§ (1) It shall be lawful for the landlord of any land and any other person to agree that in respect of such land such person may apply to the Land Court to be registered as a new holder under this Act, and such person may thereupon apply accordingly, and subject to the provisions of this Act may be so registered.
§ (2) It shall be the duty of the Commissioner for Small Holdings to report from time to time to the Board after due inquiry what demand for small holdings exists in any district, and after consultation (where practicable) with the landlord or landlords what land (if any) is available to meet that demand, without causing undue displacement of farm servants presently employed on or about such land, under what conditions such land is cultivated, and what employment it affords.
§ (3) Where the Commissioner for Small Holdings is satisfied that there is a demand for small holdings and that suitable land exists it shall be his duty to negotiate with the landlords of such land with a view to the adjustment of a scheme for the registration by agreement of any one or more new holders in respect of such land.
§ (4) Failing agreement, such land may, otherwise than by agreement, be made available for the registration of new holders in the manner and subject to the conditions hereinafter described.
§ (5) In proceeding under this Section the Board shall take steps to ascertain what land is falling or is about to fall out of lease where the present tenant is not an offerer, and shall preferably select such 676 land (if otherwise suitable) for the constitution of new holdings otherwise than by agreement.
§ (6) Where a new holder is registered under this Section by agreement, the rent agreed between the landlord and the new holder shall not, if the same shall have been agreed upon for a specified period, be altered by the Land Court during such period, and shall not in any case be altered by the Land Court for a period of seven years from the term at which it first becomes payable.
§ (7) Where, with a view to, or as incidental to, the registration of a new holder or holders in respect of any land, whether by agreement or otherwise, the Board are of opinion, upon consideration of a report by the Commissioner for Small Holdings, that assistance should be provided for the purpose of dividing, fencing, or otherwise preparing or adapting the land, making occupation roads, or executing other works, such as works for the provision of drainage or water supply, or erecting or adapting a dwelling-house or dwelling-houses or other buildings, or for any similar purpose, the Board may provide such assistance by way of loan or (except as regards dwelling-houses or other buildings) by way of gift, and subject to such conditions as they may prescribe. Conditions so prescribed and the provisions for their enforcement or for the case of their violation shall be as effectual as if they were contained in this Act.
§ (8) Where the Board are of opinion that damage or injury will be done to any tenant in respect that the land forms part or the whole of his tenancy, they shall pay compensation as may be agreed.
§ (9) Where the Commissioner for Small Holdings reports that the landlord refuses to negotiate, or where, after submitting to the landlord a scheme for the constitution of one or more new holdings on the land, he reports that no agreement can be reached, it shall be lawful for the Board, after due notice and after hearing any party who desires to be heard, to intimate to the landlord and to other parties concerned that it is in the public interest that one or more new holdings should be constituted on the land in accordance with the said scheme, and that they propose to apply to the Land Court to make an order or orders for the constitution of one or more new holdings on the land in accordance with such scheme, to be occupied by new holders, at a fair rent and upon such terms and conditions 677 not inconsistent with the Landholders Acts as the Land Court consider just; and thereafter to apply accordingly.
§ (10) Before making such an order the Land Court shall give all parties having a right or interest in the land an opportunity of being heard.
§ (11) The Land Court shall thereafter determine, with due regard to the provisions of the Landholders Acts, and by order or orders declare—
- (a) In respect of what land, if any, specified in the scheme, one or more holdings for new holders may respectively be constituted, and up to what date the power to constitute them otherwise than by agreement may be exercised;
- (b) What is the fair rent for each new holding;
- (c) What land, if any, specified in the scheme is to be excluded therefrom; and
- (d) Whatever else may be necessary for the purpose of making the scheme effective and of adjusting the rights of all parties interested in or affected by the proceedings:
§ Provided that where the Land Court are of opinion that damage or injury will be done to the letting value of the land to be occupied by a new holder or new holders, or of any farm of which such land forms part, or to any tenant in respect that the land forms part or the whole of his tenancy, or to any landlord in respect of an obligation to take over sheep stock at a valuation or in respect of any depreciation in the value of the estate of which the land forms part in consequence of and directly attributable to the constitution of the new holding or holdings as proposed, they shall require the Board, in the event of the scheme being proceeded with, to pay compensation to such amount as the Land Court determine after giving parties an opportunity, if they so desire, of leading evidence in the matter.
§ (12) In or after making such an order the Land Court (without prejudice to their other powers) may do, provide, or decide anything incidental to or consequential on such an order as if it were an order under Section 12 of the Act of 1886, and may, if they think fit, provide for the incorporation with the order, subject to the necessary adaptations, of any provisions of the Lands Clauses Acts which appear to them requisite for carrying the order into effect.678
§ (13) Upon such an order providing for the constitution of one or more new holdings on any land being issued the Board may proceed to make it effective by entering on the land, carrying out works, and otherwise as may be required (due compensation to such amount as may be agreed or as, in case of dispute, may be determined by the Land Court, being made for surface damage), and may negotiate with one or more duly qualified applicants with a view to their registration as new holders in respect of the land.
§ (14) A new holder shall not be duly qualified for registration otherwise than by agreement who does not satisfy the Board as to his ability to fulfil the obligations incumbent on him.
§ (15) The Board shall give reasonable consideration to objections stated by a landlord to any applicant for a new holding, and ceteris paribus shall give a preference to applicants preferred by the landlord.
§ (16) Except by agreement a new holder shall not be registered—
- (a) in respect of any land being or forming part of a farm not exceeding one hundred and fifty acres occupied by a person who has no interest in any other farm unless there be no other land available in the neighbourhood of any existing village or township, in which case this limitation shall not apply: Provided that if any farm of less than one hundred and fifty acres be required, the whole of such farm shall be taken for the constitution of new holdings if the landlord so desires; or
- (b) in respect of any land being or forming part of a farm occupied subject to a lease which was in force at Whitsunday nineteen hundred and six, so long as the lease remains in force.
§ (17) All parties being possessed of lands or any right or interest therein who under the Lands Clauses Acts have power on behalf of themselves or of others to convey and dispose of such lands, or of such rights therein for the purposes mentioned in those Acts, shall have the like power to enter into any agreement or give any con sent for the purposes of this Section.
§ (18) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Congested Districts (Scot land) Act, 1897, the expression "land lord" in this Section includes the Board in respect of any land purchased under that Act and transferred to the Board under the provisions of this Act.679
§ (19) Any member of the Land Court, or the Board, or any person authorised in writing by the Land Court or by the Board, may for the purposes of the Landholders Acts enter upon and inspect any lands or buildings at all reasonable hours on any lawful day.
§ Mr. MORTON
I beg to move, in Subsection (2), to leave out the words "without causing undue displacement of farm servants presently employed on or about such land."
You cannot carry out this Bill without displacing farm servants. Our object is to give them land. I should like to know whether the Lord Advocate cannot agree to this Amendment, which, I believe, would improve the Bill.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I beg to second the Amendment in order to give the Lord Advocate a chance of replying.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. MORTON
I beg to move, in Subsection (2), at the end to insert the words, "Deer forests, grouse moors, and large sheep farms situated in the Highland crofting counties, as defined in the Act of 1886, with or without farms attached, and whether under lease or otherwise, are hereby declared to be suitable lands for the cultivation of new holdings or for the enlargement of existing holdings, or additional grazing, or formation of new grazings in connection with existing holdings."
I think it ought to be definitely understood what land comes within the purview of the Act, and I hope, therefore, the Lord Advocate will allow these words to be incorporated in the Bill.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
This is a very interesting Amendment. I am not quite certain that I understand what its effect would be on such lands as are devoted to deer forests, grouse moors, and large sheep farms. I suppose the object of the Amendment is to do away with these things. I do not believe it will be for the advantage of Scotland, or for any part of it, to take that course. On the contrary, I believe it would do great harm to the United Kingdom if anything is done which causes deer forests and grouse moors to disappear. The hon. Member for the Blackfriars Division of Glasgow (Mr. Barnes), is obsessed with the idea that these places are very deleterious to the working classes. I do not think that they are. On the contrary, I think they are very good, as they give employment to a large number of men who would not otherwise be employed. I should like to remind the hon. Member for Sutherland that, as mover of this Amendment, he has the right to speak again, and I would invite him to give me some information as to his object in making this proposal.
§ Mr. MORTON
I am quite aware that I have the right to speak again, but in view of the answer of the Lord Advocate, that this point is already provided for in the Bill, I do not desire to further press my Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. MORTON
I beg to move, in Subsection (5), after the word "is" ["to ascertain what land is"], to insert the word "suitable."
I think this word would be an improvement to the Clause, and I hope the Lord Advocate will agree to its insertion.
§ Question, "That the word 'suitable' be there inserted," put, and negatived.
§ Captain GILMOUR
I beg to move, at the end of Sub-section (5), to insert the words "and shall not for the purpose of such constitution make other land available unless they are of opinion that 681 there by more beneficial use may be made of such land and more labour employed thereon."
The object of this Amendment is quite plain. Under this Clause the Commissioner for Small Holdings is instructed, in making his survey of the land, to take into consideration the question of the undue displacement, of farm servants. Unlike the hon. Member for Sutherland, I am very strongly of opinion that it is essential, if a small holdings scheme in Scotland is to be in any sense successful, that it should be acceptable, and if it is not acceptable to the agricultural community as a whole, I do not think it can be successful. It is also essential that due regard should be paid, in taking land for small holdings, that it should employ more people than are actually being employed at the present time, and that some reason should be shown why one set of individuals should be displaced in order that they may be replaced by another set. It may be argued that, in giving this instruction to the Commissioner, there are sufficient safeguards with respect to this question, but I think we should go further than that, and that, in the words of my Amendment, it should be taken into consideration by the Court. This, I submit, is a very necessary Amendment, and if the spirit of it is going to be accepted by those who will be entrusted with the administration of this measure, there cannot be any sound ground for objecting to it. I think it will not in any way lessen the just powers this body should have, while at the same time it will act as a direct instruction from this House that, in our view, these factors must be taken into consideration in settling any question of this kind.
§ Mr. HARRY HOPE
I beg to second the Amendment. We, on this side of the House, support the creation of more small holdings. We recognise that they are needed, and can do an immense amount of good. But what we say is, let them come without breaking down a system which has previously been successful. Scottish agriculture has obtained a measure of success which perhaps is greater than that obtained by agriculture in any other country. Is it not possible for us to get all the small holdings that are wanted and that will serve our requirements without injury to the largest industry in this country? Insecurity of tenure is one of the worst things you can create in connection with holdings. The foundation stone of this Bill, according to 682 hon. Members opposite, is the provision of security of tenure, but the very absence of such a provision as that which is embodied in my hon. Friend's Amendment must result in the creation of a feeling of insecurity that ill operate most harshly upon the whole agricultural industry in Scotland. We know that confidence is at the root of all success. If any tenant, no matter how well he is cultivating his land, no matter how intensively he is farming and in spite of the fact that he is carrying on his work in the best possible manner, if he knows that in future, although he has a lease of a farm entered into prior to 1906, at any time a slice can be cut away from it, how is that man going to develop his business? What incentive will he have to cultivate the land in the same high manner he has done in the past, and what confidence will landowners have in investing their money in permanent improvements as they have so lavishly done in the past?
We are not running counter to the intentions of the Government in moving this Amendment, for Sub-section (2) of this Clause gives an instruction to the Commissioner whose duty it is to find whether small holdings are wanted and to recommend their creation. We only ask that, practically speaking, the same instruction shall be repeated for the Board. It is important, if this thing is going to be a success, that it should work smoothly and with as little friction as possible. We do not want a large and influential part of the agricultural community to be up in arms against the procedure to be carried out under this Bill. We want small holdings, and to take the people along with us in getting them created, and we want them created with the minimum amount of disturbance which, unless provided against, will be a menace against and do harm to the prosperous industry of agriculture in Scotland. I earnestly ask the Lord Advocate to give this Amendment more than a merely formal consideration. We are asking nothing contrary to his own intentions, because in Committee it was stated that there will be no chance of the Board taking land that is being highly cultivated and which is providing the best possible amount of labour, that the Commissioners will be sensible men, and they are pretty sure to avoid such land, knowing that they would have to pay very heavy compensation, and therefore they would take less highly developed land. If that is the intention let us have it in the bond, and let it be an instruction to the Board that in 683 carrying out this Bill such land is the land that should be avoided from being taken; and I am confident that with the men who have got these small holdings less friction will be created and the Bill will work far smoother than if no such instruction is given.
§ Mr. URE
I can assure my hon. Friend the Member for Buteshire (Mr. Harry Hope) that I have given more than formal consideration to this Amendment, but I really cannot share his view and that of the Mover of the Amendment with regard to its high importance. Indeed, the House will have gathered from the speeches both hon. Members have made, that they themselves do not attach very high importance to this Amendment, because they both frankly admit that an intelligent Board of Agriculture and a Small Holdings Commissioner who understood his business, would never dream of assigning new land to small holdings unless they honestly believe it would be more beneficially occupied. You are asking the Commissioner to form an opinion when it is impossible for him to form an opinion. How can he tell that the land would be more beneficially occupied? It will depend entirely upon the way in which the man may cultivate the land. The land may be suitable, but the man may not be a first-class husbandman. By this Amendment you are placing on the Board of Agriculture, and upon the Small Holdings Commissioner a duty it is quite impossible to discharge. The hon. Members also say that he must not only form an opinion that the land will be more beneficially occupied but also an opinion that more labour will be employed on the land It does not always follow that the land will be more beneficially occupied if more labour is bestowed upon it. There again it depends upon the skill and knowledge with which the labour is applied. The hon. Members desire to link both together, and to say that the Board must be of opinion—not merely cherishing a belief or expectation—that there would be more beneficial occupation and also that more labour would be bestowed on the land. I believe it would be a very unwise condition to impose upon them, for the data on which that opinion could be formed could not possibly be within their knowledge.
MARQUESS of TULLIBARDINE
I think we have had an absolutely typical speech upon the land. We have had on 684 this side a speech from a practical farmer one of the best farmers in Scotland, who is respected by all agriculturalists. He has voiced the opinions of the best agriculturists in Scotland at the present moment. It is simply by refusing Amendments of this sort that the Liberal party are gradually losing the whole support of agriculturists of over £50 in value for small holdings in Scotland, that is to say, the very farmers who make Scotch agriculture what it is at the present moment. The Amendment says that the Board shall not for the purpose of such constitution make other land available unless they are of opinion that thereby more beneficial use may be made of such land and more labour employed thereon. What is the whole contention of hon. Members opposite? It is that small holdings are wanted, not to improve agriculture, but to put more people on the land. Here they are refusing to put in an Amendment which would safeguard the number of people employed. I cannot see what excuse you have for this Bill at all if it is not intended to put more people on the land, and to keep them there, and generally develop the agriculture. Apparently the idea is—if you do not accept this Amendment—that you may put fewer people on the land with less benefit to that land. I should like the Lord Advocate to come and make the same speech in front of the Scottish Chamber of Agriculture, and see what the result will be. He says the reason why he does not want to accept it is because land on good, well-cultivated estates might be turned over to men who are not good husbandmen. What on earth are you going to put on the land? Men who know nothing about it? Are you going to spoil the best land in Scotland by putting absolutely ignorant men, for political purposes, on the land? In a very few years those who are not good husbandmen will probably learn, but they will probably spoil the land in doing it, and the landlord will have to ask for compensation for the rubbish which has been put on it and to go to the expense of putting it in proper fettle again when it has been thrown back on his hands. Then the right hon. Gentleman said more labour is not wanted. Surely the whole idea of it is to have more labour, and what is also wanted otherwise is confidence. By not accepting an Amendment of this sort you are having no confidence in the whole farming world. Probably the Board of Agriculture will have the best intentions in the world, but you ought to 685 put it in black and white, so that the landlords and farmers of Scotland may have some idea that if they look after their land well, employ the maximum of labour, and do their best, they will have a certain amount of security, and it surely is not very much to ask that the basis on which that should be performed is good agriculture and the employment of a lot of labour.
§ Mr. MUNRO-FERGUSON
I agree with the Lord Advocate that this Amendment presents certain difficulties. On the other hand, it does excite considerable interest among the agriculturists and occupiers, and no doubt the owners also, in Scotland. What I think is aimed at, although it might not be covered entirely by the wording of the Clause, is that the small holders should be created upon a basis which is economically sound. That I think is a fair proposition. Whether it is done or not will depend very much upon the character of the new land authority and upon the instructions it may receive. There is the absence of responsible management for one class, at any rate, of the small holdings to be created under the Bill, and the State is really more interested in that matter now than owners are, because they are protected against loss by the Clause for compensation. The occupiers of the larger holdings may have some cause of anxiety but the State has no cause, because if small holdings are created by what was formerly, at any rate, the policy of the Government, which must lead to inevitable loss, the burden will fall upon the State, and it ought therefore to take precautions for responsible management so as to avoid loss, or it ought to secure that the Courts shall create new holdings upon an economical basis, and I do not believe that small or any other holdings will in the long run be a success unless created on a sound economic basis. The wording of the Clause is a little strong, because in many cases it would certainly be advisable to have small holdings even if they only gave the same economic success and provided the same labour as the existing holdings. I can quite conceive that it might be desirable to create holdings, even though they did not give more labour or were not an economic success, but that ought to be the lowest level. They ought to be an economic success, and why I am disposed rather to favourably consider some provision of this kind, is that those in charge of the former Bill at any rate—and the 686 doctrine has never been repudiated yet—always accepted the principle that these new small holdings would have to be formed at a loss which would be made good by the State, because I do not believe it is sound policy for the State to have to make good such a loss, and, therefore, I have always considered it a false basis for the erection of small holdings to regard it as an inevitable contingency that loss must accompany their formation. I do not think that loss is necessary, and though it may be done without, I think small holdings should be made economically sound. But that being adopted which has never yet been repudiated, I think there is justification for securing that the new small holdings should be formed on a sound economic basis.
Mr. CATHCART WASON
There is a point of view I should like to urge on the hon. Member opposite in regard to this, proposal, that it is a matter of argument for the Commissioners under the Bill to define what is and what is not labour, because the great probability is that if a considerable farm, well cultivated, on which a large amount of labour is employed, is turned into small holdings, more labour will not be employed than formerly. But at the same time the State, for reasons of its own, is exceedingly anxious that, instead of having a community entirely dependent upon the wages which they earn from farmers on the estate, there should be a greater number of small holders put on the land in the crofting districts who do not employ labour. It is perfectly arguable that, if the Amendment is accepted, the men and women who work on the small holdings would not be fairly classed as labour, and would not be receiving any wages. That is why I strongly object to this proposal.
§ Major ANSTRUTHER-GRAY
I do not quite follow the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Cathcart Wason). Surely the labour of a crofter is just as much labour as the labour of a farm servant. I cannot see any difference. The object of this Bill is to do good to the people of Scotland. It is to put more people on the land. It is, if possible, to improve agriculture and to make the land as useful as possible. The spirit of this Amendment is exactly the same. What we want to do is to improve, and not to let things go down. If the Government resists this Amendment it lays itself open to the charge that it may countenance the deterioration 687 of land or the diminution of labour, which is what no Member, be he Tory, Conservative, Unionist, Irishman or Labourist, wants. The whole object of the Bill is to make for good. The Amendment is framed in that spirit, and I urge the Government to accept it.
§ Mr. PETO
I should not have intervened in a Debate which primarily concerns a Scottish question if it were not that this Amendment introduces a principle of wide application, certainly of application to every part of Great Britain, dealing with the question of the institution of small holdings. The hon. Member who moved the Amendment is perfectly well advised in laying down two general principles in that Amendment, and those general principles ought to be incorporated in the Bill. The purpose of the Amendment is a double one—that in the opinion of the Commissioner the land would thereby be made more beneficial use of, and also that more labour should be employed on it. I am entirely in agreement with the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Major Anstruther-Gray) that there is no question whatever as to what is the definition of labour. It does not define it as to whether it is labour in receipt of a weekly wage or labour which depends on the profit of the small holding for its remuneration. The Lord Advocate said the Government could not accept this Amendment because it asked the Commissioners of small holdings to give an opinion upon two questions, and that that would be only a matter of opinion, though, of course, in any case, they would be governed by the rules laid down in this Amendment. A great deal more than that might be said on the subject. We do deliberately, in the Amendment, ask the Commissioners of small holdings to exercise their discretion, and not to do certain things if in their opinion they will not produce certain results, and I think it is a very good thing that it should be laid down in black and white in this Bill. The Lord Advocate said it might turn out that, although they thought it was going to be made more beneficial use of, a good husbandman would not come upon a particular small holding, and it might result in having a crop of tares and thistles instead of good oats, or barley, or turnips. That, I regret to say, is very often the result in connection with small holdings. Surely if this Amendment were adopted a few such experiences would provide an absolute guide 688 line for the Board in the setting up of small holdings. They would have to profit by past experience in forming their opinions for the future. Undoubtedly the having of more people on the land, both in Scotland and England, would be a very good thing, but we have to remember that there is an enormous emigration from Scotland at the present time, and it is largely to Canada. You may, therefore, be going on a false line in this matter if you do not lay down some such provision as is indicated in the Amendment. If you are putting people on small holdings where there is no primâ facie evidence that the land will be better cultivated, or that more labour will be employed on the land, you may keep people starving in working small holdings at home, when on big farms in the Colonies they might make very good money. I think it is very important that we should lay down the principle of the Amendment, because in the intense anxiety to work the Bill land may be taken from existing cultivators whose methods of cultivation are suitable to the district, and who are paying their labourers regular weekly wages until they are able to seek better employment elsewhere. At the same time the farmers are able to make good use of the money they have invested in the farms. As a humble agricultural Member I heartily support this Amendment.
§ Sir JOHN DEWAR
I am against this Amendment because, like very many more, it will make it more difficult to get land for small holdings. According to the wording of the Amendment the Commissioners are not to "make other land available unless they are of opinion that thereby more beneficial use may be made of such land and more labour employed thereon." I know many farms of 500 acres, and if it was proposed to break up one of these farms into ten small holdings of fifty acres, it would be very difficult to prove that more labour would be employed on the ten holdings, or that the land would be put to more beneficial use in the economic sense. But does anybody mean to tell me that there would not be an enormous social advantage in having ten married men on the land cultivating their own small holdings instead of having ten unmarried men living in a bothy, and giving their labour on the 500 acre farm? It would be almost impossible to prove that more labourers would be employed on the small holdings, or that the land would be put to more beneficial use, but I say that in the 689 interest of the social condition of the people it is desirable that the small holdings should be created.
§ Mr. J. E. GORDON (Brighton)
I had the honour of representing a Scottish constituency for ten years, and I must say that if my hon. Friend (Captain Gilmour) goes to a Division, I shall have very much pleasure in supporting the Amendment. I wish to express my deep regret at the attitude of the Government in this matter. Broadly speaking, whether as an English or a Scottish Member, I would say that this Bill is looked upon as distinctly a bold step, in order to provide a larger field of livelihood in connection with the agricultural industry, and also to increase the population engaged on the land. If the people of the country hear that this Department in Edinburgh is to have a sort of balancing problem to deal with—namely, whether they should put eight instead of ten, or ten instead of eight small holders on the land, I think they will consider that the Bill is hardly worthy the attention of the House. I remember the House in the early seventies, and in those days Bills when introduced were generally prefaced by a Preamble. Personally, I am not aware why the Preamble system has been dropped out of Bills in recent times, but, speaking as an ordinary layman, I regret that the measures which now come before Parliament have not a Preamble. The Amendment proposed by my hon. Friend would in the old days have been a Preamble laying down that those entrusted with the administration of the measure were not to disturb the social or economic conditions in the district in relation to farming unless they had not a problematical idea, but absolute certainty that the change would be productive of advantage in the district.
The whole question of the application of capital to the cultivation of the land is a very serious one at the present moment. I do not hold an acre of land in Scotland, and I do not mean to do so under present conditions. I know a case where a landowner about thirty years ago left to his daughters an estate of the value of, I think, £50,000, on which there was for many years a mortgage of £25,000. That estate was afterwards sold for £20,000. I know a farm in the same county that was sold about eighteen months ago. A friend of mine who bought it spent six years' income on improvements. The House is asking the Commissioners to undertake 690 very difficult and dangerous duties under this Bill, and if it is going to upset the economic conditions which now apply to land, and the strong sentiment which prevails with respect to the application of capital in that industry in Scotland, it may do more harm to the country than good. I regret that the Lord Advocate looked at the work which is to be done by the Commissioners as involving a matter of balancing. I should like this Bill to bring undoubted advantages to the country without requiring the exercise of balancing power by anyone from Parliament House.
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
I regret the Lord Advocate has not received this Amendment in a more sympathetic spirit. A similar Amendment was considered when the Bill was before the Grand Committee, and I did hope that by this time the right hon. and learned Gentleman would have seen his way to modify the opinion he then gave, particularly after the strong expressions of opinion which we have had on this subject. I myself have received many anxious communications stating that we should press this demand in the interest of the agriculturists of Scotland. I admit that there is some force in the criticism of my hon. Friend the Member for Inverness (Sir J. Dewar) in respect of the beneficial use of land, and I should be inclined to suggest that the difficulty might be got over by substituting for the word "more" the word "equally," both as regards the beneficial use and the labour employed. That would dispose of his criticism, which in some respects was tolerably well founded. I daresay my hon. Friend (Captain Gilmour) would be willing to accept that alteration of his Amendment. This Amendment will satisfy the farmers of Scotland, who, after all, ought to be considered in this matter with anxious care. We have maintained a system of agriculture in Scotland through very adverse times to the great satisfaction of everybody concerned. We have in Scotland the best system of agriculture that exists in the civilised world, and the tenants are entitled to the best consideration and to claim that their interests ought not to be unduly interfered with in any changes that may be made.
This is only a more or less tentative proposal, and it will have the indirect effect—where you have possibly to alter the conditions of a holding by, say, turning good pasture land into arable land, or where you get possibly a crop of thistles instead 691 of, as the Lord Advocate said, a crop of oats, or barley, or turnips—of stirring up the occupiers to make more beneficial use of the holding than otherwise they would have. That would be a direct advantage gained, which is not to be lost sight of. There are tenants of that kind in Scotland, as well as in other places. If the Lord Advocate thinks that the tenants of Scotland are not anxious to have this Amendment passed he makes a great mistake. If this Bill is to pass it is desirable that it should pass with the least possible friction and the fewest possible objectors, so that everyone concerned may do his best to see that its provisions are carried into effect and made as beneficial as possible. Let him not think it wise or prudent to go on refusing Amendments in this House that are perfectly reasonable and are not intended in any way to interfere with the working of this system. There is plenty of room within the words of the Amendment for the construction of all the small holdings that people are likely to want. There are many districts in which they are not wanted at all, and in which this Bill would prove to be absolutely a dead letter. The right hon. Gentleman admitted that himself. I believe it will be so in the county in which I am chiefly interested, and also in many others. This Amendment will not do otherwise than give a very reasonable instruction to those responsible for the creation of these small holdings.
§ 1.0 P.M.
§ Mr. SCOTT DICKSON
I regret very much that the Government will not accept this Amendment. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Leith Burghs (Mr. Munro-Ferguson), that unless small holdings in Scotland or anywhere else are founded on a sound economical basis, instead of doing good they will do a great deal of mischief. The Lord Advocate, as I understood, opposed this Amendment on the ground that it was impossible for the Commission to form an opinion as to whether a more beneficial use may be made of the land or more labour would be employed upon it. I fall in entirely with the suggestion of the Member for Ayr Burghs (Sir G. Younger), that the word "equal" should be substituted for the word "more"; but if it is impossible for this Board to form an opinion as to whether what they are going to do will result in a more beneficial use being made of the land, 692 or more labour being employed upon it, then I confess it seems to me they will be quite incapable of discharging what should be their very first duty. The idea of creating small holdings, when we are told that they cannot possibly say whether a better or as good use is going to be made of the land, or whether as much labour is going to be employed, seems to me to be out of the question. That is the answer which I make to the observations of the hon. Baronet, the Member for Inverness-shire (Sir J. Dewar). No doubt it would be an advantage to have six or seven families cultivating the land instead of having the work done by unmarried men, provided always you are going to get more out of the land, or as much out of the land. We are not here representing the landlord view. No one will dispute that we are here putting forward the views of the tenant farmers of Scotland, and I think that the challenge made is well founded, that you will not find practically any difference of opinion among the tenant farmers of Scotland, or a very large pre-ponderence of the tenant farmers that what they want is to get security in their farms, and they believe that without some such provision as this there security would be absolutely interfered with. I hope it will be quite understood that so far as we put forward this Amendment, we are not doing so in the least for the purpose of preventing the formation of small holdings, but for the purpose of securing as far as possible that small holdings shall have the best chance, by putting before the Commission the consideration of applying their minds to the economical question, and seeing whether the small holdings which they are going to create will be on a sound economic basis. For these reasons I would ask the Government to reconsider their views upon the matter, and if possible—I do not say that the words may not be capable of being improved—that the idea of the Amendment should find expression in the Bill, and be an Instruction to the Commissioners in the carrying out of their duties.
§ Mr. BARNES
Hon. Members have lost sight of the fact that this is a limiting Amendment. It is going to limit the discretion of the Commissioners, who are to work this Act. There is nothing in the Act to prevent the Commissioners acting exactly in the manner adumbrated in the Amendment. The Commissioners are 693 charged to have regard to land falling or about to fall out of use, and to prefer such land. That is going some way in the direction of the Amendment. But the Amendment goes further, and says that the Commissioners shall not constitute any land a new holding unless a more beneficial or as now suggested, an equally beneficial use shall be made of it, and more labour employed.
§ Mr. BARNES
What we are discussing is the Amendment which says that a more beneficial use is to be made of the land, and that more labour is to be employed. The hon. Member for Inverness-shire referred to the question of the beneficial use of the land. From what I can gather, the general feeling seems to be that the beneficial use is the economical use in the sense of money. That is what I gather from the cheers following the statement of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Leith Burghs. I do not take that view. I rather take the view put forward by the hon. Member for Inverness-shire, that the beneficial use of land is a wider term. The hon. Member who sits behind me moved an Amendment to-day including deer forests and sheep runs and the land used for that purpose as coming within the Bill, and he was told that it was not necessary because that sort of land was already in the Bill. That is to say, the Commissioners have a discretion to use that sort of land if they thought proper. It may be for anything I know that a larger rent is obtained for the land than can be obtained for small holdings. I think it is very likely that that is so. Therefore, in that mere sense of money, in the sense of a larger rent being obtained for the landlords, and that rent yielding its quota to carry on local work in the district, I suppose we would say that that is the best use that can be made of the land, but it should be observed that at all events much of the land now used for that purpose has been used at one time for labour, for the purpose of maintaining that social life, or something like it, which was mentioned by the hon. Member for Inverness-shire, and I take it that if under the operation of this Bill, or any other Bill, we could convert these sheep-runs and deer-forests into small holdings—I do not say it is possible—if it were possible—I am merely giving this as an illustration— 694 to convert that land from being a sheep-run or a deer-forest into small holdings, and if less rent were obtained for the land, I take it that we should still be making a more beneficial use of it, because although less rent might be obtained and less money for administration by local bodies, yet the larger number of people who would be living on the land, bringing their families there, would be the introduction of a form of social life in Scotland which has been almost banished from that country; the whole consideration, so far, having been, I believe, to get the highest rent for the land. It is for that reason I shall vote against this Amendment, which adds to the difficulties of the Commissioners in bringing land under the operation of the Bill.
§ Mr. JAMES MASON
I think it is quite obvious that the Amendment now before the House contemplates the agricultural value only of the land, and not the rent which can be obtained. I think the words "beneficial use" must certainly be judged from the point of view, rather, of the yield of the land. The whole of this question seems to me to be one affecting the position between the large farmer and the small farmer, and not the position between the landlord and the farmer. If this Amendment is refused with the idea that these small holdings are to be set up, apart from the question of whether they are going to give a better and more beneficial result as a whole, or whether they are going to employ as much labour, it is obvious you are faced with an uneconomic position, and in the end the holdings will be thrown up. In order to set up a system of small holdings you necessarily have to affect the position of large holdings detrimentally. In order to set up these holdings it is admitted you have to do something which is disadvantageous to big holdings. If the small holdings which are set up are found not to be economic, and have to be given up, you will have inflicted a great amount of injury upon big agriculture without gaining anything for the benefit of small agriculture. Before taking such a step it is quite obvious that it is necessary to take precautions that that should not occur. It may easily happen in Scotland, if these small holdings are not economic, that in time they will be thrown on your hands in the same way as we have seen a great number of cases in which allotments have been thrown up, because the people did 695 not want them. That has happened to me within the last few weeks. I have been requested by a neighbouring village to take the allotments off their hands without any notice or compensation, because they do not want to keep them any longer. The condition in which they have been returned to me has been such that I have been obliged to give them to a neighbouring farmer for two or three years, without rent, in order to get the land clean. If that happens with small holdings, and if they are returned in the inferior condition in which they are at the present time, then you will find that you will have to throw them back eventually into the larger holdings, with the result that the total beneficial yield of the land, as a whole, will be deteriorated.
§ Mr. MUNRO
The speeches which have been made on the other side of the House seem to suggest that unless this Amendment is accepted, the beneficial use of the land and the employment of more labour will be considerations excluded from the contemplation and deliberations of the Land Court. There can be no greater delusion than that, for anybody who has studied this Bill will see that it provides that all material elements shall be considered by the Land Court. The land must be suitable land before it is taken by the Land Court, and all the parties having any interest or right to the land must be heard. Therefore, it is impossible to imagine that all the considerations dealt with in this Amendment, and all other relevant considerations, will not be before the Land Court in dealing with this matter. What we do deprecate is that the Land Court should be absolutely disabled from dealing with the land at all, unless it is able to make up its mind on the two considerations dealt with in this Amendment in a rather speculative manner. The real objection to the Amendment—I am speaking for myself—is that it is impossible of application if looked at by any member of the Land Court. What is the meaning of this Debate? It illustrates the difficulty. What is the meaning of the words "beneficial use"? Various suggestions have been made from various quarters of the House. How is the Land Court to deal with words capable of such diverse interpretation? Beneficial to whom? To the landlord, to the tenant, to the community? Is it sporting, is it agricultural use? The various suggestions which have been made 696 on the point illustrate how difficult it will be for the Land Court to deal with these questions. Take the other criterion suggested, the employment of more labour. You would require a Land Court composed of men who are not only judges, but prophets, to apply that criterion. No Court, looking to the future, could possibly make up its mind as to whether or no, say, in the following year, labour would be greater than at the time the application was made. If for no other reason, the very unspecific character of the criteria which it is sought to apply is a good reason for rejecting the Amendment.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I followed with a considerable amount of interest the speech of the hon. Baronet the Member for Inverness-shire (Sir J. Dewar), but I am not quite sure that I could follow his argument. He is apparently against the Amendment because he is of opinion that social advantage will be gained if ten married men are put on a piece of land instead of ten unmarried men; we have too much emigration going on at the present moment, to Canada and other places, and if you put more married men upon the land you will have more emigration, because there is not more than a certain amount of land to accommodate them. The hon. Gentleman went on to say that the object of the Bill was to create small holdings, and that it was absolutely necessary that small holdings should be created. I take great interest in the proceedings of the hon. Baronet, and I happen to have a speech which he made a short time ago in Inverness-shire, and I do not see that he said anything in it about small holdings. On the contrary, it says that the present system is the best system in the world. If that be so, why does the hon. Baronet refuse this Amendment?
§ Sir J. DEWAR
It means the present system of landlord and tenant as against the nationalisation of the land.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I will read the speech of the hon. Gentleman:—He believed in the present system they had got in Scotland …. The system of Scotland, in having a good landlord and a well-managed estate, was economically the soundest system of all, because they had on the one hand the owner, willing to risk his capital in purchasing land and lit it for the tenant, and on the other they had the tenant, willing to risk his capital and give his life, energy, and genius in getting the most out of the land.I own a very small portion of land, and have only a few tenants. I hope my tenants will not take the most they can out of the land; that is not my idea of 697 good farming. The hon. Baronet said "he believed a partnership of this kind best suited the genius of the British people." That is the partnership the hon. Baronet is desirous of breaking. As my hon. Friend here says, if there is vacant land let us take that and experiment with small holdings, but do not turn out those men whom the hon. Baronet has been flattering and put in people who may, in the words of the Lord Advocate, not be suitable.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I believe I understand the English language, and as I read it as an Englishman, it does not bear the interpretation the hon. Baronet has put upon it. It may have been spoken in Scotland, and it may have had a different meaning there. The Amendment only proposes that preference should be given to vacant land. I doubt whether these small holdings are going to be so advantageous as is supposed. My hon. Friend the Member for Windsor (Mr. James Mason) told the House his experience, which showed that that is not always the case. My experience is the same. In my part of the world the dry season has knocked out all the small holders, and there is little demand for small holdings. Why should you dispossess people who may have the advantage of getting land which is unoccupied, and on which you can start small holdings? The hon. Member for Leith Burghs (Mr. Munro-Ferguson) said that any loss would have to be made up by the State. I am part of the State, and it is out of my pocket that some of that loss will have to be made up, and therefore, I am not at all anxious to run amuck with small holdings, when I believe that unless they are carefully managed I will have to put my hand in my pocket, and I have done that quite enough with the present Government. I have pleasure in supporting the Amendment.
§ Captain GILMOUR
I would be very ready to accept the suggestion of the hon. Member for Ayr Burghs, that the word "equally" should be substituted for the word "more," and "or" for "and" in the latter part of the Amendment. If the Lord Advocate cannot accept the Amendment in that form, he is refusing to accept one of the most reasonable Amendments which has ever been placed before him with regard to this Bill. It is simply 698 carrying out the continuance of that Instruction which is proposed by Sub-section (2) of this Clause. The Lord Advocate has told us that the reason why we need not concern ourselves about that is that you have got a Commissioner in whom we are supposed to have every confidence, and that we are to have an intelligent Board of Agriculture, but it has been one of the complaints which we make that we know nothing either about the Commissioner or about this heaven-born Board of Agriculture. Hon. Members opposite, when they made the point about the necessity of ignoring the financial side and rather laying stress upon the necessity of placing a larger number of families upon the land, ignored the fact that in a very large part of Scotland at present there is sufficient housing accommodation for married families, and that in a great part of Scotland, particularly in the south-east, the "bothy" system does not exist to the same extent as in other parts of Scotland. If they do not make it part of the Instructions through the Board of Agriculture, then in my opinion in the larger part of Scotland, they will be displacing, not only the people on the land, and the single labourers, but also the heads of families, and will be doing a great injustice to already existing families, and in defiance of that object, to which hon. Members on the other side professed themselves to be so attached. I think we have the right to ask that this question should be considered, and in view of the refusal which has been given, and of the explicitly expressed views of agriculturists throughout the whole of Scotland, I must press this Motion to a Division.
§ Sir HILDRED CARLILE
Are we to have no acknowledgment from any Member of the Government of the important concession made a moment ago to the Government in this Amendment? Is the Government indifferent as to whether the land is used more beneficially or equally beneficially? Is the Amendment to be negatived by the brutal force of additional numbers? I think it is a matter for regret that the hon. Member for Blackfriars (Mr. Barnes) should have brought in a financial element in connection with the Amendment. There is no suggestion of that kind in the Amendment, and it was not stated by speakers on this side that purely monetary considerations influenced them in any sense. It merely gave the hon. Member for Blackfriars an opportunity of dragging in the deer forests, which were, 699 under the circumstances, somewhat conspicuous by their absence from the speeches of hon. Members on the other side. We all know that if the land in Scotland which is now used for deer forests could be used for farming purposes or small holdings, that no people would be more anxious to see that change take place than those to whom the deer forests at present belong. At the present time it is far too late to suggest that the owners of land are not sympathetic towards the subject of small holdings. People who own land are only too anxious to have small holdings on it. Many, like the hon. Member for Windsor, have not been encouraged in their experience. I believe I have only one small holding on a little property within twenty mites of this. My experience has been very disastrous. From time to time the tenant has been changed, and, so far as I can remember, the rent has rarely been
§ paid. The hon. Member for Wick Burghs (Mr. Munro) seemed to think that it was utterly superfluous for hon. Members on this side to suppose that it was necessary to put anything in the Bill for the guidance of the Land Courts. It is an extraordinary suggestion to make, that we should give no suggestions for the guidance of those who are to carry out the work of the Court. Therefore it seems to me an extraordinary suggestion that my hon. Friends have gone beyond what was to be expected of them in laying down ruling principles for the guidance of the Land Court. The necessity for these suggestions is perefectly evident to anyone who has any experience of land and its interests. I shall have pleasure in supporting my hon. Friend in the Division.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 33; Noes, 118.701
|Division No. 390.]||AYES.||[1.25 p.m.|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Rothschild, Lionel de|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Grant, J. A.||Stewart, Gershom|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)||Talbot, Lord Edmund|
|Bigland, Alfred||Henderson, Major H. (Abingdon)||Tullibardine, Marquess of|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Hunt, Rowland||Valentia, Viscount|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Mackinder, Halford J.||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||M'Mordie, Robert James||Yate, Colonel C. E.|
|Cassel, Felix||Malcolm, Ian||Younger, Sir George|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Mason, James F. (Windsor)|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Captain|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. S.||Peto, Basil Edward||Gilmour and Mr. Harry Hope.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Gill, Alfred Henry||Martin, Joseph|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Gladstone, W. G. C.||Mason, David M. (Coventry)|
|Adamson, William||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Menzies, Sir Walter|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Goldstone, Frank||Millar, James Duncan|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbarton)||Greig, Colonel J. W.||Molteno, Percy Alport|
|Barnes, George N.||Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Mooney, John J.|
|Benn, W. W. (Tower Hamlets, S. Geo.)||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Morgan, George Hay|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Hackett, John||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas|
|Brady, Patrick Joseph||Hancock, J. G.||Munro, Robert|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Murray, Capt. Hon. Arthur C.|
|Bryce, John Annan||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.)||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Nolan, Joseph|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Hayward, Evan||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Cameron, Robert||Hodge, John||O'Donnell, Thomas|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||O'Grady, James|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Hudson, Walter||O'Sullivan, Timothy|
|Clough, William||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Compton-Rickett, Sir J.||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Pointer, Joseph|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T. H'mts, Stepney)||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Cotton, William Francis||Kelly, Edward||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Cowan, William Henry||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Radford, George Heynes|
|Crumley, Patrick||King, J. (Somerset, North)||Raphael, Sir Herbert H.|
|Cullinan, John||Lansbury, George||Reddy, Michael|
|Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)|
|Dawes, James Arthur||Lewis, John Herbert||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich)||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Dewar, Sir J. A.||Lundon, Thomas||Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)|
|Dillon, John||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Doris, William||Maclean, Donald||Roche, John (Galway, E.)|
|Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Rowlands, James|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Falconer James||Marshall, Arthur Harold||Sheehy, David|
|Simon, Sir John Allsebrook||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim)||Watt, Henry A.||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Soames, Arthur Wellesley||Webb, H.|
|Sutton, John E.||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander||Whitehouse, John Howard||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.Gulland and Mr. Dudley Ward.|
|Verney, Sir H.||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Wadsworth, John||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause," put, and agreed to.
§ Mr. AINSWORTH
I beg to move, in Sub-section (7), after the word "otherwise" ["by agreement or otherwise"], to insert the words "or as incidental to any existing holding or holdings as defined by Section 2, Sub-section (2).
I hope the Lord Advocate will see his way to extend the powers given by this Sub-section, so that the Board of Agriculture will be able to assist, not only where new holdings are being created, but also where there are existing holdings. It is well known to all who are acquainted with the Highlands, especially in the western counties, that there are a number of parishes in which it has been found impossible to provide for the requirements of the Public Health Act from local funds. Many of the parishes have poor and scattered populations, and the circumstances are such that in many cases, I am sorry to say, that with what, the local authorities have spent they have not then even been able to supply what was required for the well-being of the inhabitants. All we ask is that some means should be found, and some authority be given power, to assist the districts where the local authority is without funds to do what may be necessary to carry out the requirements of the Public Health Act.
§ Mr. URE
The objects that my hon. Friend has in view are certainly very desirable, but they lie entirely out of the scope of this measure. I should be very unwilling that any part of our £200,000 should be devoted to purposes other than those strictly germane to the matter in hand. Apart from that, I think my hon. Friend will see that what his Amendment proposes will not have the effect desired. It is very vague and general. He may rest assured, however, that the Government: will not lose sight of the needs of these unfortunate districts in Scotland in regard to the Public Health Act.
§ Mr. AINSWORTH
I sincerely hope that the Government will subsequently find themselves able to do something in this matter. I beg to withdraw my Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. SCOTT DICKSON
I beg to move, in Sub-section (8), after the word "opinion" ["the Board are of opinion"], to insert the words "in the case of the adjustment of a scheme for the registration by agreement of any one or more new holders in respect of any land."
We have understood that Sub-section (7) was dealing really with cases where an agreement had been come to, and we thought it desirable that that should be expressed here rather than that the Clause should stand without qualification. If the Lord Advocate is unable to accept the first of my two Amendments, I hope he will consider the second one.
§ Mr. URE
I am willing to accept the Amendment proposed, but Sub-section (8) is merely designed to give the Board of Agriculture power to draw a cheque for the compensation which has been agreed in the event of the scheme being adjusted. It is intended to apply in a case where the land has been taken compulsorily, and in the case where the land has been taken by agreement and the scheme adjusted by agreement. The Right hon. Gentleman will see that in both cases it is quite possible that the Board of Agriculture as tenant may come to an agreement with regard to compensation; that is to say, an agreement between the Board of Agriculture and the tenant is not at all contingent upon the Land Court agreeing or not agreeing to the scheme. Accordingly, this Clause is necessary in order to make it quite certain that the Board of Agriculture will feel they have statutory authority to draw a cheque, even although the aid of the Land Court has not been invoked for the purpose of adjusting the scheme.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. SCOTT DICKSON
I beg to move, in Sub-section (8), after the word "agreed" ["compensation as may be agreed"], to insert the words "between the Board and such tenant."
In view of the explanation of the Lord Advocate, I should like to be allowed to move this Amendment in the form in which I have just altered it.
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
I beg to move, in Sub-section (11), to leave out the words "the Land Court are of opinion that" ["where the Land Court are of opinion that damage or injury"].
This Amendment will read along with the Amendments that follow a few lines further down. It seems to me an absurd thing to say at the beginning of this Subsection "where the Land Court are of opinion that damage has been done." It is an absurd way of expressing it. Whatever be the opinion of the Land Court, the damage has been done or has not been done. By the constitution of these new rules the Board of Agriculture shall take compensation as determined after the parties have been heard. I do not know that that is a very important point, but it does seem to us to be rather clumsy drafting. This Amendment has no connection with the Appeal Amendment further on. It stands on its own feet altogether. Probably the Lord Advocate will agree that the way I suggest is the better way of expressing the thing.
§ Mr. URE
On the whole I prefer the phrasing of the Bill. The sequence of events is as follows: In the first place, the Land Court says what compensation is due. Having pronounced their opinion, the Board of Agriculture are required to pay the compensation the Land Court has stated to be due. Then the Board of Agriculture considers whether or not the scheme shall proceed, having regard to the amount of compensation which the Land Court has found due. It appears to me that the phrasing of the Bill is therefore better expressed than that suggested by the hon. Baronet.
§ Mr. SCOTT DICKSON
The proposal is an extraordinary one. You are taking land which the proprietor has put to another use, perhaps of a larger holding, and depriving him of all rights of that land, and really it seems to me all right except that of a rent collector. Further, the land may be damaged by being taken from the rest of the land which he maintains in his hands; and it is only after this land has been taken by the Board of Agriculture, subject to the approval of 704 the Land Court, and if the Land Court thinks that he has suffered any damage that he has any claim at all. The landlord may have suffered ever so much damage, but if the Land Court are of opinion that he has not, he is not to be allowed to put forward his claim at all. I suppose that is really what this proviso says?
It is only where the Land Court thinks damage is done that he is to have any claim at all. No matter how much the landlord or the tenant interested is damaged, if the Land Court thinks it is not damaged he shall not be allowed to put forward his claim. I submit that is a most extraordinary proposal. The Government comes in and off its own bat deprives the landlord of the management of his land, which they want to take for public purposes; yet it is only when the Government think that any damage has been done to his interests that he is to be allowed to put forward a claim. I submit that is depriving the landlord of the rights in his land, and is carrying this matter further than any other Statute ever carried it. In the case of land valuation under the Budget we know what was thought of the proposal that the valuation should be fixed and that no one else was to have anything to say to it. It is proposed in this proviso that whatever damage is done to the landlord or the tenant whose occupancy is taken, neither of them are to have any claim to a copper of compensation unless those taking the land think they ought to have it. That is a most unreasonable proposition.
§ Mr. URE
Perhaps, with the leave of the House, I may say one word in reply to the right hon. Gentleman. Of course, if the view he took were accurate it would not be a reasonable proposal, but my right hon. Friend may rest assured that is not so. It is rather curious that my right hon. Friend brings this forward now for the first time. We all understand perfectly well that the Land Court will be made the judges in the event of the landlord putting in any claim for compensation. But I would refer my right hon. Friend to Subsection (10), which provides that before making an order the Land Court gives all parties with any right or interest in the land an opportunity of being heard. If the landlord suffers any damage he puts in a claim, and the Court will, of course, consider it.
MARQUESS of TULLIBARDINE
There is a great deal too much in this Bill 705 of "Dilly, Dilly, come and be killed." All we are asking is that there should be equal fairness and justice both to the tenant and the landlord as there is in connection with every other kind of property. It is not a question of whether the Land Court are of opinion whether damage has been done; it is a question really of whether damage has been done or not. If damage is done you have to go to a final Court, which is a combination of the Land Court and the Board, and surely it is quite wrong that the matter should be prejudged by the Land Court. The landlord or the tenant should be allowed to put in a claim for compensation to the party that should give him compensation and the matter should be properly heard and disposed of.
§ Amendment made: In Sub-section (11), after the word "landlord" ["or to any landlord in respect of"], insert the word "either."—[Mr. Ure.]
§ Mr. SCOTT DICKSON
I beg to move, Sub-section (11), to leave out the words "and directly attributable to."
I quite understand the words "in consequence of," but the other words are never put into any Statute where compensation is given. Surely if damage is done in consequence of the new holding, whether it is directly or indirectly attributable, it must be in consequence of the creation of the new holding, and for that reason I suggest that the retention of the words "and directly attributable to" would only lead to confusion.
§ Mr. URE
I would remind the right hon. Gentleman that these words were agreed upon by the Member for West Edinburgh and myself. I have carefully considered the words, and I think they make the meaning perfectly clear. Damage "directly attributable to" is not merely what the lawyers call consequential damage.
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
I remember the discussion upstairs and I quite recollect what occurred. The right hon. Gentleman wanted to exclude "moral and material damage." What we do not see is how these words strengthen the case or alter it in any way. Damage consequent upon the creation of a holding is the same as directly attributable to the creation of this holding.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.706
§ Amendment made: In Sub-section (11), after the word "opportunity" ["after giving parties an opportunity"], insert the words "of being heard and."—[Mr. Scott Dickson.]
§ Mr. SCOTT DICKSON
I beg to move, at the end of Sub-section (11), to insert the following proviso,Provided always that it shall be competent for any person aggrieved by the determination of the Land Court, if the amount in dispute exceeds £400, to require the Land Court to state and sign the case upon which the question arose, setting forth the evidence, together with the determination thereon, and to transmit such case for the decision of the judges of the Court of Session named for the purposes of hearing appeals under the Valuation of Lands (Scotland) Acts, subject to such regulations as may be prescribed by Act of Sederunt.This proviso would give the right of appeal on the question of compensation. I may say to the hon. Members of the House who are not skilled in the phraseology of the Lands Valuation Acts that the machinery here is taken from those Acts, if not verbatim, at any rate in substance. The effect of this proposal would be that when the Land Court decides that no damage has been done, or after having heard the evidence, they have assessed the amount of the damage, that there should be an appeal from their judgment to the Land Valuation Court, which consists of the three judges of the Court of Session. The House will note that there is not an absolute right of appeal, but that the appeal is only to be allowed where the amount in dispute is £400. I can understand the Lord Advocate saying that this proviso might place a premium upon a man putting forward an extravagant claim which he has no chance of sustaining, but a process of that kind would be fairly checked by the Court having power over the costs. Where there is a bonâ fide claim for an amount exceeding £400 we desire to provide that, it should not be settled once and for all by the Land Court. We quite appreciate what the Lord Advocate has done in the previous part of the Bill, where the House will remember the chairman of the Land Court is to be a lawyer of the rank of a judge of the Court of Session. This proposal is not making any reflection upon the fairness of the chairman of the Land Court. Where you are dealing with a considerable amount 707 there might be a much larger claim than £400. We submit it is not fair that the right to get that vindicated should be determined finally and for all by what is really a Government Department, even though it has the title of a Land Court. The only member of a Land Court who would be a lawyer would be the chairman. The Court has to consist under the Act of not more than five persons, and I presume the other four members would be persons skilled in agricultural matters.
Let me remind the House that in the Valuation Court you have a large body of gentlemen acquainted locally with the circumstances of the district, and there is an appeal from them to a Court of Appeal consisting of three judges. Where a claim is bonâ fide, and a man thinks he is entitled to a larger sum than £400, why should the final judgment be left to the Land Court? Obviously, the bias of the Court would be in the direction of minimising the amount of the damages. Two questions will be submitted to the Land Court. The first is whether any damage has been done at all, and the second, if so, what is the amount? That is a matter which should not be finally decided by that Court without any appeal from their judgment. I am aware that the objection to the view that this Court should not be allowed to be final is that the appeal would be costly. We have endeavoured to meet that by taking the least costly form of appeal—namely, an appeal to the Valuation Court, and in this way the expense woud be reduced to a minimum. We also recognise that in the case of small claims they should not be subjected to the cost of an appeal. We have fixed the limit at £400 in order to make it quite certain that frivolous appeals would not be made. You have in the first place this Court created by Statute for the purpose of endeavouring to allow as large a number of small holdings as possible to be created. In the administration of the Act claims may arise for damage between landlord and tenant, and these claims should not be settled in a way merely to suit the views of the Land Court, having in view the advantages of creating small holdings. The person damaged should be able to have an appeal where his claim is a large and substantial one, and that appeal should be one of the ordinary constituted courts of the country—namely, the Land Valuation Court. We 708 think this is a fair and reasonable proposal, and accordingly we think it only right that the appeal should be recognised, and this proviso should be added. When the House dealt with the question of the taxation of land values there was no appeal provided for as the Act was originally introduced. The argument was such that the Government felt it impossible to resist, and, after full argument, they conceded an appeal to the High Court in England or the Court of Session in Scotland. I do not know of any argument which applies to that case which does not apply with equal force to this. We do not want an appeal where the amount is not sufficient to justify going to the expense of it. We want an appeal where the amount in question is sufficient to warrant it, and we suggest £400 would be a reasonable figure.
§ Mr. URE
I understand and realise thoroughly the importance which the right hon. Gentleman and those who sit on the other side of the House attach to this proposal, and, as I am about to oppose it, and as I do not share their views with regard to its importance, I think it right to place it to the best of my ability in its proper perspective. When land is taken these are the questions which are submitted to the Land Court: Is there a diminution in its rental value? Is there a diminution in the value of the farm? Is there a diminution in the selling value of the estate? Has the tenant suffered any injury in consequence of the land being taken? These questions I agree may in some cases involve considerable sums of money, and for their decision the Bill provides a Land Court consisting of five persons, the chairman being a trained lawyer of standing and experience with the status of a Judge of Court of Session. The other four gentlemen of the Court will naturally be men skilled in agriculture and valuation. When questions such as these come to be decided, the procedure prescribed by the Bill is this: In the first place, the matter will come before, it may be two members of the Land Court who will have power to hear evidence as well as arguments, to visit the ground, and to take in the assistance of a valuer or an assessor if they deem that necessary. After they have given their decision there is power given to both parties to appeal to the Land Court sitting in its ordinary quorum—that is to say, either with five members or with a minimum of three, and, if there are only three, then the Court must consist of two 709 members who were not the original members who decided the question. That is the procedure which is prescribed under the Bill. In the event of any important question of law arising in the course of the proceedings, an appeal is given to the Court of Session upon that question of law.
The right hon. Gentleman says we are entrusting the decision of these questions to a Government Department. There I join issue with him. The Land Court is no more a Government Department than are the gentlemen of the Court of Session, and in no case can they be described as partisans. They are not placed in the position of officers, such as assessors, who are Government officials. We have deliberately made it a Land Court separate from the Board of Agriculture, realising that they will have to perform judicial as well as administrative functions in questions of delicacy and difficulty. My objection, therefore, to the right hon. Gentleman's proposal is that it involves an appeal from a Court to a Court of not higher authority, but to a Court, I should say, not even of equal authority, but of inferior authority, upon the questions in hand. There is a fundamental objection to giving an appeal unless the final authority is of greater experience than the Court of first instance. Are the judges of the Valuation Court, for whom I entertain the highest respect, a Court of higher authority upon the particular topic which it is proposed to submit to their judgment? I think not. I am not saying for a single moment they are not accustomed to considering these facts, nor do I say they are placed at a disadvantage as compared with the Court of the first instance, because they have not the opportunity of observing the demeanour of witnesses, because, I freely allow, questions of credibility rarely, if ever, arise in questions relating to the amount of value. It is not like an investigation into a disputed question of fact. I have practised in the Valuation Court for many long years, and I have never really seen any serious controversy upon a question of fact. The facts are there, and the dispute always lay with regard to the inference to be drawn from facts which were admitted on both sides. I do not think anyone would be safe to argue the valuation judges were an inferior authority to the Court of first instance, because the Court of first instance had the power of deciding questions of credibility, and were in a better position 710 to judge than the Court of Appeal, because they had the opportunity of seeing and hearing the witnesses. Nor do I place too great weight, though some weight must undoubtedly be placed, upon the fact that the Court of first instance is enjoined, or, at all events, has the power to go and visit the place. But the valuation judges in my judgment, although not disabled, have no special skill or experience in the particular duties which we are asked to impose upon them. They are accustomed to settle questions of the yearly value of land, and they usually proceed on a long array of figures, but they have never had to consider questions of fact. They are practically confined in their investigations to questions of yearly value. They usually consider questions of law and the inferences that may be drawn from facts.
But the Court we propose to set up will be a Court specially qualified to deal with such questions as are raised in this Subsection. It will be a Court specially qualified to judge tine diminution of the letting value of the land or the mischief done to the farm in consequence of a portion of it being taken away. It will also be able to judge as to the diminution of the market value of the estate under the altered circumstances. These are questions entirely outside the range and special knowledge and experience of the judges of the Valuation Courts. I do not deny that the members of that Court are well qualified to decide any question submitted to them. But my point is that they have not the special experience to decide these particular questions, whereas the Land Court proposed to be constituted under this Bill will be a Court possessing such experience. Do not let the House forget that we are not here dealing with exceptional matters. Ever since 1845 questions involving large sums of compensation for land taken have been confided with quite satisfactory results to the judgment of a single arbitrator, and in the long run, in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred the judgment of the umpire as between two arbitrators has sufficed to decide the question without there being any power of appeal or right of review. Of course a skilled arbitrator may fall into error, he may make some gross mistake; but there is provision made under our ordinary procedure for rectifying such mistakes. In other words, under the ordinary practice there is a right of re-hearing if either of the parties are dissatisfied. I consider that to be a great safeguard, and 711 I would point out that under this Bill if you have one or two members of the Land Court decide the question in the first instance, there is a right of review by the whole Court, in order that any error that may have been committed may be put right. The Land Court has power under this Bill to frame rules for their own procedure, and undoubtedly it would be possible, where a question has been considered in the first instance by only one or two members of the Court to have a re-hearing before the full Court, so as to avoid any chance of error being committed.
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
Does the right hon. Gentleman propose to introduce an Amendment to make provision for that?
§ Mr. URE
Certainly. If there is the slightest doubt about it it shall be done. I am glad to note that my right hon. Friend opposite made no suggestion of partiality or bias on the part of the newly-constituted Land Court, but he did suggest that there might be a tendency to award valuations with too niggardly a hand on the one side, or with too lavish a hand on the other. We all know that a body constituted as this Land Court will be will be a body of trained lawyers, and the tendency might be to give damages with a somewhat niggardly hand; but I would point out that as a rule Courts of Appeal do not disturb verdicts upon damages given by arbitrators, and therefore people would not be well advised to trouble their heads with appeals. My main objection to this proposal is that it suggests an appeal to a Court of less authority from a Court of greater authority in regard to the questions to be submitted to it. My second objection is that it will lead to expense. The House will say the expense, whatever it may be, will not fall on the shoulders of some small man, but it will fall on the shoulders of some landed proprietor. I am not saying that he can bear it more easily. My main objection is the delay which will be involved. I foresee a great opportunity for hanging up a scheme and keeping the thing dangling for weeks or months before any progress is made. I am not saying that people will deliberately cause delay, but here is the opportunity for anybody who desires to obstruct to cause great delay in the settlement of a scheme. For these reasons, first, because the Land Court is a Court of higher authority; secondly, on account of expense, although I do not lay 712 too much stress on that; and thirdly, on the ground of delay, I must offer a very strong opposition to the proposal made by the right hon. Gentleman.
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
I deeply regret that the Lord Advocate does not see his way to accept this Amendment. From the point of view of those who ask for an appeal, it is a very reasonable form of appeal which is asked for. We exempt all the smaller cases from the review of any higher Court. The great majority of cases will be small, and the amounts involved will not be large; but we regard it as vital that there should be an appeal to the Valuation Court, or any other Court the right hon. Gentleman prefers, which is an impartial tribunal, from the decision of the Land Court upon these questions which may involve in certain cases—they may be rare—a very large amount of money. The right hon. Gentleman laid great stress not on the expense of the appeals, but on the delay which might arise. He has delivered a long dissertation on the manner in which the valuation judges perform their duties now, and the difference between that class of work and the kind of work we are proposing to place on their shoulders. There is one thing he cannot say. He cannot say that the valuation judges ever allow any delay to arise in taking cases on appeal. They are most prompt, for the best of all reasons, that the Valuation Roll cannot be kept too long in a condition lacking completion, and they therefore take these cases very promptly.
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
Of course, they must be taken after the Roll is made up. In the short distance of time between the provisional Roll and the completed Roll, there is no time to do anything more than to have meetings of the Local Valuation Court to decide these questions. The right hon. Gentleman will agree with me that if the Roll is made up in November and the appeals are heard in February, there is not much delay. I do not think there is very much in the Lord Advocate's argument as to the duties of the judges under this scheme. I cannot understand why he should have given us a long dissertation on the position of the Land Valuation Judges, unless it was that he knew he was refusing a fair Amendment, 713 and that the best way was to ride off on another matter altogether. We hold a very strong view on this question. The right hon. Gentleman will admit, in his inmost heart, that we are not unreasonable in the manner in which we put this forward.
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
If we are to have an appeal at all, it is a reasonable proposal. I think the right hon. Gentleman is undertaking a grave responsibility in so determinedly opposing the Amendment, because it may make, I do not say that it will make a difference to the passage of this Bill. The right hon. Gentleman has suggested to the House that the Land Court would be a better tribunal for the purpose of settling these questions than the valuation judges. He has kept his own counsel about the Land Court. We have not the ghost of an idea how the Land Court is to be constituted. I cannot for the life of me understand why, if the Chancellor of the Exchequer thought it his duty to promise that before the Insurance Bill left this House he would state the names of the Insurance Commissioners, it is not the duty of the Lord Advocate, before this Bill leaves this House to-day, as I understand it is to do, to state the names of the members of the Land Court. Then we should know the names of these infallible people who cannot go wrong; then we should know whether the trained lawyer, who is to be at the head of the Court, is to be a person from whose judgments there have been no appeal, or whether, if he has not been infallible in one thing, he is likely to be infallible in another. I should not be a bit surprised to find, when we know who he is, that appeals have often been made from his decisions, and that the appeals have been sustained.
We are asking for an impartial tribunal. The Land Court cannot be an impartial tribunal, although it may, with the best endeavours in the world, try to be so. It certainly will not be impartial, because it will be its business to do what it can to secure that as many small holdings as possible—I hope on economic principles—shall be established in Scotland. If they cannot go on establishing small holdings and creating, encouraging and satisfying a demand for them, they will cease to have any justification for their existence. It is their business to make the show run. Although they may think they are impartial, they will spend as little of the 714 £200,000 as possible in paying compensation, in order to be able to equip small holdings; that is a sufficient argument against the Lord Advocate's reasoned speech that we should not have an appeal from them. It does not matter to us that the Board of Agriculture is to be the first authority and that there is to be an appeal from them to the Land Court. That is not an appeal from one impartial Court to another; it is an appeal from one body to another, both of which are encouraged to do the same business.
There is no analogy between the appeal from the local valuation committee to the Valuation Court, and the appeal, in this case, from the Board of Agriculture to the Land Court. One is a local body, with great local knowledge, having the fullest information at their disposal. Very often appeals taken from these bodies are not successful. The only case I know of in my own county in which an appeal was taken from the decision of the local body was a case in which our decision was upheld, as it often is, because the judges say that the local body knows the facts, and unless there is a very good cause shown they will not interfere. I say to the Lord Advocate in plain language I tremble very much for the fate of his Bill if he is going to refuse an Amendment of this kind, and it will be a very justifiable thing to introduce it in another place, and I do not think the Government would have any right to complain if it were. I should like it to be clearly understood that, so far as the finances of the Bill are concerned, they depend very little upon the granting of the Amendment, or some Amendment of the same kind, to give to the claims which may arise a decision of an impartial tribunal, and not leave people dependent upon the decision of the two tribunals which, however impartial, are very much interested in the question they are deciding. As to the rehearing, that no doubt would be a slight protection, but it is again appealing from one body to another body, each being interested in the same way, each endeavouring to be impartial, though neither probably is; and though that would be better than the existing proposal, it would not be a satisfactory solution of the difficulty. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will see his way to treat this Amendment before we part from it a little more considerately than he has done already. I know there are some hon. Members on his own side who think this is a reasonable and fair Amendment, though they may not be articulate. I only mention 715 that to strengthen my plea that it is a fair and reasonable Amendment and one that ought to be considered. It will very largely improve the Bill, and will help to make it work smoothly.
§ Mr. MUNRO-FERGUSON
I laid considerable stress upon the point of an independent standard of valuation being maintained under this Bill when we were before the Committee upstairs. I still adhere to that opinion. It is not merely a question of protecting large sums of money; it is a question of having an independent standard of valuation. I am not prepared to accept the doctrine that the Court of Session is less competent or even less reliable than the new Court set up for a special purpose. We know what the Court of Session is. We know the men who are on it, and all those who go before it are certain of an independent valuation, and I think the element of independence in the valuation in a matter of this kind is everything if there is to be confidence in the administration of the Act. The Court of Session is certainly independent, and it is not incompetent, and we do not yet know what this new body is going to be. When the Irish Land Act was passed the names of the Commissioners were given, and in this case also it might have removed a good many difficulties if we had known the persons of whom this new body was to consist. I certainly cannot accept the proposition that the Court of Session is not a higher authority than any which it is proposed to set up under this Bill. As an outside layman I take the valuation judges of the Court of Session as a far higher and more independent authority than anything set up under the Bill. It is all very well to say that the left-hand of this machinery does not know what the right hand doeth, but to my mind the partitions are thin. I agree that, as under the Finance Act, so under this it ought to be possible to obtain an independent standard of valuation.
When the Finance Act was being discussed in this House I was asked by one of the high officials of the Inland Revenue whether I wished to have appeals under the Act. It was when the proposals to have appeals were being discussed. I said certainly not. They had all the objections which may reasonably be advanced—delay, cost, and so forth. I admit all that quite freely, but I said "if there are to be no appeals there must be an independent 716 valuation either through valuers mutually appointed or through official valuers independently appointed." My friend could not see that, and I said, "You must have appeals," and appeals were carried in every detail because he would not admit the independent valuation. I deny here that you have independent valuation, and it ought to be got, and this proposal will have my support. The delay should not be very considerable because the majority of the cases, or at least a great proportion, will be below £400. Certainly there ought to be a sufficiency of appeals to enable an independent standard of valuation to be set up and to reduce to a minimum any delay and cost which might be involved through the appeal. If a better figure can be suggested, I will take it; but meanwhile I would support the proposal as it stands. Owing to the peculiarities of the Bill, to which I have alluded, this independent valuation is certainly necessary. This is a reasonable demand, and it will be unreasonable to refuse facilities for setting up an independent standard of valuation, because I do not regard Land Courts as independent in the sense which I think desirable in order to secure this standard.
MARQUESS of TULLIBARDINE
When the Lord Advocate got up just now and stated that he realised the importance which the Opposition attached to this, I realised, at the same moment that he realised, that he had a rather bad case, and, although he made a very good case out of it, I do not think for a moment that on the ground of impartiality the ordinary law would bear looking into. He refused the right of appeal to the people of Scotland, a right which they have hitherto had. We still believe we have a right of appeal in most matters, and only the other day the right of criminal appeal was given because it was supposed that even criminals sometimes were right. On this occasion both tenants and landlords are being treated worse than criminals. The other argument which he advanced was little short of an insult to the judges of the Court of Session, because he gave out that they were too ignorant, as constituted at present, to deal with questions as to the bearing of land to small holdings. No doubt the right hon. Gentleman did not say so in these words. He said that if they were not personally cognisant with the industry themselves, they were incapable of coming to a fair and impartial finding.
MARQUESS of TULLIBARDINE
What he said amounted to that. Practically what he said was that these people were not experts in the Court of Session, and as the other judge to be appointed would be an expert he would be able to come to a far better opinion on these matters. He might just as well say that a judge who tries divorce cases ought first to have been a co-respondent himself. What we want are people who do not know very much about land, but who can take an impartial view on the evidence before them, not such a view as would be taken by one who has certain political ideas in regard to the occupation of the land. I would rather go before a judge who knew nothing at all about land. I would go so far as to say that. The right hon. Gentleman said that when land is being taken the questions these gentlemen are to consider are whether there will be a diminution in value, and whether the tenant will suffer. The Bill provides a Court constituted of persons skilled in agriculture, who are to have the power of hearing evidence, and the right hon. Gentleman says they will be very much fairer when questions come before the Land Court, because they themselves have been out and found out on the spot all about the land. Three of them will go out to collect evidence, and so on, and they will take the land, while the other two will remain at home. If the other two do not go out, what better knowledge will they have as compared with judges of the Court of Session? The people who go out are to take the land, and yet there is to fee no appeal from them to another Court. They practically say, "I kick you with my right foot here, and I can kick you with my left foot when you come before the Land Court." The right hon. Gentleman went on to tell us that the Court which will decide these matters consists practically of the same gentlemen who go out and take the land. They are to be judge and jury in their own case. They go out and take the land, and then they adjudicate upon the transaction. The right hon. Gentleman said the power was not to be entrusted to a Government Department. He evidently admits that a Government Department must be unfair.
MARQUESS of TULLIBARDINE
Then why did the right hon. Gentleman explain 718 that the power was not to be entrusted to a Government Department?
MARQUESS of TULLIBARDINE
And the Lord Advocate hotly denied the imputation. On the contrary, he said the members of the Court were not to be partisans at all. I suppose he meant that a Government Department were partisans, and that was the whole point of his argument. Is he prepared to get up and state that the chairman of the Board has never taken any interest in the question of small holdings, and that he is not a partisan? I do not think the right hon. Gentleman is likely to say that. Then the right hon. Gentleman said his main objection to the Amendment was that it involved an appeal from the Land Court to another Court which, in this instance, was not a higher Court. I do not know whether he meant that the status of the Land Court would be equal to that of the Court of Session. I think the reason was that he had already in view a gentleman who knew all about it, and that this gentleman was to have all the dignity of a judge of the Court of Session, including pension. That gentleman is to be put in as chairman of the Land Court. That is really why I said the reason of the right hon. Gentleman's objection to an appeal to a higher Court was that the judges of the Court of Session were more ignorant of the matters to be dealt with than the gentleman he is proposing to appoint. As the hon. Member for the Leith Burghs pointed out, the whole point is that we do think we ought to have the right of appeal in cases where we consider we have been wronged. I do not care whether the appeal is taken by the landlord or the tenant. In small cases it would be hardly worth while appealing, because the amount involved would not leave much margin to meet the costs, but when it comes to a matter of £400 value, say in the case of a sheep farmer, either side might be wrong, and we do feel that in a case of that kind we should have an appeal to an impartial Court instead of to the gentlemen who are to be appointed under this Bill.
§ Mr. MUNRO
Whatever the intention of this Amendment—and I do not quarrel with the good intention of the right hon. Gentleman who proposed it—I am perfectly satisfied that the result would be 719 to smother the Bill at its birth. The Amendment is open to a number of objections. In the first place, I submit it is quite unnecessary. Of course, that argument postulates that the members of the Court shall be men of competence and integrity. That is not a large assumption, I hope. It postulates that the chairman of the Land Court shall be a gentleman who is worthy of his office, and who shall have the status of a judge of the Court of Session. It further postulates that the other members of the Land Court shall be chosen because of their practical skill and experience in the matters committed to their care. If all that is so, I submit that it would be little short of grotesque to have the decisions of a tribunal so constituted referred to an Appeal Court which would have no particular experience in the matters which the Land Court is empowered to deal with. Should a question of law arise, it is provided by Clause 25 of the Bill that, on the request of any party, the Land Court may state a special case for the opinion of either Division of the Court of Session.
I go further, and say it is an unusual proposal. The Land Court is called upon to perform a function in this matter not differing very much from that performed by an arbitrator. We must remember that the Land Court's aid is only invoked if the parties are unable to come to voluntary agreement. And it is unheard of, certainly in Scotland, that we should have a right of appeal on the facts from a decision of an arbitrator. More than that, when you remember that this Act is merely a development and extension of the principle underlying the Crofters Act, and that that Act has worked without hardship or inequity for twenty-five years without any such right of appeal being conferred, then I submit that this is not only an unnecessary, but it is also an unusual proposal. It was news for me to hear from the hon. Member for West Perthshire (Marquess of Tullibardine) that there is a right of criminal appeal from the verdict of a jury in Scotland. There is no such right of appeal, and the right of appeal proposed here would differentiate the case from the ordinary law and practice in Scotland. Not only is the proposal unnecessary and unusual, but it is highly inexpedient. Consider for a moment the tribunal to which the right hon. Gentleman proposes to remit this question; the Lands Valuation Appeal Court, of which 720 those of us who are lawyers know a little. That Court as at present constituted suffers from three disabilities to deal with this question. It seldom meets; it has no power to deal with expenses, or to award them to a successful litigant against an unsuccessful opponent; and it is not as at present constituted a Court of review of facts. These three qualities of the Court as at present constituted, unfit it for the task which the Amendment proposes to delegate to it. According to my recollection, while I do not make any suggestion of delay, the Valuation Court meets once a year in Scotland. Is it proposed to hang up transactions such as are dealt with in this Amendment between landlords and tenants, small holders, sellers and buyers, for a year until the Valuation Court meets to determine the question remitted to it? Surely anything more inappropriate and more calculated to wreck the chances of this Bill being a success in Scotland cannot be conceived.
Not only so, but I submit it would be a great injustice if a person who appeals to the Valuation Court in the way suggested by the Amendment were deprived of the ordinary right which he enjoys as a litigant, as a rule, to get his costs against his opponent if he succeeds in his suit. According to the uniform practice of the Lands Valuation Appeal Court in Scotland—and the right hon. Gentleman will bear me out in this—an award of costs is unknown. I submit that the decision of a Court so disabled would not be fair and proper in a matter of this kind. Further, there is no appeal to the Lands Valuation Court, as at present constituted, on the facts of the case. The only case presented and dealt with is whether the right principle in law has been properly applied to the facts, but the facts are treated as a special verdict of a jury, and the Court, as at present constituted, does not review those. The right hon. Gentleman wants the facts reviewed, as I understand his Amendment. Accordingly, what it comes to is this: to fit the Valuation Court for the discharge of the duties which the right hon. Gentleman proposes to delegate to it, you would require to remodel its constitution and powers. I suppose the reply to that would be that that can be done under the Act of Sederunt, referred to in the last words of the Amendment—an Act passed by the judges for regulating the procedure of their own Court. I doubt very much whether they have the will or the power to go outside the present practice and confer such powers on the Appeal Court, 721 or whether they have power to give an appeal on the facts which it does not enjoy, and which the right hon. Gentleman's Amendment postulates. I submit that it really comes to this: that in so far as the right hon. Gentleman deals with a question of law, his Amendment is superfluous, because that is already provided for; and that in so far as it suggests there should be an appeal on facts, his Amendment is mischievous.
§ Mr. SCOTT DICKSON
To my mind, not to give an appeal such as is suggested here is to introduce in legislation of this sort a novelty of a very bad kind. It is said that delay would be caused. That need not happen, because if the additional duties were put on the Courts they could meet more frequently to dispose of the cases brought before them, and by the greater frequency of their meetings any difficulty of that kind would be got over. With regard to costs, if it were thought necessary to give the Court the right to award costs, that could very easily be done. It is suggested that at present the Valuation Appeal Court does not deal with matters of fact, but that is out of the question. The commonest thing in the world they deal with is the valuation put upon the subject, and whether it is too hight or too low. That is only the kind of thing you have here. By refusing this appeal I am strongly of opinion that the facilities for arriving at a settlement of
§ the case will not be advanced, and yon will be depriving those interested in the matter of what I venture to suggest should be given to them.
§ Sir J. DEWAR
I looked with great favour on this Amendment when I saw it first on the Paper, but looking more fully into the matter, I found that in the Highlands of Scotland, and among the crofting farmers, it would practically stop the operation of the Bill at all. Four hundred pounds may be a considerable sum when you are dealing with a single small holding, but when you are dealing with a great sheep farm of 20,000 acres, £400 is nothing at all. In those cases, all over the Highlands, you would not be able to proceed until the case is taken to the Court of Session. Not one of the farms taken over by the Congested Districts Board for Scotland could have been dealt with until it went to the Court of Session, and possibly to the House of Lords. There is no-appeal in this Bill against the fixing of the rent, which is a much more serious matter to the landlord than fixing the valuation of damage, because the rent is an annual, and the damage is a capital sum. In view of the obstruction to small holdings, I am sorry to say that I must vote against the Amendment.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 50; Noes, 150.723
|Division No. 391.]||AYES.||[3.5 p.m.|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Falle, Bertram Godfray||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Fleming, Valentine||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid).|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Gardner, Ernest||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Balcarres, Lord||Gilmour, Captain John||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Goldsmith, Frank||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Barnston, Harry||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||Rothschild, Lionel de|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Grant, James Augustus||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Bigland, Alfred||Gretton, John||Stewart, Gershom|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Haddock, George Bahr||Tullibardine Marquess of|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Hope, Harry (Bute)||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Cassel, Felix||Horne, William E. (Surrey, Guildford)||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University)||Hunt, Rowland||Yate, Col. C. E.|
|Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Younger, Sir George|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Mackinder, Halford J.|
|Courthope, George Loyd||M'Mordie, Robert James||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Pike Pease and Mr. Eyres Monsell.|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Malcolm, Ian|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. S.||Mason, James F. (Windsor)|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Brady, Patrick Joseph||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Bryce, John Annan||Cotton, William Francis|
|Adamson, William||Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Cowan, W. H.|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Byles, Sir William Pollard||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbarton)||Cameron, Robert||Crooks, William|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Crumley, Patrick|
|Barnes, George N.||Clancy, John Joseph||Cullinan, J.|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Clough, William||Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)|
|Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. George)||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)|
|Boland, John Pius||Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardiganshire)|
|Dawes, James Arthur||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Radford, George Heynes|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||King, Joseph (Somerset, North)||Raphael, Sir Herbert Henry|
|Dewar, Sir J. A.||Lansbury, George||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Dillon, John||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rl'nd, Cockerm'th)||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Lewis, John Herbert||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Doris, William||Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Lundon, Thomas||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Lyell, Charles Henry||Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)|
|Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Macdonold, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Falconer, James||Maclean, Donald||Roche, John (Galway, E.)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|George, Rt. Hon. David Lloyd||M'Curdy,. Charles Albert||Rowlands, James|
|Gill, Alfred Henry||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Glanville, Harold James||Marshall, Arthur Harold||Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles E.|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Martin, Joseph||Sheehy, David|
|Goldstone, Frank||Meagher, Michael||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Greig, Colonel James William||Menzies, Sir Walter||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Miliar, James Duncan||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Molteno, Percy Alport||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Hackett, John||Mooney, John J.||Sutton, John E.|
|Hancock, John George||Morgan, George Hay||Thomas, James Henry (Derby)|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)||Munro, Robert||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Murray, Capt. Hon. Arthur C.||Wadsworth, John|
|Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Nolan, Joseph||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Henry, Sir Charles||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Watt, Henry A.|
|Higham, John Sharp||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Webb, H.|
|Hinds, John||O'Doherty, Philip||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||O'Donnell, Thomas||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Hodge, John||O'Grady, James||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||O'Sullivan, Timothy||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Hudson, Walter||Parker, James (Halifax)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Philips, John (Longford, S.)||Wood, Rt. Hon. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||Pointer, Joseph||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Pollard, Sir George H.||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Jones, W. S. Glyn- (stepney)||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Jowett, Frederick William||Power, Patrick Joseph||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.Gulland and Mr. Dudley Ward.|
|Kelly, Edward||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
§ Mr. MORTON
I beg to move, in Subsection (15), to leave out the words "and ceteris paribus shall give a preference to applicants preferred by the landlord."
This Clause is very objectionable to people in the northern counties, nor can I see why this little bit of Latin has been introduced into the Clause. If it was thought necessary to use some other language they might have introduced Gaelic words. I have not been able to find out that this Clause is of any use whatever. Taking the very best possible view of it that you can, it will cause mischief. What we say is, that we should leave the matter to the Land Court. Do not leave it to the landlord to say whom he would prefer, because the result would be that if the landlord found a man was an active politician, or active in some other way not agreeable to him, he would always find means to obtain some one else, and keeping that person out of the land for his lifetime. The Clause may cause a great deal of mischief and a great deal of bad feeling in the various districts where land may be required, while it will be of no use whatever in other directions. I hope the Lord Advocate will see that these words are useless, mischievous, and dangerous for the proper working of the Bill.
§ Mr. URE
We think it very desirable that these words should remain in the Clause, as they will conduce to the easy working of the measure. Other things being equal, it seems right that the landlord's choice should be respected by the Land Court, and it would be respected by any intelligent Land Court. This provision is in order to make quite certain where there is no special objection to the man that the landlord's choice should be taken.
§ Mr. BARNES
I am rather sorry to hear the reply of the Lord Advocate. Here we are dealing with a condition of affairs where the land has been improved, and public money has been spent for the purpose of setting the holding up, and I fail to see why the landlord should have this right given to him. I believe this provision will prevent independent minded men from availing of the Act altogether. I think we ought to avoid that if possible and leave the man who is to be the tenant as free as possible. If my hon. Friend likes to put this to a Division I shall certainly vote for it.
§ Amendment negatived.725
§ Mr. MORTON
I beg to move, at the end of Sub-section (15), to insert the words—In determining the registration of new holders who are not qualified for such registration under agreement the Agricultural Commissioners shall give preference to ploughmen, farm servants, cottars, fishermen, and others who have been engaged in working a croft or whose ancestors were crofters; and all persons who have been engaged in labour on the soil shall be entitled to have their claims considered.Some of the persons mentioned, especially cottars, do not come under the Bill because they might not be able to prove themselves to be farmers. It is our wish, at any rate, that all those people should have the opportunity of getting possession of land and working it for the benefit of themselves and their families. The opinion of the late Mr. Weir, who understood the crofters as well as anybody, was that these cottars were not included in the Bill unless specially mentioned. It is with a view to having those people put definitely in the Bill that I move.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Amendments made: In Sub-section (16), paragraph (a), after the words "no" ["no interest"], insert the word "personal."—[Marquess of Tullibardine.]
Leave out the words,
unless there be no other land available in the neighbourhood of any existing village or township, in which case this limitation shall not apply: Provided that if any farm of less than one hundred and fifty acres be required, the whole of such farm shall be taken for the constitution of new holdings if the landlord so desires; or
and insert instead thereof the words:
Provided that nothing herein contained shall operate to prevent the registration
otherwise than by agreement of two or more new holders in respect of the whole of such farm, where no other land is available in the neighbourhood of any existing village or township."—[Mr. Ure.]
§ Sir SAMUEL SCOTT
I beg to move, in Sub-section (16), paragraph (b), to leave out the word "six," and to insert instead thereof the word "eleven."
The object of this Amendment is to provide that the Bill shall come into operation as on Whit-Sunday, 1911, instead of as on Whit-Sunday, 1906. The Bill practically revolutionises the whole of the land system in Scotland, and it is only fair to those who may have let their farms between 1906 and 1911 that they should have some opportunity of considering the matter. It is quite unfair. I think that the Bill should be antedated in such a manner as this.
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
I beg to second the Amendment. We discussed this question on the Committee, and the Lord Advocate then said that the matter was of no particular consequence, because everybody knew that the Bill was introduced in 1906, that it had been hanging over the farmers ever since, and that therefore there was no reason whatever why the date should be changed. I pointed out then, and I point out again, that there is every reason in the world why it should be changed. No tenant that I know of has paid the slightest attention to the fact that there was a Bill on the stocks, or thought that his lease would be in any way interfered with under the Bill. I know that I and many other landlords, who have had leases of farms falling in during the last five years, have expended on those farms large sums of money which we should certainly not have done had we thought that they would be partitioned and broken up for the purpose of small holdings. I have spent thousands of pounds which I should have certainly saved, because the expenditure will be practically useless if the farms are taken for small holdings. Therefore, the right hon. Gentleman in using that argument apparently did not appreciate the facts of the case. He has often told us that he does not know anything in connection with land. There was no doubt about that when he made that speech. If he had been a landlord he would have known what the proposal meant, as I know to my cost. The number of farms falling in every year does not vary very much, and whether you make 1906 leases or 1911 727 leases immune from interference during currency, it makes very little difference in the amount of land available at either date. The average is just about the same. It is perfectly reasonable to ask that this date should be altered; therefore I second the Amendment.
§ Mr. URE
I hope the House will not think that I view this question in the light way suggested by the hon. Baronet. I quite appreciate the importance of the arguments on the other side. What I pointed out was that since the Bill was before the House on the first occasion we have inserted a Clause enjoining the Board of Agriculture, when taking land for small holdings, to take preferably land which is falling out of lease. It was pointed out that for the greater part of the small holdings, the chances were that land falling out would be taken, but there might be cases where it would be a great limitation on the Board of Agriculture if they were not able to take land forming part of a farm the lease of which commenced after 1906. It was quite well known that this Bill was on the stocks, and that it would be reintroduced.
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
But it has made this difference, that no landlord could have renewed a lease in the last five years unless he had made expenditure which will be practically useless if the land is taken for small holdings.
§ Mr. URE
There is the disadvantage which the hon. Baronet has pointed out, but there is an immense disadvantage on the other side, because it might, in some instances—I do not say that it would—seriously hamper the work of the Land Court. Having regard to the new Clause requiring that land falling out of lease should preferably be taken, I do not think, injustice will be done to anybody if the date stands.
§ Question put, "That the word 'six' stand part of the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 144; Noes, 52.729
|Division No. 392.]||AYES.||[3.30 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Dillon, John||Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich)|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Donelan, Captain A.||Lundon, Thomas|
|Adamson, William||Doris, William||Lynch, Arthur Alfred|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)|
|Alden, Percy||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbarton)||Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||M'Curdy, Charles Albert|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Esslemont, George Birnie||Marshall, Arthur Harold|
|Barnes, George N.||Falconer, James||Martin, Joseph|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Gill, Alfred Henry||Meagher, Michael|
|Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. George)||Glanville, Harold James||Menzies, Sir Walter|
|Boland, John Pius||Goldstone, Frank||Millar, James Duncan|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Greig, Colonel James William||Molteno, Percy Alport|
|Brady, Patrick Joseph||Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Montagu, Hon. E. S.|
|Bryce, John Annan||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Mooney, John J.|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Hackett, John||Morgan, George Hay|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Hancock, John George||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas|
|Cameron, Robert||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Munro, Robert|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds.)||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Han. R. C.|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Murray, Capt. Hon. Arthur C.|
|Clough, William||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Hayden, John Patrick||Nolan, Joseph|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Henry, Sir Charles||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Hinds, John||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Cotton, William Francis||Hodge, John||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Cowan, William Henry||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||O'Grady, James|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Hudson, Walter||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Crooks, William||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Crumley, Patrick||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Pointer, Joseph|
|Cullinan, John||Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T. H'mts, Stepney)||Pollard, Sir George H.|
|Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)||Kelly, Edward||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Kilbride, Denis||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)||King, Joseph (Somerset, North)||Raphael, Sir Herbert H.|
|Dawes, James Arthur||Lansbury, George||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld., Cockerm'th)||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)|
|Dewar, Sir J. A.||Lewis, John Herbert||Richardsam, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)||Sutton, John E.||Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)|
|Roche, Augustine (Louth)||Thomas, James Henry (Derby)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Roche, John (Galway, E.)||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Rose, Sir Charles Day||Verney, Sir H.||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|Rowlands, James||Wadsworth, John||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Scanlan, Thomas||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles E.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Sheehy, David||Watt, Henry A.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.Gulland and Mr. Dudley Ward.|
|Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)||Webb, H.|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Fleming, Valentine||Mason, James F. (Windsor)|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Gardner, Ernest||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Gastrell, Major W. Houghton||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Balcarres, Lord||Gilmour, Captain John||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Goldsmith, Frank||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Barnston, Harry||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Bigland, Alfred||Grant, James Augustus||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Gretton, John||Rothschild, Lionel de|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Haddock, George Bahr||Stewart, Gershom|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)||Tullibardine, Marquess of|
|Cassel, Felix||Hills, John Waller||Valentia, Viscount|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University)||Hope, Harry (Bute)||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W.||Horne, Wm. E. (Surrey, Guildford)||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Hunt, Rowland||Yate, Col. C. E.|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Kimber, Sir Henry|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. S.||Mackinder, Halford J.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Sir S, Scott and Sir G. Younger.|
|Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||M'Mordie, Robert James|
|Falle, Bertram Godfray||Malcolm, Ian|
Question, "That the word proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause," put, and agreed to.