—(Lord Sandford.)
§ Clause 188 [Education]:
§ 6.45 p.m.
BARONESS SEROTA moved Amendment No. 155:
Page 140, line 11, leave out subsection (1) and insert—
("(1) The local education authority shall be outside Greater London the county council.")
§ The noble Baroness said: My Lords, in the unavoidable absence of my noble friend Lady Bacon, who gives her apologies to the House for not being able to be present at this time of the evening, I beg to move Amendment No. 155. I greatly regretted my own inability to be present during the Committee stage of this crucial Part of the Bill, which is concerned with the division of functions between the different tiers of the new local government system. Unfortunately I had a longstanding commitment in connection with the work of a Select Committee of the House which was undertaken at a time when no one in their wildest dreams could have believed that we should be discussing the Committee stage of a major Bill of this kind in September. I hope therefore that the House accepts my apologies. In moving and speaking to the Amendment, and to certain subsequent Amendments later in our discussions tonight which relate to clauses on the division of functions, to which my name also appeared at the Committee stage, I welcome this further opportunity of considering the issues involved, especially after reading the Report of the debate on this particular Amendment, when my name was mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Redcliffe-Maud, in connection with certain of the recommendations of the Seebohm Committee on the local authority and allied personal social services.
§ I do not intend to play the "numbers game" once again to-night; we have been 1905 through them time and time again at different stages of the Bill. There is clearly no numerical or population-based logic in the situation created by this Bill when authorities like Southampton or Portsmouth, for example, with their populations of half a million, are no longer to be education authorities and manage their own education systems, whereas some of the new metropolitan districts with populations in the region of 200,000 will have full education autonomy. The Government's conclusion that metropolitan areas ranging in size from 1¼million to nearly 3 million are too large to provide effective education systems hardly squares with their decision that the new county of Hampshire, for example, should be left as an education authority, even though its present population is already 1½ million and still growing. This is further evidence that any numerical attempt to justify the break-up of some of our finest education services in the county areas can be shot full of holes.
§ The real issue at stake is which form of organisation will provide the fullest education opportunity for future generations of our children. The decision that we take on this Bill will determine both the pattern of education administration and, perhaps above all, the quality of the opportunities that are offered to every child in the areas concerned from their early pre-school years right through to further and higher education in adult life.
§ The range and scope of services offered throughout this continuous process of education must provide for the able child, the less able child, the least able child and of course particularly for the child with special needs, be they as a result of physical, mental or social handicap. All of us would agree that education is the best investment that any society can make in its children. But it is expensive and will continue to be expensive as the services extend and develop with our growing knowledge and increasingly complex technological society.
§ When the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, replied to the Committee stage debate on this Amendment in what I felt, as I read it, was a very balanced speech, he seemed in the last analysis to rest his case on the advantage of administering education services on the same tier as housing and personal social services. The noble Lord, Lord Redcliffe-Maud, rightly reminded 1906 the Committee that the Seebohm Committee had expressed deep concern about the problems which arise from the division of closely interrelated services between different tiers of local government, and they made strong recommendations to his Royal Commission that this should be avoided wherever possible.
§ When the present Government stood the recommendations on their heads and introduced this patchwork of a Bill the Royal Commission's concept of all-purpose unitary authorities throughout the country, with the exception of the metropolitan areas, went out of the window. As a result, those of us who are convinced adherents of the unitary system constantly find ourselves in a perpetual dilemma over this Part of the Bill between the tiers which we are now to have outside the metropolitan areas; and the problem of course applies to services other than education, as I shall seek to indicate to the House on a later Amendment which hears my name in relation to housing functions. To be quite fair, and indeed to answer the point which the noble Lord, Lord Redcliffe-Maud, made in the Committee stage, it is true to say that the previous Administration proposed that education should be a function of the metropolitan counties rather than of the metropolitan districts, as the Royal Commission had proposed; and this would admittedly divide the administration of education from the personal social services as in the case in Inner London.
§ Certain views were attributed to me in that debate, but I would suggest that no one who was involved in any way in the great debates that surrounded the London Government Act, both in Parliament and outside, could be in any doubt where I myself stood on the issue of the need to preserve the unity of the London education service. Indeed, I tried, unsuccessfully, to persuade the then Government to avoid the fragmentation of the children's service by setting up an organisation on similar lines. The same arguments as have been used, indeed are still being advanced now, against this particular provision of the Bill, were used by parents, teachers and educationists against the break-up of the London education service in the 'sixties. And in the end, and I believe to their eternal credit, the then Conservative Government conceded the case and created the Inner London 1907 Education Authority as a specially constituted education authority over the whole of the Inner London area consisting of those members of the Greater London Council who were elected for the Inner London boroughs together with one member nominated from each London borough to provide the essential links between the two tiers and to facilitate co-operation.
§ The Seebohm Committee gave special consideration to the relationship between the I.L.E.A. and the London borough social services and their school health functions, and recommended, I think in paragraph 248, a system of joint arrangements for the provision by the boroughs of the school social care services, using the existing joint London school health service scheme as a model and leaving the Inner London Education Authority responsible for its extremely highly developed specialist education service, which I think most of us would agree is one of the finest in the world. I have referred in some detail to-night to the position in Inner London, because it illustrates that there are effective ways of providing essential co-operation between education, health and personal social services, if the will and co-operation is there and if one believes that the prime factor governing these difficult decisions about the allocation of functions should be the efficiency of the services in question. In passing, I might perhaps remind the House that in any event, whichever tier is eventually responsible for the education service, new arrangements will have to be made for the provision of the health services when those services move out of local government in 1974 following the reorganisation of the National Health Service.
§ I do not wish to detain the House too long to-night on this issue, but my noble friends and I believe that it is only at metropolitan county tier, through the deployment of their greater human, physical and material resources—the resources that they can command over a much wider economic, industrial and social metropolitan area which is continuously built up—that we can provide modern, effective, well-equipped and sufficiently diverse education systems that can be developed to give the full range of educational opportunity to teachers, to 1908 children and to parents at all stages of their lives, and the community as a whole. That, my Lords, is the reason why we have once again submitted this Amendment to the House. I beg to move.
§ 6.55 p.m.
§ THE PARLIAMENTARY UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE, DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND SCIENCE (LORD BELSTEAD)
My Lords, this Amendment was of course, as the noble Baroness said, debated very thoroughly in Committee, so it may be the wish of the House that I remind your Lordships of the salient factors, despite the interesting speech of the noble Baroness, who is always interesting and instructive to listen to. The noble Baroness was unavoidably absent when we debated this matter last time because she was abroad. The only "numbers game" I will play this evening is to say that the effect of this Amendment (the House should be quite clear about this) would be to allocate education to the six new metropolitan counties which will have populations ranging from about 1¼ million to nearly 3 million people each. As the noble Lord, Lord Redcliffe-Maud, said at the previous stage of the Bill, in referring to the speech of the noble Baroness, Lady Bacon, thisis something on which reasonable women as well as reasonable men may differ";and I would acknowledge at once, in her absence, the deep concern of Lady Bacon to ensure that the high standards of education in the North of England are maintained under the new arrangements.
However, I would ask the House to consider these points. First, I believe that a majority of your Lordships would prefer not to create monster local education authorities of up to 3 million in population. What is more to the point, I am pretty certain that parents would be opposed to such authorities administering what is so essentially a personal service. And the reply to this cannot be that some of the new non-metropolitan counties will also be very large. In four cases it is perfectly true that they will be over the million mark, but they will be nowhere near the size of their largest metropolitan cousins. But the essential reply to the noble Baroness's charge of a patchwork's being set up by this Bill, 1909 and the essential distinction between the metropolitan and the non-metropolitan authorities, is surely this. In the new non-metropolitan counties surely the whole aim which underlies the Bill is to try to organise functions over each county combining towns and the countryside to make one whole. But in the metropolitan counties we have a different situation which gives us an opportunity to try a different approach. We have districts which will be compact localities, all substantial enough, we believe, in terms of resources; and it is for this reason that the Government's proposal for the metropolitan district education authorities in fact follows the recommendations of the Redcliffe-Maud Commission.
If I may say so, having listened carefully to what the noble Baroness has said, I still do not find very persuasive the criticisms of these proposed authorities, each of which is going to be substantially enlarged. Surely the ability of an authority to maintain its service on a satisfactory level depends on a willingness to devote a high proportion of its resources to education. Does not success also depend upon the ability and energy of an authority's officers, especially the chief education officer, and the enthusiasm and accumulated experience of the elected members? Are these not also essential ingredients for success? These attributes the West Riding of Yorkshire has had in abundance—the West Riding admired by anyone who knows about its work; the West Riding which none the less—extraordinary point!—has had the lowest rateable value per head of any authority in the whole of Yorkshire. It is bearing in mind this point, which has been put again and again to the Government, that the resources will not be great enough, that I must say I have every confidence in the future of these new metropolitan district authorities.
In Yorkshire there already exists a local government Working Party of the Yorkshire Association of Education Officers, so consultation there has already begun. In two sectors particularly (and the noble Baroness referred to these in general terms), where it has been said that development may be most at risk in a system of metropolitan district L.E.A.s, it is a fact that reliance has 1910 often been placed on the county borough authorities; that is to say, for further education and also for special education. And the county borough authorities can certainly claim to have been in the van in the last decade or so in the establishment of teachers' centres and in the development of educational advisory services. But, as I submitted to your Lordships at the previous stage, few authorities have ever claimed to provide the entire range of educational services from their own resources, and machinery for co-operation will continue to be provided for, both statutorily and at the discretion of authorities, under this Bill.
May I finally say this. The noble Baroness referred to the organisation of the Inner London Education Authority. Her experience of that is far greater than mine is or will ever be, and so I listened and, I think, learned something. But is it not true that the I.L.E.A. in fact took over an existing service as organised? That is not going to be the case in many of the new metropolitan areas. Indeed the noble Baroness, Lady Bacon, drew the attention of the House last time to some fragmentation which will occur. Therefore, bearing that in mind, I would echo what the noble Baroness said about the noble Lord, Lord Redcliffe-Maud. He clearly drew the attention of the House to the difficulty of getting the allocation of functions in these very large metropolitan counties absolutely right, but on several occasions he expressed his certainty that education and the social services must remain together. Last winter I spent a day in one of the chief cities of the North West of England. Throughout the day I saw schools old and new, large and small, but invariably they had the same high standards of teaching and of care. What differed dramatically from area to area were the problems presented by the home backgrounds of the children, and after we had discussed the problems thrown up in one particular area the chief education officer said: "You know, the Plowden Report on Primary Schools was essentially a powerful case for nothing more nor less than better housing".
In the metropolitan districts, particularly in the metropolitan districts which closely concerned the noble Baroness, Lady Bacon, this Bill will place education 1911 with the social services and with housing—as near to the people of the area as possible namely, at district level. I believe that, especially in the more deprived areas and with the opportunity which the metropolitan areas get in this Bill, that is what people will want for services which are so essentially personal. It is for that final reason that I hope that the noble Baroness, having clearly explained her reservations on what are going to be, I know, new arrangements, will none the less feel that she does not wish to press this Amendment to a Division.
§ BARONESS SEROTA
My Lords, first may I thank the noble Lord for his usual care and courtesy in replying to the arguments I put forward. I am only sorry that he raised the old bogey of the monolith. Those of us who are familiar with education services know that to the parents it is not the building or the organisation from which the education service is administered; in my view, the focus for the parent always has been and always will be the school itself. It is to the head and to the teachers that the parents go when they have questions about the education services. The noble Lord says, quite rightly, that the quality of the education service depends upon the proportion of the resources that the local education authority decides to allocate. I have always understood that if you get a bigger cake you get a bigger slice. We know—and I mentioned earlier—that education is an expensive service and it needs a very large slice of the cake. The same applies to the quality of the staff: it is able to attract staff at all levels. But I should be the first to join with the noble Lord in paying a tribute to the education service of the West Riding. The Education Committee under the brilliant and outstanding leadership of Sir Alec Clegg has undoubtedly built up one of the finest services in the country.
It is also true, as the noble Lord has so rightly said, that the Inner London Education Authority was created in order to continue to administer the existing service. The noble Lord pointed out that the new arrangement will undoubtedly produce certain problems. Again, I can only speak from my own experience of London Government—that great upheaval in the 'sixties where we were on 1912 the one hand bringing services together under the Greater London Council or a metropolitan authority while on the other hand and at the same time we were breaking services up. My conclusion from that experience, which was quite traumatic, was that it is easier to bring services together than to break them up.
Finally, the noble Lord rested his case once again, as he did at the Committee stage, on education and the social services going together. It is an argument that I fully understand and accept unless there are overriding considerations to the contrary. However, the noble Lord concluded by really giving me my case on the next Amendment which I am due to move, namely, that housing and education and housing and the social services must get together. And although, as he so rightly said, the proposals in the Bill allow this for the metropolitan districts, for the rest of the country housing will be separated from the social services. I will take the advice of the noble Lord and will withdraw my Amendment, so that I may get on to the next Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords. I beg to move Amendment No. 156. This is another of the paving Amendments towards the commencement Amendment at the end of the Bill.
Page 141, line 10, leave out ("as from 1st April 1974")—(Lord Sandford).
§ Clause 189 [Housing]:
§ 7.8 p.m.
THE EARL OF KINNOULL moved Amendment No. 157:
Page 141, line 42, at end insert the following new subsection—
("( ) Where any council of a district undertakes the construction of any building or works, or carries out any works of maintenance in connection with land or buildings or which it is responsible, and employs its own labour force for that purpose, it shall include a separate account in respect of those activities within its general accounts.").
§ The noble Earl said: My Lords, with the permission of the House, I should like to deal also with Amendment No. 158. These two Amendments deal with exactly the same point except that one concerns the district councils and the 1913 other the county councils. The two Amendments concern what I believe to be a very important aspect of local government, namely the direct labour building departments of local governments. As the House will be aware, these departments involve—and will do so increasingly in the case of the larger councils—large sums of public money funded jointly by the ratepayers, local taxes and central taxes. The work done by the direct labour departments undoubtedly makes a valuable contribution to both the construction and the maintenance of council buildings. As we know, this work varies from the building of new council houses and flats to council schools, and indeed offices.
§ These Amendments are in no way a criticism of the value of their work, but anyone interested in this subject will know that the problem facing many councils is that of keeping proper financial control over these departments, particularly in the case of the larger new projects. It is a problem to see that their work is fully competitive in comparison with the cost of outside contractors. It is a problem to see that public funds are being wisely and prudently invested. The difficulties of controlling cost in construction work are experienced, I believe, in the private sector as in the public sector. Nevertheless, one hears of cases from time to time—and I am sure we all remember the cases in the public sector in Southwark, Leicester, Liverpool and Glasgow, where the cost control of the direct labour departments went somewhat adrift on certain projects and where, if these departments had been run as commercial departments in the private sector, undoubtedly they would have had to be wound up and where public funds, albeit unintentionally, were squandered. All this has led to a growing feeling that there should be more financial control of such departments. More information should be made available to prevent this type of thing from happening.
§ Both the last Administration and the present Government have recognised this problem, and under Circular 57/69 issued by the last Administration it was recommended to local councils that where new work was to be undertaken more assistance should be sought from outside contractors. The Circular added that when Ministers came to consider loan 1914 sanctions they would be required to be satisfied that the councils were offering sufficient work to competitive tender. Following that Circular and following an investigation by a Government Committee, a Manual of Principles was published containing guidance to local councils on this issue. It recommended, among other things, two particular aspects. The first was that in the case of new work direct labour departments should be required to compete for a considerable and representative proportion of work with outside contractors and that they should compete on similar contractual conditions. The second was that a separate annual Treasury Report should be made on these direct labour departments which should be made available to all elected councillors and ratepayers. Thus we see that action has already been taken in principle by the Government, and this is the general principle of these Amendments. The simple point is that we should obtain tighter financial control of these departments with information in greater detail being made available to councillors.
§ I come to the precise objectives of my Amendments. As I have said, they would go a little further than the Government have so far gone. In other words, they would lay down a duty rather than a recommendation that councils shall have separate castings for these departments. I do not think that such a natural safeguard could be considered in any way an intrusion by central Government on local government. There is a precedent for my proposal. Under the Local Authorities (Goods and Services) Act 1970 local authorities must provide separate accounts for every trading activity. These Amendments would simply extend that principle. It has been suggested to me that if my noble friend accepted the general principle of what I propose it would be unnecessary to include the Amendments in the Bill if he were prepared to give an undertaking that his right honourable friend's Department would in due course issue directives to local authorities under Clause 162 based on the principle of these Amendments. I beg to move.
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords, I confess to some surprise that my noble friend should chose this late stage to 1915 introduce this topic when he had ample opportunity to do so in Committee, and incidentally to give us much more time to consider what he has had to say. I rather regretted the way in which he devoted so much of his remarks to what he sees to be defects in direct labour organisation as such before getting on to the matter of his Amendment. I hope he will excuse me if I do not get drawn into a discussion of the points he raised about direct labour organisation as a general idea or concept.
It would be contrary to the main principle and philosophy of the Bill to circumscribe the freedom, responsibility and right to decide how they organise their accounts in the way my noble friend has described and I cannot recommend the House to agree to his Amendment for that reason. There is no analogy with a separate statutory account for work done for another authority. When work is done for an authority's own functions there is no question of repayment to one authority by another.
My noble friend will know that Circular 57/69 has been sent out to local authorities commending within it a Manual of Principles governing the way in which direct labour work should be organised, and we have no reason to suppose that local authorities are not following it. I cannot go so far as my noble friend wants me to go in the way of giving assurances. We believe that this Circular and Manual, on all the evidence we have, go as far as it would be right for my right honourable friend and central Government to interfere in the operation of local government. For that reason I cannot recommend the House to accept his Amendment and I hope that my noble friend will not feel it necessary to press it to a Division.
§ LORD REDCLIFFE-MAUD
My Lords, may I from the Cross Benches welcome what the noble Lord, Lord Sandford, has said on this issue? We have been trying in local government for at any rate the last ten years to persuade Parliament that it really must trust the elected representatives and those who elect them to see that their business is transacted well. This Amendment runs counter to that tendency and it was refreshing to hear the Minister say that 1916 the philosophy of this Bill would be to some extent affronted if this Amendment were made. I therefore hope that the noble Earl will agree to withdraw it.
§ THE EARL OF KINNOULL
My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Redcliffe-Maud, for his intervention from the Cross Benches. I am sorry if my noble friend feels that I tabled these Amendments at a rather late stage. It is always difficult during the passage of a Bill of this kind to table Amendments early, though I feel that I had given sufficient notice of my intention to table Amendments of this kind. I am glad that my noble friend was able to reassure the House that the Circular and Manual have been working satisfactorily and I feel that it has been useful, as a result of my having tabled these Amendments, to have had this discussion. I have no intention of pressing the matter and I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ 7.17 p.m.
BARONESS SEROTA moved Amendment No. 157A:
Page 141, line 42, at end insert—
("( ) The council of a district shall from time to time consult with the council of the appropriate county on the provision of such housing accommodation as may be required by that county for the purpose of its social services functions.")
§ The noble Baroness said: My Lords, I have already explained to the House the circumstances which prevented me from being present on the day when the Committee discussed some of the critical issues concerning the inter-relationship of housing and the social services and the difficulties that arise when personal social service functions and housing functions are administered separately at different levels of local government. The House will recall that on that occasion my noble friend Lady White moved an Amendment which was designed to highlight the issues involved and to suggest possible solutions to the problems arising from the Government's decision to organise local government in two tiers outside the metropolitan areas rather than on a unitary basis.
§ I thought from reading the OFFICIAL REPORT of that debate that my noble friend drew most graphically on her own experience of our existing system, where 1917 the personal social services are divided from housing because they are planned and provided at county level, with housing at the district level. I thought that she deployed the arguments so fully and illustrated them so vividly from her knowledge of the heart-rending situations that can arise where effective working arrangements and co-operation between counties and districts do not exist that there is scarcely any need for me to repeat the arguments to-night.
§ In his reply to the debate on that occasion the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, stressed the need for a clear demarcation of function between authorities to make their responsibilities in the provision of their respective functions clear-cut and precise. Although we on this side are opposed in principle to the separation of housing and social service functions between the two tiers of local government on the grounds that the progressive development of relevant and adequate services really requires comprehensive social policies and social planning as well as continuous liaison at day-to-day level, both at the direct care level and at the provision level, we would agree wholeheartedly with the noble Lord that the Bill must be precise in that the authorities concerned should know the extent of their responsibilities and discharge them properly.
§ I was delighted also to learn from reading his speech on that occasion that the new housing authorities are to be responsible for housing the homeless, following the recommendations of the Greve and the Glastonbury Reports which were recently issued, and, of course, the Seebohm Committee before them, since most of us would agree now that the basic need of homeless families, as indeed for all families is a stable home in normal housing accommodation rather than in special and segregated accommodation which only reinforces stigma and social distinction. Measures to avoid and prevent homelessness, as well as dealing with it at source where it already exists, will in our view inevitably require coordinated policies and action between the future housing and the social services authorities.
§ The latest figures which have been published setting out the circumstances in which children in England and Wales 1918 have been received into care in the 12 months ending March, 1971, reveal a stark and shocking situation. There were 1,441 children received into care by social services departments because of eviction of their families. Another 1,555 were received into care because their families were made homeless through other causes. That is a total of 3,000 children. A further 3,176 children were received into care because of unsatisfactory home conditions. That makes a total of some 6,000 children. If that were to be depicted on a television programme in relation to any other so-called developed country we should be deeply shocked. This category of homelessness, of children received into care, is the third largest category of reception into care apart from short-term illness of their parents or approved school orders. I think that they reveal that the new housing authorities that this Bill is to establish will have to adopt a much broader conception of their housing functions than has been usual in some areas in the past if we are ever to solve this tragic and costly human problem, where families are broken up, be it through eviction, homelessness, or inadequate housing accommodation, and 6,000 children are received into care in one year by already over-burdened social services departments, with all the human misery, suffering and deprivation that we know such situations inevitably involve.
§ The object of my Amendment to-day, which follows the recommendations of the Seebohm Committee which were quoted by my noble friend Lady White during the Committee stage, is to try to ensure that there is full, regular and on-going consultation between the new districts and the counties over the whole range of problems involved in deciding both the scale and the methods of providing, siting and designing housing for groups in special need: groups such as families that are under threat of eviction, homeless families with children in care, the mentally or physically handicapped, patients who have been discharged from mental hospitals, single parent families, or perhaps even simply single people.
§ I know that the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, and his Department, share my concern about these very difficult matters and are indeed wrestling with them daily. I have very much hope, therefore, that the Government will be sympathetic to 1919 the purposes of this Amendment. I know that the noble Lord certainly is. I therefore beg to move it in the hope that some way or other will be found of accepting it, at least in terms of principle.
§ 7.25 p.m.
§ LORD DAVIES OF LEEK
My Lords, may I just for one minute enhance and support thoroughly the plea of the noble Baroness from the Front Bench. In mediaeval England it was understood that the yeomen of England were much of the strength of the nation. I cannot understand why it is not understood that one of the strongest things in defence is a well-housed nation. It was sheer misery for those of us who had to work for more than a generation in the kind of environment where housing was the first question that confronted the young when they got married; where we had people of all sexes and ages huddled together in slum conditions. Housing is an upper height of the strength of the British Empire. Consequently, to be brief, may I say first that, speaking from a selfish point of view, our strength in defence lies in a first-class housing policy. Here is an opportunity to make housing a part of the defence system. But much more important than that, housing is part of the policy that Dickens and others talked of as necessary to make a generation of people worthy of the country in which we live. It cannot be done, neither can we get decent education, if there is not the opportunity for study and a certain amount of privacy in our homes. I sincerely hope that a constructive and at least a helpful answer will be given to my noble friend.
§ LORD REDCLIFFE-MAUD
My Lords, may I, from the Cross Benches, briefly say how strongly I support what has been said in favour of this Amendment. I will not go over old ground, because it would be most unsuitable, but it was a real casualty of the kind of principle which the Royal Commission put forward that it was impossible, once a second tier was adopted, not to give housing to it. It had to be done, and therefore housing had to be separated from the social services which, fortunately, have stayed with the county. I am delighted that they have not been clawed back in any way in any of the discussions 1920 that have gone on since then. But it is a great danger in the new system that the two will in practice be separated.
On the previous Amendment that the noble Baroness, Lady Scrota, moved on education, there was at any rate an argument that if she had had her way there there would have been a separation between education in the metropolitan districts and the social services. Here there seems to be no conflict. Equally, on an earlier discussion, the noble Lord, Lord Molson, proposed an Amendment which rather suggested that the county would have a veto over the district councils in the matter of a particular aspect of planning. Here there is no such suggestion. There is no veto and it is all in the general line, upon which I know that the whole House is united, that we shall make this work only if districts and counties work together. But it would be a good thing if, for no Party reason at all, and in no mistrust of local authorities, we inserted in the Bill this clause which would make it absolutely plain both to counties and to districts that housing and the social services are part of a single whole and that it is essential, both for the county and the district, that they should pool their resources and their knowledge.
§ 7.29 p.m.
§ LORD ABERDARE
My Lords, I am very grateful that we have been able to have this short debate. As the noble Baroness, Lady Scrota, said, her colleague the noble Baroness, Lady White, and I grappled with the matter at the last stage but I am sure we are both delighted that the noble Baroness was herself able to move this Amendment to-day.
There is one point that I did try to make at the Committee stage (which she knows perfectly well, and I hasten to acknowledge that) and that is that a great many of these problems occur in the metropolitan areas, and that the metropolitan districts will not have this division of powers. They will have the full powers of housing which the noble Lord, Lord Redcliffe-Maud, has given as the ideal; they will have the housing powers, education powers, social services powers and environmental health powers and, of course, I hope very much that in due course they will have an area health authority which again will mean that the 1921 health authority will be knit in to cover exactly the same area as the social services and the authority with the other powers. For the future there is a great hope that in the metropolitan districts this co-ordination will be effective.
It would be interesting to know how many of the 6,000-odd children the noble Baroness mentioned are in fact in these metropolitan areas. My guess is that quite a large proportion of them are, and therefore this would be one case where there would be co-ordination between the housing and the social services. As the noble Baroness has said, it is fundamental to the Bill that in the non-metropolitan areas there will be two tiers; and, of course, housing is by far the principal function of the district, and we do not want in any way to blur the distinctive functions of the two tiers. At the same time, we very much hope that in creating these two tiers we are creating responsible local government authorities, and we propose that they shall consult whenever necessary on subjects of this sort. The difficulty with the Amendment is that it implies that the county level, because it has responsibility of one type, may wish or need to influence directly the carrying out of functions of another type at the district level, and it is because this somewhat blurs that distinction that I am not able to accept the Amendment as it stands. Moreover, it does not make provision for the difference in the metropolitan areas, where the council would not need to consult with the county.
The noble Baroness also mentioned the subject of homelessness, in which we are both naturally deeply interested. I hope that I did not go quite as far as she said I did in saying that it was definitely to be the district's function to house the homeless. The position is that we are at present considering the working parties' reports on the homeless in London and in the South-West of Wales and we are consulting the local authorities about them.
§ BARONESS SEROTA
My Lords, I would never have dared to say what I said if it had not been in Hansard. The noble Lord said at column 1039At least in the new arrangements the housing authority will be responsible for housing the homeless.1922 If I misread his intention there, I apologise. But I personally took great courage from it, and if this is what he is at present negotiating I wish him every success.
§ LORD ABERDARE
I am very grateful to the noble Baroness for putting it that way. The three working parties' studies of the problem have all recommended that housing authorities should be responsible for the accommodation of the homeless, and I very much hope that that in fact will be the case. With the spirit of the Amendment I am in complete agreement. I would suggest to the noble Baroness that if she is willing to withdraw her own Amendment I might move a manuscript Amendment to Clause 191, the social services functions clause, which would read:In a non-metropolitan county each district council and the county council shall from time to time consult together with respect to the nature and extent of the accommodation needed for people who by reason of infirmity or disability (whether arising from age or otherwise) are in need of accommodation of a special character.I think this will perhaps go some way towards meeting the desire for expressed consultation, and it will be in the Bill. It will not set one authority above another; it will simply make sure that there is a requirement upon them to consult in connection with special accommodation for those who need it,by reason of infirmity or disability whether arising from age or otherwise".I hope that goes some way to help.
§ BARONESS SEROTA
My Lords, if it will help the House, I shall be happy to withdraw my Amendment at this stage, so that we can discuss the suggestion made by the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare. I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 191 [Social services functions):
§ 7.35 p.m.
Page 142, line 45, at end insert—
(1A) In a non-metropolitan county each district council and the county council shall from time to time consult together with respect to the nature and extent of the accommodation needed for people who by reason of infirmity or disability (whether arising from age or
otherwise) are in need of accommodation of a special character.")—(Lord Aberdare.)
§ BARONESS WHITE
My Lords, before my noble friend speaks on this Amendment I should like to say, as one who took part in the debate at an earlier stage, that we are grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, for trying to meet us on what we all recognise was a very genuine difficulty. I have been looking at the proposed manuscript Amendment, which seems to me to meet our points in every respect but one. About this I am not quite clear. It depends, I think, on the interpretation that one should put on "disability". The categories of persons about whom these consultations should be held—and we are entirely in agreement with that proposal—are those who are in need of accommodation of a special character by reason of infirmity or disability whether arising from age or otherwise. This is fine, so far as people who have a specific physical or mental disability are concerned, or a person who is suffering from the effects of advancing years. But I am not quite clear—and I should be very grateful if the noble Lord could put my mind at rest on this—whether this covers what are sometimes the most difficult people of all to deal with, those who are normally called, in the social work jargon, "problem families"; persons of whom one cannot say they are suffering from a particular defect or disorder which could be labelled as infirmity or physical or mental disability in the narrower sense of the word.
If this is going to be interpreted in a broad sense, it is perfectly satisfactory. If I may revert to the example that I used at the Committee stage, of my constituent who kept bees, he was eccentric. But the net result was that he lost his job and his wife went into a mental hospital and the four children were taken into care; and all because, in my view, the housing authority, having no responsibility for any of these conditions, simply would not have sense about evicting him. I am a little concerned whether this Amendment goes widely enough to deal with the people who are very difficult to define. As I say, we all know them when we see them. They are the problem families; they are the eccentrics of this world.
It is difficult to do this kind of thing on the Floor of the House, but I was wonder- 1924 ing whether one could possibly amend the manuscript Amendment to broaden it by saying,arising from age or from other physical mental or social circumstances".That would bring in as broad a category of difficult cases as one could hope to cover in an Amendment of this sort. I think that it would leave a loophole, about which I am not quite happy, in the rather tight definition of infirmity or disability (whether arising from age or otherwise) … "Is the "otherwise" going to be interpreted broadly? That is really what I am trying to say.
§ LORD ABERDARE
My Lords, I think this is a very difficult point. We have had some conversations with the noble Baroness, Lady Serota, on this matter. It has proved extremely difficult to find a wording which was satisfactory. I acknowledge that this particular wording may not go quite as far as some of us would like in making it quite clear that there should be these consultations. On the other hand, if we go any further we then get into great difficulties of one authority impinging on the other.
I feel that the social services powers of the county are as complete as they can be, and we must leave it very largely to the good sense and sound administration of these counties and districts in the future, naturally urged by my Department, to undertake this sort of consultation, rather than try at this present stage to alter what is a very carefully worded Amendment. I hope that the noble Baroness will feel that we have gone some way at this very late moment in trying to meet her point. The Amendment at least ensures that these two authorities come together and consult. Once they are consulting, I should hope they would consult on all matters of mutual interest.
§ BARONESS SEROTA
My Lords, I think that the whole House will wish me to thank the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, and those concerned in the Department, for the very great effort they have made to meet the doubts that some of us have felt over this particular problem of the interrelationship of housing and the social services in the non-metropolitan areas. We have certain reservations, which my noble friend Lady White has expressed, because of the difficulties of definition and because we are concerned with a range 1925 of issues that perhaps do not lend themselves to Parliamentary draftsman language quite so precisely as he would wish. Nevertheless, none of us would wish to appear ungracious, and I think it is particularly gratifying that, after this very long Committee stage at the end of one of the longest Sessions on record, the Government should have made this particular effort to meet the fears which all of us share as a result of the division of functions. We are most grateful to the noble Lord and to all his colleagues concerned, and I very much hope that the House will accept the manuscript Amendment.
§ 7.53 p.m.
§ LORD ABERDARE
My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 159, which, together with Amendments Nos. 160 and 161, is again a paving Amendment to the commencement provisions in Amendment No. 308A.
Page 143, line 13, leave out ("on 1st April 1974 ").—(Lord, A berdare.)
Page 143, line 23, leave out ("on that day").—(Lord Aberdare.)
Page 143, line 27, leave out ("on and after that date").—(Lord Aberdare.)
§ Schedule 23 [Amendments of enactments conferring social services functions]:
§ LORD ABERDARE
My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 162. It is a drafting Amendment. Schedule 23 applies only to England and Wales, and it is not necessary to define the amendments made in the paragraph as so applying.
Page 353, line 2, leave out from ("1948") to ("for") in line 3.—(Lord Aberdare.)
§ Clause 192 [Police]:
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS moved Amendment No. 161A:
Page 144, line 8, leave out from ("section") to end of line 12.
§ The noble Viscount said: My Lords I beg to move Amendment No. 161A. There is no need to provide for the procedure of a county police authority specifically because it is covered by the general provisions in paragraph 44(1) of Schedule 12 as being a committee of the local authority. Therefore, I beg to move that these words be left out.
§ Clause 197 [Local weights and measures authorities]:
Page 151, line 5, leave out ("and under") and insert ("section 5 of the 1963 Act and").—(The Earl of Gowrie.)
§ Clause 198 [Public transport in passenger transport areas]:
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS
My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 164. This is also paving for the commencement clause.
Page 151, line 41, leave out ("On 1st April 1974").—(Viscount Colville of Culross.)
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS
My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 165. This is technical—I will go so far as to say very technical.
Page 152, line 23, at end insert ("and in section 16(1) of the Finance Act 1970 (exclusion of amounts precepted under section 13 of the Transport Act 1968 and certain grants in computing profits chargeable to corporation tax of a Passenger Transport Executive or the London Transport Executive) at the end of paragraph (a) there shall be added the words " and, in any case where that section has effect as set out in Part II of Schedule 24 to the Local Government Act 1972, any grants made to such Executives under that section".").—(Viscount Colville of Culross.)
§ Clause 200 [Licensing: licensed premises, cinemas, theatres and refreshment houses]:
§ 7.47 p.m.
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS moved Amendment No. 166:
Page 155, line 24, after ("in") insert ("Part I of").
§ The noble Viscount said: My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 166. At the Committee stage the noble Baroness, Lady White, made out a case for providing for appeals against the refusals of licences under the music and dancing provisions in the Home Counties which I took the view was unanswerable. It just shows how difficult it is that we have had to put down all these Amendments in order to meet it. They do meet it. I hope that the noble Baroness is satisfied. I beg to move this Amendment, and with it go Amendments Nos. 168 and 169. We have had to go so far as to amend the Long Title in Amendment No. 310, so the noble Baroness has scored a great victory.
§ BARONESS WHITE
My Lords. I am extremely grateful to the noble Viscount. This is not a matter of very great moment, but I considered that it was a matter of inequity and injustice. The noble Viscount has put it right. He has taken great pains, or the Department has, as one can see by the length of Amendments Nos. 168 and 169 and, as I had also observed, No. 310. I am assured by those concerned that this entirely meets the case, and we should like to express our most grateful thanks to the noble Viscount and everybody concerned. In the circumstances, of course, I shall not be moving my own Amendment, as this is much more comprehensive.
Page 156, line 22, at end insert—
("(7A) The Provisions of Part II of Schedule 25 to this Act shall have effect for the purpose of conferring a right of appeal with respect to licences under the Home Counties (Music and Dancing) Licensing Act 1926; and any reference in that Part of that Schedule—
Page 361, line 33, at end insert—
§ ("PART II
§ APPEALS IN RESPECT OF LICENCES UNDER THE HOME COUNTIES (Music AND DANCING) LICENSING ACT 1926
§ 10.—(1) Any person—
- (a) whose application for the grant, including a grant by way of renewal or for the transfer of a licence is refused, or
- (b) whose licence is revoked under section 3(11) of the 1926 Act, or
- (c) who is aggrieved by any term, condition or restriction to which the licence is subject, other than a term, condition or restriction having effect by virtue of regulations under section 3(3) of the 1926 Act,
§ (2) In sub-paragraph (1) above the relevant date means—
- (a) in a case falling within paragraph (a) or (b) of that sub-paragraph, the date on which the applicant or holder of the licence, as the case may be, is notified by the district council concerned of the refusal or revocation, and
- (b) in a case falling within paragraph (c) of that sub-paragraph, the date on which the term, condition or restriction concerned becomes operative.
§ 11. On an appeal under paragraph 10 above the Crown Court may make such order as it thinks fit and, where appropriate, may by the order give directions to the district council concerned with respect to the exercise of their powers under the 1926 Act.
§ 12. Notwithstanding anything in section 3 of the 1926 Act, where the grant of a licence by way of renewal is refused or a licence is revoked under subsection (11) of that section, the licence shall nevertheless continue in force—
- (a) during the period within which an appeal may be brought under paragraph 10 above, and if such an appeal is brought within that period, until the determination or abandonment of the appeal; and
- (b) in the case of a successful appeal against the refusal of a grant by way of renewal until the licence is renewed by the district council.")—(Viscount Colville of Culross.)
§ Clause 202 [Public libraries and museums (England)]:
§ 7.50 p.m.
THE EARL OF CRANBROOK moved Amendment No. 170:
Page 157, line 44, after ("councils") insert ("metropolitan").
§ The noble Earl said: My Lords, in moving this Amendment I should perhaps first remind your Lordships that, by and large, practically every museum in this country is sited in a town and managed by an urban authority, for the obvious reason that when museums were first started they had to be close to the major centres of population. In those early days the objective was to provide a collection representative of the arts and sciences for the education of the people in that town. It was a relatively static and inexpensive service save when major works of art had to be found, when local patriotism usually secured that rich men who lived locally gave generously to their museum.
§ In the last generation or so the scope of museums has increased enormously. The staff are increasingly engaged on research work both on the collections in the museum and especially on such things as archaeology and paleontology outside the town in which they are situated, and country people come increasingly into museums in towns so that by and large the country people get as much out of this as do the urban ones. The museums in fact have grown away from the authorities who originally founded them. Their functions have changed vastly, and this greater activity is creating pressure on more accommodation, and in particular is bringing an increasing demand for conservation of the older material which of course deteriorates in the course of time, as any of your Lordships who have collections of pictures and furniture at home will know, and bringing in to the museum new material which needs looking after before it can be put on exhibition or into the study collections. In fact, the resources of the smaller authorities are becoming wholly insufficient to deal with all the problems which arise in museums to-day. All of us who are concerned with museums know that. Indeed, successive Ministers have been well aware of it. The noble Baroness, Lady Lee, 1930 and the noble Viscount, Lord Eccles, have done a tremendous amount of work in trying to improve the situation; but inevitably they have to do the work with the tools as they find them, that is to say, with museums which have long outgrown the resources of the bodies which maintain them.
§ There has been set up an admirable area museum service to help local museums in all the many jobs which they have to do, and particularly perhaps, more than any other, in conservation, which is the worry of all of us to-day. The position of these area services is pretty grim. The director of one has reported that in the small museums—small museums, mark you, my Lords—in one county, and one county only, he finds that about 5,000 man hours of work are necessary on conservation, and with the staff available in that area it is impossible to provide more than something between 200 and 400 man hours a year to deal with the enormous backlog. The same story applies to the other work in museums. The Department of the Environment has been much more forthcoming recently in providing money for rescue operations when there are about to happen such disasters as a new by-pass being driven through a Roman settlement; and they are doing a great deal of good work in providing money for excavations. In my own county of Suffolk we are grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Sandford, who has shown great interest in one of these problems, and we are hoping that a Roman site which is about to be ruined will at least be excavated before the bulldozers move in.
§ When that material is rescued, only half the work is done. It has to go to the local museum to be dealt with. Broken pots and glass have to be repaired; rusty iron or perished bronze have to be treated, and even, on occasions, wood or ivory or bone also needs highly skilled treatment. In point of fact, in all these local museums there are just not the people to do this work; and even where there are people to do the work they are wholly insufficient in number to be able to deal with it. In short, the resources which were adequate a generation or so ago are wholly inadequate to-day because more is demanded from the services of the museum and more highly complicated techniques are available for the museums.1931
§ That, my Lords, is the underlying reason for this Amendment. We are finding that museums have grown beyond the resources of the bodies which support them. My Amendment does not include the large provincial museums, such as those in Birmingham, Leeds and the like, which are expressly omitted; but it does suggest that the counties with their larger resources should be responsible, and solely responsible, for museums in the non metropolitan districts. I may say that in moving this Amendment I have the support of the Museums Association which is representative of all the museums of every sort in the country; I have the support of the Standing Commission on Museums and Galleries, a statutory body set up to advise the Government, and both those bodies strongly support this Amendment.
§ When we discussed this subject at an earlier stage the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, suggested that the proper way of dealing with the problem was that counties should help with the concurrent powers which they will have under the Bill, and he reminded us that counties have concurrent powers under the existing Act, the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964. Indeed they have; and they could, did they so wish, provide all the resources from the county rates to help the local museums. But I have just explained to your Lordships how with those powers which are not exercised the museum service is running down. Under the Bill, counties will have the same powers as they have to-day and I cannot believe that it can be seriously suggested that counties which do not to-day support their local museums with the concurrent powers which they have will do so to-morrow.
§ If I may give your Lordships one example, the county of Norfolk has for long been well known as one of the most far-seeing counties so far as museums are concerned and gives greater help to its local museum—direct local help, not for services rendered—than any other county in England. I have always been proud to be next door to Norfolk, which does that. But in point of fact the county of Norfolk gives £4,500 to the City of Norwich towards the support of its museum, which costs in total about £130,000—less than 3 per cent. When this 1932 Bill becomes an Act the rateable value of the county of Norfolk will be three times that of the city of Norwich, and it seems very sensible that the county of Norfolk should be responsible for the museum for which the city will have a third of the representatives and will pay a third of the cash.
§ We know from experience that counties, with exactly the same powers as they will have under this Bill, do not show themselves very forthcoming in supporting local museums for which they are not solely responsible. But we also know that when they run museums for which they are solely responsible—and I suppose that the County of Durham is probably the best example—they fling themselves into it, one might also say, with abandon. The county museums run by counties, and by counties alone, are admirably run and one cannot but be quite certain that if counties were given the sole responsibility for running museums they would run them as admirably as do those counties which at present have museums of their own. Of course those museums tend to be run in conjunction with other functions which exist in the county towns. Counties, since they have had museum powers, have naturally tended to fill the lacunae and have not set up museums in competition with those which already exist.
§ I think we can draw two lessons from our experience in the past: first, that the museum service is tending to run down, because it has outstripped the resources of the bodies which originally founded it; and, secondly, that there are larger bodies, with larger resources, which have shown that they are not only capable but willing to run an admirable museum service if given half a chance, and I believe that that is the right solution. My Lords, I beg to move.
§ LORD WELLS-PESTELL
My Lords, I rise to support what the noble Earl has just said with regard to his Amendment. When he made his point at the Committee stage I thought, if he does not mind my saying so, that it was a very strong and powerful argument for the Government to accept his Amendment. I think, in a sense, that in repeating it tonight he has made an even stronger argument in favour of the Government's accepting this Amendment and I hope that the noble Viscount, Lord Eccles, will 1933 feel able to do so. Those of us who have the good fortune to live in a large area (I live just outside Oxford, where there are many university museums and a number of other museums) where there are State museums, such as we have in London, can see the value of museums of this kind. It has been a national feature, it is part of our heritage, to find small museums all over the country not only serving a very useful purpose but taking a pride in what they have been able to acquire, to dig up and to put on show, and it would be a great pity if we were to lose that, as I think we arc in danger of doing.
Anyone who knows about the museum situation in this country, knows that many of these smaller museums are finding it extremely difficult to maintain themselves; their work has often come to a standstill; they are not able to add items which should be added. I should have thought it was desirable that we should put them in the responsible hands of the much larger units who are able to maintain the museums in their areas. It is quite unrealistic to expect district councils, of which there are a large number in this country that are responsible for museums, to go on hoping that they will be able to maintain them. In these circumstances, I hope that the noble Viscount, Lord Eccles, will feel able to accept this Amendment, because it is important to our culture that we maintain the museum situation in this country at, perhaps, a higher level than we have hitherto been able to do in recent years. I hope that this House will accept the Amendment.
§ 8.7 p.m.
§ THE PAYMASTER GENERAL (VISCOUNT ECCLES)
My Lords, the main objective behind the Amendment of my noble friend Lord Cranbrook, which has been supported by the noble Lord, Lord Wells-Pestell, is of course fully shared by the Government. We know only too well that the organisation and financing of many of these provincial museums leaves a very great deal to be desired. It is an area of very uneven standards, and I endorse all that my noble friend said about the sad cases where collections are deteriorating and where there is not enough money for the staff to provide the facilities which the public to-day want. The whole question 1934 is: when we are reforming local government, what is the best way to give a new impulse to the museum service in the country?
If we were dealing with a statutory service, and therefore, as in the case of public libraries, could use the law to secure the most efficient and professional organisation, then I suppose there might be an argument—though I am not quite sure—for compelling all the museums to be grouped under the new county councils and the metropolitan authorities. We might then feel that it would be right, however brutal, to take away all powers from the new districts to control and manage museums and hand the lot over to the first-tier authorities. But the museum service is not mandatory, for the reasons which I gave in the debate on the Second Reading of this Bill. All the museums outside the 18 national museums and galleries have been started here and there by local initiative, and many of the best of them, as my noble friend said, were quite naturally established in cities and towns which will now be included in the new districts. The situation to-day is that a few counties nave developed a museum service as good as any city or town in their area, and I fully support what my noble friend said about the County of Durham. Others—and I will not go through many—such as Hampshire, have had no cause to establish museums comparable to the great museums at, say, Southampton and Portsmouth. Plymouth and Exeter provide a parallel in Devonshire, as does Brighton in Sussex.
I recently visited the museum in Merthyr Tydfil. I did not put any questions to the local people, but I had a very distinct sensation that they are very proud of their museum which contains a local collection, and that they would not be very pleased to hand it over to Mid Glamorgan. At any rate, many of the best museums outside London are now run by county boroughs which will become districts under this Bill, and it would be very unwise to expect them to welcome the loss of their local status, which of course would happen if this Amendment were accepted. Then what do we do, my Lords? The Government believe that the best way to regroup museums within the new local government structure—and it is highly important 1935 to do that, for the reasons my noble friend gave—is by agreement and not by compulsion. Therefore we propose concurrent powers; that is, both counties and districts will have the power to run a museum, but if a district elects to continue to run a museum in its area and there is a county museum service, it will also have to contribute towards the county museum service. We therefore face a very complex situation in regard to the relationships between one museum and another in any given area, and we arc quite certain that fresh consideration has to be given to this, and that the creation of the new local government areas is exactly the opportunity for doing it. I have no doubt that, for the reasons of poverty and such like advanced by my noble friend, many museums now locally controlled will wish to come under the county. But, my Lords, we must remember that there are local collections which relate to their immediate neighbourhood.
I expect your Lordships can all think of a benefactor, even in very recent times, who has given a collection of pictures or prints, or of pottery or silver, or of the tools and equipment of the trade in his town—and the latter is now becoming a most interesting development—and who has given them to his own town because he did not want them to be broken up or to go elsewhere. if a collection of that kind is to come under the control of the county council—and of course some counties are very large, and the county council may be a long way from one of these local museums—then it is right that it should be done by agreement and not by compulsion. Compulsion, I am certain, would not only be very much resented—we have had a number of representations already in view of the Amendment to which I am now speaking—but I think it might choke off future benefactions of most interesting and valuable local objects and collections.
My noble friend said that the museum service is in a bad way and that Ministers in the last two Governments have had to work with the tools as they found them. But that is exactly what we do not intend to do. It is for that reason, because the tools as we found them are so inadequate, that my Department set 1936 up the inquiry into the needs of provincial museums, which goes much wider than any previous inquiry. We expect the report by the end of the year; and recommendations will be made on a very large range of matters, including the structure of the museum service. When we have the report we shall be in a position to give guidance to the new local authorities on the problems of organisation and on their possible solutions. It really would be a great pity to prejudice the reforms which we hope will follow from this report—and indeed we intend to see that there is every opportunity for persuading the various local authorities to take up the recommendations—by arousing the opposition of those museums which, in advance of hearing the committee's views and without being able to make their own case, if this Amendment were passed would be compelled immediately to hand over their management to the county.
Finally, your Lordships will have noted that the effect of the Amendment proposed by my noble friend is both illogical and in many cases manifestly unfair. If the Amendment were passed, metropolitan districts would have the power to run museums but non-metropolitan districts would have no such powers. It is quite true that in South Yorkshire and in the West Riding the new metropolitan areas have run some very splendid museums. I think my noble friend quoted Leeds as an example. But in most of the new metropolitan districts they have not run major museums, and quite a number of them are smaller than the non-metropolitan districts. Why, then, should the non-metropolitan districts be deprived of their powers? Your Lordships should think of who they are: Chester, Leicester, Norwich, Exeter, Plymouth, Southampton, Portsmouth and Brighton. That is only a selection. All of those cities have established good museums, and under the Amendment all would lose their powers to the counties whether or not they agreed to the transfer.
On a previous Amendment my noble friend Lord Redcliffe-Maud said very wisely that if only districts and counties would work together they could solve the particular problems of which he was speaking. It is exactly the same in the museum service. We have here many 1937 instances of local pride, many instances of long tradition; but we need a major reform in the provincial museum service. We have set up an inquiry which will put into our hands the instrument with which we can hope to persuade the museums, county by county, metropolitan county by metropolitan county, to evolve a pattern that really will enable the museum service to go forward. Therefore, I must warn your Lordships that to pass this Amendment would provoke justifiable protest. It is much better that we should proceed by agreement. I therefore hope that the House will not entertain this Amendment.
§ LORD STRABOLGI
My Lords, I must say that I think the reply of the noble Viscount the Minister has been rather disappointing. If I may say so, the noble Earl, Lord Cranbrook, and my noble friend Lord Wells-Pestell nut up a very strong case, and I think the combination of views of those two noble Lords, together with the wishes and desires of the Standing Commission on Museums and Galleries and the Museums Association, carry a great deal of weight. I have little to add to what the noble Earl has said. He has, I think, made it very clear that in the future the resources required of these museums will in many ways be far beyond the local districts if they are to give the service that is required. The public is rightly requiring far more from the museums now, with advice and so on; there are problems of security the type of keeper who is gradually becoming required, even in the districts, is now needed to be of a much higher educational standard; and I think all this requires far more financial backing. The noble Viscount the Paymaster General seems to think that all this should be done by agreement, and I am sure that in many cases this will work out very well; but often local districts are very jealous of their prerogatives. They may not wish to give up responsibility for a museum which perhaps they may not be running as well as they could run it if they had greater resources. They may not wish to do this; and the proposals in this Amendment would make it mandatory and would ensure that far larger resources were available.
1938 The noble Earl cited the example of Norwich, which I know very well. I was at school in Norfolk. I think he gave a good example of how the county gives quite a large sum every year. Also the noble Viscount spoke about bequests and how this might choke off bequests in the future to local museums. I should have thought that someone wishing to make a bequest would want to know that it was going to be properly looked after. It could be properly looked after only if the museum to which it was donated received as much from the resources of the county as it possibly could. Therefore I hope that the noble Earl will expect a rather fuller reply than he has had so far before he decides what to do.
§ LORD WYNNE-JONES
My Lords, in listening to the noble Viscount on the question of museums, it seemed to me that he was placing far too much emphasis upon the desire and ability of small bodies to maintain effective museums. From my slight experience of museums, it seems to me that the real trouble when dealing with small museums under the control of a rather small council is that they are never able to put enough resources at the disposal of the museums or to attract good enough people in order to run them. I have noticed this over the last 25 years when living in Newcastle-on-Tyne, which is not a small town. There they have a museum of industry and science quite pitifully maintained. I expect that the noble Viscount knows about this museum. Really, it is quite ridiculous how little effort has been put into it, largely because it was not the responsibility of a big enough authority. I believe that unless the museums are put under the control of a large authority one will not get the effort put into them to maintain them effectively. We may therefore suffer from having lots of museums which are pitifully inadequately maintained.
A new museum has been developed in County Durham. This museum was started on the initiative of a local curator and it has gone ahead reasonably well; but it has gone ahead because he got involved in it not just the city of Durham but the county borough of Newcastle and County Durham as well. He has been able to get a lot of support in this 1939 way, with the result that the museum has not been maintained by a small municipal authority but by a large authority. I think that we shall be doing a grave disservice to the museum structure of this country if we continue to let it be split up under the control of a number of minor authorities, rather than giving the work to the major authorities with whom it will be easier to deal and who will be in a much better position to profit from the inquiry that the noble Viscount has so sensibly set up.
§ THE EARL OF CRANBROOK
MyLords, I must confess to be profoundly dissatisfied with the reply of the noble Viscount although I should like to congratulate him for batting as well as he did on what It looked upon as rather a sticky wicket. I think that almost all the points he raised had little to do with the point which I made in my argument. He first twitted me slightly for having treated the metropolitan districts in a different way from that in which I treated the non-metropolitan districts. There I find myself in the same difficulty as did the Government over education. In the case of the large museums like Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and the like, the only ones which have really adequate resources, it clearly would have been ridiculous to have suggested that they should not retain their museum powers. There was then the lead given me by the Government in making the metropolitan districts education authorities in the same way as the non-metropolitan counties were made education authorities. I thought I ought to follow their example.
I do not believe that the noble Viscount could have consulted the representatives of museums. I know that he is very close to them. I know that the whole museum service is one in which he is as keen as and perhaps keener than I am; but there is a very strong mood of support among the museum service for my Amendment. He may not know that the museum committee of one of the municipal museums to which he refers, the Leicester City Museum, expressed themselves strongly in favour of the service being a county service. I believe that if he were to talk to the people running the museums—I do not mean only the staff of the museums but the individual 1940 members of the museum committees—he would find that they who are really keen on their service are anxious to be supported by the full rate of the county instead of by the rate of the district, and would happily go in. I think that almost inevitably the museum service is one of the services in which any wise county is bound to use the districts, certainly the districts that have been county boroughs, as agents for them. I believe that the county boroughs will have their cake and eat it. They will get the support of the county rate: and the individual members who are keen on their museums (and those are the ones who matter, not the people who, as I think the noble Viscount said, dislike losing their powers) will support my argument. Powers seem to me to be of no importance in themselves; it is the way that they are carried out that matters. The people who are doing the work on the museum committees would support my Amendment. I am not speaking of the one or two elderly gentlemen who have sat on the local council for years and who are nervous about losing their so-called powers.
I found it extraordinary that the noble Viscount should make the suggestion he did about the gifts which people have made, generation after generation, in counties like mine—not only people living inside the borough but also those living on the outside in the rural areas. These people are as proud of their local museum as are the citizens of the county borough themselves. People from inside and outside the towns have always given presents to their county museum and will continue to do so. It is inconceivable that any county taking over the responsibility for a museum to which a collection of pictures has been left by some generous person in the past should think of breaking it up. I cannot believe that is a good argument against my Amendment.
What the noble Viscount said was that what we now want is a new emphasis in the museum service. The new emphasis, I believe, would come from putting the responsibility on the counties. That would give the new impetus we all require. There is one other matter which worried me. This was the noble Viscount's reference to the Committee which has been set up and which is now drafting and whose terms of refer- 1941 ence appear in the White Paper on the Future Policy for Museums and Galleries. The terms of reference are to review the needs of the principal museums and galleries with particular regard to conservation and display of their collections and links with related activities, and to make recommendations about the interrelationship between those museums, the national institutions, with the principal local museums. I cannot but believe that if that Committee really were going to say anything germane to this current Bill they should have been asked to make a preliminary report (they have been sitting for some time and must have the facts at their finger tips) on what they thought about the appropriate body for running museums under this Bill. They have not so been asked, and presumably nothing to affect this Bill will come out because the Bill will be passed by the time the Committee reports. It does not seem to me that that Committee's deliberations have any relation to my Amendment at all. The Amendment is purely to try to get the maximum resources which the museums need and which can come only from the counties.
§ VISCOUNT ECCLES
My Lords, with the leave of the House I should like to answer two points. First, on the Committee of Inquiry, I think that my noble friend will see that in working on those terms of reference it becomes essential to consider the relationship between one museum and another within an area. It would not be right for me to say anything about what the Committeee has decided or is considering putting in its Report. But it is clear that it has to consider where the resources can come from in order to carry out a very ambitious programme of expansion and reform which it is the business of the Committee to outline. It is not much good telling us that all kinds of things need to be done in the Provinces without some recommendation about where the resources are coming from. So I think that perhaps I could help my noble friend a little on that.
It seems that noble Lords who support the Amendment think that there is a difference of opinion between the Government and themselves more or less on what needs doing in the museums. There is no difference of opinion; we all want these museums to be grouped in the most 1942 effective way and to receive money from whatever source they can get it, and substantially more money, in order that these things may be put right. The difference between us is that the noble Lords who support this Amendment feel that some museums—the noble Lord, Lord Wynne-Jones put the point clearly—may not wish to come in, and therefore the noble Lords want compulsion. It is not right to use compulsion when we are in the middle of working out a great reform by agreement, and when we know that if we use compulsion there are many cities—I will not go through that list again—who would be very unhappy at parting with their museums; not because they had agreed to do so but because they were ordered to do it under this Bill. Therefore I ask the House to let us have another six months and this programme will evolve from the Committee and we shall be seeing our way to what I hope will be a new chapter in the history of provincial museums.
§ On Question, Amendment negatived.
§ Clause 203 [Public libraries and museums (Wales)]:
§ 8.35 p.m.
§ LORD BELSTEAD
My Lords, this Amendment is very similar to an Amendment moved during the Committee stage which at that time was defective in drafting. I beg to move Amendment No. 171.
Page 158, line 10, leave out from first ("councils") to ("each") in line 12 and insert ("and district councils and, subject to the provisions of section 5 of that Act").—(Lord Belstead.)
§ Clause 205 [Youth employment services]:
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords, this is one of the commencement provisions. I beg to move Amendment No. 172.
Page 160, line 39, leave out ("On 1st April 1974").—(Lord Sandford.)
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 173. With No. 174 it is a part of the commencement package.
Page 160, line 42, leave out ("that date") and insert ("1st April 1974").—(Lord Sandford.)
§ Clause 206 [Charities]:
Page 161, line 72, leave out ("on that date").—(Lord Sandford.)
LORD SANDFORD moved Amendment No. 174A:
Page 161, line 36, at end insert ("then, if the rural district is coextensive with a parish the new authority is the parish council, and in any other case").
§ The noble Lord said: My Lords, there are three parishes in England which are coextensive with rural districts. They do not at present have parish councils and the rural district councils exercise the functions of parish councils. The Bill now provides that these three parishes will have parish councils. It is appropriate that any charitable property should continue to be held at the present level rather than go to district councils and this Amendment provides accordingly. I beg to move.
§ LORD SANDFORD: My Lords, I beg to move Amendments Nos. 175 to 179, all of which are consequential on the commencement package.
§ Amendments moved—
- Clause 206, page 162, line 33, leave out ("at that date").
- Clause 206, page 163, line 2, leave out ("then as from that date").
- Clause 207, page 164, line 17, leave out ("on 1st April 1974").
- Clause 208, page 164, line 43, leave out ("as from 1st April 1974").
- Clause 208, page 165, line 6, leave out ("on and after 1st April 1974".—(Lord Sandford.)
LORD SANDFORD moved Amendment No. 179A:
Page 165, line 20, leave out from ("section") to ("is") and insert ("19 of the Land Charges Act 1925, and set out in Schedule 4 to the Land Charges Act 1972").
§ The noble Lord said: This Amendment corrects a reference to the Land Charges Act 1925 which has been affected since the introduction of this Bill by the Land Charges Act 1972. In moving this Amendment I should point out that there is a printing error and that the second "and" should read, "as". So that the Amendment should read"…Land Charges Act 1925, as set out in Schedule 4…" With that correction I beg to move the Amendment.
§ Clause 209 [Local licence duties]:
§ LORD SANDFORD: My Lords, this Amendment is consequential. It was taken with Amendment No. 105 to Clause 176 on commencement. I beg to move Amendment No. 180:
Page 165, line 22, leave out ("On and after 1st April 1974").—(Lord Sandford.)
§ Clause 210 [Cemeteries and crematoria]:
§ LORD SANDFORD: My Lords, I beg to move Amendments Nos. 181 and 182 which are also commencement Amendments.
Page 166, line 42, leave out ("on 1st April 1974").
Page 167, line 1, leave out from beginning to ("and") in line 2.—(Lord Sandford.)
§ LORD SANDFORD: My Lords, Amendment No. 182A is a drafting Amendment. I beg to move.
Page 167, line 23, leave out ("affirmed") and insert ("approved").—(Lord Sandford.)
§ Schedule 26 [Cemeteries and crematoria]:
§ LORD SANDFORD: My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 182B which is consequential on that group of Amendments to do with finance and borrowing.
Page 363, line 18, leave out from ("provisions") to ("relate") in line 22 and insert
("of this Act, that is to say, sections 100 to 105. 109, 110, 122, 123, 136 and Part I of Schedule 13, so far as they").—(Lord Sandford.)
§ LORD SANDFORD: My Lords, Amendment No. 183 is a drafting Amendment. I beg to move.
Page 364, line 10, leave out ("district") and insert ("area").—(Lord Sandford.)
LORD SANDFORD moved Amendments Nos. 184, 185 and 186:
Page 364, line 29, after ("sections") insert ("15, 25, 27, 28, 30 to 35").
Page 365, line 11, at end insert—
("15A. In section 1 of the Burial Act 1859, for the word "churchwardens", in the first place where it occurs, there shall be substituted the words "burial authority", for the words from "churchwardens" in the second place where it occurs to "situate" there shall be substituted the words "council of the district or London borough or the Common Council of the City of London, as the case may be" and for the word "churchwardens", wherever it subsequently occurs, there shall be substituted the word "Council ".")
Page 365, line 20, at end insert—
("16A. It shall not be necessary for a burial authority to obtain the approval of the Secretary of State under section 1 of the Burial Act 1900 for the consecration of any portion of a burial ground.
16B. Section 2(3) of the Burial Act 1900 shall cease to have effect.").
§ The noble Lord said: My Lords I beg to move Amendments Nos. 184, 185 and 186. These are all Amendments tidying up, to some extent, the Burial Act. They are little more than drafting Amendments. I think the only point to which I should draw the attention of your Lordships is that contained in Amendment No. 186 and shown on the Marshalled List marked 16A, which provides that it shall not be necessary for a burial authority to obtain the approval of the Secretary of State—that is, the Secretary of State for the Home Office—under Section 1 of the Burial Act 1900. That is the only matter of any substance.
§ Clause 211 [Maintenance of a closed churchyard]:
§ LORD ABERDARE: My Lords, Amendment No. 188 is a drafting Amend- 1946 ment to ensure that all certificates issued to local authorities since the coming into force of the Welsh Church Act 1914 are covered by Clause 211(4). I beg to move.
Page 168, line 35, leave out ("an existing") and insert ("a").—(Lord Aberdare.)
§ BARONESS WHITE: My Lords, I should just like to say on behalf of Wales that we are delighted to have this assurance.
§ Clause 213 [Justices of the peace and magistrates' courts]:
§ LORD SANDFORD: My Lords, Amendment No. 189 is part of the commencement package. I beg to move.
Page 169, line 38, leave out ("on 1st April, 1974").—(Lord Sandford.)
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS moved Amendment No. 190:
Page 169, line 41, at end insert—
("(a) a non-metropolitan county which is not divided into petty sessional divisions").
§ The noble Viscount said: My Lords, with the leave of the House I will move Amendments Nos. 190 to 204 inclusive en bloc. Surprisingly enough they are consequential upon the Isle of Wight. We now have a county which consists of only one petty sessional division. Therefore the City of London, which also consists of one petty sessional division can be dealt with in the same way and we do not need to have special reference to it. There is one joker in my pack, namely Amendment No. 199, which is purely technical and does not concern the Isle of Wight. All the rest are consequential on the Amendment which we had yesterday. I beg to move.
Page 169, line 41, at end insert—
("(a) a non-metropolitan county which is not divided into petty sessional divisions ").
Schedule 27, page 369, line 24, after ("words") insert ("a non-metropolitan county which is not divided into petty sessional divisions").
- Schedule 27, page 369, Line 26, after ("divisions") insert ("and").
- Schedule 27, page 369, Line 26, leave out ("and the City of London").
- Schedule 27, page 369, Line 48, at the beginning insert ("non-metropolitan county or").
§ Page 370, line 1, leave out from ("words") to ("acting") in line 2 and insert (""or borough" there shall be substituted the words or, as the case may require "").
- Page 370, Line 5, leave out ("each place") and inset ("the first two places").
- Page 370, Line 6, at the beginning insert ("non-metropolitan county or").
- Page 370, Line 6, leave out from ("borough") to end of line 9 and insert ("shall be omitted and for the words" or borough "there shall be substituted the words " or, as the case may require, acting for the district".").
- Page 370, Line 20, after first ("words") insert ("non-metropolitan county or").
- Page 370, Line 29, after ("words") insert ("non-metropolitan county or").
- Page 370, Line 31, after ("words") insert ("or, as the case may require, the clerk to the justices ").
§ Page 371, line 3, after ("words") insert ("a non-metropolitan county which is not divided into petty sessional divisions").
- Page 371, Line 5, after ("divisions") insert ("and").
- Page 371, Line 6, leave out ("and the City of London").
§ Clause 216 [Coroners]:
§ VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS: My Lords, in Clause 216 Greater London and the City and the Temples are dealt with separately. Therefore when you define Greater London you ought to make it clear that Greater London in this particular case does not include the City and the Temples. This is what Amendment No. 205 does. I beg to move.
Page 172, line 23, at end insert ("other than the City and the Temples").—(Viscount Colville of Culross.)
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS moved Amendment No. 206:
Page 173, line 19, at end insert
("(a) so much of section 5 of the Coroners Act 1844 as requires a coroner to reside in or within two miles of his district.").
§ The noble Viscount said: In 1884 it probably was a very good idea that coroners had to live within two miles of their district, but now that they can go by car it is unnecessary to preserve this rather difficult provision any more. In fact, when the coroners' districts are being 1948 reorganised this could produce great difficulties. I do not think it is anything that needs to be preserved for the benefit of the public. I believe that coroners can live further away and still satisfactorily fulfil their functions. Therefore I suggest that this Amendment, which repeals that provision, should be inserted in the Bill. I beg to move.
§ LORD CHAMPION
My Lords, having regard to the state of traffic on our roads, I wonder whether coroners can now get to places they have to get to from 20 miles out any more quickly than they could get in those days from the two miles.
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS
I think so, my Lords. Of course, they drive very carefully in the process.
§ Clause 220 [Arrangements by principal councils for custody of records, etc.]:
§ LORD SANDFORD: My Lords, with Amendment No. 207 we come to Part XI of the Bill, General Provisions. In this Part there are 17 Amendments: 8 are drafting, 3 are technical Amendments dealing with the service of notices, 2 are consequential, and one, No. 208, deals with parish records. All I need say is that Amendment No. 208 enables me to give my noble friend Lord Teviot the reassurance for which he asked about the custody of parish records. If he wishes me to do so, I will go into that matter more fully. However, unless my noble friend or any other noble Lord wishes me to go into these Amendments, I would suggest that I might move the Amendments en bloc and the House might accept them en bloc. In that case, I beg to move Amendments Nos. 207 to 219.
Page 174, line 29, leave out ("records and").
§ Clause 222, page 175, line 7, leave out subsections (1) and (2) and insert—
§ ("(1) All specified papers of a parish or community shall—
- (a) in the case of a parish which is coextensive with an existing rural parish, remain in the same custody as before 1st April 1974; and
- (b) in the case of any other parish or any community, be in the custody of the body to which the documents of that area, other than documents of a specified class, are transferred on that date;
§ (2) Nothing in this Act shall affect the custody of registers of baptisms, marriages and burials and of all other documents containing entries wholly or partly relating to the affairs of the church, as defined by the Local Government Act 1894, or to ecclesiastical charities, as so defined, except documents directed by law to be kept with the papers of a parish or community.
§ (3) Any person having the custody of any documents mentioned in subsection (2) above shall have reasonable access to the papers mentioned in subsection (1) above and—
- (a) in a parish or community having a separate parish or community council, that council;
- (b) in any other parish, the parish meeting;
- (c) in any other community, the district council; and
- (d) in any area in England not falling within paragraph (a) or (b) above, the district council, London borough council or Common Council, as the case may be;
§ (4) Any difference about the custody of or access to any documents mentioned in subsection (1) or (2) above shall, if the area is in a London borough or the City, be determined by the Secretary of State and in any other case by the county council.")
- line 26, leave out ("the public documents") and insert ("specified papers").
§ Clause 224, page 176, line 10, leave out first ("The") and insert ("Any")
- Clause 224, page 176, line 16, leave out ("abstract") and insert ("extract")
- Clause 224, page 176, line 20, leave out from ("any") to ("mentioned") in line 21 and insert ("document deposited as")
- Clause 224, page 176, line 23, leave out ("abstracts") and insert ("extracts")
§ Clause 225, page 177, line 11, after ("authority") insert ("or parish meeting")
- Clause 225, page 177, line 12, after ("authority") insert ("or parish meeting")
- Clause 225, page 177, line 16, after ("authority") insert (", or the chairman of the parish meeting,").
§ Clause 227, page 177, line 45, after ("meeting") insert ("or the chairman of a parish meeting")
§ Clause 227, page 178, line 11, at end insert ("or the chairman of a parish meeting")
§ Clause 229, page 179, line 28, leave out first ("it") and insert ("the document")
- Clause 229, page 179, line 31, at end insert—
§ ("(7A) This section shall apply to a document required or authorised by or under any enactment to be given to or served on any person by or on behalf of the chairman of a 1950 parish meeting as it applies to a document so required or authorised to be given to or served on any person by or on behalf of a local authority.")
§ Clause 234, page 182, line 24, leave out from ("sign") to end of line 25 and insert ("the certificate")
§ Clause 236, page 183, line 18, after ("under") insert ("this Act or")
§ Clause 237, page 184, line 41, leave out ("the commencement of this Act") and insert ("1st April 1974")
§ Clause 241 [Status of certain districts, parishes and communities]:
LORD MERTHYR moved Amendment No. 219A:
Page 186, line 47, at end insert—
("(6A) The council of a community may resolve that the community shall be called a parish.")
§ The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving this Amendment I do not want to repeat very much of what I said last night in moving an Amendment which I would call an allied Amendment to this one, but I must repeat just a little. I must say again that what the Government are forcing upon Wales is something to which every single one of the county associations of parish councils, without exception, objects. I think that is going a hit far; but it is true. It is also true, I admit, that there may be some additional communities created by this Bill which have not been consulted but, as I say, we have no means of finding out what they think because they do not yet exist. What we know is that this is strongly objected to in Wales by the people concerned. I would point out respectfully to the House that this Amendment is purely an enabling Amendment, and therefore it compels nobody to do anything. Surely a more harmless Amendment has hardly ever passed through this House.
§ If the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, is right in what he says, if this Amendment is passed nothing will happen: no harm will be done to anybody nothing will be done. On the other hand, if I am right the parishes in Wales will be enabled to chose by which name they shall be called in future. Perhaps I can put it in this way. Is it at all objectionable to allow them to chose their own name? That is all that this Amendment 1951 does. I suggest that the only way to find out who is right, the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, or I, is to pass this Amendment and to see what, if anything, happens. Can anybody say that I am wrong in saying that? I challenge your Lordships to pass this Amendment and see what happens. If the Government Benches are right, nothing will happen: they cannot deny that, surely. But if I am right, those who want something to happen will find that it happens and it will do no harm to anyone. I therefore invite the Government to vote for me in order to prove that they are right; and I invite the Opposition to vote for me to do what they have been known to do before now—to prove that the Government are wrong.
§ There are only one or two other points that I want to make. I said something about them last night. Why does this provision apply only to Wales? What about the English parishes? Why are they going to be compelled to retain their name and not even be offered the chance of changing it? I hope that the noble Lord will deal with that point in his reply, because it is the first time that I have raised it. What about the towns that may arise in England when this Bill is passed? Will they not object to being called parishes? We are told by the noble Lord and others that this is one of their reasons for introducing this change—"parish" apparently is some kind of rude word that will not be at all relished by the big towns. What about the English towns? Has he consulted them? One of my chief complaints is that Her Majesty's Government seem to have kept the departments entirely cut and dried and have never put the two together. I am also told that not only might the towns object to this but people might object to being confused with the churches. I reminded the House last night that for 53 years at least that is just what they have been subject to, and no harm whatever has been done. What about the English parishes? Are they not going to object to the confusion between them and the churches? I really think the Government are making a huge mistake in dividing this country on the very day (yesterday) when they received the Royal Assent for leading this country into a United Europe, with my entire support. It was a curious 1952 coincidence that on the same day they divide their own country in this way, by means of this Bill.
My Lords, one more question which has not been raised before, so far as I have heard. The Government are going to call these parishes "communities" and are going to give them community councils. What are they doing about the existing community councils? I am a member of a county community council in Wales which has been in existence for many years—I think I was the first chairman of it. What is to happen in future about the utter confusion of name between the county community councils and all the other community councils? I shall be grateful to the noble Lord if he will deal with that point in his reply. I beg to move.
§ LORD SANDYS
My Lords, I should like to rise as a member of a rural community council in an English county and also as President of the Parish Councils Association. I am in a county which will shortly border Wales, and so our county will share with Lord Merthyr the double problem of these two ambiguities which have arisen. I do not wish to take up the time of your Lordships' House because we have many more Amendments to deal with, but I should like to support this Amendment.
§ 8.53 p.m.
§ LORD ABERDARE
My Lords, it is these simple Amendments which are always the most difficult to answer convincingly, but I think that what the noble Lord, Lord Merthyr, has not quite grasped is the completely different systems which will obtain after 1974 in England and Wales. The two proposals in the Bill are quite different. The noble Lord knows far more than I could ever possibly know about parishes in England and Wales as they are at the present moment. They are mainly related to the countryside. They are called rural parishes and they exist only in rural districts. The Bill as it was originally introduced in the other place applied the present rural parish system for England substantially unchanged. Since then, under certain pressures in the other place, we have been persuaded that it was right to allow 1953 some small free-standing towns in England to continue as parishes, applying the old rural parish idea to them; but the Welsh approach has been different from the start. The proposals are still substantially different from those in England.
The principle in Wales is that the whole of Wales should be divided into what we have called, for want of a better word, "communities", and these will succeed the existing rural parishes and all the existing boroughs and all the urban districts. It will be quite a new system. There are reasons for this, of course. The way in which the populations of the two countries are distributed is different, and in England it is reasonable to divide the country into two substantial types of areas where a parish system on the present lines is sensible in rural areas but where in the large towns and conurbations it does not really fit in. But in Wales we have an opportunity now of creating over the whole country a new and uniform system of community councils, which could be a very effective tier in the whole organisation of local government.
Therefore, so far as Wales is concerned the idea is to produce a new system which will build on the foundations laid by the parish councils of the countryside but which will also be adapted to the needs of the towns. A fundamental part of this approach, which again is quite different from that in England, is the special community review dealt with in Schedule 10 which is to be undertaken by the Welsh Boundary Commission soon after April 1, 1974. This review will be directed at drawing new community boundaries everywhere so as to produce areas which have a community of interest and, wherever possible, a population large enough to support an effective community council. This is a completely new and different concept. It will mean combining small rural parishes in many places, including, if I may say so to the noble Lord, Pembrokeshire.
§ LORD ABERDARE
And possibly splitting up some boroughs and urban districts. The present law as regards rural parishes cannot be applied indiscriminately to the system for Wales. In 1954 particular, it is very difficult to insist that every community, before or after the special community review, must have an elected council if the electorate exceeds 200, whether or not the electorate want such a council. Further, the idea of a parish meeting which all the local electors are entitled to attend being required to meet at least once a year with limited executive functions could not sensibly be applied to towns with a population of 30,000 and upwards where it had not existed at all. So this is a quite different concept; these are quite different entities. They will be initially based on the old parishes in the rural areas, but in the urban areas they will be what were the previous urban districts and boroughs.
After 1974, when the Boundary Commission comes to review them, they will be new areas, formed of communities. If we allow them to go on calling themselves "parishes" after 1974 we shall get confusion. They will think they are the same as parishes in England. They will think they have the same powers as parishes in England. There could be confusion and we think it is better, as we are reorganising the whole of local government, to start afresh with these new communities which are different "animals" to the old parishes.
Much as I am intrigued, and rather tempted, by the noble Lord's blandishments that nothing would happen, I believe that legally his Amendment will not be completely effective unless we make it clear that any resolution to call a community a parish has no effect on its legal position as a community: under the law we are passing it will be a community. But that is a fairly minor point. What interests me, and what is more effective, is that it is a new body and we should call it a community. That was the best word we could find. I know that there are other community councils; I can only suggest to the noble Lord that he calls his community council a parish council! I know that there are difficulties, but we have not been able to find a better word. I think the noble Baroness, Lady White, went into this when she was at the Welsh Office. I believe that "community" expresses what we are looking for in these new bodies.
§ LORD BRECON
My Lords, could my noble friend tell us whether the local 1955 authorities were at any time consulted about this change and which local authorities expressed views in favour and which against? Was it just something which was put into the Bill and produced as a fact?
§ BARONESS WHITE
My Lords, as I came in at the earlier stages, perhaps it would be appropriate if I said that we had considerable discussions with all the local authorities in Wales at all the different levels about these problems, including the very difficult one with regard to the name.'We found that a real headache. We recognised that there were certain rural community councils in parts of Wales, and there might be some confusion on that account so far as nomenclature was concerned. I made a very unpopular suggestion—I was thinking of the Common Council of the City of London, and this did not go down at all well. The title "community council" seemed on balance to express the concept we had, which was to embrace very much the urban and industrial areas as well as the rural areas. This seemed to us to be the one word that could fairly be used for all types of community in Wales, the small towns, the industrial valleys and the country areas.
I quite understand the difficulties of the noble Lord, Lord Merthyr, in the matter. He is absolutely right to raise this because it has been the cause of a good deal of discussion. I can certainly assure the noble Lord, Lord Brecon, that the matter has been fully discussed and there has been ample consultation, certainly when my colleagues and myself were in the Welsh Office, and I have no doubt since that time also.
§ the noble Lord or the noble Baroness whether they will answer my question, which they have not yet done? What is to happen to the present community councils and the confusion that could arise when there is a second community council in the same county? May I have an answer to that question? They must have considered this matter. The present community councils have been going, to my knowledge, for certainly 30 years.
§ LORD ABERDARE
My Lords, we have considered this matter; but this was the best word we could find in a statutory sense. It will be part of a community. Perhaps the other community councils may find themselves in a position to choose a new title if they feel that this is necessary.
My Lords, is there not a difference between the council of a community and a community council? Is that not the differentiation?
My Lords, I have not heard of that one. I am sorry but I am not going to withdraw the Amendment; I cannot do so. I am quite unconvinced by the Government's case. They have laboured to-night the great and increasing difference between Wales and England. That is exactly what I object to. Who created these differences between Wales and England? The body that created these differences, which I deplore, was Her Majesty's Government. Therefore, I cannot withdraw this Amendment.
§ 9.5 p.m.
§ On Question, Whether the said Amendment (No. 219A) shall be agreed to?
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 11; Not-Contents, 28.1957
|Addison, V.||Cork and Orrery, E.||Merthyr, L. [Teller.]|
|Auckland, L.||Cranbrook, E.||Phillips, B. [Teller.]|
|Brecon, L.||Davies of Leek, L.||Sandys, L.|
|Bridgeman, V.||Gisborough, L.|
|Aberdare, L.||Chelmer, L.||Hoy, L.|
|Balfour, E.||Colville of Culross, V.||Limerick, E.|
|Beauchamp, E.||Craigmyle, L.||Monk Bretton, L.|
|Belstead, L.||Denham, L. [Teller.]||Mowbray and Stourton, L. [Teller.]|
|Berkeley, B.||Ferrers, E.|
|Brabazon of Tara, L.||Gowrie, E.||Northchurch, B.|
|Champion, L.||Hawke, L.||Penrhyn, L.|
|Rankeillour, L.||St. Aldwyn, E.||Tweedsmuir, L.|
|Redcliffe-Maud, L.||St. Davids, V.||White, B.|
|Ruthven of Freeland, Ly||Sandford, L.|
Report from the Standing Orders Committee that the Standing Orders not complied with in respect of the Bill ought to be dispensed with; read and agreed to.
§ 9.13 p.m.
§ LORD SANDFORD: My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 220 and with it No. 221. Both of these Amendments are drafting.
Page 187, line 4, after ("(6)") insert ("above").
- Page 187, line 9, after ("resolution") insert ("under subsection (6) above").—(Lord Sandford.)
§ Clause 242 [Preservation of powers, privileges and rights of existing cities or boroughs]:
§ LORD SANDFORD: My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 222 and with it Nos. 223, 224 and 225. These are all concerned with the concept of Charter Trustees. The group amount to no more than minor additions and refinements. They do not in substance alter the concept in any way from the form it was in when I introduced it to the House towards the end of our Committee stage. I could go into these Amendments more fully if noble Lords wished me to do so, but I do not think it is necessary and the group of Amendments speaks for itself. I beg to move.
Page 188, line 13, leave out from beginning to ("may") in line 19 and insert—
("(a) there shall as from that date be a body corporate by the name of "the Charter Trustees of the City" or "the Charter of Trustees of the Town", as the case may be, with the addition of the name of the existing city or borough, consisting of the district councillors for the wards wholly or partly comprising the area of the city or borough or, if the number of those councillors is less than three, consisting of those councillors and such number of local government electors for that area appointed by the district council as will make the number of charter trustees up to three;
(b) the charter trustees.").
Page 189, line 22, at end insert—
("(10A) Where the amount of the income received by charter trustees in any year from their property exceeds any expenditure incurred in connection with that property, they shall pay the excess to the rating authority for the rating area in which the area for which
the charter trustees act is situated to be credited to the last-mentioned area.")
§ Page 189, line 31, leave out from ("as") to end of line 32 and insert ("if the charter trustees were the council of a parish or community consisting of the area for which they act ").
§ Page 189, line 34, leave out from ("as") to end of line 35 and insert ("if the charter trustees were the members of the council of a parish or community consisting of the area for which they act ")—(Lord Sandford.)
§ Clause 247 [Consequential and minor modifications and amendments]:
§ 9.14 p.m.
§ LORD SANDFORD: My Lords, I beg to move Amendments 226 and 227, which are on commencement, and No. 228 which is drafting.
Page 193, line 11, leave out ("As from 1st April 1974").
- Page 193, line 15, leave out ("As from that date").
§ Schedule 29, page 375, line 13, leave out from first ("in") to end of line 15 and insert ("any enactment to an officer specified in section 110(4) above.").—(Lord Sandford.)
§ LORD SANDFORD: My Lords, this Amendment is consequential on those minor technical planning matters which I mentioned earlier on, where it is now necessary to distinguish between the district planning authority and the county planning authority. I beg to move Amendment No. 228B.
Page 378, line 40, at end insert—("Gas
§ 19A.—(1) In paragraphs 4(2)(a), 7(3)(a), 12(1)(a) and 16(2)(a) of Schedule 2 of the Gas Act 1965, for the words "local authority", wherever occurring, there shall be substituted the words "every local authority who are not a local planning authority and every".
§ (2) Every application for a certificate under Schedule 3 to that Act with regard to planning permission for the carrying out of controlled operations shall, outside Greater London, be made to the district planning authority, but shall be dealt with by the local planning 1959 authority who would have dealt with an application for planning permission for the carrying out of those operations, and the district planning authority shall, as soon as may be after they have received any application for such a certificate which falls to be dealt with by the county planning authority, send the application to the latter.")—(Lord Sandford.)
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords, there are different kinds of planning applications to be made in connection with laying gas pipes in the one case and erecting electricity pylons in the other, and in our view the kind of consultations that the two undertakers have to have with the planning authorities call for a rather different approach, the difference being that one thing goes underground and the other goes overhead. The gas pipes affect the urban scene, and therefore district authorities; the pylons have an impact on the countryside in addition and this calls for a different kind of approach.
§ LORD GISBOROUGH
My Lords, would not this be wrong in the case of a conservation area, where the electricity would go underground?
§ LORD SANDFORD
Yes, my Lords; that is just the kind of matter that the planning authority is there to deal with.
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS moved Amendment No. 229:
Page 379, line 6, at end insert—
§ ("House to house and street collections
§ 20A. In section 5 of the Police, Factories, &c. (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1916, in subsection (1) for the words "A police authority "there shall be substituted the words" Each of the authorities specified in subsection (1A) below "and for the words" the police " there shall be substituted the word "their", and at the end of that subsection there shall be inserted the following subsection:—
§ "(1A) The authorities referred to in subsection (1) above are—
- (a) the Common Council of the City of London,
- (b) the police authority for the Metropolitan Police District, and
- (c) the council of each district;
§ 20B.—(1) In section 2 of the House to House Collections Act 1939, in subsection (1), for the word "police", in the first place where it occurs, there shall be substituted the word "licensing" and the word "police", in the second place where it occurs, shall be omitted.
§ (2) After that subsection there shall be inserted the following subsection:—
§ "(1A) In this section "licensing authority" means—
- (a) in relation to the City of London, the Common Council;
- (b) in relation to the Metropolitan Police District, the Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis; and
- (c) in relation to a district exclusive of any part thereof within the Metropolitan Police District, the district council."
§ (3) In that section, in the proviso to subsection (2) and in subsections (3), (4) and (6), for the word "police", wherever it occurs, there shall be substituted the word "licensing".
§ (4) In section 4(2)(e) of that Act the word "police" shall be omitted.
§ (5) In section 9 of that Act, in subsection (2), for the words from "said Commissioner" to the end of the subsection there shall be substituted the words" Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis by virtue of his being a licensing authority within the meaning of section 2 of this Act ".").
§ The noble Viscount said: My Lords, at the Committee stage of the Bill somebody (I cannot remember which noble Lord or noble Baroness it was) was very unhappy about the situation of house-to-house and street-to-street collections. I do not altogether blame them because when one studies this and looks at the legislation, which consists of an Act of 1916 and an Act of 1939, and one sees what has happened to the authorities which are in fact now in charge as a result of copious amendments to the law, largely relating to the organisation of the police, one comes to the conclusion that it is high time that this matter was rationalised.
§ The effect of this Amendment is to place the whole of the control, except for one minor point relating to one-off temporary collection, which remains with the police, in the hands of the authority which I think the House would agree is the right one; namely, the district council. This is largely an urban matter. We pull the whole thing together with these Amendments and we give to the district council the licensing and the other supervisory levels of control. I think this is 1961 sensible. It clears up something which has got into a dreadful mess over the years. I beg to move.
§ 9.20 p.m.
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords, this is another technical Amendment to do with planning matters. It identifies the planning authority with whom ecclesiastical authorities have to deal in the case of redundant churches. I beg to move.
Page 382, line 22, at end insert—
§ ("Redundant Churches, etc.
§ 35A. In section 90(1) of the Pastoral Measure 1968, for paragraph (a) of the definition of local planning authority " there shall be substituted the following paragraph:—
§ "(a) outside Greater London, means the district planning authority ".").—(Lord Sandford.)
§ Clause 248 [General power to adapt acts and instruments]:
§ 9.20 p.m.
§ LORD SANDFORD: Amendment No. 231 and Amendments Nos. 232 and 233 are all consequential on the commencement Amendment. I beg to move.
Page 193, line 20, leave out from ("time") to ("in") in line 21.—(Lord Sandford.)
§ LORD SANDFORD: I beg to move Amendment No. 232.
Page 193, line 23, leave out ("that date") and insert ("1st April 1974").—(Lord Sandford.)
§ Clause 250 [Consequential and supplementary provision]:
§ LORD SANDFORD: I beg to move Amendment No. 233.
Page 194, line 15, leave out from ("time") to ("by").—(Lord Sandford.)
§ LORD SANDFORD: Amendment No. 234 and Amendments Nos. 235 and 236 are technical Amendments. I beg to move the first of those Amendments.1962
Page 194, line 38, leave out from ("applying") to ("instrument") in line 39 and insert ("with or without modifications, or amending, repealing, or revoking, with or without savings, any provision of an Act passed or an").—(Lord Sandford.)
§ LORD SANDFORD: I beg to move Amendment No. 235.—
Page 196, line 46, at end insert—
("7A. An order under this section which extends the area for which any local statutory provision is in force shall be provisional only.")—(Lord Sandford.)
§ LORD SANDFORD: I beg to move Amendment No. 236.
Page 197, line 1, leave out ("an") and insert ("any other").—(Lord Sandford.)
§ Clause 251 [Transfer of officers]:
§ 9.23 p.m.
LORD GARNSWORTHY moved Amendment No. 237:
Page 197, line 30, leave out from ("transfer") to ("he") in line 33.
§ The noble Lord said: My Lords, I would not take up the time of the House at this late hour and after gruelling days of debate but for the fact that the matter to which this Amendment and Amendment No. 238 refer is one of substantial importance to a great many people, and it is in response to their concern that I have seen fit to pursue the matter on Report. I hope that it will be convenient if I address my remarks at the same time to Amendment No. 238.
§ When this matter was dealt with in Committee I moved three Amendments designed to safeguard the interest of a local authority employee who is transferred to another authority as a result of reorganisation. I wish to express my thanks to the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, for his having written to me during the Recess regarding removal and travelling expenses. I found his remarks very reassuring, as indeed did those with whom I discussed the matter, as I indicated I would do when I withdrew the Amendments in Committee. They, like me, are most grateful to the noble Lord and, in 1963 the light of what he wrote, anticipate that experience will justify letting the matter rest. One feels that there is good reason to anticipate a satisfactory solution being arrived at. But the same cannot apply to what the Minister said in regard to Amendments similar to those to which I now speak. That is why it is opportune to consider the matter at this stage.
§ Amendments Nos. 237 and 238 are intended to ensure that following transfer to a new authority the transferred officer will suffer no detriment as to pay and grading. These should be preserved on a personal basis, applying to the person—I emphasise "person"—and not to the job. I am not aware of any difficulties having arisen where this "no detriment" principle has been applied. I do not accept that other staff would be upset. Rather, they would see it as an act of justice. If they have any perception, which I think they have, they would say, "There, but for the grace of God, go I". The noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, suggested that the application of the principle of no detriment on transfer might lead to redundancies. I would have thought that that could have been left to the Staff Commission to take care of.
§ It is a well known principle in trade union circles that on any major reorganisation in industry personal rights should be preserved on a personal basis. There are scores of local government officers who, on account of the re-shaping of pension schemes in the past, continue to pay contributions at lower than the standard rate. Their colleagues do not object. I should like to stress that the proposed arrangements would be of a transitional nature, would be personal to the officer—that is, any successor to his post could claim only the remuneration fixed for the job.
§ What these Amendments seek to do is to ensure that when an officer is transferred he would continue to enjoy terms and conditions of employment, both as to remuneration and otherwise, no less favourable than those he enjoyed before transfer. He (the employee) who might be adversely affected has been placed in this situation through no fault or wish of his own. It seems to me to be elementary justice to make sure that he is not a victim of circumstances not of his making and over which he has no control. I 1964 should indeed be happy if the Minister is able to indicate that the Government are prepared to accept these Amendments which would have no very serious effect on the finances of any authority but would ensure that those who may be adversely affected in regard to the nature of the employment they were called upon to do status-wise, would at least feel that they are suffering no financial loss as a result of it. I beg to move.
§ 9.27 p.m.
§ LORD ABERDARE
My Lords, I am sorry that the noble Lord, Lord Garnsworthy, and I differ on this one point. We have fairly successfully agreed on most of the other matters concerning the staff of the local authorities, but on this one particular point our principles do not match and I am afraid I am no better able to accept his Amendment on this occasion than I was at the Committee stage, for the very same reasons that I gave at that time.
We feel that the right course is for an officer to be paid the appropriate rate for the job that he is doing and to be compensated if, as a result of reorganisation, he loses on his present earnings. I did spell out—and I think the noble Lord is well aware of the stages that occur on this—that immediately on transfer he enjoys the same terms and conditions; that when the new employing authority offers him new and permanent terms and conditions, all the conditions must be the same except for pay and must be no less favourable than those which he enjoys at the moment; that if his permanent duties continue to be reasonably comparable to those he was performing immediately before transfer then his salary scale must also be no less favourable. Provided the transferred officer finally is doing a reasonably comparable job, as certainly the great majority will, then there is nothing between us: his pay scale and other terms and conditions of service are guaranteed. If, however, his new job is not reasonably comparable he will get the appropriate rate for the job and be entitled to compensation by virtue of regulations under Clause 247.
We believe that is the right way to tackle the matter. We believe that the employees of an authority are likely finally to receive comparable scales of pay for comparable jobs. There are, after 1965 all, recommended national scales as a result of the normal negotiations, and we believe that the Amendments which the noble Lord proposes would promote friction between officers and between staff and their authority. The authority would be under pressure to deal with anomalous situations by general pay increases not perhaps justified by normal criteria. The new authorities will want to produce sensible and efficient management and staff structures and this will take time to work out in practice. The un-covenanted disadvantage of a number of anomalous situations in sensitive areas for senior officers—rather than junior staff doing routine jobs—who are likely to be at risk, could well tempt an authority to take an easy way out and live with a muddle, to the detriment of the public service; or they might take another line, by putting the public interest first and see no alternative to a stringent redundancy policy. For these reasons we believe that what we are proposing is in the best interests of local authorities and staff; we feel that the rate should be paid for the job and compensation should go to those, I hope relatively few, staff who find that they are in jobs where their pay is less.
The noble Lord mentioned industry as a comparison. Of course, the field of industry is so wide and scattered that it is very difficult to be sure of what happens in every case, but I am told that there is rarely, if ever, a no-detriment provision comparable to what these Amendments seek to provide. It does happen in industry that if there is a different level of remuneration for similar jobs between two firms that merge those on the higher level will retain their existing rate on a personal basis until the general rate catches up. But Clause 244 already goes further than this by guaranteeing an equivalent scale of remuneration if the new job is comparable to the old. There is generally no guarantee in industry of either a job or remuneration at the same level as previously. If, for example, a foreman in a firm taken over could not be offered a foreman's job after the merger. he would normally be declared redundant. If he is offered employment at a lower level, this is normally coupled with compensation, as it would be in our case.
On the other hand, the Bill's provisions have a precedent in Section 85 of the London Government Act 1963. The 1966 provisions in that Act worked very well, and I see no reason why those in this Bill should not work equally well. They maintain a scrupulous and humane balance between the interests of serving staff and the public service. I know I cannot convince the noble Lord, but I hope he will see that we are genuine in this; we believe the precedent of the London Government Act is a good one, and we believe we have done what we can to protect the interests of the staff.
§ LORD GARNSWORTHY
My Lords. I am most grateful to the noble Lord for the patient and careful way in which he has replied to what I had to say. He has certainly gone to great pains to make clear the attitude of the Government. It may well seem to your Lordships that this is a somewhat technical matter and that there probably is no great difference between us. Listening to the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, I had to keep saying to myself, "What is it that is wrong with what he is saying?" I think we shall let the matter rest by agreeing that our principles just do not match up here. He referred to the public interest. I believe it is in the public interest, when this kind of reorganisation in the field of local government takes place, just as if reorganisation in a Government Department took place, that justice should be done. The fact of the matter is that it may well be just the odd case where it is not done. I would accept that. But at the moment nobody knows who it is that is going to be affected. That is why I think my Amendments to-night would command a great deal more support outside than might be thought, after one has listened to the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare. I should just like to say that the odd case out, the person who finishes up with a grave sense of injustice, develops a sense of frustration and bitterness.
This evening there has been somebody in the Lobby trying to get me to go out to discuss with him a sense of grievance much as can develop in the odd case that will arise here. I have not been out. I have had correspondence with the man. T can understand his bitterness. I can understand his annoyance with me that I have not spared the time to go out to see him. I do not know whether he will know that I have taken note of his grievance and that I have done my best to 1967 bring home to your Lordships that the odd case out is well worth sympathising with, is well worth understanding. If we I are concerned with the real public interest that goes deep down and is concerned with the odd case out where injustice is being done, then perhaps he will understand that I have gone as far as I possibly can in pressing this matter. May I say again that I am grateful to the noble Lord. I appreciate the patient way in which the House has listened to me pursuing this matter. I think I have no course but to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ 9.36 p.m.
§ LORD ABERDARE
My Lords, with your Lordships' permission, I should like to move Amendments Nos. 239 and 240 together. The purpose of these two Amendments is to extend to civilian employees of police authorities the same protection as that afforded to staff of local authorities affected by the reorganisation of local government.
Page 198, line l, at end insert—
§ Page 198, line 11, at end insert ("but in their application to police authorities shall have effect as if any reference to a person in the employment of an authority were a reference to the civilian employees of a police authority.").—(Lord Aberdare.)
§ LORD ABERDARE
My Lords, with your Lordships' permission, may I move Amendments Nos. 241 to 245 en bloc? These Amendments extend the jurisdiction of the Staff Commission in respect of staff recruitment and transfer arrangements to passenger transport executives and other authorities defined in Clause 253(4).
§ Amendments moved—
§ Clause 253, page 199, line 4, leave out from ("by") to second ("and") in line 5 and insert ("relevant authorities")
- Clause 253, page 199, line 8, leave out from ("of") to end of line 9 and insert ("this Act").
- Clause 253, page 199, line 33, after ("a") insert ("Passenger Transport Executive").
§ Clause 254, page 199, line 42, leave out from ("by") to second ("and") in line 43 and insert ("relevant authorities").1968
§ Page 200, line 2, leave out from ("of") to end of line 3 and insert ("this Act").—(Lord Aberdare.)
LORD ABERDARE moved Amendment No. 246:
After Clause 255 insert the following new clause:
§ Provision for early retirement in lieu of compensation for loss of office.
§ ".—(l) In order to facilitate the early retirement of certain persons holding office, under, or in the employment of, existing local authorities, any person who—
- (a) is the holder of any such office or is in any such employment as may be prescribed for the purposes of this subsection, and
- (b) attains or has attained the age of fifty on or before 31st March 1974, and
- (c) fulfils such other conditions as may be prescribed,
§ (2) Where any person has made an election under subsection (1) above, then unless, within the period of one month beginning on the day on which the notice of election is given, notice of objection to that election has been given to him by the local authority under whom he holds office or by whom he is employed, this section shall, and section 255 above shall not, apply to him on his retirement within the prescribed period and before attaining the normal retiring age.
§ (3) Subject to subsection (4) below, the Secretary of State shall by regulations provide for the payment by such body or such Minister as may be prescribed by or determined under the regulations to or in respect of a person to whom this section applies of benefits corresponding, as near as may be, to those which would have been paid to or in respect of that person under the relevant superannuation scheme if
- (a) at the date of his retirement he had attained the normal retiring age; and
- (b) the actual period of his reckonable service were increased by such period as may be prescribed, being a period not exceeding the period beginning on the date of his retirement and ending on the date on which he would attain the normal retiring age.
§ (4) Regulations under subsection (3) above shall be so framed as to secure that the sums which would otherwise be payable under the regulations in accordance with that subsection to or in respect of any person are reduced to take account of any benefits payable to or in respect of him under the relevant superannuation scheme.
§ (5) Any sums payable under regulations made under subsection (3) above shall be treated for the purposes of section 73 of the Finance Act 1972 (compensation for loss of office or 1969 employment chargeable to tax as a payment made on retirement or removal from office or employment) in like manner as compensation paid under section 255 above.
§ (6) In this section— "normal retiring age" means,—
- (a) in relation to any person to whom an age of compulsory retirement applies by virtue of the relevant superannuation scheme, that age, and
- (b) in relation to any other person, the age of sixty-five in the case of a man and sixty in the case of a woman or, in either case, such other age as may be prescribed;
reckonable service", in relation to any person means service in respect of which benefits are payable under the relevant superannuation scheme; and
relevant superannuation scheme", in relation to any person, means the instrument which is applicable in his case and which makes provision with respect to the pensions, allowances or gratuities which, subject to the fulfilment of certain requirements and conditions, are to be, or may be, paid to or in respect of persons who are employed in local government service.
§ (7) A statutory instrument containing regulations under this section shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament."
§ The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 246. The purpose of this Amendment is to enable payments to be made to chief officers who opt for early retirement as an alternative to waiting and taking compensation terms. This clause is needed to ensure proper authority to deal with certain proposals for voluntary early retirement of chief officers. There has been a great deal of consultation and discussion about the compensation terms to be provided, and the general assumption has always been that the standard compensation clause as in Clause 255 was adequate to cover all the components in the new compensation deal.
§ One of these components is, however, new, and that is the provision of an enhanced pension for chief officers who elect to retire and leave the scene before the reorganisation takes effect. This was advocated by the Royal Commission on Local Government, who deplored the alternative adopted on London reorganisation of creating unnecessary associate chief officer posts. There were recently some doubts about whether the proposed payments to chief officers really were compensation. They seemed to be a sort of hybrid between pension and compensation. Eventually they have had to be 1970 classed as a retirement benefit, and so we have had to make this new provision in this new clause. The clause enables the employing authority to pay a sum equivalent to enhanced pension from which there is a deduction for the pension actually received out of the pension fund. I beg to move.
§ LORD CHAMPION
My Lords, I should like to ask whether it is perfectly clear that this new clause refers only to chief officers, or whether these are people who will in fact be cited in regulations under Clause 255 as chief officers or grades of that category? I cannot see in this clause any reference to chief officers as such. Perhaps I have missed something, and I should like to be sure on this point.
§ LORD ABERDARE
My Lords, the terms are intended for those known as designated chief officers and their deputies, that is those whose terms and conditions of service are negotiated by the joint negotiating committee of clerks of county councils, joint negotiating committees of town clerks or district clerks and the joint negotiating committees of chief officers of local authorities. Quite how that is included in the clause I am not quite sure. I imagine it would be in the regulations made in the new clause subsection (7):a Statutory Instrument containing regulations under this section shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.
§ Clause 257 [Local Acts and instruments]:
§ 9.42 p.m.
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords, this is another paving Amendment to the main Amendment on the commencement. I beg to move Amendment No. 247.
Page 205, line 14, leave out from ("above") to ("shall") in line 15.—(Lord Sandford.)
§ LORD SANDFORD: My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 248 and suggest we consider with it No. 249. These two Amendments have two objectives; they are to complete the purpose of Amendments 235 and 236 which make 1971 orders extending local Acts subject to the Provisional Order procedure instead of Negative Resolution, and secondly to permit some flexibility in the arrangements for long term rationalisation of local Acts. I beg to move.
Page 206, line 23, leave out from ("shall") to end of line 26 and insert ("cease to have effect in metropolitan counties at the end of 1979 and elsewhere at the end of 1984, but—
- (a) the Secretary of State or any appropriate Minister may by order exempt any such provision from the foregoing provision of this subsection;
- (b) the Secretary of State may from time to time by order postpone the date on which all the local statutory provisions applying to the whole or part of any local government area, so far as they so apply, are to cease to have effect under this subsection.
(9A) An order under subsection (8) above which extends the area for which any local statutory provision is in force shall be provisional only.").
Page 206, line 27, leave out from ("containing") to ('''9") in line 28 and insert ("any other order under subsection (8) above or an order under subsection").—(Lord Sandford.)
§ LORD SANDFORD: My Lords, I beg to move Amendments Nos. 250, 251, 251B. These are all drafting Amendments.
Page 206, line 31, leave out ("applying") and insert ("which is in force").
Page 206, line 32, leave out from ("provision") to ("outside") in line 33 and insert ("which is in force partly in Greater London as is in force").
Page 207, line 3, leave out ("or").—(Lord Sandford.)
§ Clause 261 [Orders, rules and regulations]:
§ LORD SANDFORD: My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 251A which is consequential on the package of Amendments to do with finance and borrowing which we introduced on Clause 68. I beg to move.
Page 211, line 25, after ("Minister") insert ("or the Treasury").—(Lord Sandford.)
§ Clause 266 [Savings]:
§ LORD SANDFORD: My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 252 and suggest that we consider with it No. 253. Both these Amendments are consequential on the passing of the Gas Act 1972. Clause 266(1), saves the existing boundaries of Gas and Electricity Area Boards within the meaning of the Electricity Act 1947 and the Gas Act. 1948. The Gas Act 1972 has abolished the Area Gas Boards and the saving of their boundaries in Clause 266(1) is no longer necessary. These Amendments make the necessary deletions. I beg to move.1973
§ Clause 267 [Repeals]:
§ LORD SANDFORD: My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 253A, which is a paving Amendment to the commencement Amendment.
Page 216, line 28, leave out ("As from 1st April 1974").—(Lord Sandford.)
§ LORD SANDYS
My Lords, I wonder whether I might seek assurance here. My noble friend Lord Sandford has already given an assurance earlier this afternoon of the early implementation of functions under Part IX. I wonder whether he is able to confirm—if not immediately then at a later stage to-morrow—that early implementation will be given to Clauses 122, 124 and 125 which concern transactions of land by parish councils.
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords, I think perhaps my noble friend was not in the Chamber when I explained that when we came to the first of these Amendments we should be able to have a proper debate on the whole business of commencement. We shall be having that very shortly, when we reach my Amendment No. 308A, introducing a new clause after Clause 267. So there is still plenty of time for debate
§ Page 384, line 31, at end insert—
§ Page 384, line 33, at end insert ("10").
§ Page 384, line 34, at end insert—
§ Page 386, line 44, column 3, after ("expressions" ") insert ("the words").
§ Page 386, line 45, column 3, leave out (""respectively"") and insert ("the word "respectively", in the first two places where it occurs, and the words ").
§ Page 387, line 19, coloumn 3, leave out
§ Page 387 line 21, column 3, after ("9") insert ("the words "any such "and").
§ Page 388, line 28, column 3, leave out ("county").
§ Page 389, line 3, column 3, after ("(5)") insert ("and in subsection (7) the words from "and includes" to the end of the subsection").1974
§ on commencement, and we can deal with that subject then.
§ Schedule 30 [Repeals]:
§ 9.46 p.m.
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords, I should like to suggest a way in which we might handle Schedule 30 rather more expeditiously. I cannot quite propose that all of the Amendments to Schedule 30 should be considered in one block, because there are four Amendments which are not to be moved. They are nos. 275A, 286D, 293F, which I take it will not be moved as the noble Lord, Lord Heycock, has not been here to move any of his other Amendments, and 300E, which falls into the same category. So I suggest that all the remaining Amendments to Schedule 30 should be moved en bloc and I will propose each block in turn. The first block is Nos. 255 to 275. My Lords, I beg to move.
§ Amendments moved—
§ Page 384, line 9, column 3, at beginning insert ("In section 5, the words from "and shall reside" onwards").
§ Page 384, line 17, column 3, leave out ("41").
§ Page 384, line 31. column 3. leave out ("and 11") and insert ("9, 11 to 17 and 19").
§ ("Section 18 except in its application to the City."
§ ("In section 10 the words from "in any cemeteries" to "like burials".
§ In section 23, the words "churchwardens or such other", and the words "churchwardens or other", wherever occurring.")
§ Page 387, line 2, column 3, at beginning insert ("Section 7").
§ Page 387, line 5, column 3, after ("and" ") insert ("and the word "accordingly"").at end insert ("Sections 53 and 62").
§ ("Section 3") and insert— ("In section 1, in subsection (1), the words from "approved" onwards and subsection (2). Section 2(3). Sections 3, 5, 6 and 10.")
§ Page 389, line 20, column 3, after ("52") insert ("and").line 21, column 3, leave out ("and 62(3)").line 22, column 3, leave out ("Section 3(14)") and insert ("In section 3, in subsection (6) the words "the clerk of", in both places where they occur, and subsection (14)").1975
§ Page 389, line 24, at end insert—
|("16 & 17 Geo. 5. c.52||The Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1926.||In section 9, the words "borough or urban or rural", and the words "borough or" in each place where they occur.")|
§ line 55, column 3, at end insert ("In section 12 (4), the words "residence and ").—(Lord Sandford.)
§ Amendments moved—
§ Page 390, line 4, at end insert—
|("18 & 19 Geo. 5. c.19||The Agricultural Produce (Grading and Marking) Act 1928.||In section 4, in subsections (1), (2)(bb) and (2)(c the words "or county borough".|
|In section 5 the words "or county borough", in each place where they occur, the words "in the case of a county council", the words from "and in the case" to "borough rate" and the words "and county boroughs".")|
§ Page 391, line 38, column 3, at the beginning insert—
|("In section 4(2) the words "county, municipal".")|
§ line 43, column 3, at end insert ("and the word " metropolitan"")
§ Page 392, column 3, leave out lines 6 to 28 and insert ("the whole Act.")
§ line 54, column 3, at end insert—
|("In section 196(1), the words from "and for" to the end.")|
§ Page 393, line 11, column 3, leave out ("section 4(3)") and insert ("section 4, sub-section (2) and, in subsection (3) ")
§ Page 393, line 14, at end insert—
|("1 & 2 Geo. 6. c.6||The Air-Raid Precautions Act 1937||In section 1, in subsection (2), the words "and county boroughs" and, in the proviso to that subsection, the word "county" in the second place where it occurs and the words "borough or urban" in each place where they occur; and, in subsection (3) the words from " boroughs (including "to "urban" and the words from "and the council to the end of the subsection.|
|In section 4, in subsection (1) the words from "nor shall functions" to the end of the sub section.|
Page 392, line 54, column 3, at end insert—
("In section 187(2) the words "or county borough".")
§ Page 393, line 16, at end insert—
|("2 & 3 Geo. 6. c. 31.||The Civil Defence Act 1939.||In section 11, in subsection (1) the words "or county borough", in the proviso to that subsection, in paragraph (a) the words "borough or urban "and" borough or " and in paragraph (b) the word "county", in the second place where it occurs; and subsection (2).|
|In section 25, the words "county borough or county".|
|In section 35, the words "county borough or county".|
|In section 64(1), the words "or county borough" and the word "county", in the next place where it occurs.")|
§ at end insert—
|("2 & 3 Geo. 6. c.44||The House to House Collections Act 1939.||In section 2, in subsection (1), the word "police in the second place where it occurs.|
|In section 4(2)(e) the word "police".|
§ Page 393, line 17, column 3, at the beginning insert—
|("In section 1(6) the words "urban or rural".|
|In section 2 the words "urban or rural" in both places where they occur.")|
§ Page 393, line 19, column 3, at beginning insert—
|("In section 6(2) the words" and III".||In section 68 the words from "or in accordance" to "1946".")|
§ Page 393, line 19, column 3, leave out lines 23 and 24 and insert—
|("In Schedule 1, in Part II, paragraph 2 and, in the proviso to paragraph 7, the words from "or" to the end of the paragraph; and Part III.")|
§ Page 393, line 24, at end insert—
|("8 & 9 Geo. 6. c.18||The Local Authorities Loans Act 1945.||Section 8.")|
§ Page 393, line 25, column 3, at the beginning insert—
|("In section 3(4) the words " and county boroughs".")|
§ Page 393, line 31, column 3, at end insert ("and the word "metropolitan".").
§ Page 393, line 32, column 3, at beginning insert—
|("In section 8(1), in the definition of "local authority", the words "county borough, metropolitan".")|
§ Page 393, line 34 at end insert—
|("9 & 10 Geo. 6. c.50||The Education Act 1946.||Section 10.|
|In section 16(1), the definitions of "divisional executive" and "scheme of divisional administration".|
|In Schedule 2, in Parts I and II, the entries relating to Part III of Schedule 1 to the Education Act 1944 ").|
§ Page 393, line 43, column 3, leave out ("and")
§ Page 393, column 3, leave out lines 47 and 48 and insert—
|("Section 4(3).")—(Lord Sandford.)|
§ Page 393, line 44, column 3, at end insert ("and, in subsection (3), the words from "including" to "delegated powers"")1979
My Lords, may I ask the Minister whether he intends to move No. 286B? I understood him to say that he was not moving that.
§ Page 394, line:48, at end insert—
|"(12, 13 & 14 Geo. 6. c. 55.||The Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949.||In section 1(1) the words "county boroughs".")|
§ Page 396, line 40, column 3, after ("(3)(c)") insert ("the words "or agreement "and")column 3, leave out lines 55 and 56.
§ Page 396, line 57, column 3, at end insert ("section 10")
§ Page 397, line 12, column 3, at end insert—
§ Page 397, line 54, column 3, at end insert ("In Schedule 2 in paragraph 10(3), the words residence and ", and the proviso")
§ Page 397, line 39, at end insert—
|("14 & 15 Geo. 6.c.35||The Pet Animals Act 1951.||In section 7(3), in the definition of "local authority", the words "county borough or " and the word "metropolitan".")|
§ Page 397, column 3 leave out line 40.
§ Page 397, line 46, at end insert—
|("15 & 16 Geo. 6 & 1 Eliz. 2. c. 31.||The Cremation Act 1952.||Section 3(2).")|
§ Page 399, line 13, column 3, at end insert—
§ Page 399, column 3, leave out lines 42 to 51 and insert ("Sections 1 to 3.")
§ Page 399, line 51, column 3, at end insert—
|In section 15, paragraph (a). Section 16.")|
§ Page 400, line 7, column 3, at end insert ("" metropolitan" and")
§ Page 400, line 11, at end insert—
|("2 & 3 Eliz. 2. c.39||The Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1954.||Section 9(3).")|
§ Page 401, line 40, column 3, at the beginning insert—
§ Page 401, line 41, column 3, at end insert—
§ Page 402, line 2, column 3, at the beginning insert—
§ Page 402, line 26, column 3, at end insert ("metropolitan")
§ Page 402, line 44, leave out ("(3)")
§ Page 402 column 3, at end insert—
|("In section 56(2) the words from "of the council of a borough" to "applies or ".")|
§ LORD SANDFORD: My Lords, I beg to move Amendments Nos. 286E to 293E.
§ Amendments moved—
§ Page 397, column 3, leave out lines 9 and 10.
§ Page 397, line 11, column 3, leave out ("(89(7))") and insert ("89, subsection (2A) and, in subsection (7)")
§ Page 398, line 30, column 3, leave out ("Section") and insert ("Sections 68 and "")1981
§ Page 404, line 25, column 3, leave out ("and")
§ Page 404, line 26, column 3, at end insert ("and" road or"")
§ Page 405, column 3, leave out line 18.
§ Page 406, line 47, column 3, at end insert—
§ Page 407, line 18, column 3, at end insert—
|("Schedule 19. Schedule 21.")|
§ Page 407, line 25, at end insert—
|("7 & 8 Eliz. 2 c.54.||The Weeds Act 1959.||In section 5 the words "or borough" in both the places where they occur")|
§ Page 407, lines 38, at end insert—
|("8 & 9 Eliz.2. c.34.||The Radioactive Substances Act 1960||In section 19(1), in the definition of "local authority" the words"county borough, metropolitan".")|
§ Page 407, line 42, column 3, at end insert ("and "metropolitan"")
§ Page 408, line 25, at end insert—
|("8 & 9 Eliz. 2. c.67.||The Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960.||In the Schedule, paragraph 1(e).")|
§ Page 408, line 29, at end insert—
|("9 & 10 Eliz. 2. c.29||The Rural Water Supplies and Sewerage Act 1961.||Section 1(2).")|
§ Page 408, column 3, leave out line 38 and insert ("Section 1.")
§ Page 409, line 2, column 3, at the beginning insert—
|("In section 11(4)(a) the word "(including and the words from" borough which "to" urban or rural ".")|
§ Page 409, column 3, leave out line 14.
§ Page 409, line 27, column 3, leave out ("or")—(Lord Sandford.)
§ LORD SANDFORD: My Lords, I beg to move Amendments Nos. 293G to 300D inclusive. Amendment No. 300D is in the middle of page 38.
Page 410, line 5, column 3, leave out ("subsection") and insert ("subsections (2) and")
§ Page 410 line 25, column 3, at end insert—
§ Page 410, line 33, column 3, at end insert—
|("In section 71, in subsection (1), the-words from "and without" to the end of the subsection.")|
§ Page 410, column 3, leave out lines 54 and 55 and insert ("Schedule 4.")
§ Page 411, line 8, column 3, at end insert ("15 and 39")
§ Page 411, line 13, column 3, after ("paragraphs") insert ("(15, 9(b)
§ Page 411, line 15, at end insert—
|("1963 c.37.||The Children and Young Persons Act 1963||In Schedule 2, in paragraph 8, the word "or", in the last place where it occurs, and sub-paragraph(b).")|
§ Page 408, column 3, leave out lines 18 and 19
§ Page 408, line 22, leave out ("of a ")
§ Page 410, line 8, column 3, leave out from ("1") to ("7") in line 11 and insert ("subsections (4) and")
§ Page 410, line 19, at end insert ("and (7)")
§ Page 410, line 21, column 3, at end insert ("in subsection (6) the words " and in paragraph 6 of Part II of Schedule 4 to that Act" and subsection (7)")1983
§ Page 411, line 21, column 3, after ("words") insert ("a")
§ at end insert—
|("1963 c. 43.||The Animal Boarding Establishment Act 1963.||In section 5(2), in the definition of "local authority", the words "county borough or" and "metropolitan".")|
§ Page 411, column 3, leave out lines 22 to 26 and insert—
|("Sections 1 to 4. Sections 6 to 11.")|
§ Page 411, line 28, at end insert ("Schedule 1.")
§ at end insert—
|("1964 c. 21.||The Television Act 1964.||In section 9A(6) the words "county borough".")|
§ Page 412, line 19, column 3, leave out ("19(3)") and insert ("19 in subsection (3)")
§ Page 412, line 22, column 3, at end insert ("and, in subsection (4), paragraph (b)")
§ Page 412, line 48, column 3, at end insert—
|("In section 11, the words "county borough", in both places where they occur, and the word "or" in the last place where it occurs.")|
§ Page 412, line 49, column 3, at end insert—
|("In section 21, in subsection (3), paragraph (b), the words "including a clerk" onwards and paragraph (f); and subsection (4).")|
§ Page 413, line 8, column 3, after ("27") insert ("the definition of " consolidation agreement".")
§ Page 413, line 28, column 3, at end insert—
|("In Schedule 5, in paragraph 2(2), the entry in the Table b. ginning with the words" Rive Tyne ".")|
§ Page 413, line 30, column 3, at end insert ("and the words" or a county borough".")
§ Page 413, line 38, at end insert ("and the amendment of section 18 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1953.")—(Lord Sandford.)
§ Page 414, line 32, at end insert—
|("1964 c. 77.||The Local Government (Pecuniary Interests) Act 1964.||The whole Act.")|
§ Page 414, line 46, at end insert—
|("1965_c. 63.||The Public Works Loans Act 1965||Section 2(2).|
|In the Schedule, Paragraphs 8 and 9.")|
§ Page 415, leave out lines 11 and 12.
§ Page 415, line 30, at end insert—
|("1967 c. 5.||The London Government Act 1967.||The Whole Act.")|
§ Page 415, line 53, column 3, leave out ("district' )
§ Page 416, line 14, at end insert—
|("1967 c. 22||The Agriculture Act 1967.||In section 75(2), in the definition of "local authority", the words "borough, including a county borough and a" and the words "urban or rural".")|
§ Page 412, line 45, column 3, after ("occurring") insert ("in subsection (4) the words" or borough" ")
§ Page 412, line 46, column 3, leave out ("to 11") and insert ("and 10 ")
§ LORD SANDFORD: My Lords, I beg to move Amendments Nos. 300F to 308, which is the last Amendment to Schedule 30, inclusive.
§ Amendments moved—1985
§ Page 416, line 20, column 3, at the beginning insert—
|("In section 18, in subsection (4), the words from "and without prejudice" to the end of the subsection.|
|In section 23(3), paragraphs (c) and (b).")|
§ Page 418, line 22, at end insert—
|("1968 c. 67.||The Medicines Act 1968.||In section 108(8), the words "or county borough".")|
§ Page 418, line 24, column 3, leave out ("mayor") and insert ("(including
§ Page 418, line 24, column 3, leave out ("mayor") and insert ("including")
§ Page 420, line 2, column 3, leave out ("para graph 7") and insert ("paragraphs 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12 20 and 23 ")
§ Page 420, line 30, column 3, at end insert—
|("In section 48(1), the words " or county borough".")|
§ Page 420, line 35, column 3, at end insert—
|("In section 67(1), the words " county borough".")|
§ Page 420, line 40, column 3, at end insert—
|("In Schedule 2, paragraphs 2 to 4, 7 and 9.")|
§ Page 420, line 49, at end insert—
|("1971 c. 7.||The Local Authorities (Qualification of Members) Act 1971.||The whole Act.")|
§ Page 420, line 56, column 3, at end insert ("and paragraph 23")
§ Page 421, column 3, leave out lines 27 to 29.
§ Page 421, line 32, column 3, at end insert—
§ Page 422, line 3, column 3, at end insert ("In section 256, the words "county borough".")
§ Page 422, line 12, column 3, at end insert ("In Schedule 3, Paragraphs 3(5),5 and 6")
§ Page 422, line 15, column 3, at end insert ("In Schedule 3, Paragraph 9")
§ Page 422, line 23, at end insert—
|("1972 c. 5||The Local Employment Act 1972.||In section 8(3), the words "county borough".|
|In section 9(1), the words "county borough".")|
§ Page 423, line 17, at end insert—
|("1972 c. 47.||The Housing Finance Act 1972||Paragraph 21 of Schedule 1.") 1972.|
§ 9.51 p.m.
LORD SANDFORD moved Amendment No. 308A:
After Clause 267, insert the following new clause:
§ ".—(1) The provisions of this Act to which this subsection applies shall, except so far as brought into force earlier by an order under subsection (2) below, come into force on 1st April 1974.
§ (2) The Secretary of State may by order appoint an earlier date for the coming into force of any provision to which subsection (1) above applies and different days may be appointed under this subsection for different 1986 purposes and, in particular, different days may be so appointed for the coming into force of the same provision in different areas.
§ (3) Subsection (1) above applies to the following provisions of this Act, that is to say—
- sections 13, 16(1) and (3) and 17;
- section 40;
- section 48(8) and (9);
- section 50(4) to (7);
- sections 53 to 59 and Schedule 8;
- section 62;
- section 75;
- section 89(6);
§ Parts VI to XI, except as provided by subsections (4) and (5) below;
- section 247 and Schedule 29;
- section 257(3) to (7);
- section 267 and Schedule 30;
- paragraphs 5 to 9 and 10(2) of Schedule 6;
in Schedule 12, Parts II and III, and Part VI so far as applicable to parish councils.
§ (4) Subsection (1) above shall not apply to the following provisions of Parts VI to XI of this Act, that is to say—
- sections 103 and 105;
- section 108;
- section 115;
- section 135;
- section 166;
- section 178(3) to (9) and (11);
§ so much of section 180 as confers a power to make or direct the making or amendment of development plan schemes and so much of section 179 as applies to the interpretation of the provisions relating to such schemes;
- section 183(6) and (7);
- section 187(4);
- section 188(3);
- section 192(6) to (9);
- section 193(2) and (3);
- section 194(3) and (4);
- section 196;
- section 197(3) and (4);
- section 198(4) to (8);
- section 201;
- section 203(2) to (8);
- section 211(4);
- section 216(4);
- section 228;
- section 238;
- section 239;
§ paragraph 8(2) of Schedule 13 and so much of section 169 as relates thereto.
§ (a) which empowers or requires any person to make any arrangements or any instrument with respect to the exercise of functions under any such provision or with respect to the setting up of any body of persons or the appointment of persons to any office or employment with a view to exercising any such functions or with respect to the deployment of officers in connection with the exercise of such functions;
§ (b) which empowers or requires any person to give directions, take steps or make representations with respect to any such arrangements or instrument; or
§ (c) which amends or applies any enactment which empowers or requires any person to make any such arrangements or instrument; shall come into force so as to enable those functions to be exercised in accordance with the arrangements or instrument on 1st April 1974.
§ (6) Section 99 above shall come into force on 1st April 1973.
§ (7) Sections 80 to 92, 103 and 105 above shall not apply to the Greater London Council or members of that council before the day on which the councillors of that council elected at the first ordinary elections of such coun- 1988 cillors after the passing of this Act come into office.
§ (8) Sections 80 to 91, 103 and 105 above shall not apply to a London borough council or the members of any such council before 1st April 1974.
§ (9) The following provisions shall have effect with respect to parish councils in England and the members of such councils:—
- (a) sections 44(4) and (Temporary appointment of members of parish and community councils) above shall not apply to them before 1st April 1974;
- (b) sections 80 to 91, 103 and 105 above shall not apply to them before the day on which parish councils elected at those elections come into office; and
- (c) sections 93 to 97 above shall not apply to them before 1st April 1974.
§ (10) Part V of this Act shall not apply to existing parish councils in Wales or to members of such councils.
§ (11) Sections 103 and 195 above shall not apply to members of the Common Council before the day on which any common councilmen elected at the first ordinary election of common councilmen after the passing of this Act come into office."
§ The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move this new clause, to follow after Clause 267, as set out on the Marshalled List—and we now come to a matter of rather more substance, for which there have already been several paving. Amendments. Basically, the Local Government Bill provides for new authorities to take over the functions of local government outside London on April 1, 1974, and for these new authorities and the areas to which they relate to be established meanwhile. As a result, the provisions governing functions need to come into effect on April 1, 1974, but constitutional provisions are needed before then. The commencement clause therefore provides, basically, that the provisions of functions shall, with a few exceptions, come into effect on April 1, 1974; and it is silent on the constitutional provisions, which thus, again with a few exceptions, come into effect on Royal Assent. This division covers the great bulk of the provisions in the Bill, but there are some complications. Although the main structure of local government in London is unaffected by the Bill, some changes are proposed for London, and the modernisation of local government law will similarly apply there. Commencement dates are needed for these changes. The same applies to local 1989 government at parish level in England, and to the establishment of communities in Wales. As a result, it may be necessary to bring some provisions into effect at a date in between Royal Assent and April 1, 1974, and at different dates for different authorities. Other considerations affecting individual clauses may also suggest similar treatment. In general, the clause provides for these matters by a commencement date of April 1, 1974, provision being made for this date to be brought forward by order where necessary. It does not apply to existing local authorities other than London authorities and English parishes except when specifically stated in the individual clause; for example, in the new power to act in emergencies, which is Clause 135.
§ The details of the clause, my Lords, can be seen fairly clearly from page 40 of the Marshalled List. I do not suppose that noble Lords will wish me to run through the details of every single section cited there. I hope that what I have said has been sufficient to explain the general principles behind the operation of the Bill; but if noble Lords wish to raise particular questions about particular aspects of the Bill or particular functions I will do my best to deal with them after they have indicated on which topics they want to draw me further. I beg to move.
LORD BROOKE OF CUMNOR had given Notice of his intention to move two Amendments to the Amendment (Nos. 308B and 308E):
Line 20, at end insert ("section 99")
Leave out subsection (6).
§ The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 308B, and I will, with leave, move at the same time Amendment No. 308E which is consequential upon it. The Government's new clause will bring Clause 99 into force on April 1, 1973. That is the clause we discussed at length last night, because there was an Amendment moved to it by my noble friend Lord Mansfield. In the course of that debate a number of noble Lords, including myself, urged that this clause, which relates to the admission of Press and public to committee meetings, should not be brought into force as early as that because a good many matters need to be ironed out in the meantime. I understood from my noble friend Lord Sandford that the Government took a 1990 similar view, that it would be wise to postpone for 12 months the coming into operation of that clause. This is the purpose of my Amendment. If it is accepted then the clause will come into effect on April 1, 1974. I beg to move Amendments Nos. 308B and 308E.
§ LORD CHAMPION
My Lords, there is no need for me to speak at greater length than did the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, on this particular Amendment to the Amendment. It is one to which I have added my name—or, rather, I put in the same Amendment at the same time, and I have explained to the House that occasionally grapevines move along parallel lines. They did so in this case. Subsequently, we learned that another noble Lord, Lord Sandford, had joined with us. The fact is that we think that this Amendment is a sensible one, and I am sure that he does also. If he gets up and says that he accepts this Amendment to his Amendment, and will accept the subsequent Amendment, then further debate will be unnecessary.
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords, I am glad to be able to confirm that three minds worked alike, and therefore I can say that the Government are able to accept these two Amendments.
§ 9.59 p.m.
LORD BROOKE OF CUMNOR moved, as a further Amendment to Amendment No. 308A, Amendment No. 308C:
Leave out lines 32 and 33 and insert ("sections 108 to 121 ").
§ The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 308C. This also is an Amendment to Amendment No. 308A. It might be to your Lordships' convenience if we were to discuss with it Amendments Nos. 308D and 308F, which are also Amendments to the proposed new clause. The purpose of these Amendments is to seek to ensure that certain clauses of the Bill shall come into operation earlier than April 1, 1974. I am aware that there is power in the Government's new clause by order to bring forward that date, but it seems to me that the clauses to which my Amendments direct attention will undoubtedly need to be in force before April 1, 1974, and therefore it would be 1991 a mistake to leave the Bill in a state of suggesting that they will not come into force until that time.
§ My Amendment No. 308C deals with Clauses 108 to 121 of the Bill. Clause 109 concerns the subsidiary powers of local authorities. Clauses 110 to 117 deal with certain staff questions and it seems to me undoubted that some of the new local authorities will have to appoint some staff before April 1, 1974, and therefore the clauses in this Bill relating to the appointment or staff should be in operation to assist them. Clauses 118 to 121 deal with the acquisition of land. Here what I have in mind is that some of these new authorities will be required to secure offices before April 1, 1974. Therefore it seems to me clear that the clauses relating to the acquisition of land by local authorities should be in force before that date.
§ Coming on to Amendment No. 308D, that would bring forward the operation of Clause 140 which deals with power of local authorities to subscribe to local authority associations, and Clause 148, which deals with arrangements by local authorities for the receipt and payment of money. I should have thought it desirable that both of those should be in operation before April 1, 1974. Finally, Amendment No. 308F deals with a number of clauses of the Bill which cover the new system of allowances for members. It would seem to me wrong that if Parliament has agreed on this new system of allowances it should be delayed until April 1, 1974. Members of the new authorities who will be taking office during the year 1973–74 will have some very important decisions to take and may have a great deal of work to do. I cannot see that it would be reasonable to postpone the new system of allowances to members so that it would not operate until 1974.
§ My Lords, those, in brief terms, are the reasons why I move these Amendments, to draw attention to the need for these particular clauses to be brought into operation before 1974. I beg to move.
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords, if my noble friend would agree, I should prefer to confine my initial remarks to his Amendments Nos. 308C and 308D and 1992 then perhaps deal subsequently with Amendment No. 308F which raises a different question. Dealing with the first two, these Amendments, as he said, affect the date on which certain clauses of the Bill would come into effect. Amendment No. 308C would bring Clauses 109 to 114 and 116 to 121 into operation from the Royal Assent, instead of from April 1, 1974, as is provided by the Bill. Those clauses relate to land transactions, the appointment of staff and general powers to take action in connection with functions. Similarly, his Amendment No. 308D would bring Clauses 140 and 148 into operation at Royal Assent instead of on April 1, 1974. These clauses provide for subscriptions to local authority associations and arrangements for local authorities for the receipt and payment of money.
These provisions are related to the exercise by local authorities of their functions and, that being so, it is in our view probably more appropriate that they should come fully into effect from April 1, 1974. It is certainly true, as my noble friend has surmised, that the new local authorities will need to take preparatory action, but preparatory action of the kind involved under these clauses could easily be taken under the authority of subsection (5) of the clause that I have just introduced as Amendment No. 308A. That is not to say that there will not be some provision, timed at the moment for introduction on April 1, 1974, which will be introduced at an earlier stage by order under subsection (2) of the new clause. shortly after Royal Assent, and well before the new authorities are elected, my right honourable friend will be approaching the local authority associations to discuss which clauses need to be brought into operation earlier. These clauses could certainly be considered if the local authority associations felt that was necessary. With that explanation and assurance that I have just given my noble friend, which I think recognises the points that he has been making, I hope that he will not feel it necessary to press these Amendments, because I believe that the points he has been making will be met in one or other of those two ways.
§ LORD BROOKE OF CUMNOR
My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend for what he has said; he has helped me 1993 very considerably. What troubled me was the implication in the new clause as it stood, without further explanation, that these clauses would not operate until April 1, 1974, and I could see grave difficulties flowing from that. However, what my noble friend has now said will be on the Record and known to all concerned, and I feel quite sure that his remarks will pave the way to constructive discussions with the local authority associations. I am grateful to him for giving the assurance that, so far as it is required, these new powers will be made available before April 1, 1974. I am also extremely grateful to him for his acceptance of my previous Amendment No. 308B. Having said that I beg leave to withdraw Amendment 308C.
Amendment to Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ THE CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES: Amendment No. 308D is not moved.
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords, I think we ought to invite my noble friend Lord Brooke to move Amendment No. 308E.
THE CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES
My Lords, I put Amendment No. 308E, with permission, en bloc with Amendment 308B, so that it has in fact been agreed to.
§ 10.6 p.m.
LORD BROOKE OF CUMNOR moved Amendment No. 308F:
After subsection (11), insert—
("(12) Sections 170. 171, 172, 174 and 175 above shall come into force on 1st April 1973.")
§ The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 308F. As I explained a few minutes ago, Clauses 170 to 175 deal with the system of allowances of members. My suggestion is that those should come into operation earlier than April, 1974.
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords, this Amendment raises a number of different points. I am not absolutely certain which of them concerns my noble friend most, and I propose to deal with all of them. The main argument that I would put forward in favour of deferring the introduction of these allowances until 1974 is that it is not until then that the new councils will be responsible for providing 1994 a full range of services, executing the full range of their responsibilities and being concerned with the day-to-day management of business. Before then they will be only shadow councils carrying out shadow functions, though I would not for one moment imply that those are light duties. Although members of local authorities would no doubt appreciate earlier payment of the new allowances, to the extent that they are more generous than the old ones, the Government consider that there is insufficient: reason for giving special treatment to this subject and anticipating the general date of operation of the new system. It is, we feel, logical that the new allowances should be paid as from the date when the new authorities take up their actual duties. An order will of course be made so that their members will receive the existing allowances from their election until April, 1974, and those shadow councillors who are continuing to function as full councillors will receive allowances for both sets of duties.
But there are a number of other subsidiary points. It is of course important that candidates, and particularly new candidates for new local authorities, should know what sums they are likely to receive in recognition of their services under the heading of attendance allowances and other allowances prescribed in the Bill. As I have said earlier in other debates related to this subject—in the first debate that we had to-day—I confirm that as soon as this Bill is on the Statute Book my right honourable friend will consult urgently with the local authority associations, and as soon as practicable after the end of those consultations he will announce the maximum scale of allowances, as he is required to do—certainly in good time for candidates standing in the local government elections to know the kind of allowances they are likely to receive.
All the councillors, whether serving as shadow authorities or running local government at the moment, will receive existing allowances, even though the shadow authorities are exercising only shadow duties. I think there would be a considerable anomaly here if the new shadow authorities, while still serving as "shadows", were to enjoy a higher scale of allowances than existing councillors, bearing the full weight of responsibility for local government, have been drawing 1995 for the discharge of that full range of responsibilities up to this moment. It is for those reasons that the Government have come to the view that April 1, 1974, is the right date. With that explanation and the assurance, which I think is important, that an announcement about the scale of allowances will be made in good time for the new authorities, I hope that the noble Lord will not feel it necessary to press his Amendment.
§ LORD BROOKE OF CUMNOR
My Lords, I am sorry that these long debates of ours should end on a slightly sour note, but frankly I believe that the Government are being a bit stingy about this. It is quite true that the new authorities will not be assuming their full range of functions until April, 1974, but they will have to take some very important decisions of a strategic character before that date. They will have to appoint their senior officers, than which there can be hardly any more important decision that a local authority ever has to take. I should have thought that, Parliament having agreed that there should be this new form of attendance allowance for councillors, it should apply to everybody from April, 1973, onwards, for members both of the new authorities and of the old authorities.
I hope that the Government may be persuaded to think further over this, because I believe that means could be found to bring the new scheme into effect earlier, even if this Amendment is not carried. I do not feel inclined to withdraw the Amendment. I do not know whether any other noble Lords have feelings about this, but I would personally regret the Government's decision. I think it is so important that at the earliest possible moment those who are undertaking this very considerable public service of working for the public good on local authorities should be able to receive the allowances of a new character which Parliament has decided upon for the future.
§ LORD REDCLIFFE-MAUD
My Lords, as a Cross-Bencher, and having been Chairman of a Committee on the Management of Local Government which reported on this question of allowances some five years ago and very strongly recommended that members should be 1996 treated better and more generously and rather along the lines that have now been agreed for the future, I think that the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, is right in feeling some reluctance to leave it at that.
I believe that when I last checked this something like £5,000 million a year was being spent by local authorities in Britain, and even if a very generous maximum was set and local authorities agreed in all cases to live up to the maximum, the amount that would be spent on allowances would be an absolutely negligible proportion of the total spent in local government. Furthermore, I do not suppose there has been any time in the history of this country when local government has demanded more of its elected members than in the period we are entering, when the Queen's Assent is given to the Bill we have been discussing during these last few days. I think it would really be ridiculous to risk not having the very best talent available for the purpose of dealing with this transitional phase. The noble Lord, Lord Brooke, mentioned, for instance, the appointment of officials, and that is very important; but there are a great many other decisions about the organisation of the new authorities—the committee structure and so on—which rank very high in the order of priorities, and where we need the very best people we can get.
Although I absolutely accept what the noble Lord, Lord Sandford, says, that the Government will be as speedy as possible in having discussions and giving news to potential candidates for the elections in 1973, about what sort of allowances they may expect, the more generous those allowances can be and the sooner candidates can expect to receive them, then to that degree the more likely we are to get the cream of the potential local governors that we really want. I urge the Government not to take the view that they have said its last word on this matter. I cannot help feeling that in this matter it is not so much the members of the Government whom we have with us this evening so much as their Treasury colleagues who need persuasion in this matter. I hope the House emphatically endorses what the noble Lord, Lord Brooke, said.
§ LORD DIGBY
My Lords, I feel that someone ought to come to the support of the Government. I cannot believe that it is the Treasury or the Government who want to be stingy. Surely it is the situation that one will have real councillors and shadow councillors. I can see a lot of hard feelings among councillors who are going to lose their seats probably being paid a different allowance from the new shadow ones. Therefore I feel that it would be correct that the change should be made as it is intended.
§ 10.15 p.m.
§ LORD CHAMPION
My Lords, the only thing I can say about that is that many of the councillors who will be on the shadow councils will have to travel very much greater distances than they would have to travel under the old set-up. That is an important point. I strongly support the noble Lord, Lord Brooke, in this matter. We are not giving the Government power to introduce these matters under subsection (2) of this new clause—or are we? If we are by any chance doing that, we should ask the Government to give us an assurance that they will consider this and introduce as soon as possible such new allowances as are decided upon. If the noble Lord cannot give us the assurance which I feel we ought to have in this connection then I think the noble Lord, Lord Brooke, should put this Amendment down for further consideration tomorrow, after the Department has had a chance to look at it. I know the difficulty; tomorrow we shall be on Third Reading and this House does not like manuscript Amendments on Third Reading. But if the noble Lord puts down his Amendment tonight I do not think that it would be a manuscript Amendment in the technical sense. He might consider that. Certainly these allowances should be brought in as soon as possible. If they are by chance brought in both for the shadow councillors and for the old councillors there is nothing wrong with that—indeed, that is something we could very well welcome.
I would ask the noble Lord, Lord Sandford, to reply to my earlier question, whether it would be possible for the Secretary of State by order to appoint a day which would cover the clauses mentioned in the Amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Brooke. If so, then 1998 we shall have to rely upon the Secretary of State to do what will be necessary in that connection. So far as I can see, moves are taking place to and from the Box. Perhaps it is possible that information may be on its way which may be helpful to the noble Lord, Lord Sandford, in answering the question that I have put. I can cease to talk, because the matter has been delivered to him by "pigeon post". He appears to be happy about it. Or does he? Pigeons are flitting to and fro. I sincerely hope that the final carrier will soon arrive and with it the information that we are seeking, and I am sure the noble Lord, Lord Sandford, is seeking, in this connection.
§ VISCOUNT AMORY
My Lords, what the noble Lord has been saying is extremely important. We want to be clear about it. Would the noble Lord be good enough to repeat what he has said from the beginning over again?
§ LORD CHAMPION
My Lords, I would repeat everything that I said if I thought it necessary; but I do not think it is necessary now. Everybody concerned is sitting expectantly on the Front Bench except the noble Lord, Lord Sandford, who is itching to get up and reply.
§ BARONESS WHITE
My Lords, before the noble Lord does that (this will give him time for further reflection), may I ask whether he could take into account the position of some persons—they may be fairly numerous—who will be both members of existing authorities and also members of the future authorities? These people will be carrying a very heavy burden indeed. Under the existing provisions they may or may not be able to claim for loss of earnings. They will of course be able to claim for travelling expenses, but they will not have anything further to compensate them for the considerable extra burden and extra time that may be spent by councillors with a dual role. This is an important point which we should take very much into account.
§ 10.21 p.m.
§ LORD SANDFORD
My Lords, if I may, by leave, respond to those invitations to elaborate, may I say that I agree with what the noble Baroness has just 1999 said. Dealing with the last point first, perhaps I did not make myself clear enough in my opening remarks. Of course those individuals who are continuing to serve in this period as councillors—carrying the full weight of responsibility on the existing councils, discharging all the functions of local government—and who at the same time have been elected to the shadow councils and are serving as shadow councillors, will be carrying a very heavy burden. But, in so far as this heavy burden can be recognised by the payment of allowances, they will be perfectly entitled to draw allowances for both sets of work, and to that extent will be drawing more allowances than they are drawing at the moment. To that extent there will be some recognition of this extra burden.
I should like, at least partly, to meet the criticism that the Government are being unduly mingy "about this, to invite your Lordships to look again at the anomaly which would arise if these new allowances were introduced at a date earlier than April 1, 1974. In passing, I would confirm that the Secretary of State has the power to introduce the new allowances at whatever scale he will announce—and I have confirmed that he will announce it as early as possible, certainly before the election of the new councils. If he were to introduce this before April 1, 1974, the situation that would result would be that this new scale of allowances at a higher level (because everybody recognises that it should be at a higher level) would be paid to those councillors who were elected to serve in a shadow capacity up to April 1, 1974, whereas the existing councillors, who cannot under the Bill be paid allowances at any rate other than the existing rate, because they are not local councillors within the terms of this Bill (this Bill being effective only in relation to the shape of local government to come), would receive the lower rate. We should have two groups of councillors serving: shadow councillors drawing allowances at a newly increased rate for carrying out shadow functions; and the existing councillors, in the last year of their office still bearing the full burden of local government—although they will be going out of office the burden will be immensely increased by all the business of preparing for the 2000 changeover—drawing allowances at the existing, lower rate and not capable of having their allowances increased.
It is in view of these considerations, and the other considerations that I mentioned, that the Government do not think it would be wise, right, just or fair to introduce the new scale of allowances until the new shape of local government is fully effective, with its newly elected councillors, on April 1, 1974. I hope that the explanation will serve to show that it is not just "minginess" which has led the Government to come to this conclusion.
§ LORD BROOKE OF CUMNOR
My Lords, I can speak again only by leave of the House, because I have exhausted my right to speak, but we have now received from the Government the assurance that it will be statutorily possible for the Government to bring in new allowances at an earlier date than April, 1974, and Parliamentary pressure can therefore be brought to bear upon the Government hereafter to do so. In those circumstances, I doubt whether we should pursue the matter further, either today or tomorrow, and I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment to the Amendment.
§ Amendment to Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 268 [Short title, commencement and extent]:
§ 10.25 p.m.
§ LORD SANDFORD: My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 309, which is consequential on all the other commencement Amendments.
Page 217, line 6, leave out subsection (2)—(Lord Sandford.)
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS
My Lords, the last Amendment, No. 310, is consequential on Amendments 166, 168 and 169. I beg to move.
In the Title, line 4, after ("1968") insert ("to confer rights of appeal in respect of decision relating to licences under the Home Counties (Music and Dancing) Licensing Act 1926.")—(Viscount Colville of Cuirass.)
§ BARONESS WHITE
My Lords, may I say that together the noble Viscount and I have ended this momentous Bill with music and dancing.