§ Where notices to treat have been served for the acquisition of the several interests in the 401 land to be acquired, the claims of the persons entitled to such interests shall, so far as practicable, and so far as not agreed and if the acquiring authority so desire be heard and determined by the same official valuer, and the reference committee may make rules providing that such claims shall be heard together.
§ Mr. L. SCOTT
I beg to move, at the end of the Clause, to insert the wordsbut the value of the several interests in the land having a market value shall be separately assessed.The object of the Amendment is to make the procedure tally with what is the actual practice in the property market. It is a curious thing, well known to those who are familiar with the property market, that if you divide up a property into the different interests, freehold and leasehold, very often as a result you have a total figure, the valuation of the different interests, which is higher than the valuation of the property would be if it were all in one hand. The reason is that, as a rule, the freehold interest, the ground rent, is worth, say, twenty-Five years purchase, and the leasehold interest is worth fifteen years' purchase, with the result that the two added together are more than if the whole were in the hands of the freeholder without any lease. The importance of paying due regard to that fact is that a great deal of money, very often of small investors, is invested in house property, and if, when the property is compulsorily acquired you assess one lump sum for the whole and divide it up, the result would be that individual interests would get less than very likely they had actually paid in the market for their interests. This was a fact which we recognised on the Committee of which I had the honour to be chairman. In paragraph 15 of our second Report we took the case, for instance, of a freehold house with a rent of a rack rental value of £50. If this one interest were to be assessed, which might be worth sixteen years purchase, the total would be, say, £800; but if the same house were built by a lessee who had taken a lease at a separate ground rent of £10 the ground landlord would get, say, twenty-five years' purchase, making £250, and the lessee would obtain fifteen years' purchase of his interest, or £600; that is £850 in all, or £50 more than the £800. But we also recognised that it was desirable that where there are separate interests they should be assessed at the same time and before the same tribunal, so as to prevent one interest getting a share of what belongs to the other interest. But 402 that being done, it is still necessary to provide that the interests shall be separately assessed.
§ Mr. CAUTLEY
I beg to second the Amendment. I raised the same point on the Standing Committee and succeeded in having the Clause, as originally drafted, modified to meet the views expressed by the hon. Member. I think it is desirable that these words should be added.
§ Mr. CAUTLEY
I hardly like from memory to state definitely, but I understood the Amendment was accepted and an alteration made in the Bill. I believe the Clause as now drawn carries out that interpretation.
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
The view of the Seconder was that this Amendment was not really necessary. The Proposer does not agree. Two lawyers differ. I, therefore, think it would be a very sound thing not to proceed further. In this conflict of high legal authority, and with the deepest deference on my own part, I put it forward that these words would add to the values which the valuer would be likely to impose. In my view, the instructions which the Act gives to the valuer already are, to put it mildly, sufficiently definite for giving ample value to the claimant. I, therefore, earnestly trust the Govenrment will not proceed with this Amendment, which has been moved with a certain amount of fairness of view but seconded with so much diffidence.
§ Mr. CAUTLEY
I have no hesitation as to the effect. My recollection is distinctly that the Clause in the Bill as it stands now is not as it was when the Bill was originally produced. The Attorney-General did accept my proposal, which was to carry out the effect of this Amendment
§ Sir F. BANBURY
It is said that this Amendment ought not to be accepted because, first of all, two lawyers differ, and, secondly, because the words, if put in, would not have any effect. Yesterday the 403 Attorney-General proposed an Amendment and said that it would make no difference to the Bill. Then the hon. and learned Member for Cambridge said he did not agree with him. There was a simple instance of two lawyers differing, and one lawyer, who moved an Amendment, saying it would have no effect on the Bill. Yet my right hon. Friend (Sir D. Maclean.) voted for that Amendment. I think he can hardly say, therefore, that this Amendment must not be accepted for the reasons he has alleged.
Lieut.-Colonel A. MURRAY
There appears to be some doubt as to what went on in Committee. I hope the Home Secretary will be able to explain what actually did happen upstairs. The Committee seem to have settled this point one way or another, and those of us who were not on the Committee, and have not had time to read the Reports of the Committee—[HON. MEMBERS: "There was no Report."] I am inclined to agree with the right hon. Member for Peebles (Sir D. Maclean) that this Amendment should not be inserted, and unless the Government can show that a distinct promise was given on the Committee stage to have some such Amendment as this inserted in the Bill, I should be prepared to vote against the Amendment.
§ Mr. SHORTT
I am sorry I had not the advantage of being on the Committee, or of being in attendance, but I have before me the Bill as it went up to that Committee, and in the Bill as it went up I find after the words "such claims shall be heard together," were these words:With a view to enabling the official valuer in the first instance to determine the value of the land and then to apportion the amount among the persona interested in such manner as having regard to their respective interests he considers just.These words were left out by the Committee upstairs, and therefore the action which the Committee took coincided exactly with the spirit of this Amendment. I know that if my right hon. Friend the Attorney-General had been here he would have desired that the House should accept this Amendment. Therefore I feel that as that took place upstairs, and as my right hon. Friend who is in charge of the Bill would have accepted this Amendment, I must ask the House also to accept it.
§ Sir T. WHITTAKER
I would like to suggest this point. Suppose you have two 404 houses adjoining one another, and both are being taken. One of them is a freehold and the other a leasehold, but both houses are exactly the same. Is a different price to be paid for similar properties? The suggestion is that because there is a ground rent on one, and a leasehold interest in it, those two properties in that one property are worth more than the next door property, which is all in one hand and purely freehold. That is a suggestion of the Mover of the Amendment. It means that two houses standing together precisely the same are to be paid for at different prices. Surely that illustrates the absurdity of the position ' They are precisely of the same value, but because there are two interests in the one you are to pay an additional value for that one over and above what you pay for the other. The thing is an absurdity.
Mr. T. THOMSON
I hope the House will not accept this Amendment. It is difficult for the layman to follow the matter when legal minds are so much at variance as to its effect, but I understood from the Mover of the Amendment that he suggested that if the Amendment was carried the effect would be that £50 more would be paid in the particular instance he gave than would otherwise be the case. It seems to me unfortunate that the Committee have decidedly weakened the effect of the Bill upstairs. The proposal now is to weaken further what even is left. I am sure that the country at large is disappointed that the Bill has not gone far enough, and I hope the House will resist any proposal to whittle away what was to have been a great measure to secure land at a cheaper price.
I was a member of the Committee, and listened to the proceedings, but I cannot change my memory exactly with what took place. My own feeling is that if the Attorney-General had given any pledge or promise on the lines of the Amendment, with what little knowledge I have of him since I came to the House, knowledge of his remarkable memory and the way in which he knows exactly what is taking place, I am sure he would have had an Amendment on the Paper giving effect to his promise.
§ Mr. L. SCOTT
I asked the Attorney-General about my Amendment, and he said he intended to accept it. That is the reason why he did not put it down himself.
There is nothing more to be said, then, on that point. The effect of this Amendment is against the spirit of the Bill. The Bill is for the purpose of effecting some cheapening of properties acquired. The effect of the Amendment will be to make property dearer. Not only that, but there is the extraordinary position that where you have property which has several interests in it, you are going to extinguish all those interests, and, as a result, get a property which is worth less than the sum you paid for it. That is to say, the public authorities, by exorcising their powers, are going to be compelled to purchase the various interests in a property at prices which, when they are paid, will leave the property worth less than the prices paid for it. That is entirely contrary to the spirit of the Bill. The position described by the right hon. Member for the Spen Valley (Sir T. Whittaker) seems to be an extraordinary one—namely, that you should be purchasing properties of exactly the same character, and pay for them different prices It may be true that there is some hardship involved to people who have paid for interests in property sums which, taken together, amount to more than the property is worth. Against that you have the injustice of compelling local authorities to pay different prices for exactly similar properties. As the Amendment is so entirely against the spirit of the Bill, I hope the Home Secretary will reconsider his decision, and that the House will not accept the Amendment.
§ Colonel GREIG
I hope the Government will not accept this Amendment. It will introduce complication and expense. Take a case which might occur in England. There might be a piece of land of copyhold tenure. There is in such a case the landlord's interest, then the copyholder's interest, then, possibly, a lessee from the latter, and even a sub-lessee, or occupant. All these must be valued and assessed separately.
§ Mr. SHORTT
I do not think there can be any advantage by attempting to reconsider what I have said before. The Bill, as it went up to Committee, was in the form I have already mentioned. So far as the Bill before this House is concerned, the provision is that all these interests, separate interests and separate claims, can be heard together. No one has put down an Amendment restoring the Bill to its original form. I cannot, by merely refusing this Amendment, restore the Bill to its old form. The Amendment makes clear only what the Committee upstairs decided, and as to which there is no dispute. The claims are quite distinct now; there is a notice to treat for each interest; and the Act merely provides that these claims can be heard together, but not that they are to be heard as one at all.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 181; Noes, 44.407
|Division No. 45.]||AYES.||[4.29 p.m.|
|Adair, Rear-Admiral||Campbell, J. G. D.||Edwards, J. H. (Glam., Neath)|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Campion, Col. W. R.||Eyres-Monsell, Commander|
|Ainsworth, Captain C.||Carew, Charles R. S. (Tiverton)||Falcon, Captain M.|
|Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Col. Martin||Carr, W. T.||Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfray|
|Ashley, Col. Wilfred W.||Casey, T. W.||Fell, Sir Arthur|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Cautley, Henry Strother||FitzRoy, Capt. Hon. Edward A.|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir F. G.||Chamberlain, N. (Birm., Ladywood)||Foxcroft, Captain C.|
|Barnett, Captain Richard W.||Cheyne, Sir William Watson||Fraser, Major Sir Keith|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Child, Brig.-Gen. Sir Hill||Gardner, E. (Berks., Windsor)|
|Barrand, A. R.||Clay, Capt. H. H. Spender||Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Clyde, James Avon||Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel John|
|Bigland, Alfred||Coats, Sir Stuart||Glyn, Major R.|
|Birchall, Major J. D.||Colfox, Major W. P.||Green, A. (Derby)|
|Bird, Alfred||Colvin, Brigadier-General R. B.||Greenwood, Col. Sir Hamar|
|Blair, Major Reginald||Cooper, Sir Richard Ashmole||Gretton, Col. John|
|Blake, Sir Francis Douglas||Courthope, Major George Loyd||Griggs, Sir Peter|
|Borwick, Major G. O.||Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Univ.)||Gritten, W. G. Heward|
|Bowyer, Captain G. W. E.||Craig, Capt. C. (Antrim)||Gwynne, R. S.|
|Brassey, H. L. C.||Dalziel, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirk'dy)||Hamilton, Major C. G. C. (Altrincham)|
|Breese, Major C. E.||Davidson, Major-Gen. Sir John H.||Harris, Sir H. P. (Paddington, S.)|
|Briggs, Harold||Davies, Sir D. S. (Denbigh)||Haslam, Lewis|
|Bruton, Sir J.||Davies, T. (Cirencester)||Henderson, Major V. L.|
|Buchanan, Lieut.-Col. A. L. H.||Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington)||Hennessy, Major G.|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Dawes, J. A.||Herbert, Col. Hon. A. (Yeovil)|
|Burn Colonel C. R. (Torquay)||Dockrell, Sir M.||Hewart, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon|
|Butcher, Sir J. G.||Doyie, N. Grattan||Higham, C. F. (Islington, S.)|
|Hoare, Lt-Col. Sir Samuel J. G.||Newman, Major J. (Finchley, Mddx.)||Stevens, Marshall|
|Hope, Lt.-Col. Sir S. (Midlothian)||Nicholl, Com. Sir Edward||Stewart, Gershom|
|Hope, John Deans (Berwick)||Nicholson, R. (Doncaster)||Sugden, W, H.|
|Hopkins, J. W. W.||Nicholson, W. (Petersfield)||Sykes, Col. Sir A. J. (Knutsford)|
|Horne, Edgar (Guildford)||Norris, Colonel Sir Henry G.||Talbot, G. A. (Hemel Hempstead)|
|Horne, Sir Robert (Hillhead)||O'Neill, Captain Hon. Robert W. H.||Terrell, G. (Chippenham, Wilts.)|
|Houston, Robert Paterson||Parker, James||Terrell, Capt. R. (Henley, Oxford)|
|Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Parry, Major Thomas Henry||Thomas, Sir R. (Wrexham, Denb.)|
|Hunter, Gen. Sir A. (Lancaster)||Pearce, Sir William||Thomas-Stanford, Charles|
|Hunter-Weston, Lieut.-Gen. Sir A. G.||Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike||Tickler, Thomas George|
|Hurst, Major G. B.||Perring, William George||Townley, Maximilan G.|
|Illingworth, Rt. Hon. Albert H.||Philipps, Sir O. C. (Chester)||Tryon, Major George Clement|
|Jackson, Lieut.-Col. Hon. F. S. (York)||Pinkham, Lieutenant-Colonel Charles||Waddington, R.|
|Jodrell, N. P.||Pratt, John William||Walton, Sir Joseph (Barnslev)|
|Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen)||Pulley, Charles Thornton||Ward-Jackson, Major C. L.|
|Kelly, Major Fred (Rotherham)||Purchase, H. G.||Ward, Colonel L. (Kingston-upon-Hull)|
|King, Com. Douglas||Raeburn, Sir William||Wardle, George J.|
|Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Ratcliffe, Henry Butler||Warren, Sir Alfred H.|
|Law, A. J. (Rochdale)||Raw, Lieutenant-Colonel Dr. N.||Watson, Captain John Bertrand|
|Lister, Sir R. Ashton||Reid, D. D.||Wild, Sir Ernest Edward|
|Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Remer, J. B.||Willey, Lt.-Col. F. V.|
|Lorden, John William||Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Williams, Lt. Com. C. (Tavistock)|
|Lowe, Sir F. W.||Rodger, A. K.||Williamson, Rt. Hon. Sir Archibald|
|M'Laren, R. (Lanark, N.)||Roundell, Lieutenant-Colonel R. F.||Wills, Lt.-Col. Sir Gilbert Alan H.|
|Macleod, John Mackintosh||Rowlands, James||Wilson, Capt. A. Stanley (Hold'ness)|
|Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Rutherford, Sir W. W. (Edge Hill)||Wilson, Col. Leslie (Reading)|
|Macquisten, F. A.||Samuel, A. M. (Farnham, Surrey)||Wilson, Col. M. (Richmond, Yorks.)|
|Maitland, Sir A. D. Steel-||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Norwood)||Wood, Sir J. (Stalybridge and Hyde)|
|Marriott, John Arthur R.||Samuels, Rt. Hon. A. W. (Dublin Univ.)||Wood, Major S. Hill- (High Peak)|
|Mildmay, Col. Rt. Hon. Francis B.||Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)||Woods, Sir Robert|
|Molson, Major John Elsdale||Seely, Maj.-Gen. Rt. Hon. John||Yate, Col. Charles Edward|
|Morrison, H. (Salisbury)||Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)||Young, William (Perth and Kinross)|
|Murchison, C. K.||Shortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T., W.)|
|Murray, Major C. D. (Edinburgh, S.)||Sprot, Col. Sir Alexander||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Capt.|
|Murray, Hon. G. (St. Rollox)||Stanley, Colonel Hon. G. F. (Preston)||F. Guest, and Colonel Sanders,|
|Murray, William (Dumfries)|
|Arnold, Sydney||Hinds, John||Sturrock, J. Leng-|
|Barnes, Major H. (Newcastle. E.)||Johnstone, J.||Swan, J. E. C.|
|Bentinck, Lt.-Col. Lord H. Cavendish-||Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander||Thomas, Brig-Gen. Sir O. (Anglesey)|
|Briant, F.||Kenyon, Barnet||Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, W.)|
|Broad, Thomas Tucker||Macdonald, Rt. Hon. J. M. (Stirling)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Cairns, John||Maclean, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (Midlothian)||Waterson, A. E.|
|Coote, Colin R. (Isle of Ely)||Mallalieu, Frederick William||Wedgwood, Col. Josiah C|
|Crooks, Rt. Hon. William||Mason, Robert||White, Charles F. (Derby, W.)|
|Davies, Alfred (Clitheroe)||Murray, Lt.-Col. Hon. A. C. (Aberdeen)||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Edge, Captain William||Murray, Dr. D. (Western Isles)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Stourbridge)|
|Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon)||Neal, Arthur||Winfrey, Sir Richard|
|Galbraith, Samuel||Rae, H. Norman||Wood, Major Mackenzie (Aberdeen, C.)|
|Gardiner, J. (Perth)||Rees, Captain J. Tudor (Barnstaple)|
|Glanville, Harold James||Richardson, R. (Houghton)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.|
|Graham, W. (Edinburgh)||Royce, William Stapleton||Hogge and Major Entwistle.|
|Hancock, John George||Smith, Capt. A, (Nelson and Colne)|