HC Deb 02 November 1930 vol 134 cc230-1

(1)Where any sum is duo to the tenant of a holding by way of compensation or otherwise under the Act of 1908, and the landlord neglects or fails to pay that sum to the tenant within one month after the amount has become due, the tenant shall, subject as hereinafter provided, be entitled to obtain from the Minister a first charge on the holding to the amount of the sum so due and of all costs properly incurred by him in obtaining the charge.

Provided that the foregoing provision shall not apply in the case of a sum due by way of compensation for disturbance and payable by a person who ceased to be the landlord of the holding before the termination of the tenancy.

(2) Any charge under this Section shall he made in like manner as charges under the Act of 1908.

(3) Any charge made by the Minister under the Act of 1908 may contain such provision as the Minister may think necessary or desirable for adjusting as between the several persons interested in the holding the liability for the discharge of the amount charged and for the payment of interest thereon. — [Lieut. - Colonel A. Murray.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Lieut.-Colonel A. MURRAY

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

In Committee this Clause which originally stood in the Bill was negatived without Debate. Some of my hon. Friends and myself have since given some consideration to the matter and we desire to move the Clause again. We contend that the protection afforded by this Clause to the tenant against loss on the failure of the landlord to pay the tenant's claim should be restored. So far as I can see, if a landlord went bankrupt unless some such Clause were in the Bill the tenant would have no real means of obtaining the compensation which was his due.

Major M. WOOD

I beg to second the Motion.


I regret I cannot accept this new Clause, which was Clause 17 in the original Bill. It was put there largely because there was a recommendation in favour of such a proposal, but on considering the whole matter and going into it very carefully with my advisers I found, as I stated to the Committee, that the practical difficulties which would arise far outweighed any difficulty that was likely to accrue from the Clause. If you are going to make a general law that a sum of money like this for compensation is to be a first charge on the man it would make it a very difficult thing, and in many case practically impossible, to raise mortgages on land. Difficulties of that sort would arise and have to be taken into account. Those difficulties might have a very prejudicial effect on estate management and generally on good cultivation. If the compensation which is to be made the first charge represented solely improvements, there might be something to be said for it, though even there the difficulties would be very great, but it must be remembered that this new Clause would cover also compensation for disturbance which represents no increase in the value of the land, and which in the case of capricious eviction might amount to a very large sum. Therefore I really do not think I could agree to reinsert the Clause which was dropped with general consent in Committee. The case which the hon. Member is trying to guard against is a very remote danger. The Ministry of Agriculture has searched its records and can only discover one single case brought to its notice a good many years ago, in which the landlord became bankrupt after the tenancy determined and the tenant failed to obtain his compensation. In view of the fact that the danger is so remote and that cases are likely to be very infrequent, and owing to the disadvantages from the point of view of estate management, I think I am right in saying that the disadvantages greatly outweigh the advantages, and I cannot see my way to accept the Clause.

Question, "That the Clause be read a Second time," put, and negatived.