HC Deb 24 June 1932 vol 267 cc1431-2

Order for Second Reading read.

The SOLICITOR-GENERAL (Sir F. Boyd Merriman)

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

The House will recollect that in 1928 an Act was passed to enable a corporation to be set up to make loans on easy terms to agriculture. It was one of the essential parts of that scheme that repayment should be arranged over a long term and, if that part of the scheme were interfered with, the scheme as a whole would be put in very great danger. There is a rule that is always enforced in courts of equity that a mortgagor cannot by any contract prevent himself for an unreasonable time from redeeming a mortgage and, in spite of the very clear words of the Act of 1928, doubts have arisen as to whether these payments over a term of about 60 years, which is contemplated by the Act, does not infringe this rule and the whole scheme might be wrecked or, at any rate, seriously interfered with if a decision to that effect were given by the Court. The main object of the Bill is to remove that doubt and to ensure that a mortgagor may be enabled to borrow on terms advantageous to himself without the danger of the contract being interfered with in this respect. That is effected by Clause 2. Clause 3 enables life tenants and other limited owners to take advantage of the Act and regulates the incidence of the terms of repayment and so forth as between themselves and the reversioners. I hope the Measure may be regarded as uncontroversial. I am sure, if it is passed, it will increase the usefulness of an Act, which has already been proved to be beneficial to agriculture.


It seems rather malapropos that this Bill should come just after we have had a discussion upon losses on agriculture under the Public Works Loans Bill. I should like to put in a word of warning with regard to the mortgage arrangements in this Bill. My hon. and learned Friend has made use of the expressions "loans to agriculture" and "loans on long terms." I suggest that, when he talks about loans on long terms, he should consider that the valuers who will make these loans for the Government under the Act should no longer be the probate valuers, who have been hopelessly wrong in valuations dealt with under the Public Works Loans Bill we have just passed. I should also like to suggest that it would be likely to reduce the legal costs regarding title and transfer of properties if we gave expression in this Bill to a policy which this House has always supported, that titles in any transaction under this Act should, as a matter of course, be registered through the Land Registry Department, so that, if there are changes, transfers, sales or repayment of a loan, there may be less cost falling upon either the borrower or the State as a lender.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read a Second time.

Bill committed to a Committee of the Whole House for Monday next.—[The Solicitor-General.]