HC Deb 30 April 1923 vol 163 cc977-8

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he will consider the case of the three tenants on the Stratton Park Estate, Biggleswade, who, after a tenancy of over 20 years, were given notice to quit at Michaelmas, 1921, so that the land might be available for ex-service men, and who are now refused compensation for disturbance on the ground that the notice of claim was made orally and not in writing; and if he is aware that the county council, the land agent, and all connected with this case have recommended that, as the men gave a verbal notice and were ignorant of the need for giving it in writing, they should be granted the compensation they would have otherwise been entitled to?


Parliament laid down in the Agriculture Act, 1920, that compensation for disturbance shall not be payable unless the tenant has, not less than one month before the termination of the tenancy, given notice in writing of his intention to make a claim. The men referred to in the hon. Member's question failed to do this, and they have, therefore, no legal right to compensation for disturbance. I cannot agree that the facts are as stated in the last part of the question, though I understand that the County Small Holdings Committee were in favour of an ex-gratia payment not exceeding half a year's rent being paid. My predecessor carefully considered this recommendation, but came to the conclusion that there was no good reason for waiving the requirements of the Act, and I am not prepared to depart from his decision.


If the facts are as stated in the latter part of the question, will the right hon. Gentleman reconsider the answer he has given?


All this happened 18 months ago; my predecessor went into it more than six months ago and came to a decision, and I do not think I ought to reopen an old story like that.