Previous Section Home Page

Column 519

Mr. Squire : I did not make the point clear when I read the letter from my own borough secretary because I did not want to take up too much time. I must now make it clear that my borough secretary confirmed that an informal approach had been made, but, as he put it, as the purpose of the discussion would in no way reduce ultimately the presence of the Bill--and it is the principle to which Havering objects--no discussion took place.

Mr. Thorne : I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his intervention. It is important that people try to get together in these matters and to resolve issues, because if that had been done at an earlier stage the defects that my hon. Friend saw in the Bill on Second Reading might have been overcome before the matter ever arrived in the House. Many of the corrections that have now been made would have been ironed out before the Bill arrived in the House--if it ever arrived at all. My local authority is not wholly to blame for the changes that have taken place--quite properly-- as a result of the deliberations in the Opposed Private Bill Committee. We have already covered the question of the number of markets, so I shall not say more on that point.

The hon. Member for Burnley (Mr. Pike) raised an important point--

Mr. Squire : I am making the assumption that my hon. Friend has disposed of my argument. I hope that before he finishes he will tackle the question that I raised briefly about the measurement of profit and whether we are talking about market traders or someone else.

Mr. Thorne : I dealt with that point at the time and said to my hon. Friend that I felt that he was confusing the market operator with the market trader. We are, of course, talking about the profit to the market operator and that is the basis on which profit is to be calculated. It would not be difficult for a competent accountant to calculate that. It is a question of calculating the number of rents that have been received in a year, and the number of outgoings for the management and the running of the market. That would be relatively easy and straightforward, and it would not require many qualified people to cover it. I have every confidence that the right figure will be produced at the right time without too much difficulty. The Bill also provides for interest on late payments, so that matter has been covered. There is no point in any delay and I am sure that none will ensue.

The hon. Member for Burnley raised some interesting points, especially on the historical side. I was grateful to him for the way in which he described how various towns had been built six and two thirds miles apart, probably on the road from London to York. Eventually, through horrible ribbon development, they may have been joined up. Perhaps they are attractive towns or cities now with one franchise market at each end of the high street.

He also raised the question of substantial investment. If the market is to be successful, it must have major investment. It is no good any more doing these things on a shoestring. A piece of wood on a couple of wheels is no longer adequate. One has to produce something far more attractive to attract the customers to the stall. We need to consider how frequently these markets take place nowadays, and whether that requires an overall view or whether the matter should be dealt with individually on its merits. Hon. Members have said that a change was last suggested about 90 years ago. My local authority would

Column 520

not want to wait 90 years for an answer. That is why it wants to pursue the matter now. This is not the first time that this has happened. There have been others--Bexley and so on--where reasonable agreements have been reached. That is perhaps the way that the public would wish the matter to be pursued so that it is properly considered.

It is not an inexpensive operation to bring a private Bill here. Counsel and others have to be instructed. It will not be done quickly or on the cheap. The Opposed Private Bill Committee, which comprises two Opposition Members and two Conservative Members, with an Opposition Chairman, investigated the matter thoroughly from every angle, instructed by counsel on behalf of the two councils. Therefore, I believe that we should accept what our colleagues have recommended to the House and that the Bill should proceed to consideration. Question put, That the Bill, as amended, be now considered :-- The House divided : Ayes 56, Noes 24.

Division No. 63] [9.06 pm


Amess, David

Arbuthnot, James

Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N)

Beith, A. J.

Bendall, Vivian

Boswell, Tim

Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's)

Browne, John (Winchester)

Carlile, Alex (Mont'g)

Carlisle, John, (Luton N)

Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)

Chapman, Sydney

Coombs, Simon (Swindon)

Cormack, Patrick

Fearn, Ronald

Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)

Fookes, Dame Janet

Forth, Eric

Fox, Sir Marcus

Garel-Jones, Tristan

Glyn, Dr Sir Alan

Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)

Hague, William

Harris, David

Hawkins, Christopher

Hunt, David (Wirral W)

Irvine, Michael

Jack, Michael

Janman, Tim

Kennedy, Charles

Kilfedder, James

King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)

Knight, Greg (Derby North)

Lawrence, Ivan

Maclean, David

Maclennan, Robert

Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick

Nicholls, Patrick

Page, Richard

Paisley, Rev Ian

Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey

Riddick, Graham

Sackville, Hon Tom

Shaw, David (Dover)

Spicer, Sir Jim (Dorset W)

Summerson, Hugo

Taylor, John M (Solihull)

Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)

Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)

Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)

Thorne, Neil

Thurnham, Peter

Walker, Bill (T'side North)

Widdecombe, Ann

Wilshire, David

Wood, Timothy

Tellers for the Ayes :

Mr. Jacques Arnold and

Mr. Nicholas Bennett.


Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE)

Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E)

Cryer, Bob

Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)

Dixon, Don

Dunwoody, Hon Mrs Gwyneth

Durant, Tony

Gill, Christopher

Golding, Mrs Llin

Gregory, Conal

Haynes, Frank

McKay, Allen (Barnsley West)

Meale, Alan

Nellist, Dave

Neubert, Michael

O'Brien, William

Powell, Ray (Ogmore)

Skinner, Dennis

Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)

Snape, Peter

Spearing, Nigel

Wareing, Robert N.

Wells, Bowen

Wray, Jimmy

Tellers for the Noes :

Mr. Robin Squire and

Mr. Peter Pike.

Column 521

Question accordingly agreed to.

Bill, as amended, considered.

Next Section

  Home Page