HC Deb 06 December 1926 vol 200 cc1757-69

I beg to move, in page 7, line 3, at the end, to insert the words Provided that an appeal shall lie to the Minister From any determination of the local authority under paragraph (i) either upon the complaint of any person or any person aggrieved, or upon the representation of any justice of the peace acting for the district that the rent so determined is in excess of the true rent., and upon such appeal the Minister, where he does not confirm the determination of the local authority, may determine the rent as aforesaid, and the cited paragraph shall have effect accordingly. This Amendment means that an appeal shall be able to be made to the Minister if the persons concerned are not agreed that the rent, which has been decided upon by the local committee, is a correct one, and if they remain discontented they shall have the power of appeal to the Minister. I believe the reply of the Minister to this in Committee was that the safeguards were sufficient, and that if this were to be put into operation it would merely be vexatious. I do not think it is quite as simple as that. It may be that where at present a cottage is inhabited and is going to be improved, and where the 3 per cent. on the £50 is going to be added, it is a very simple operation, but I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman what would occur in cases like the following:

Supposing for the purposes of the Act there is an old barn which has been standing for a good many years paying nothing and practically valueless. The structure is one which the owner thinks might be converted into one, two, or three dwellings under the Act. What is going to be the normal rent charged in case like that? It. may be that £150 or £50 for each dwelling is spent on it., being £50 out of the pocket of the owner and £100 out of the public purse. The Minister may argue that there is a limitation to the owner of 3 per cent. on £50, but, if the normal agricultural rent of the district—which may be 26., 3s., 4s. or even 5s. per week—is going to be put on dwellings like that, the 3 per cent. will have no meaning whatever, and it may be 10, 15, 20 or in extreme cases as much as 30 per cent. I can well conceive that in cases of that description there may be a lot of discontent as to what is the correct rent which should be applied, and, that being so, and foreseeing that such cases will occur, I feel sure we are only asking, in moving this Amendment, for something which is extremely reasonable. In such cases there is bound to be a lot of discontent arising as to what is the normal agricultural rent and I hope, in these circumstances, the. Minister may see his way to accept the Amendment.


I beg to second the Amendment.

The Minister cannot complain, and neither can any other contending party, should any aggrieved person desire some ministerial intervention or inquiry where he may feel he has cause for complaint. I think that an appeal ought to lie to the Minister in order to meet cases where any owner of property may take undue advantage of the provisions of the Act. The Minister ought at least to grant any person the power to appeal to him so that even-handed justice shall be meted out, in view of the contributions both from the ratepayers and the Exchequer.


If the Bill proposed that the rent was to be what the local authority thought to be a reasonable amount, then I think I should be disposed to agree that it was not unreasonable to ask that there should be some appeal from the decision of the local authority. But that is not what the Bill provides at all. What we have got in the Bill is the readily ascertained fact, namley, what actually was the rent of the particular building before it was improved; or, in the case of a building such as the hon. Member has spoken of—a barn or whatever it may be—which had not previously been used as a dwelling, the local authority is to determine what is the average rent for the time being paid by agricultural workers in that district. That is a question of fact which is readily ascertainable by the local authority, but it is certainly not so ascertainable by the Minister. Really, to give an appeal from the decision of the local authority in such a case would be to incur useless and unnecessary expense which ought not to be incurred.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman, in view of his statement, and the fact that there may be very few of these cases, whether in cases where a legitimate appeal should be made, the appeal ought not to be heard by the right hon. Gentleman or his successor?


The hon. Member has rather missed the point. My remark was that no appeal was legitimate—if that be the proper word to use—or necessary in such cases, because the facts were all of them to be ascertained and could be most easily ascertained by the local authority on the spot.


Supposing the facts were challenged, to whom should an appeal be made?


I think we must leave something to the local authorities.


If that be the fact, is it not also the fact that in a case such as has been mentioned the profit to the landlord would not be confined to 3 per cent., and might be anything in the nature of what was indicated?


I am at a loss to know what the hon. Member means by profit. It is not a question of profit. He seems to think that a barn or other building has no capital value at all. Why should he assume that? You cannot put up a barn without capital.


But it has no capital value until this money, which is to he provided by the State, has been spent on it.


I just want to emphasise the fact which has been pointed out by hon. Members, that it is quite easy to contemplate a case where a barn in its present state is of no value, but when you spend public money on it you give the existing ruins a value. It is not sufficient for the right hon. Gentleman to say, "Oh, hut he is limited to 3 per cent. on the amount of money he spends." As has been pointed out, he gets not merely his 3 per cent. on the £50 he has spent, hut the full average rent on the part of the property for which he is now getting no rent. I do not think it is such a simple matter as the right hon. Gentleman asks the House to assume, of ascertaining the normal working-class rent in a rural area. It is a matter that might present considerable difficulty, and all that is asked is that the tenant who is, after all, a very interested party in the matter, should, where he thinks teat a mistake has been made, have a right of appeal to the Minister. I think that is a very reasonable Amendment, and we shall press it.

Question put, "That those words he there inserted in the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes, 111; Noes, 226.

Division No. 536.] AYES. [7.11 p.m.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (File, West) Attlee, Clement Richard Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston) Barnes, A.
Ammon, Charles George Baker, Walter Barr, J.
Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith) Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Rose, frank H.
Bondfield, Margaret Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland) Scurr, John
Briant, Frank Hardie, George D. Sexton, James
Bromfield, William Harris, Percy A. Short, Alfred (Wednesday)
Bromley, J. Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) Hayes, John Henry Slesser, Sir Henry H.
Cape, Thomas Henderson, T. (Glasgow) Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)
Charleton, H. C. Hirst, G. H. Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)
Clowes, S. Hirst, W. (Bradford, South) Smith, Rennie (Penistone)
Cluse, W. S. Hore-Belisha, Leslie Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles
Connolly, M. Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield) Stamford, T. W.
Cove, w. G. John, William (Rhondda, West) Stephen, Campbell
Cowan, O. M. (Scottish universities) Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Taylor, R. A.
Dalton, Hugh Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)
Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh) Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd) Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)
Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale) Kelly, W. T. Thorne, W. ('West Ham, Plaistow)
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Kennedy, T. Thurtle, Ernest
Day, Colonel Harry Lawrence, Susan Townend, A. E.
Dennison, R. Lawson, John James Viant, S. P.
Duncan, C. Lee, F. Wallhead, Richard. c.
Dunnico, H. Livingstone, A. M. Watson. W. M. (Dunfermline)
Fenny, T. D. Lowth, T. Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney
Garro-Jones, Captain G. M. Lunn William Wedgwood, Rt, Hon. Josiah
Gardner, J. P. MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Absravon) Welsh, J. C.
Gillett, George M. Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan) Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.
Gosling, Harry March, S. Whiteley. W.
Graham D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Montague, Frederick Wiggins, William Martin
Greenall, T. Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne) Naylor, T. E. Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield. Attercliffe)
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Oliver, George Harold Wilson. R. J. Narrow)
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Paling, W. Wright, W.
Groves, T. Ponsenby, Arthur Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Grundy, T. W Potts, John S.
Guest, Haden (Southwark, N.) Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring) TELLERS FOB THE AYES.—
Hall, F. (York, W. R. Normanton) Riley, Ben Mr, Charles Edwards and Mr.
Allen Parkinson.
Albery, Irving James Davies, Ma). Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) Heneage, Lieut.-Col- Arthur P.
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton) Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester) Hennessy, Major J. R. G.
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W. Davies, Dr. Vernon Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.
Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W. Dean, Arthur Wellesley Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St.Marylebone)
Atholl, Duchess of Dixey, A. C, Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy
Atkinson, C. Drewe, C. Holbrook, sir Arthur Richard
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Duckworth, John Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Eden, Captain Anthony Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)
Barnett, Major Sir Richard Edmondson, Major A. J. Hopkinson, sir A. (Eng. Universities)
Beamish, Captain T. P. H. Elveden, Viscount Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney.N.)
Beckett, Sir Gar vase (Leeds, N.) Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s-M.) Hudson, R. s. (Camberl'nd, Whiteh'n)
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W. Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith Hume, Sir G. H.
Bennett, A. J. Evans, Captain A. (Cardiff, South) Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis
Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish- Everard, W. Lindsay Huntingfield Lord
Berry, Sir George Falls, Sir Charles F. Hurst, Gerald B.
Bethel, A. Fanshawe, Commander G. D. Hutchison, G.A.Clark (Midl'n & P'bls)
Better ton, Henry S. Fielden. E. B. Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.
Boothby, R. J. G. Forestier-Walker, Sir L. Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)
Bowyer, Captain G. E. W. Forrest, W. James, Lieut-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert
Brass, Captain W. Foster, Sir Harry S. Jones. G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)
Briggs, J. Harold Faxcroft, Captain C. T. Kennedy, A. R. (Preston).
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Fraser, Captain Ian Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)
Broun-Lindsay, Major H. Frece, Sir Walter de King, Captain Henry Douglas
Brown, Brig.-Gen.H.C.(Berks, Newb'y) Fremantle, Lt.-Col. Francis E. Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement
Buckingham. Sir H. Galbraith, J. F. w. Knox. Sir Alfred
Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James Ganzoni, Sir John Little, Dr. E. Graham
Bullock, Captain M. Gates, Percy Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)
Burman, J. B. Gilmour. Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Loder, J. de v.
Burton, Colonel H. W. Goff, Sir Park Looker, Herbert William
Cadogan, Major Han. Edward Gower, Sir Robert Lord, Walter Grooves.
Cautley, Sir Henry S. Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.) Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere
Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City) Grant, Sir J. A. Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Herman
Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt.R. (Prtsmth.S.) Grattan-Doyle, Sir N. MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood) Greene, W. p. Crawford Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)
Charteris, Brigadier-General J. Grotrian, H. Brent Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart).
Christie, J. A. Gunston, Captain D, W. McLean, Major A.
Churchman, Sir Arthur C. Hacking, Captain Douglas K. Macmillan, Captain H.
Clayton, G. C. Hall, Capt. w. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.) Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm
Cobb, Sir Cyril Hammersley, S. S. McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John
Cochrane, Commander Hon A. D. Hanbury, C. Macquisten, F. A.
Courtauld. Major J. S. Harrison, G. J. C. Mac Robert, Alexander M.
Cralk, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington) Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel.
Crooke, J. Smedley (Derltend) Haslam, Henry C. Maklns, Brigadier-General E.
Cunliffe, Sir Herbert Headlam, Lieut,-Colonel C. M. Malone, Major p. B.
Curzan, Captain Viscount Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley) Marriott, Sir J. A. R.
Mailer. R. J Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint) Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Meyer, Sir Frank Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford) Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough
Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark) Ropner, Major L Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.
Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden) Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A. Wallace, Captain D. E.
Monsell, Eyres, Com, fit. Hon, B. M. Russell, Alexander West- (Tynemouth) Ward. Lt.-Col. A.L.(Kingston-on-Hull)
Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr) Rye, F. G. Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.
Moore, Sir Newton J. Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham) Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C. Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney) Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
Nail, Colonel Sir Joseph Sandeman, A. Stewart Watts, Or. T.
Neville, R. J. Sanderson, Sir Frank Wells, S. R.
Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge) Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D. Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.
Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert Savery, S. S. Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)
Nuttall, Ellis Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby) Williams, Com. C. (Devon. Torquay)
Oakley, T. Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y) Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton) Shepperson, E. W. Wilson, M. J. (York, N. R., Richm'd)
Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William Skelton, A. N. Winby, Colonel L. P.
Penny, Frederick George Slaney, Major P. Kenyon Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings) Smith, R. W.(Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.) Winterton. Rt. Hon. Earl
Perkins, Colonel E. K. Smithers, Waldron Wise, Sir Fredric
Perring, Sir William George Sprot, Sir Alexander Womersley, W. J.
Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome) Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.) Wood. B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater)
Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Assheton Stanley, Lord (Fylde) Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)
Raine. W. Stanley. Hon. O. F. G.(Westm'eland) Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)
Ramsden, E. Storry-Deans, R. Wood, Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)
Rawson, Sir Cooper Streatfield, Captain S. R. Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L
Reid, Capt. Cunningham (Warrington) Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn) Wragg, Herbert
Reid, D. D, (County Down) Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.
Remnant, Sir James Tasker, Major R. Inigo
Rentoul, G. S. Thorn, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton) TELLERS FOR THE NOES —
Rhys, Hon. C. A. U. Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South) Major Cope and Captain Mar.
Rice, Sir Frederick Tinne, J. A. gesson.
Richardson, Sir P. W.(Sur'y, Ch'ts'y) Titchfield, Major the Marquess of

The following Amendment stood, on the Order Paper in the name of Mr. RYE:

In page 7, line 34, at the end, to insert the words Notwithstanding 'the foregoing provisions the local authority may, but only in cases where the income of the owner or tenant has been increased since the date of taking occupation, waive the conditions imposfq1 by this Section.


I-intended to move a manuseript Amendment to the following effect: Notwithstanding the foregoing conditions the local; authority may, where the income of the occupying owner or tenant has increased after the date of taking occupation, waive the conditions imposed by paragraph (a) of this Section. I see on the Order Paper an Amendment in the name of the Minister of Health, which in substance is the same as my Amendment. In those circumstances I do not propose to move my Amendment.


Does the hon. Member propose to move to leave out. paragraph (c)?


No, Sir. I beg to move, in page 7, line 21, to leave out paragraph (d).

I move this Amendment because I see no reason why the occupier of one of these houses which comes Within the provision of this Bill should not have the right to accept a premium on assignment or under-letting. The object of the Amendment put down m the Committee stage, which now appears in the Bill in paragraph (d), was to prevent an occupier under-letting or assigning to anyone who intended to use the cottage as a week-end residence, but the House will be aware that this could not be done under the terms of the Bill. The conditions imposed prohibit that, but I see no valid reason why a tenant who has improved his tenement, it may be the house itself, or what is more likely, the garden, should not be allowed, if he wants, to sell to another agricultural worker and receive a small premium on the sale. I cannot see what objection there is to that. I can see the reason for prohibiting an assignment which would enable anyone to come into occupation who was not an agricultural worker or someone in "the same economic condition." The assignment must be to a person of the same class, and, if the tenant can obtain a few pounds, I cannot see why he should be prohibited front doing so. Nor do I see why a neighbouring owner if he wishes to obtain possession of a cottage for the purpose of honing an agricultural worker should not be at liberty to pay a small premium in order to acquire possession. It may be that the tenant in occupation is moving into another county, and why should Le not make a small profit? In view of the fact that the conditions are so stringent and make it abundantly clear that only an agricultural worker or someone of that same condition shall occupy the premises, I do not think these conditions should be imposed, and for that reason I move the Amendment.


I beg to second the Amendment.

I should like to know what was in the Minister's mind in putting in this requirement. It is absolutely clear by paragraph (a) that the succeeding occupier must be a person of the same class, he must not be earning any more than the standard rate of wages in the district. I cannot see any reason why the outgoing tenant should not make the best bargain he can with the incoming tenant, or anybody on his behalf. It is the constant practice now. Where you have a cottage with a garden, the outgoing tenant often has considerable interest in the garden produce; it all depends on the time of the year. Under this Clause as it stands, the outgoing occupier will lose that interest in his garden if he cannot be paid for the crops that are growing and the work he has put in. I can imagine similar conditions applying where the occupying owner has done up the inside of his house, whitewashed the ceilings or painted the rooms, and if the incoming tenant is willing to pay a few shillings or a pound or two, why should he not be allowed to do so? I do not know what the idea of the Government was in putting this paragraph in the Bill.


I do not think I shall have much difficulty in showing why this paragraph has been put in, and why I attach some importance to it. The important provision in the Bill is that assistance shall be given out of public money to certain people to make improvements in their cottages, and in order that the benefit shall go to the tenant rather than to the owner we have imposed strict conditions as to the rent which may he charged for the improved cottage. If payment be made which is not called rent, but which is handed over to the person who is assigning the property, it is clear that the object of the Bill may be defeated. It is all very well for the hon. and learned Member to say it is the usual thing to ask a few shillings for the condition of the garden or because the tenant has decorated the interior of the cottage, but he must see that it would be easy to put forward an excuse of that kind for asking a premium for the cottage, the real value of which has been derived from the fact that this public money has been spent on it. I cannot contemplate relaxing these conditions, for what it would really amount to would be, paying an increased rent. I hope the Amendment will not be pressed.

Amendment negatived.

Brigadier-General CLIFTON BROWN

I beg to move, in page 7, line 26, at the end, to insert the words Provided always that nothing in this Act shall relieve the tenant from the obligation of obtaining the consent of his landlord before assigning, sub-letting, or parting with the possession of any house, message, or premises to which this Act applies where the obligation to obtain such consent as aforesaid is a term of the contract of tenancy, and where such an obligation is not a term of the contract of tenancy, it shall be the duty of the tenant to render the certificate required under Sub-section (1) (ii) (c) of Section three of this Act on any such assignment, sub-letting, or parting with possession as aforesaid. In paragraph (c) it says: The owner of the dwelling shall from time to time, on being so required by the local authority, give to the authority a certificate to the effect that the foregoing conditions (a) and (b) are being complied with in respect of the dwelling; It may be possible that the owner of a cottage is unable to sign such a certificate or lice such information. In the case of a landlord having a lease which does not allow the tenant to sublet, this Clause may override the lease, it may enable the tenant to override I he terms of his lease. Then, again, when there is no lease or when the lease does not provide for sub-letting, it may be. quite possible for a tenant to sublet a cottage unlawfully and without the knowledge of the owner, and it should he on the tenant, as well as the owner, to make this report or sign this certificate. Take the ease of a farmer who changes his method of farming. He may change from arable to grass farming, and it may be possible that he will not require two cottages which are let with the farm. He may let them outside the farm. If there was no lease governing sub-letting the owner may know nothing about it, but he would still be responsible for signing the certi- ficate. It should be clearly laid down that the tenant, as well as the owner, is responsible. Perhaps the wording of the Amendment is rather cumbersome, but the right hon. Gentleman has no doubt gathered the point at issue, and I hope he will insert words to make it quite clear.


I beg to second the Amendment.


There are really two parts to this Amendment. There is the first part, which deals with a case where this is an obligation to obtain consent. There is nothing in this Bill which would override any such obligation. In regard to the second part, where there are no terms as to tenancy, I do not think we can substitute "tenant" for "owner." The best thing I can do is what I am prepared to do, if it will satisfy my hon. and gallant Friend, and that is to endeavour to have inserted in another place something to the effect that it shall be the duty of the tenant to give the owner whatever information is necessary in order to enable him to give a certificate.

Brigadier-General BROWN

We should be quite satisfied with that undertaking. Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


I beg to move, in page 7, line 27, after the word "that," to insert the words (i) where a dwelling is in the occupation of a person by whom, having regard to the terms of paragraph (a) of this Sub-section, it may properly be occupied and that person subsequently ceases to he such a person the continued occupation of the dwelling by that person Shall not, if the local authority have assented thereto, and so long as that assent has not been withdrawn, he taken to be in contravention of the said paragraph (a), if and so long as that person remains in the employment of the person by whom he was employed at the time of his ceasing as aforesaid; and (ii). This Amendment is to provide for a case which I confess occurred to me only after the Bill was drafted, and it is rather a difficult case. It is the case where a man has been properly permitted to occupy one of these improved cottages, being either an agricultural worker or a person in substantially the same economic position, and then has, by his own skill or industry, been enabled to take a better paid position from his employer. He would, if it were not for this Amendment, be unable any longer lawfuly to occupy his cottage. Assuming that the owner in such a case did not require the cottage for an agricultural worker, and that the owner was still willing that the man should continue to occupy the cottage at the same rent as hitherto—nothing in the Amendment would permit the, rent to be raised—it would seem rather hard that both owner and tenant should be put to such inconvenience that the man would be obliged, because he had raised himself by his own industry, to go somewhere else and to find another house. Therefore I have put this Amendment on the Paper. On the other hand I must provide against the possibility of a bogus putting into a house of a person who was not intended to occupy or was not eligible for a house of this kind—calling that man an agricultural worker in order to put him into one of these houses, and then raising his position. Therefore, I have provided that the assent of the local authority must be given to this waiver of the conditions of the Bill.


When we, in Committee, criticised this Bill because of the loose way in which it was drafted, and when we pointed out that there were certain dangers arising therefrom, we were repeatedly told by the Minister to read the Bill. It is a relief to us to find that he has now read the Bill and that he understands it. If the proposal which the right hon. Gentleman makes here were to be applied generally, it is one which would meet with a good deal of sympathy in all parts of the House. The idea behind the Amendment is to protect the industrious tenant who betters his economic position during his tenancy of a house. That is quite a worthy object, and if that were all that was in the Amendment there would be general sympathy with it. But that is not the Amendment. The Amendment provides that the man is to have this advantage only as long as he continues to be in the employment of the employer whom he was serving when he first became a tenant of the house. I submit that the right hon. Gentleman is altering the whole basis of the Bill. The basis of tenancy up to now has been the economic condition of the tenant. The basis is now, to this extent at any rate, to be the convenience of the employer. That is quite a different thing. The Minister is altering the basis from the economic position of the tenant to the convenence of the employer. That is a step which we should not take. We should retain the houses for people in a certain economic condition, for whom they are intended, without any regard at all to the convenience of other people. The right hon. Gentleman has been fond of telling us that it is the interest of the tenant and not that of the owner which he is looking after. Clearly in this case it is solely the interest of the owner that is in the right hon. Gentleman's mind.


I do not attach any particular importance to these words, and if the right hon. Gentleman wishes I will leave them out.


I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, in line 6, to leave out from the word "paragraph" to the word "and" in line 8.


I beg to second the Amendment to the proposed Amendment.


I am prepared to accept the suggestion.

Amendment to proposed Amendment agreed to.

Proposed words, as amended, there inserted in the Bill.

Further Amendment made: In page 8, line 14, at the end, insert the words (5) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in any enactment or rule of law relating to the jurisdiction of County Courts, the County Court of the district in which a dwelling is situate may, on the application of the local authority—

  1. (a) whether or not any other relief is claimed, grant an injunction restraining the breach, or apprehended breach, of any condition applying to the dwelling by virtue of this Section other than the condition imposed by paragraph (c) of Subsection (1) of this Section; or
  2. (b) make an Order directing payment to the authority of any sum which has become payable to it by reason of the breach of any condition applying to the dwelling by virtue of this Section."—[Mr. Chamberlain.]