HC Deb 19 July 1923 vol 166 cc2667-70

(1) A local authority for the purposes of Part III of the principal Act may, subject to such conditions as may be approved by the Minister, at any time before the first day of October, nineteen hundred and twenty-six:

(b) undertake to guarantee the repayment to such building society as aforesaid of any advances made by the society to any of its members for the purpose of enabling them to build houses or acquire houses the construction of which was commenced after the twenty-fifth day of April, nineteen hundred and twenty-three;

Provided that the local authority before granting any such assistance shall satisfy themselves that the houses, flats, or tenements, in respect of which assistance is to be given will, when the building, alteration, or conversion has been completed, be in all respects fit for human habitation, and in particular that the superficial area of any such house, flat or tenement will not be less than the minimum permissible under Section one of this Act.

(2) Any such advance as aforesaid shall be subject to the following conditions:—

  1. (a) The advance with interest thereon shall be secured by mortgage and shall not exceed ninety per cent. of the value of the mortgaged property; and the mortgaged deed may provide for repayment being made either by instalments of principal or by an annuity of principal and interest combined, so, however, that in the event of any of the conditions subject to which the advance is made not being complied with, the balance for the time being unpaid shall become repayable on demand from the local authority; and
  2. (b) the advance may be made by instalments from time to time as the building of the house progresses, so that the total of the advance does not at any time before the completion of the house exceed fifty per cent. of the value of the work done up to that time on the construction or on works incidental to the construction of the house, including the value of the interest of the mortgagor in the site thereof; and

Lords Amendment:

In Sub-section (1, b) leave out the words "such building society as aforesaid," and insert a society incorporated under the Building Societies Acts, 1874 to 1894, or the Indus- trial and Provident Societies Acts, 1893 to 1913.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."—[Mr. Chamberlain.]

Captain BENN

Does this Amendment restrict the class of society to which the advance applies?


This Amendment simply brings in the Scottish practice because some of the societies in Scotland are not incorporated under the Building Societies Acts.

Lords Amendment:

In Sub-section (1), after the word "houses" ["satisfy themselves that the houses "], insert "or".

Agreed to.

Lords Amendment:

In Sub-section (1), leave out the words "or tenements" ["or tenements in respect of which"].

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."—[Mr. Chamberlain.]


Will the Minister explain to the House why the words "or tenements" are deleted?


That also is a Scottish point, "tenement" has a different meaning in Scotland to that which it has in England, and the deletion of the word here, is in conformity with other Amendments.


Will the Minister explain what is the difference? I am not quite clear as to what this particular Amendment may mean. The advantages applying to flats and houses should equally apply to tenements, because the vast majority of the working class in Scotland and the ordinary members of the community live in tenements.


I understood the hon. Member was one of those who desired that the word "tenements" should go out. I understand "tenement" in Scotland means a whole set of flats in a house, whereas in England it means a single flat. That being so, the word is irrelevant in this place. Assistance is given in regard to a particular dwelling house or flat, and, therefore, we do not require the word "tenements," because if it be given to each flat, it is, of course, given to the total number of flats.


I am not quite sure that I can take that as a satisfactory answer. In Scotland we have no such thing as flats, but we have tenements. A tenement is a single house in England, but it may be 100 houses in Scotland. If there be any sound reason for the Lords seeking to cut this word out of the Bill, the right hon. Gentleman ought to have been aware of it when the Bill was in Committee here.


Perhaps the hon. Member has forgotten that the word "tenements" was taken out in various places during the Committee stage at the request of the Scottish Members. It was accidentally left in at this one place, and we ask that it should also be omitted here, so as to make this particular Subsection conform to the rest of the Bill.

Captain BENN

Would it not be better, when Scottish provisions have been incorporated in an English Measure against the wish of the Scottish Members, that in discussing the Bill now, we should have the presence of the representative of the Scottish Board of Health, who was in charge on previous occasions. The Solicitor-General for Scotland, with great respect, knows nothing about this particular Bill, and it is a point which leaves a bad impression in Scotland and among Scottish Members.


I support the alteration which the Lords have made, but suggest to the Minister that it does not carry the meaning which he seeks to attach to it. If you omit "tenements," it prevents assistance being given in connection with the alteration of houses. We have not got flats as you have on this side of the Border. I favour the exclusion of the word, but for reasons different from those given by the Minister.


My hon. Friends above the Gangway need be under no apprehension in regard to this matter. If they go further down in the proviso, they will see the word "tenement"—in the singular—is used there in relation to the minimum permissible under Clause 1. This obviously could not apply to a block of flats. That minimum applies only to a single house or a flat in itself.

Lords Amendments:

In Sub-section (1) after the word "house" ["such house, flat"] insert "or."

Leave out the words "or tenement" ["such house, flat, or tenement"].

In Sub-section (2, a) after the word "and" ["mortgage and shall not exceed"] insert "the advance."

Leave out the word "mortgaged" ["the mortgaged property"], and insert interest of the mortgagor in the."

In Sub-section (2, b) after the word "building" insert "or alteration."

Agreed to.