11. Mr. FRED HALL (Dulwich)
asked the hon. Member for St. George' s-in-the-East (Mr. Wedgwood Benn), as representing the First Commissioner of Works, whether the Office of Woods and Forests 504 has or has not, within recent years, modified the stringency of its old-fashioned forms of agreement for lease, as most other landlords in London, public authorities, and private persons have done?
§ The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Mr. Masterman, for Mr. Wedgwood Benn)
I understand that agreements for leases are framed by the Commissioners of Woods to meet the special circumstances (if any) of each case. As far as is reasonably practicable, they are in one common form, but this is modified from time to time as seems desirable. Perhaps, if the hon. Member has any particular point in mind, he would communicate with me with regard to it.
12. Mr. FRED HALL
asked whether the Office of Woods and Forests, who administer the Crown estates in London, are refusing to grant leases for more than eighty years; and, if so, whether the First Commissioner of Works will consider the advisability of these leases in future being granted on terms similar to those of the London County Council and practically all the great London landlords, who have now conceded such a period as too brief in order that a tenant might get suitably financed and a proper return for his outlay during the existence of the lease, and have extended their forms of leases to periods varying between ninety and ninety-nine years?
§ Mr. MASTERMAN
I am informed that for many years it has been the common practice of the Commissioners of Woods in. London to grant leases for terms of eighty years, but that if in special cases it could be shown that this term would be insufficient to afford a tenant a proper return for his outlay, an extension of it would be considered.