HC Deb 14 May 1928 vol 217 cc671-2

asked the Home Secretary whether he can make any statement with regard to the position of tenants in Northern Ireland whose holdings will not have been dealt with under The Northern Ireland Land Act, 1925, within four years of the passing of that Act?


Yes, Sir. As the statement is somewhat long, I propose, with my honourable Friend's permission, to circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT. I have sent him a copy.

Following is the statement:

The number of holdings to be vested in the tenants under the Act has proved to be much greater than was anticipated when the Act was passed. For this and other reasons it will be impracticable to complete the process of transfer by the date originally contemplated, namely, May, 1929. The delay must be a source of disappointment to the tenants concerned, and I have been considering for some time past in close consultation with the Government of Northern Ireland what steps could be taken to mitigate its effects. I am glad to say that a scheme has now been worked out which should provide a satisfactory solution of the difficulties. Briefly its effect in the case of a tenant whose holding is transferred after May next is to place that tenant retrospectively in the financial position in which he would have been had the delay not occurred. He will continue to pay his rent to the landlord until the holding is vested in the Commission, but he will then receive a refund of the difference between the amount of the annuity ultimately payable to the Government and the current rent from May next. Furthermore, the term of the land purchase annuity will run as from May next. The Government of Northern Ireland have undertaken to bear the cost of the refund to the tenants and of the sinking fund payments during the interim period. The scheme will not, therefore, operate in any way to the prejudice of the landlords. The scheme will involve legislation of a simple and, I hope, entirely uncontroversial character. The work of vesting holdings in the Commission will be continued with all possible expedition and the outstanding cases will be progressively disposed of within a period of three years from the date mentioned, by which time, with certain possible exceptions which may present special difficulties, the completion of land purchase in Northern Ireland would be effected.