HC Deb 31 March 1919 vol 114 cc993-5

Lords Reasons considered for disagreeing to Commons Amendment to one of the Lords Amendments to the Increase of Rent and Mortgage Interest (Restrictions) Bill and for insisting on certain of their Amendments disagreed to by the Commons.

Lords Amendment: At the end of Clause 4, to insert (v) At the end of paragraph (a) of Subsection (1) of Section two of the principal Act there shall be inserted the following proviso: Provided that if the rateable value of the dwelling-house on the said third day of August exceeds the standard rent as so defined, that rateable value shall, as respects that house, be deemed to be the standard rent.

Lords Message:

The Lords insist on their Amendment for the following Reason: Because they do not admit that this Amendment makes any retrospective Amendment to the principal Act.


I beg to move, That this House doth not insist upon its disagreement to the said Lords Amendment. When this Amendment was formerly before this House, it was resisted from this bench on the view that the effect of it would be retrospective, and that it would, therefore, create very material difficulties in the working out of the Act of 1915. I think it was pointed out at that time that, so far as Scotland was concerned and the application of the Bill to it, the Amendment would make no difference at all, since the rateable value and the actual rent are much the same thing there. I think it was also pointed out that in very many cases, I cannot say in the majority, in England, the Amendment would make no difference either, provided always it was not retrospective, although, no doubt, in some cases, the rateable value is higher in England than the actual rent. If I am not mistaken, it was admitted that, so far as the rateable value is higher than the actual rent, it was not an unfair proposition that the rateable rent should rule as the standard rent, inasmuch as rates have to be paid on it. There is no doubt, on further examination of this Amendment, that the admission ought to be made that the Lords are right in saying that this Amendment as drawn is not retrospective. Had that been so, I do not think it is doubtful that those in charge of the Bill would not have thought it necessary to oppose this Amendment, and now that it is quite clear that it is not retrospective as it is, I recommend the House to agree to the Amendment which the Lords have originally proposed and which they are prepared to press. The House, I think, is aware that this Bill has already passed its time and is urgently necessary if we are to have it at all. Therefore, I think it would be wise if, as far as possible, we make up our minds not to raise any contentious question or to press contentious questions further than we must, and as this is now clearly not a retrospective Amendment, and as it really makes but little difference, I venture to recommend the House not to disagree with it.

Lords Amendment: At the end of Clause 5, insert (3) The principal Act, both as originally enacted and as extended by this Act, shall have effect as if in proviso (vi) to Sub-section (1) of Section one of that Act after the word 'until' there were inserted the words 'or in respect of any period prior to.' (4) Any rooms in a dwelling-house the subject of a separate letting shall for the purposes of the principal Act and this Act be treated as a part of a house let as a separate dwelling.

Commons Amendment: Leave out Subsection (4).

Lords Message:

The Lords do not agree to the Amendment made by the Commons for the following reason: Because it is desirable to make it clear that this Bill and the principal Act apply to parts of dwelling-houses as they apply to undivided dwelling-houses.


When this Amendment was formerly before this House it was rejected upon the ground which still remains, that the Amendment purported in words to bring in the letting of a dwelling-house for purposes other than a dwelling. For instance, as framed, it would have the effect of applying the Bill to a cellar let out to somebody for storage purposes which had nothing to do with dwelling purposes. Quite clearly the Amendment could not be accepted with that on the face of it. Moreover, I confess I think that if the intention of the Amendment is to limit it to sub-letting for the purposes of a dwelling, that is already part of the 1915 Act, and therefore unnecessary. In order to avoid contention I shall propose, after the word "letting," to insert the words "as a dwelling." Whether it adds anything or not, the Amendment is in that form harmless.

Motion made, and Question, That this House doth not insist upon its Amendment to the Lords Amendment,

put, and agreed to.

Amendment made to the Lords Amendment: In Sub-section (4), against the word "letting" insert the words "as a dwelling."—[Mr. Clyde.]

Lords Amendment: After Clause 5 insert