§ (".—(1) If, on a petition presented to Her Majesty by the council of a district praying for the grant of a charter under this subsection, Her Majesty by the advice of Her Privy Council thinks fit so to do, She may by the charter confer on that district the status of a borough, and thereupon—
- (a) the council of the district shall bear the name of the council of the borough;
- (b) the chairman and vice-chairman of the council shall respectively be entitled to the style of mayor and deputy mayor of the borough.
§ (2) A petition for a charter under subsection (1) above shall not be presented except on a resolution passed by not less than two-thirds of the members voting thereon at a meeting of the council specially convened for the purpose with notice of the object.
§ (3) No charter under subsection (1) above shall take effect before 1st April 1974.
§ (4) Where a petition is presented to Her Majesty before 1st April 1974 by the council of a district praying for the grant of a charter under subsection (1) above and it is signified on behalf of Her Majesty before that date that She proposes to accede to the petition and that She approves—
- (a) the use for the district of any style previously belonging to an existing borough
1477 which on that date will become wholly or partly comprised in the district; and
- (b) the use for the chairman and vice-chairman of the council of the district of any style previously belonging to the mayor or deputy mayor of that borough;
§ (5) A district which has the status of a borough, or for which the style of borough may be used, by virtue of the foregoing provisions of this section and the council of any such district shall not be treated as a borough or the council of a borough for the purposes of any Act passed before 1st April 1974.
§ (6) The council of a parish or community which is not grouped with any other parish or community may resolve that the parish or community shall have the status of a town and thereupon—
- (a) the council of the parish or community shall hear the name of the council of the town;
- (b) the chairman and vice-chairman of the council shall he respectively entitled to the style of town mayor and deputy town mayor;
- (c) the parish meeting or a community meeting shall have the style of town meeting.
§ (7) A resolution under subsection (6) above shall cease to have effect if the parish or community to which it relates ceases to exist.
§ (8) If a parish or community council which has passed a resolution under subsection (6) is dissolved without the parish or community ceasing to exist, the dissolution shall not affect the shwas of the parish or community or the application to it of paragraph (c) of that subsection and in England the parish trustees shall have the style of town trustees.
§ (9) A parish or community council by whom a resolution has been passed or, if the council has been dissolved, the parish meeting in England or a community meeting in Wales may resolve that the parish or community shall cease to have the status of a town and thereupon subsection (6)(a) to (c) above and subsection (8) above shall cease to apply to the parish or community.
§ (10) The foregoing provisions of this section shall have effect subject to any provision made by a grant under Her Majesty's prerogative and, in particular, to any such provision granting the status of a city or royal borough or conferring the style of lord mayor, deputy lord mayor or right honourable.")
§ The noble Lord said: Now we come to the business of dignities, which was first raised when I moved to delete Clause 3 from the Bill. At that time were were dealing with Amendments by the noble Lord, Lord Wise, and my noble friend Lord Brooke of Cumnor, and the noble Lord, Lord Champion, suggested that we 1478 should leave the debate until this point, which we have done.
§ LORD NUGENT OF GUILDFORD
May I interrupt my noble friend for a moment and suggest that within the ambit of this debate we might usefully discuss the following Amendments, Nos. 125SS and 125ZZ, in the name of my noble friend Lord Brooke of Cumnor, who unfortunately is not present? I could then move them formally later.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRMAN
I shall be calling only the first of those two Amendments as an Amendment to this Amendment.
§ LORD NUGENT OF GUILDFORD
My suggestion was that within the ambit of the debate we might include the substance of that Amendment, if that is to the convenience of the Committee.
§ LORD SANDFORD
I think that would be very helpful and I hope that it will be for the convenience of the Committee.
Noble Lords will now have had the opportunity to study not only this Amendment but also the supporting note which has been provided and has been available in the Royal Gallery for some days. I take advantage of that fact to speak rather more briefly than I otherwise would have done; nevertheless the subject is such that it will require a fairly substantial explanation. There are three elements in the Government's new and wider proposals in this field. First of all, we are dealing with the status of areas, and particularly the matter of borough status granted by Royal Charter as it has been in the past and will continue to be in the future. Secondly, there is the right of a chief citizen to use the title "Mayor", and many representations have been made in this House and in the other place stressing the desirability of retaining that right. Thirdly, there is a great range of highly treasured rights and privileges contained in charters too numerous and various to be related. They range from practical matters, such as the ownership of corporate land, to the appointment of local officers who hold positions carrying dignity rather than duties and involve ceremonial and social responsibilities rather than statutory powers.
1479 The basic provision in the Government's proposals is contained in subsection (1) of the new clause on the preservation of powers, privileges and rights of existing citizens and boroughs; that is, Amendment No. 125TT. Your Lordships will have seen that it is a general saving of privileges and rights belonging to the citizens or burgesses of an existing city or borough immediately prior to the date when the reorganisation will take effect; that is to say, April 1, 1974. Subject to what is contained in a new Roy al Charter or any provision in the Bill or the Order made under the Bill, existing rights and privileges will continue in the areas where they now apply. I need to make two points on this matter. This general saving does not preserve borough status for any particular area, nor certain powers granted under the Royal prerogative. It does not, for instance, preserve the right of a town to the style "royal borough". It does not of itself preserve the title "Lord Mayor". These are prerogative titles and will need to be specifically regranted.
Perhaps I might refer back to last night's debate and confirm that the Motion to do with the Royal prerogative has not been overlooked, but because it is involved here it will not be moved until a later stage of the Bill. The powers of Her Majesty in this respect are specifically referred to in subsection (10) of the new clause on status, Amendment No. 125RR.
The matter of status and prerogative titles and mayorality are of such importance that I should like to give some examples of how the new provision might affect particular places. As regards borough status, the Government hold the view which they have expressed from the beginning: (1) that the right of an area to be called a borough should apply only at district level, and, (2), this right should be granted by Royal Charter as hitherto has been the practice and not by Statute, as would seem to be the intention of the Amendment in the name of my noble friend Lord Brooke of Cumnor.
The right to apply for a Royal Charter is open to all the new districts, whether or not they contain or comprise boroughs at present. The special provisions already in the Bill relating to the continuity of borough status and other digni- 1480 ties are repeated in subsection (4) of the new clause, Amendment No. 125RR. This provision applies where a new district petitions before April 1, 1974, for grant of borough status and continuation of any dignity or style which already exists, such as "city" or "mayor". That I think meets another point which was of concern to my noble friend Lord Brooke of Cumnor. If Her Majesty indicates that she consents to the retention of these dignities they will continue without a break, whether or not the formal instrument has been issued when the reorganisation comes into effect. I give the examples of existing boroughs and cities which I should have thought would obviously be likely to petition for renewal of their ancient dignities. Purely by way of illustration, and not in any sense speaking for them, Southampton, Portsmouth, York, Nottingham, Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol, Plymouth, Worcester and Gloucester are among those which suggest themselves to me.
While dealing with these new authorities at district level, I refer to the paving Amendments to Clauses 4 and 23, which accord precedence to chairmen of district councils throughout a district. They will have this effect irrespective of whether the district has been a borough in the past or will be in the future; irrespective of whether the chairman has been mayor in the past or will be in the future. This, then, is the translation into contemporary terms of a provision which has long applied to boroughs and is in fact included in Section 18(5) of the Local Government Act 1933 giving precedence to the mayor within his borough. We see no reason under the new arrangements why the chairmen of district councils should be subject to different provisions depending upon whether or not the district has applied for borough status. For this reason we are extending the provision generally to all authorities at the district level.
So much for the larger towns and cities which will be the undoubted nucleus of the districts to which they belong. But some existing boroughs will be grouped with other authorities to form new districts, and in many cases they will not necessarily be the dominant element in the new district. So may we look now to see how things will work out in their cases, looking first at the very small 1481 boroughs. These will in many instances retain their councils as successor parishes. We were discussing that under Part V to Schedule 1. The Boundary Commission, acting within guidelines to be discussed with the local authority associations, will consult the existing boroughs and urban districts and will recommend which of them should retain their councils at parish level as from April 1974.
Following on from what I said about borough status being confined to the new authorities at district level, we are not able to continue borough status at parish level also. But we are acting upon a suggestion made during the consultations by those who very reasonably said that many boroughs would not feel the title of "parish" entirely suited to their circumstances or their history. We are therefore proposing that former boroughs who retain their council at parish or community level should be entitled to adopt the status of "town". The council will become the "town council" and the chairman of the town council will become the "town mayor", and by the general saving for privileges and dignities, other charter provisions will be preserved, too. Some of the smaller boroughs which I would expect to see in this category would for example—and here again I am just giving my own opinion by way of 'llustralion—include ancient towns like Appleby, Woodstock, Malmesbury, Arundel, Rye, Buckingham, Marlborough, Wallingford, Glastonbury and places of that kind. We do not think this power to adopt the status of "town" should be confined to former boroughs, so we are extending the possibility to all councils at parish or community level. It will therefore be enjoyed in future by any town not of the largest with a council of its own, whether it was formerly a borough, an urban district, or a parish.
But some boroughs are too big to be likely candidates for parish government and they will not retain a separate successor parish, but at the same time they may constitute only a minority proportion of the new district, and these require separate consideration. In such cases the position will depend on whether or not the new district itself becomes a borough. If it does acquire borough status, and if the existing borough does not retain its successor parish council, 1482 then we are faced with a situation which has frequently arisen in the past, the inclusion of an existing borough in a new and larger borough. The style and privileges of the existing unit then become the joint inheritance of the new larger borough which has been newly created. This has happened many times in local government history. Stoke-on-Trent, for instance, was an amalgamation of six former authorities, including the county borough and three boroughs. The present city of Plymouth was formed by the amalgamation of two previous county boroughs. And most of the London boroughs created in 1963 were amalgamations of two or more existing boroughs.
We are also faced with the situation that would arise if the new district decides not to apply for borough status for itself. The situation then arises for which we need to make and have made entirely new provision. We propose to retain the identity of an existing borough in these circumstances in two ways: First, there is the general arrangement for the preservation of charter provisions in those areas where they now apply. Secondly, we propose a new concept of charter trustees. These trustees would be the district councillors elected for the area of the former borough who would constitute a separate body corporate, able to hold corporate land and able to elect one of their number to be the town mayor for the area of the former borough. In this way we would keep alive the corporate life of towns and cities which, although not always among the largest, are certainly often among the most ancient of our boroughs. Here I do not propose to offer any possible examples because that would involve forecasting in public which particular districts will or will not decide to petition for borough status. In this case the charter rights and privileges of the mayor are preserved to the places where they have always belonged, but all the statutory powers and functions are merged with those of the larger district.
I apologise for speaking at such length but this is a rather complex and novel situation. May I try to sum up these proposals. First, we propose that borough status should continue to be enjoyed by Royal Charter and should be 1483 granted only to the principal statutory authorities at district level. Secondly, there will be machinery for the continuity of existing dignities such as the status of "city" or title of "Royal borough", or lord mayor. Thirdly, we propose that unless some other provision is made in a Royal Charter or in the Bill or by Order, all existing rights and privileges enjoyed in a present borough will continue to apply within the same area as at present. Fourthly, we propose that in all areas which have mayors at present there can be a mayor in the future, either because the district itself becomes a borough or because the successor council has elected a town mayor or because the charter trustees have elected a mayor.
That brings me to the end of my perhaps not so brief outline of the Government's proposal. All I need to do is to refer to two further associated matters. One is the need to ensure that town mayors at parish level will be able to support the civic duties which are an important part of that office. As the Bill stands at present there is no power for the chairman of a parish or community council to be given an allowance. We are, therefore, providing such a power in the Government's Amendments to Clauses 15 and 34. This power will also permit an allowance to be made to a town mayor elected by charter trustees.
I hope that my noble friend Lord Nugent, who has taken up the Amendment of my noble friend Lord Brooke, will agree with me that the Government Amendments meet the points which they seem to have in mind for the retention of existing styles and dignities. I dare say noble Lords are now bound to be wondering how all this will work out in their own particular home towns. I hope they will not invite me to comment on particular cases, because the Committee will realise that the final outcome is the result of a number of imponderable decisions by local people, and it would be hazardous and rash of me to attempt any answers of that kind off the cuff. But if, having read what I have said in Hansard and having read the Amendments and notes we have provided, any noble Lord would want to pursue the matter with me in writing, I will certainly give it consideration and get in touch with him.
§ 2.50 p.m.
LORD NUGENT OF GUILDFORD moved, as an Amendment to Amendment No. 125RR.
In Subsection (1), line 6, of the proposed new clause, leave out from C' shall ") to the end of line 7 and insert—
§ The noble Lord said: I beg leave to move the Amendment (No. 125SS) standing in the name of my noble friend Lord Brooke. It is of course an Amendment to the Amendment. I will, with your permission, my Lord Chairman, move Amendment No. 125ZZ separately, as it is a slightly different point.
§ I have picked up the brief (I find that it is in fact the official brief of the Association of Municipal Corporations) which my noble friend Lord Brooke of Cumnor passed over to me. He has asked me to say that, with much regret, he is unable to be with us this afternoon because he is now on his way flying to Canada. I should like to say first to my noble friend that I think he has provided both comprehensively and generously for this very important clause, about which many people feel very strongly. So far as my personal feelings go, I feel that he has certainly covered the points that I had in mind.
§ With regard to the views of the Association of Municipal Corporations, they wish me to say that they welcome the general provision which my noble friend Lord Sandford is proposing in his new clause, but they feel that subsection (1)(a) of the new clause is not sufficiently comprehensive, and therefore they would like to see it extended in the form proposed in my Amendment No. 125SS. The brief is fairly lengthy, but I think that I can save noble Lords' time by not reading it all. There seem to be three parts that I should pick out of it which adequately describe the point that should be considered. In one matter the new clauses fall short of what is desirable, in that they provide for the incorporation 1485 of the council of the new district even when it becomes a borough and not for the incorporation of the community. This is the point that the A.M.C. are concerned about, and this is the point which the Amendment seeks to correct.
§ The A.M.C. take the view that more important than the question of powers, however, has been the recognition by the granting of a charter of the existence of a recognisable local community with the lord mayor, or mayor, at its head. The incorporation of the city, or borough, in the form of a lord mayor or mayor, aldermen, citizens, or burgesses, as the case may be, clearly recognises the existence of the local community as an entity served by the council but including the whole membership of the local community. The object of the present Amendment is to secure that the community shall continue to be recognised as the body which is incorporated whenever the status of a city or borough is conferred upon a district. It is a relatively small point within the very broad ambit with which my noble friend dealt, but I hope that my noble friend may be willing to consider including this. I beg to move.
§ 2.54 p.m.
§ LORD CHAMPION
The noble Lord, Lord Sandford, apologised for the length of his explanation of this new clause after Clause 238. I must say that he did not, for my choice and taste, say a word too much. This is a matter which is of considerable interest in the country, if I am to judge by the correspondence that I have received on it, partly as a result of the Amendment which I moved to Clause 1, when we had a discussion on the whole principle. The new clause, together with Part V of Schedule 1, appears to me to provide a solution to the problem posed many times in Committee and on Report, and by many in this House previously in Committee. Most of my remarks will be directed to only one aspect of the clause.
The clause ensures a reasonable status for those districts, and parts of districts, which seek to retain something of the dignity and status to which they are accustomed—always provided, of course, that some of them will be able to persuade the Boundary Commission to recommend the Secretary of State to 1486 secure their constitution as parishes under the provisions of Part V of Schedule 1. That, it seems to me, is the first hurdle they have to get over: to persuade the Boundary Commission to make such a recommendation. It seems to me that those districts which are covered by subsections (1) to (5) should have no difficulty, subject of course to the exercise of Her Majesty's prerogative. But I should like to be absolutely certain that any parish constituted under Part V of Schedule I, as amended by Amendment No. 72, or any community created in Wales as a result of the review by the Welsh Commission, will be enabled, under subsection (6) of this clause, to resolve to adopt the name and status of a town and its council; that its council shall be called the town council, and that its chairman and deputy chairman shall be entitled to use the style of town mayor and deputy town mayor. I hope that I may have some assurance on this point.
I remember that when we were discussing another matter, the possibility of doing certain things was confined to a comparatively short period. This is a matter I took up previously with the Government, and the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, replied. I cannot imagine that there is any doubt, or any possibility of this in the new clause. I cannot find it in the clause, but I must admit that I seek some assurance for those who are deeply interested in this. I am not going to make a very lengthy speech on this matter. I congratulate the Government on the ingenuity of this solution for cities and boroughs, and for successor parish councils to be enabled to preserve their present dignities and privileges it the district of which they form a part does not petition for borough status. There is, too, some ingenuity in the trustee status provision that is here included within the clauses.
I am bound to say, so far as the Amendment moved and the subsequent Amendment which I take it the noble Lord, Lord Nugent of Guildford, will be moving, that I have no objection to these Amendments, though I tend to think that they are not necessary. It seems to me that the point is covered adequately in the clause itself. However, I shall listen with great interest to the 1487 reply from the noble Lord, Lord Sand-ford. I end as I began, by congratulating the Government and thanking them for what they have done in this connection, because I am sure this will be well received throughout the country by everyone interested in local dignity and all that goes with it.
§ VISCOUNT BRIDGEMAN
Like the noble Lord, Lord Champion, my postbag has been fairly full of letters for some time urging me to do everything I could in this House to see that various ancient privileges were retained. Of course I wrote back to say that I would do my best, provided that they could be retained without doing violence to the structure of the scheme for local government contained in this Bill. Therefore when I read through this rather complicated set of Amendments and showed them to professional friends in my own county and asked for their advice, I was very glad to discover that both they and I felt that every reasonable request from everybody—the boroughs, the freemen, and all the other people—had been fairly met, and would leave people happy, provided that they took care to exercise the various options which are open to them in various clauses of this Bill. I should like to express thanks for that, because I feel that my friends at home will be able to get everything they fairly want by making use of the powers and opportunities contained in this Bill. Not only that, I feel also that these Amendments have been framed in such a way as not to do violence to the main structure of the Bill, and not to make exceptions which might otherwise prove rods for our own back.
I wish I could think that every Amendment which the Government have put forward during this Committee stage was free from that trouble; but I rather doubt it. I do not think that some of the lambs which were sacrificed ought to have been sacrificed, and I hope that some of them may yet be rescued on Report stage. However, I shall not talk about those lambs now, because they are not the subject of this clause. But we have to try to balance democratic proceedings with the need to keep order and to create conditions under which you reduce the power to create rows between various 1488 types of local authority and everybody else to the very minimum. That has been done in this case and I am glad that it has, because although no one is more keen on democratic government by the people, every now and then I have a sneaking sympathy with a Frenchman called Talleyrand, who once said that he preferred injustice to disorder. So I congratulate the Government on this group of new Amendments.
§ LORD REIGATE
I should like very briefly to support the Amendment in so far as I understand every word of it and, I suppose, in a sense, the Amendment to the Amendment which I do not think I do understand. But I congratulate my noble friend on having met the wishes of an enormous number of people throughout the country. These privileges, honours and dignities which have survived into the twentieth century should be preserved, because they are far more significant than perhaps some people realise. My only complaint against my noble friend is that when he was reciting the roll of ancient boroughs he got as far as Rye and did not add "gate", which I was hoping he would do. But he was quite correct, because the borough whose name I bear was actually incorporated in 1863, the same year, by coincidence, as it was disfranchised as a Parliamentary constituency for corruption, I am sorry to say. But, none the less, its privileges are very much appreciated and I am delighted to know that they will be able to continue.
§ LORD LEATHERLAND
I want to ask a simple question, because although all of your Lordships fully understand this Bill from the first word to the end, a number of people outside this Chamber do not understand it. I do not want to mention individual towns such as Saffron Walden, so I put the question in a simple form like this. If we have an ancient borough the size of a tennis ball and it is incorporated into a new district the size of a football, what will the mayor be the mayor of? Will he be the mayor of the tennis ball or the mayor of the football? If the answer is that he will merely be the mayor of the tennis ball, will it be open to the other councils in the football circumference to say, "We want to be included in that mayoralty as well"?
§ LORD SANDFORD
I should first like to express not only my thanks but the thanks of my right honourable friend, for the reception which this package has received. There has been a massive operation of consultation in order to produce these Amendments and I know that my right honourable friend and the officials, both in my own Department and in the local authorities and their associations, will be gratified to know that it finds favour with your Lordships. In fact, I think it successfully meets the great majority of the points that have been made.
In answer to the noble Lord, Lord Champion, I would confirm that all successor parishes and communities will be entitled to adopt the titles "own", "town council" or "town mayor". Perhaps that also answers the point of the noble Lord, Lord Leatherland, because the football will have a mayor, the mayor of the whole district, and the tennis ball inside it will be entitled to adopt the style "town mayor". Where there is any danger of confusion, the word "town" must be used to precede the word "mayor". As I am so near to dealing with Amendment No. 125ZZ, I might go on and make the point that we think it is necessary to have this distinction available for use when required. But I should like to suggest, through my noble friend Lord Nugent of Guildford. to my noble friend Lord Brooke of Cumnor, that I would expect the same thing to happen in the use of the word " mayor " as I know from experience happens in the use of the word "admiral". There are grades of admirals. There are full admirals, vice-admirals and rear-admirals, and when it is important to make a distinction between them, such as in order to know who is in command and so on, the prefixes are used. But in ordinary conversation and correspondence it is quite common to drop the prefix, and I imagine that that is what would happen in this case. But I think it is necessary to preserve the distinction in the Statute.
May I now turn to deal with the Amendment to my Amendment, the substantial point of which is that which concerns the Association of Municipal Corporations and the distinction which has hitherto existed between them and other authorities. It is a point which has frequently been made during the dis- 1490 cussions leading up to the preparation of this Bill, and the Government have already explained their view on more than one occasion. There is a constitutional difference between present boroughs and other local authorities, so far as the makeup of the legal corporation is concerned through which collective action is taken. In all authorities, except boroughs, the council is the corporate body, but in boroughs, all the inhabitants are incorporated and form part of the corporate body. In the case of cities they are of course referred to as citizens and in the case of boroughs they are referred to as burgesses. The Amendment of my noble friend Lord Brooke seeks to retain this distinction. But quite apart from the drafting of the Amendment, there are grounds of substance which lead me to want to advise the Committee to resist on this point. In the first place the distinction between the incorporation of all the inhabitants and the incorporation of the council has no special significance from the local government point of view. It is a historical relic which is curious, but which has no particular advantages—rather the reverse: the distinction between boroughs and other local government corporations has on occasions led to legal complexities and problems which have a positive disadvantage.
The second point I should like to make is that the Government are creating a new level of authorities which, for statutory purposes, will all be referred to as districts. Some of these districts will be entitled to use ceremonial dignities and privileges, and will enjoy the status of a borough or city. But the distinction, I submit, should stop there. In our view, it would be undesirable, after reorganisation, to perpetuate a constitutional distinction between one district and another, especially one which has no practical advantages and some potential disadvantages. It is for those reasons, and because we have made such full provision for all the other distinctions, rights and privileges—dignities which we do regard as important—that I hope my noble friend will not feel it necessary to press his Amendment.
§ LORD NUGENT OF GUILDFORD
Before the Question is put, may I thank my noble friend Lord Sandford for the reply he has given to this Amendment which I have moved on behalf of the 1491 Association of Municipal Corporations. I think his point is a good one: that the significance in the past has not been so much substantial as presentational, and in the future it will have even less significance, but that there could well be an undesirable feature in making any distinction among the new district authorities. Although, naturally, I have had no opportunity to consult the A.M.C. on this matter, I will nevertheless, when the opportunity comes, beg leave to withdraw my Amendment. I wish to move later the second Amendment in the name of my noble friend separately.
Amendment to the Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ 3.10 p.m.
LORD NUGENT OF GUILDFORD moved, as an Amendment to the Amendment, Amendment No. 125ZZ.
Subsection (6). line 7, leave out ("town mayor and deputy mayor") and insert ("mayor and deputy mayor").
§ The noble Lord said: I beg to move Amendment No. 125ZZ, which stands in the name of my noble friend Lord Brooke. This, I should explain, is not an A.M.C. Amendment but is the brainchild of my noble friend. The new clause, as my noble friend Lord Sandford has explained to us, provides that a new parish council may, as in subsection (6) of the new clause, resolve to claim the status of a town, and then the chairman of the council will become a town mayor; and I can think of a small borough, near me. Godalming, which will undoubtedly do so. My noble friend's Amendment is directed to removing the title "town" and leaving the title "mayor", which is of course the common title in cities, boroughs and towns that we are all accustomed to, because my noble friend felt that it was undesirable to create a new kind of civic title—and I think that is a good argument. My noble friend Lord Sandford has already explained to us that, in the graphic metaphor of the noble Lord, Lord Leatherland, of the tennis ball inside the football, there might be some confusion if the heads of both the football and the tennis ball were officially, statutorily called "mayor", and that there is some advantage in one being called "mayor" officially and the other 1492 "town mayor". I am bound to acknowledge that this is a point which could have some significance.
§ I think that my noble friend Lord Sandford has really met the point which I feel my noble friend Lord Brooke was after when he explained that, in practice, undoubtedly the town mayor will be called "the mayor", certainly inside his own town—and that is the oniy place where it will really matter; so there is not much danger of one having the announcement of the deputy town mayoress being about to open sonic particular show. So I should think that my noble friend Lord Brooke would be satisfied, this matter having been ventilated and already in advance answered so effectively by my noble friend, if I were now to move the Amendment to the Amendment formally in order to give it a little airing. I beg to move.
§ LORD ROYLE
I was just a little disappointed to hear the noble Lord, Lord Nugent, suggest that Lord Brooke would be satisfied with the change which is now being suggested. I do not agree here. I am in favour of this Amendment to the Amendment, and it will not take me many words to say why. Everything else in the new clause and in the whole of this hunch of Amendments concerns the question of preserving something which already exists, something in which people have a great pride and something which they would be very unhappy to see go. But in the matter of "town mayor" and "deputy town mayor" we are creating something quite new in this country. To me it seems to ring of the Continent rather than of Great Britain. This phrase "town mayor" does not seem to be something that we would want in this country: either he is mayor or he is not. I should prefer to leave out the word "town". I agree with this argument about the admirals. I know that we shall always call these people " the mayor" but the words are there in the Statute and that is what I object to. I do not think it sounds English in any sense.
§ LORD LEATHERLAND
If we agree with Lord Royle and delete the word "town" how will the minutes of my little borough, the "tennis ball" borough, read when they have to refer to "His Worship"? Will they refer to the 1493 "mayor" or to the "town mayor"? Unless the word "town is left in I can see quite a lot of difficulties.
§ LORD REDCLIFFE-MAUD
I do not want to detain the Committee but I personally feel that the Government have done extraordinarily well in this difficult area—in particular in rejecting some of the suggestions that I know have been aired, at least in Whitehall if not elsewhere, suggestions to which I shall not give further currency. I hope, even if this Amendment is not accepted, that nevertheless the noble Lord, Lord Sandford, will take back the feeling that we have not perhaps quite got the answer right in the words "town mayor". This "tennis ball inside the football, inside the soft ball, inside the cricket ball" analogy suggests that "town mayor" is quite wrong. In many cases, where it is a parish, it will be much more like a village mayor than a town mayor. In fact what the noble Lord, Lord Nugent, said is true: that "mayor" is the word that will be used. With respect, I do not believe that confusion will arise because the meetings will be taking place in a context which will make it perfectly clear which mayor is referred to. I do not think there will be much need to have the two words.
I should be much happier if we did not have the words "town mayor" in the Bill; but, equally, in the absence of Lord Brooke and in the friendly mood in which Lord Nugent is prepared not to press the Amendment, I do not think that we should have any dispute about it. I do not feel that we should have done our job so well if we think we have settled it by the use of the words "town mayor" as if we were to leave it to the Government to think again.
§ LORD LEATHERLAND
I think that the noble Lord, Lord Redcliffe-Maud, is probably not fully seized of all the circumstances of the situation. Let us assume that I am the mayor of this "tennis ball" town and that it is announced that Her Worship the Mayoress will open a flower show. What is going to happen if the other mayoress comes from the larger district? I think that we must keep in the word "town".
§ LORD NUGENT OF GUILDFORD
This has proved to be a much more 1494 interesting and wide-ranging discussion than I had anticipated. Despite the cogent arguments put up by Lord Redcliffe-Maud, I still feel that my noble friend Lord Sandford has got the balance about right and that the danger—I was going to say "of the old grey mare appearing"—of the sort that Lord Leatherland envisaged could arise and that it would be safer to keep to the suggestion with regard to the word "town". In practice, undoubtedly, the title of mayor will be used. In the circumstances, I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment to the Amendment.
§ Amendment to the Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ On Question, Amendment 125RR agreed to.
§ LORD SANDFORD
Unless any other noble Lord has further points to raise, I beg to move Amendment 125TT formally.
After Clause 238 insert the following new clause:
§ "Preservation of powers, privileges and rights of existing cities or boroughs.
§ .—(1) Any privileges or rights belonging immediately before 1st April 1974 to the citizens or burgesses of an existing city or borough shall belong on and after that date to the inhabitants of the area of the existing city or borough.
§ (2) A charter granted by Her Majesty under section (Status of certain districts, parishes and communities) above with respect to a district may—
- (a) provide that any powers to appoint local officers of dignity exercisable immediately before 1st April 1974 by the corporation of an existing city or borough, the area of which becomes wholly or partly comprised by virtue of Part I or II of this Act in the district, shall be exercisable on the coming into force of the charter by the council of the district in relation to the whole or any part of the district;
- (b) provide that any privileges or rights belonging immediately before 1st April 1974 to the citizens or burgesses of any such city or borough shall belong on the coming into force of the charter to the inhabitants of the whole or any part of the district;
- (c) contain such incidential, consequential or supplementary provision as may appear to Her Majesty to be necessary or proper in connection with the aforesaid matters.
§ (3) Where by virtue of Part I or II of this Act, the area of an existing city or borough on 1st April 1974 becomes a parish in England or becomes a community in Wales having a separate community council, any powers to appoint local officers of dignity exercisable 1495 immediately before that date by the corporation of the city or borough shall be exercisable on and after that date by the parish or community council.
§ (4) Where by virtue of Part I or II of this Act the area of any existing city or borough on 1st April 1974 becomes wholly comprised in a district not having the status, or entitled to the style, of a borough by virtue of subsection (1) or (4) of section (Status of certain districts, parishes and communities) above and that city or borough does not on that date become a parish in England or a community in Wales having a separate community council—
- (a) the district councillors for the wards wholly or partly comprising the area of the city or borough shall on that date constitute a body corporate by the name of " the Charter Trustees of the City "or" the Charter Trustees of the Town", as the case may be, with the addition of the name of the existing city or borough;
- (b) those councillors may in every year elect one of their number to be city or town mayor and another to be deputy city or town mayor; and
- (c) any powers to appoint local officers of dignity exercisable immediately before that date by the corporation of the city or borough shall be exercisable on and after that date by the Charter Trustees.
§ (5) Where by virtue of Part I of this Act part of the area of an existing city or borough in England on 1st April 1974—
- (a) becomes a parish; or
- (b) becomes comprised in a district not having the status, or entitled to the style, of a borough by virtue of subsection (1) or (4) of section (Status of certain districts, parishes and communities) above and does not become a parish;
§ (6) Subsections (1), (3) and (4) above and any order under subsection (5) above shall have effect subject to any provision made by a grant under Her Majesty's prerogative or any provision of a charter granted by Her Majesty under section (Status of certain districts, parishes and communities) above and any other provision of this Act or an instrument thereunder, and a charter under subsection (2) above shall have effect subject to any provision made by any such grant or any other provision of this Act or an instrument there-under.
§ (7) If a charter is granted under that section to the council of a district, any Charter Trustees constituted under subsection (4) above for an area comprised in that district shall be dissolved and paragraphs (b) and (c) of that subsection shall cease to apply to that area.
§ (8) If an area or part of an area for which Charter Trustee, have been constituted under subsection (4) above becomes, or becomes 1496 comprised in, a parish or a separate community council is established for a community consisting of such an area, that subsection shall cease to apply to the area or part and accordingly the Charter Trustees shall cease to act there-for.
§ (9) Where Charter Trustees have been constituted for an area which is altered by an order under Part IV of this Act and neither subsection (7) or subsection (8) above applies in relation to the alteration, the order may make such provisions with respect to the Charter Trustees as may appear to the Secretary of State to be appropriate.
§ (10) The sums required to meet the expenses of Charter Trustees shall be chargeable on, but only on, the area for which the Charter Trustees act, and for the purpose of obtaining those sums the Charter Trustees shall issue precepts to the council of the district in which that area is situated.
§ (11) Every cheque or other order for the payment of money by Charter Trustees shall be signed by two of them.
§ (12) Charter Trustees shall keep such accounts as may be prescribed of their receipts and payments.
§ (13) Sections 15(4A) and 34(4A) above shall apply in relation to a city or town mayor holding office by virtue of this section as they apply to the chairman of a parish or community council.
§ (14) Sections 151 to 164 above and section 220 above except subsection (5) shall apply in relation to Charter Trustees as they apply in relation to a parish or community council.
§ (15) Sections 168 to 173 above shall apply in relation to Charter Trustees as they apply in relation to the members of a parish or corn-m unity council.—(Lord Sandford.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ 3.14 p.m.
LORD SANDFORD moved Amendment No. 125UU:
After Clause 238 insert the following new clause:
§ Transfer of armorial bearings from old to new authorities
§ " .—(1) Subject to subsection (2) below, Her Majesty may by Order in Council authorise any new local authority specified in the Order to bear and use any armorial bearings which may be so specified and which, immediately before 1st April 1974, were lawfully borne and used by an existing local authority which ceases to exist by virtue of section 1 or section 20 above.
§ (2) An Order in Council under this section shall provide that before any armorial bearings of an existing local authority may be borne and used by a new local authority in accordance with the Order, they shall be exemplified according to the laws of arms and recorded in the College of Arms."
§ The noble Lord said: I beg to move Amendment No. 125UU. This clause 1497 speaks for itself. It provides a simplified way of permitting the new authorities to inherit and continue in use the coats of arms of their predecessors. There is more that could be said, but unless noble Lords wish to press me further, I beg to move.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ LORD SANDFORD
I beg to move Amendment No. 125VV. We discussed this Amendment with the substantive Amendment at the point where we decided to leave out Clause 234.
After Clause 138 insert the following new clause: