HC Deb 04 April 1933 vol 276 cc1599-712

Amendment proposed [30th March]: In page l, line 20, to leave out the word "forty-five," and to insert instead thereof the word "seventy."—[Mr. Rhys Davies.]

Question again proposed, "That the word 'forty-five' stand part of the Clause."

4.22 p.m.


When the Committee adjourned last Thursday we had started a discussion of this Amendment and under the direction of the Chair it was enlarged to include a number of other Amendments on the Order Paper dealing with the same subject. That subject is the proposal to decontrol all tenancies in England and Scotland from £45 to £105, and in the Provinces all tenancies from £35 to £78. The Minister of Health at one point in the Committee stage said: the case for this recommendation is overwhelmingly strong, because the question is whether or not the supply of the particular class of house you have under consideration meets the deniand."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 30th March, 1933; col. 1250, Vol. 276.] With great respect to the right hon. Gentleman I say that that is not the central question raised by the proposal to decontrol. The Minister of Health apparently, is under the impression that when houses are decontrolled rents do not rise. I do not know on what information he bases that view, and I will not tarry to inquire, because I want to come to the main question. I ask the Committee to consider the range of tenancies brought within the ambit of this Clause. Who are the people concerned? What is their situation? In September next one of two things will happen, either these tenants will be dispossessed of their present tenancies or they are going to receive notices from their landlord that new agreements are to be put upon them and, as all experience shows, at heavily increased rents. The effect, the inevitable consequence, of decontrol is for rents to increase. Who are the people brought within the ambit of this Clause? They are the tenants in London of houses between £45 and £105 per annum. They are the better class artisans, the craftsmen who manage to live in a small house of £45, the small professional man, civil servants, small people of all ranks; and they are going to find themselves next September suddenly confronted with this dilemma, that under the operation of this Bill the protection they have so far enjoyed is to be swept away and a notice to terminate the tenancy will be given by the landlord. They will have to prepare to leave the house or face a demand for an increase in rent. That is the actual situation.

I intervened with some observations in the last few moments of the previous Debate and since then I have received hundreds of communications from all parts of the country from persons telling me of their case and fearing what is going to happen. I want the Committee to put themselves in the place of these people who are suddenly going to find the protection of the Bent Restriction Acts withdrawn. Those who take this view of the matter are not indifferent to the rights of landlords. We appreciate the difficulties in the way of landlords, but if I have to choose, using the best judgment I can, between the interests of a relatively small body of landlords and the interests of hundreds and thousands of tenants who are brought within the ambit of this Clause, and I reflect on the economic anxiety which these tenants must feel, I cannot find it on my conscience to turn a deaf ear to their appeal. It is said that these people have not yet awakened to what is before them. That is true. They have not yet communicated with their Members of Parliament or even with Ministers. But that is the way we do things in old England: we wait until things happen and then wake up with a start and complain. Many people do not give that attention to the legislation of this House which they ought to give in considering their own interests. The result in this case will be that very many people will find themselves in an extremely difficult position in September or thereabouts, and they will become extremely indignant as to what is happening.

My submission is that we who are charged with representing large bodies of people must form a view as to how they are likely to be affected by legislation, and must express that view, even if it is long before our own constituents wake up. I say, first of all, that when we consider the anxieties with which these people are to be faced, they are a hardship which ought not to be put upon them. It means larger assessments, increased rates and more serious anxieties. I make that general statement with regard to the question of decontrol under this Bill, and I would add this: Not only will this be a great hardship to hundreds of thousands of tenants, which they will resent with great bitterness before the year is out, but it is a political blunder of the first magnitude.

Who are these people? They are the people to whom this National Government made its appeal. They are the small people of the land who were the backbone of the local appeals which successfully resulted in the enormous majority of this Government. These people were quite ready to face the financial sacrifices called for, and they faced them manfully. They have suffered diminished employment, reduced incomes, increased expenses and other anxieties cheerfully, in the belief that those sacrifices were called for by the necessities of the country. When the appeal was made to them, was there any indication that before this year was out they were to be called upon to make this further sacrifice? Frankly, I can understand some of the arguments with regard to this Bill being made by the sort of Victorian Liberal who had a very close regard for the rights of property. It is a revival of the old controversies in this House 30 years ago, in which Mr. Asquith originally engaged. He himself used to call it "the blessing of private enterprise." You bought up bricks and mortar at bottom prices and then screwed out the utmost farthing you could get from the tenant. You called that the law of supply and demand. Such considerations have no currency in these times; they are rejected by the masses of the people, and any Administration which founds legislation upon such notions will rue it.

I think I have some title to make this appeal. I took my share in the sacrifices and the difficulties involved in the formation of the present Government. This Government is not a Conservative Government; it is a National Government; it is a Government which is receiving support from all parties in the State, and it is manned by representatives of all parties in the State. If this Administration, under cover of a national necessity, chooses to turn itself into a Conservative Administration to carry out old Tory devices, they will redound disastrously in the long run on the heads of the Government. But I believe that that is not the Government's purpose at all, and I have taken this opportunity of asking my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health to defer any attempts to deal with decontrol of these houses until the financial situation of the country, with its repercussion on individuals, has improved in such a way as to warrant such interference. If the course proposed in this part of the Bill is taken before the economic situation of the country is more settled, and before the private anxieties of large numbers of citizens are allayed, this legislation—I admit that there are admirable parts of the Bill which I commended on Second Reading—this particular part, decontrolling hundreds of thousands of houses at a time of economic stringency, is a blunder of the first magnitude and will result in consequences which the Administration will regret.

4.37 p.m.

The MINISTER of HEALTH (Sir Hilton Young)

The Committee will remember that this Amendment had a very full discussion at our last Sitting, and it may be convenient for me to reply now. It would, perhaps, make for clearness if I explained in the first place that it is not my intention, on behalf of the Government, to accept any Amendments which have the effect of disturbing the classes of houses which are defined in the Bill as "A," "B" and "C," and I propose to give reasons for that decision. It is necessary that I say one or two words to explain the method by which the committee which examined the question and recommended this classification arrived at their conclusions. This is no mere arbitrary classification. It is a classification which is based upon sound reasoning, statistical inquiry and the closest application of the facts to the requirements of the case. What the committee did was this: It fixed at the bottom the "C" class of house, and that left about 3,500,000 houses controlled above the "C" class. Then the committee proceeded to find a dividing line in order to divide those remaining 3,500,000 houses into the two classes "A" and "B." They found the line in this way: They fixed the line so that above it the class included a majority of houses that were already decontrolled. Those were the "A" class houses. Below the line there was a majority of houses not yet decontrolled. Those were the "B" class.

Those were extremely just and sensible grounds for the classification adopted by the committee. I have heard nothing so far in this Debate to make me think that there are any reasons for displacing that classification. The characteristics of the two top classes, "A" and "B," are these: The "A" class are the houses of the better sort, the majority of which are already decontrolled. As regards these a conspicuous circumstance is that the supply has already overtaken the demand for them. We have heard something, particularly in the speech just delivered, about the alleged hardship upon the tenants of these houses. If there is any hardship it must be in a possible rise of the rents of those houses. But if there is to be a possible rise in the rents of those houses it must be because the supply of the houses is not equal to the demand. As a matter of fact the contrary is the case. Therefore, proceeding backward along the line of the argument, there is no practical apprehension of any general rise in the rents of this class of house, and no danger of any general increase on the part of the owners of the houses.


Does my right hon. Friend mean no grievance on the part of the owners or of the dwellers in the houses?


The occupants. There is no grievance on the part of the occupants of these houses if there is no danger of a rise in rents. The arguments in this Debate have proceeded upon the basis that control is a permanent institution. But that is not accepted. It is not accepted by the Government, it is not accepted by the majority of the House, and I think it is not accepted by the country as a whole. Suppose that we agree that control is not a permanent institution, when are we going to be able to decontrol this class of house? Indeed the determining circumstance is that the supply in the class is equal to the demand, and when that circumstance is realised there is no reason why control should be prolonged. That circumstance has been realised in the case of the "A" class house. Therefore, if at the present time we are not to decontrol that class, there is no reason why we should ever do it in the future. In fact we should be accepting control of "A" class houses as a permanent institution. The committee that inquired into the matter elicited the actual facts of the case. I believe that the conclusions which they based on those facts were the right conclusions, and that it is now the right thing to put them into force.

Let me deal with one or two particular arguments which have been advanced. The hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. R. Davies), when speaking on an Amendment on the last occasion, was under the impression that this class of house was inhabited to a substantial extent by members of the working classes. It is simply not the case. Let me refer him to the figures relating to the "A" class house. The rents of these houses, equivalent to the assessment value, which are taken in the Bill, are these: The assessment values are approximately equivalent to a controlled inclusive rent ranging from 30s. to 36s. a week in the county of London and from 28s. to 34s. a week in the metropolitan police district, according to the level of the rates. The figure of £35 for England and Wales is approximately equivalent to a controlled inclusive rent ranging from 22s. to 27s. a week.


Are these figures inclusive of rates?


Yes, according to the level of the local rates and inclusive of them. It is obvious that rents of this sort are not such as are paid by members of the working class. [HON. MEMBERS: "Yes."]


That shows how much you know about it.


The houses which the hon. Member who moved this Amendment has in mind were houses which were in the "A" class, but were sub-divided into several holdings. That was the basis upon which he argued his case. His argument proceeded, not upon the basis of the "A" class house held as a whole by a member of the working class, but of the "A" class house, sub-divided into several dwellings and sub-let. That is completely irrelevant to the purpose of the present Amendment and the present Clause, because all sub-tenancies of that sort, all "C" class and "B" class tenancies in "A" class houses, remain protected—that is, all sitting tenants of such tenancies remain protected under the Bill.


If the right hon. Gentleman is now commenting on something which I have said—


No, I am referring to the argument of the hon. Member for Westhoughton. The arguments upon which he proceeded and the apprehensions which he expressed as regards these sub-divided "A" class houses, do not arise and he can be completely reassured about them. Careful arrangements are made in the Bill for avoiding any hardship or any inconvenience to the "A" class tenants on the occasion of the cessation of control. That matter has been, us the Committee knows, revised by an Amendment which has been put down in my name, and the effect of which is this. In the first place, it gives the tenants until the September quarter for making fresh arrangements with their landlords. That is an ample measure of time, representing something over a year from the introduction of the Bill, if my memory is right, and about two years from the date of the report of the Committee.

Furthermore, it gives to the "A" class tenants not only the time until Sep- tember to make fresh arrangements, but it gives them the right to specific notice from the landlord, calling their attention to the fact that it is an "A" class controlled dwelling, giving them notice and specifying the terms of the fresh arrangement which is proposed. That is necessary in order to avoid the confusion which might otherwise arise on the termination of the tenancy. Lastly, to make a full picture of the rights of the "A" class tenants, let me make It quite clear that all existing rights as between landlord and tenant, in so far as they are due to contract, custom or any other legal basis, remain unaffected by the Bill. The statutory rights based upon the controlling Acts come to an end, but in so far as there are any contractual or other personal legal rights as between landlord and tenant they continue to exist. Where such contractual rights would otherwise have ceased to exist long since, that would be a case for making a fresh bargain between the landlord and the tenant.

The fact is, of course, that whenever decontrol comes it would, in any case, be possible to point to hard cases just above or below the line at which you decontrol or hard cases based on the mere fact of decontrol. But unless you are prepared to allow control to go on for ever, you must beprepared to face some few cases of the sort. What we can say is that the time has now arrived at which the decontrol of this class of houses is possible without any substantial or general hardship, because the supply has overtaken the demand. That was the basis of the recommendation of the committee, and the fact is brought out prominently in their report, that the supply of houses of this class has increased by 60 per cent. since the War. It is the class of houses which has benefited most by housing efforts since the War. It is the class which is benefiting most at the present time by the activity of the private builder. It is the class in which the supply is most rapidly increasing.

The way in which to increase that supply further, and bring into play the forces of competition which will have the effect of reducing the rents of this class of tenants, is to abolish control so as to encourage the employment of capital, initiative and enterprise in the supply of houses of this type. The tenants of class "A" houses have more to gain by decontrol at the present time than by a continuation of control and in these circumstances I believe that the Committee may safely come to the conclusion, that this is the right moment at which to decontrol this class of houses, and that such decontrol ought to be carried out not only in the interests of the landlords, who deserve consideration, but also in the interests of the tenants themselves.

4.52 p.m.


I understand that this discussion is to cover the whole range of these figures and is not confined to the case of London which is dealt with in the Amendment actually before the Committee. I would not venture to speak particularly as to the case of London in favour of a higher figure than that which appears in the Bill but I am certain that this is not a very opportune moment to take the step which has been taken in this Bill of reducing the rents or assessments which will come within the scope of the principal Acts dealing with this matter. The Minister argued that this was an opportune moment to proceed with a measure of decontrol, not only in the interest of landlords who, he said, deserve consideration but in the general public interest. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that the interest of the landlords is being considered, and considered very generously in this Bill and there will be a considerable reaction throughout the country if the Bill in its present form reaches the Statute Book.

This question of the higher-rented houses in relation to the operation of the Rent Restrictions Acts is not a new one. As far back as 1920 the committee which then sat reported that the pressure of increased rental was even more severe in the case of the more expensive houses than in the case of the others. I am rather disposed to think, after the operation of the Acts, that if the pressure was severe in 1920 it is even more severe today. It will be recollected that in 1920 we were in the middle of a trade boom. It may have been artificial, but there certainly was a boom. There was comparatively little unemployment, and the middle-class householders such as professional men and small shopkeepers were all doing well. In the last two years there has been a different tale to tell. I suppose there has been no period in the history of the middle classes in which they have been called upon to suffer so much as during the last three or four years and particularly the last two years. I saw a statement in the Press yesterday which indicates what class is suffering at present in this connection. It stated that the losses in the value of real estate in London since the slump were estimated at close on £10,000,000, and that empty office buildings were responsible for a drop of at least £1,000,000 a year in rents. Who are affected by empty offices? The persons who live on the outskirts of London and in the suburbs, and who were employed, at one time, at fairly remunerative salaries, in offices in London but who now find themselves without any employment and without any provision. Some provision has happily been made for another class. It may be inadequate but there it is. Many of the class to which I refer, however, have no provision whatever made for them.

This Government was returned to power very largely by the enthusiastic support of members of that class, yet this is the moment which the Government thinks opportune to strike another blow at this very large number of people who, as I have said previously, are largely inarticulate and are very slow to lay their grievances before the public. There is another point in connection with these Class "A" houses. The Minister said that during the last few years there had been considerable progress in the erection of houses which would meet the requirements of Class "A" tenants. I do not think the Committee can ignore the fact that the houses which have been provided in the last 10 or 12 years, particularly as far as the better type of house is concerned, are very largely for the occupier-owner. My experience in my area, and I think it is the same all over the country, is that houses of the type above that generally provided by municipal authorities and builders, are almost entirely houses erected by persons for their own occupation.

I believe that the most casual and superficial inquiry would show that to be the case and, if that be so, what is going to happen to the 500,000 persons who will at once find their houses decontrolled under this proposal? These houses are going to be decontrolled in such a way that the occupants will be called upon to give up possession at comparatively short notice. Where are these people all over the country to find accommodation when they receive notice to quit from their landlords? It is certain that the accommodation is not available for them. It is all very well to refer to the number of houses that have been erected, but those houses are those of occupier-owners, and they will not be an outlet for those who find their tenancies coming to an end six months from the present date.

There is another very large class who come within the scope of the various Rent Restrictions Acts, and I am certain that this is the class of people which will suffer almost more than any other class. I refer to the small tradesmen in suburban areas and in the small country towns. Most of the shops in these small country towns which are let to tenants come within the figures of from £45 to £80 or £90 rent or rateable value. They have been protected so far by the various Acts, hut remember this, that so far as the ordinary house tenant is concerned, it does not matter very much if he can find alternative accommodation available within a distance of a mile or two miles of his residence, but take the position of the small trader, of whom there must be hundreds and thousands who come within the category of the half-million referred to in the return.

At a time when the small trader is suffering more than he has ever done in his history, what will be his position? He may be told by about August that his premises will be required on the 29th September, or in the alternative that his rent will be increased to a figure which is practically prohibitive. He is faced with this position, not merely that he has to leave his house and business premises, which he may have occupied for a large number of years, but that his landlord will be in a position to confiscate the goodwill which he has succeeded in creating in connection with his business. I must say that I view with considerable alarm what may take place all over the country in this connection, and I trust that the Government will reconsider this matter with great care, recollecting that, although they are basing their recommendations upon the report of the Departmental Committee, that report was more than two years old before the very serious financial crisis through which this country is passing commenced.

I hope that, having regard to all the circumstances and to the representations that have been made in this house by various hon. Members, the Government will give this question their very earnest consideration. If they are not prepared to-day to make any concession, I hope they will see their way before the Report stage to meet the representations which have been made on behalf particularly of this class of tenants. I am certain that if they do not do so, the Government may find, before anything is done to put into operation the proposals contained in this Clause, and particularly in the Amendment which the Minister has down for consideration at a later stage, that there will be such widespread alarm throughout the country that at the commencement of next Session they may be compelled to produce an amending Bill to allay the tremendous agitation which is certain to arise.

5.5 p.m.


Is it not the case that the rental of £45 stated in the Bill means the fixing of a new rent? Is it not the case that, included in that £45, is the 40 per cent. increase on the old standard rent, and that the Government are establishing a new rent, which contains that which was allowed owing to what was considered the increased cost of material and higher rates of wages paid to building operatives? Is it not rather a piece of sharp practice to legalise what was considered to be purely a temporary increase owing to the abnormal conditions then prevailing? During his speech the Minister laid down very carefully the reasons which prevent him accepting any of the Amendments that are being moved. There can be no variation in his proposals, because, it appears, he is following mainly the lines of the Departmental Committee Report. Does fie not remember that the Departmental Committee itself recommended that the 25 per cent. increase which was allowed to be placed by owners of property upon rents to cover the cost of repairs should be taken off? The right hon. Gentleman shakes his head, but I think the Majority Report was to that effect.


I was not shaking my head in dissent, but I fail to recognise the passage, which no doubt the hon. Member will be able to point out.


The Marley Committee, I am certain, recommended that the increase which had been granted with regard to repairs should be taken off.


In their Summary of Recommendations the Committee say: We do not recommend any alteration in the permitted increase of rent, but we make certain proposals designed to secure that tenants are made aware of their right to have their houses kept in proper repair.


I think that in the report itself the right hon. Gentleman will find that there was general agreement among the Members of the Committee that the 25 per cent. increase for repairs should not be continued.


Is that not on page 32, paragraph 61?


I am not sure that this is in order on the Amendment that we are now discussing.


We are laying down certain proposals for the continuation of houses of a particular rental under control. Sub-section (2) states: Subject to the provisions of the principal Acts, those Acts shall apply"— and it brings in certain rentals. My point is that those rentals are not the same as those in the principal Acts, because in the principal Acts certain rentals are laid down to which increases can be made by the owners of the property. The rentals stated in this Bill are rentals which include the increase of 15 per cent. given under the principal Acts and of 25 per cent. allowed for the cost of repairs, and I submit that that is establishing a new code of rentals by legalising that which was given in the principal Acts purely as a temporary measure.


If the hon. Member is right in what he says, he is probably in order here, so long as he is not arguing in favour of any machinery which he wants to introduce to enable rents to be determined.


As a matter of fact, there is nothing whatever in this Clause which either legalises or affects the present legality of the permitted increase of rent, and no Amendment of this Clause can affect the permitted increase of rent.


My point is that we are giving as a 40 per cent. increase of rent something which was allowed as an increase for repairing the property.


If the hon. Member desires to alter the permitted increase of rent, it would have to be done in another Clause.


I was going to suggest that the method that obtained in the principal Acts, which set out the standard rent and then leave it clear to the tenants of those houses that the 40 per cent. which they were paying was an increase to be devoted to certain purposes—15 per cent. for an increase of rent and 25 per cent. for repairs—that that method, if adopted here, would be carrying out the principles of the principal Acts in the manner in which I think all previous Amendments to the principal Acts have been framed in this House. The present Bill is a departure from the practice that has prevailed in the past when we have been discussing amending legislation in this connection.


I think the hon. Member was dealing with something more than the fixed rents dealt with in the Amendment. What he wants no doubt comes within the scope of the Bill, but not within the scope of this particular Amendment.


I am sorry that I have been misunderstood. My point has been that these rentals are actually different from what they are in the old Acts, and that, therefore, the Amendment is justifiable in the sense that it brings back the old standards of the Rent Restrictions Acts. I leave it there at the moment, because we may have an opportunity later of bringing out this point more clearly. In arguing for the decontrol of these houses, the Minister suggested that the supply has now reached the demand. I submit that the economic law of supply and demand does not operate in housing. Prior to the War, when we had in Glasgow close upon 12,000 empty houses, we did not find that their existence brought down the rents of other houses. A close corporation among the factors and the owners of property agree that the houses are not to be let at lower rents than what is recognised as the standard rent set down by the factors and house proprietors. Therefore, the argument of the Minister that there is a supply of houses to meet any demand does not carry any weight. Housing is not the same as any other commodity. It is treated on different lines by the owners. I could take the Minister to the street in which I dwell in Glasgow. Every quarter in a short stretch of that street eight or nine boards are put up offering flats to let. According to the right hon. Gentleman's argument, the fact that there are people moving about and that houses are vacant ought to bring down the rents, but it does not. I am still paying the same rent for the house that I am occupying. Looking from the window, I can see five or six boards offering vacant flats to let—


Flats for flats.


They are flats if they are prepared to pay decontrolled rents. These houses are decontrolled and the owner or the agent does not, because he has vacant houses on his hands, offer them at a lower rental. I pay a controlled rent for my house, but the agent charges a higher rent—£2 or £3 more than the controlled rent—for houses that are decontrolled. That completely disposes of the argument submitted by the Minister that because there are sufficient houses to meet the demands the opportunity has arisen to introduce a Bill of this kind. All the points that have been submitted by the Minister go to show that the Bill will bring about the condition of affairs which led to the original Rent Restrictions Act. It will bring so much dissatisfaction because of the inability of people to pay the higher rents, that we shall again have a situation which will amount to another rent war such as we had in 1915, when the Government were compelled to take action to prevent increases of rent being made by the rapacious house agents.

5.21 p.m.


I am bound to say that I find myself largely in agreement with the argument put forward earlier in the Debate by the hon. and learned Member for South Nottingham (Mr. Knight), but I am in a difficulty, and it may be a difficulty in which other hon. Members are at this stage of the Bill. It is difficult for me to make up my mind on this Amendment without knowing what is the fate in store for certain new Clauses which we shall reach later, and which deal with the question of a permitted increase of rent. It is true that to a certain extent these two matters hang together. I think that hon. Members opposite are under a misapprehension, for they seem to imagine that if decontrol takes place in a certain type of house, all the landlord has to do is immediately to raise the rent and he can get that rent from the tenants who are in occupation. The economic result, however, is not so simple as that. In many areas it will be easy enough for the landlord to endeavour to raise the rent, but it will be a 'very difficult matter, owing to the impecunious state of the tenants, for him to get it. That is a point which the Government should bear in mind, as I am sure they did when they were considering the figure at which decontrol should operate.

I am in agreement with the hon. and learned Member for South Nottingham to this extent. In the long run the quickest way to bring about a reduction of rent is decontrol, and that undoubtedly decontrol will be a stimulus to the building of houses, and will result in time in a reduction of rent. I agree that the immediate effect, however, will be a raising of rent, and that this will occur at a time particularly unfortunate for people in industrial areas. The Minister is correct when he says that if rents went up it would probably cause the building of houses, but the present time is unfortunate for an increase, and I am unable to give a decision on the merits of the Amendment until I know the fate of the proposed new Clauses dealing with increases of rents. The Committee has spent a little time on the question of the figure £45. We often hear discussions on the merits or demerits of a figure. I remember when the right hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Greenwood) was piloting through the House his Widows' Pensions Act, there was a good deal of discussion upon the fixing of the age of 55 for the widow's pension. I do not know whether it was said in the House at the time, but it was certainly stated in the country, that one reason which moved the Government to fix the figure of 55 was that a woman on the right side of 50 did not like to admit that she had reached the age of 45, but that when she was on the wrong side of 50 she did not mind admitting to 55. I think that the Government have undoubtedly in this case carefully worked out the figure of £45. If, however, my hon. and learned Friend's Amendment is to be resisted, and any proposals for reducing the permitted increase of rent for repairs are also to be resisted, I hope that the Government will reconsider the whole question between now and the Report stage.

5.25 p.m.


May I put a point which has been worrying me and which I endeavoured to raise with the Minister the other day? It was afterwards taken up by another hon. Member, but no answer was given. If a house rented at £45 or over becomes decontrolled, particularly in the London area, there may be, and in fact there are in a great number of houses—more than half according to a recent report of the London County Council—a number of sub-tenants. If a house above the rent stated in the Bill becomes decontrolled, what is the position of the sub-tenants? I think that it will be found in practice that many of those sub-tenants are now decontrolled. A case came before the courts and was decided on appeal within the last two or three days. Judge Higgins considered the case in the first instance.


The point raised by the hon. Member is coming up in a later Amendment. Perhaps he would like to keep his observations until then.


I was about to say that the point is not raised by this Amendment. It might be raised on the question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," but it would probably be more convenient on a later Amendment.


I have no objection to deferring the remarks which I desire to make on that point, but I hoped, as I failed to get a reply on the matter two days ago, that I should get it now. I accept the assurance that it can be raised on a later Amendment, and I hope to have the opportunity of raising it then. The Minister gave his reasons for the insertion in the Bill of the figure of £45 in the case of London and £35 in the case of the provinces, but, knowing the conditions that prevail in London, I am positive that if houses of this kind become decontrolled there will be a rise in rents generally all over the country. An hon. Member suggested that the tenants will not be able to pay the increased rent and that therefore the landlord will not be able to obtain it. Everybody knows, however, that when houses of this kind become decontrolled and come into the market at a higher rent, the landlords find that they are able to get it. It is a fact, especially in London, that houses of a good character which are rented at amounts such as that mentioned in the Bill become decontrolled through being vacant. Having become vacant and become decontrolled, very often they go into the market again and are taken by some new tenant who is prepared to pay a very much higher rent than the previous tenant, on the understanding that he can sublet rooms to other tenants, mainly people of the working class.

That may have a very bad effect on other property, decent class houses, as we may call them, in the same road, and may bring down the whole character of a neighbourhood. That is a consideration which any of us living in a road of that kind, and not wishing to see other houses in the road becoming more or less slum property, ought to have in mind. In the road in which I live there is a very large house which would be rented at probably two or three times the sum mentioned here, £45. It is occupied at present by several tenants. It has been occupied by tenants not of a very good character, tenants who in some cases were of such a quarrelsome nature that they became a nuisance to everybody living in the immediate neighbourhood. I am not very much concerned about that personally. I have not the slightest objection to poor tenants coming into a neighbourhood so long as they behave themselves, and, indeed, I do not know that they are any worse in that respect than some of those who are called better class tenants, but I am very much con- cerned about the actual rents the tenants are called upon to pay.

The effect of this Bill must be that when houses at £45 or over become decontrolled in London they will deteriorate, the tenants will be called upon to pay a higher rent, and many of them will be compelled, by their inability to pay more, to seek a cheaper class of house. That will increase the competition for houses for which a lower rent is charged and give landlords the opportunity to charge more for those houses if they have gone out of control. The whole effect of this Clause must be very bad from the point of view both of the tenants who are now occupying the larger type of house and those occupying cheaper houses. The only ones who can benefit by it are the owners of the houses. As I have said before, I think it was the definite and considered purpose of the Minister in introducing this Bill to give opportunities to landlords to exploit further the tenants in the houses which he proposes to decontrol.

5.35 p.m.


I want to support this Amendment, because we consider that it is most unjust to penalise individuals who happen to be able to pay a rent above £45 a year. I am sorry to have to draw attention again to the fact that although this Bill refers to Scotland no representative of the Scottish Office is present. On a previous occasion we were forced to ask that the Debate should be adjourned, and I do not want to do that now. The Scottish Office knew perfectly well that we were going to take part in this Debate, yet the Under-Secretary of State, who has been here, has gone away. The hon. Member for Govan (Mr. Maclean) told us a few minutes ago that in the place where he lives there are boards out indicating a number of houses to let. They are large houses of four, five, six and up to eight apartments. What has happened is that to-day people are desirous of getting more up-to-date houses. The people in the West of Scotland wish to get out of the tenements and get into houses of the new type, which are far better and healthier houses, with more rooms and more air and with more modern hygienic conditions.

The suggestion has come from the Minister of Health that these larger houses can be broken up and would make good houses for the working class. I say that these houses are not good enough for the working class. It is another case of second-hand goods for the working class. Anything is good enough for the worker—second-hand clothes, second-hand houses. Under the National Government they must even have second-hand books. The National Government are going to make a charge for books supplied in our secondary schools, where formerly they were provided free. As a result, some of the children will have to get secondhand books. In fact, this is a secondhand Government. Everything they do is second-hand. I am delighted to see that the Under-Secretary for Scotland has now put in an appearance, and I will not move the adjournment of the Debate, in recognition of the valuable service he has already rendered to us to-day at Question Time. But I would like the attention of the Minister of Health to this proposal to break up these houses of four, five and six apartments. It is impossible, owing to the construction of the houses, to bring them up to the modern standard of houses for the working class. In 1919 a standard was laid down which was to be the guide in the future housing. Now we are getting away from that standard. It is impossible to apply that standard in the case of these houses of four, five, six or eight apartments, tenement houses. We laid down a standard of housing in accordance with the suggestions of the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), who told us that he was going to make this a land fit for heroes to live in. We started off with high ideals in housing, but now the Government are setting out in the most scientific and subtle manner to undermine all that we proposed to do at that time.



I am away off it, Sir Dennis.


The hon. Member will realise, I think, that the particular subtlety to which he is referring does not come within the scope of this Clause. Probably the matter could be dealt with on Clause 4.


I agree. That is why I told you I had finished. I was coming to the point under review. After a great deal of argument on our part the Minister of Health has put in the figure of £45, and we have to give him credit for that, because there is no doubt that it is a concession to us. At the same time I would point out that an hon. Member opposite has just told us that there will be no fear of rents being raised to a ridiculous height because the tenants would not be able to pay them—that the rents would not be increased beyond the ability of the people to meet the demands made on them. The city assessor of Glasgow prepared a, table dealing with this point, and has sent me a copy. It proves that it is not the individuals who are best able to pay who have been most severely victimised by decontrol. Those who have had the greatest increases of rent put on them as a result of decontrol are the poorest of the poor.


Perhaps I did not make myself quite clear. The point I wished to make was that the standard rent which can be sensibly demanded by landlords in any area is governed to a very large extent by the poverty or otherwise of the population in that area.


That may work out in England, but I can assure the hon. Member that it does not work out that way in Glasgow because: … facts are chiels that winna ding An' downa be disputed. I have here a table from the city assessor of Glasgow in, which he points out conclusively that the rents of one-apartment houses that have been decontrolled have been increased by 100 per cent. above the 48 per cent. that was allowed by law. When the houses were decontrolled, the percentage graduated downwards in accordance with the power of the tenants to pay and according to the income of the tenant. In an unemployed man's home, with from 22s. to 25s. per week coming in, 148 per cent. has been put on the rent. In better class tenements with from four apartments to six apartments, only 5 per cent. has been put on, over and above the 48 per cent. I cannot say whether your landlords and property-owners are more humane in England, but I do not believe they are. They are all the same. They are not there to supply people with a want; they do not build houses because people require them, but because to do so is a good investment, and because they make money out of it.

There is one other item upon which I would like to touch. We are only at the beginning of what we expect will be a very long sitting; it is a quarter to six, and we will go on until a quarter to six to-morrow morning. [Interruption.] Well, wait and see. He that lives longest will see most. The point I wish to raise now is in regard to the small shopkeeper, who comes under this Bill with a vengeance. In every big industrial area, the small shopkeepers are going to be very hard hit. I am not referring only to the co-operative societies, which I am very anxious to defend against all corners in this House, but the private traders. In the big, heavy industrial areas, whether shipbuilding, engineering, or mining, the small shopkeepers are badly hit. No section of the community is worse hit than the shopkeeper. He is just hanging on at the moment by his finger nails, and he does not know how he is going to make ends meet. Now we are going to place him in this difficult position, because invariably his rent is more than £45. It would save innumerable lives if the House would be considerate enough to extend the limit to £100. We are not asking very much. We appeal to the Government on petty items, and if the Government were intelligent enough, never mind being generous enough, they would grant these concessions to us at once.

The individuals who are paying over £45 rent voted for the present Government and put them in power. When the Government said that they were going to save the situation, in the crisis which had taken place, and were going to make the matter right, those people took them at their word. Here is what the Government have done for those people, and the Socialist movement has to stand up in defence of those men and women, although they turned us down in the country. The men and women who were returned to defend the section of the community on whose behalf I am appealing to-day are turning a deaf ear to them. They cannot see how anything can be done. We are pointing the way, in order to show them that they can behave in an intelligent fashion by accepting this Amendment and permitting us to pass on to the next Amendment, which would also improve the Bill. We are the friends of the Minister of Health and of this Government, because if they do not accept this Amendment the country is bound to rise against them in wrath, and, at the first opportunity, will smite them hip and thigh.

5.51 p.m.


In the few remarks that I am going to address to the Committee, I wish to approach this question from the local point of view. In the borough of Islington, the Northern division of which I represent, there are between 45,000 and 50,000 houses, and out of that number, something like 12,000 or 12,500 are above the rateable value of £45. As the Northern division of Islington is more or less a dormitory constituency, those houses are occupied for the greater part by city workers, a class which has suffered as much as, or possibly a great deal more than, any other section of the community in Britain. They are not in a position to be able to claim unemployment benefit or transitional payments, or in any other way to supplement what might be a meagre income from their savings. As they are the principal occupiers of these houses, I want to say a word in their defence.

When the £45 houses are decontrolled, those people will have to pay a larger rent. It is no use burking the fact that when a house becomes decontrolled, the landlord raises the rent. Representations have been made to me, not from tens or scores, but from hundreds of people, who have already received notices from landlords, not in every case threatening to raise the rent, but in very many cases stating that, if they are going to remain in their houses after 29th September, repairs will have to be carried out. As is very well-known, for the past five, 10 or, in some cases, 15 years, although landlords have had 25 per cent. added on to the 1914 rent, they have not effected any repairs, or only repairs of a very meagre character. If repairs have now to be carried out by the tenants, it will be quite impossible for the tenants to continue to live in the houses, and the consequence will be that they will have to vacate them. I know of cases where tenants have been living in houses for 20 years or 25 years, and in some cases for 30 years, and they must look for cheaper houses. The consequence of that will be a greater scarcity of the class "B," and even of the class "C," houses.

If a little more time were given, that might ease the situation. I want to put this matter from the practical point of view. In my own constituency there are, in the 6,000 houses occupied by city workers, probably 25,000 to 30,000 people. It is a matter of impossibility for all those people to move from Islington in six months. Arrangements have to be made. If a little more time were given, some of the tenants, assume a quarter of them, could start to move away from houses for which a greater rent is being demanded. It is obvious that the demand for that class of house would become less, and consequently there would be less reason for the landlords to demand a greater rent. I agree with the Minister of Health that control must come to an end sometime, but perhaps this is a little too sudden. In my view it is too soon, and it is not the right time. The people for whom I am speaking have had to sacrifice income and salary, and in some cases they are out of employment. I ask that they shall be given-a chance to find other and cheaper premises. The right hon. Gentleman has said that he is going to resist every amendment to the figures that are in the Bill. I only ask that when he considers the matter on Report stage that the date 29th September may be extended a little longer, or some other Clause put into the Bill, perhaps to compel landlords to give six months' notice from 29th September, in order that people may have a chance of finding accommodation, or, alternatively, in order to lessen the demand for the houses and thereby decrease the rent.

5.56 p.m.


We have just listened to a very reasonable appeal to the Minister. The hon. and gallant Member for North Islington (Colonel Goodman) has exceptional claims to speak for a large constituency which is particularly affected by this part of the Bill. In his early political days he had an adventure in Poplar, where he was not successful hut where he learned something of the lower class of house. Now, in the comparatively suburban district of North Islington, he knows what is sometimes described as a lower middle-class house, and he has a very strong claim to appeal for reconsideration of this matter. I admit that the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Health is in a very strong position, and that he can, with some justification, take shelter in the final report of the Departmental Committee which was signed by a very representative number of Members. It is no use burking that it makes the critics' position rather difficult. The right hon. Gentleman says: "This is not my figure; I did not invent it. This is the result of the inquiry, apparently an impartial inquiry, and therefore I refuse to be moved or influenced to alter the figure." He might say with some reason that whatever figure was put forward would be open to suggestion and amendment. That is the strength of his position.

I have here the report of one of the greatest experts in London, a man who speaks with exceptional authority on rateable value. This is what he says—and I shall be pleased to give the document to the right hon. Gentleman: As regards the line between Classes A and B, a rateable value of £45 in Greater London is approximately equivalent to a pre-War rent of about £44. This value cannot be regarded as of any special significance as a line of division and the Inter-Departmental Committee do not give any reasons"— and this is a very interesting thing— for adopting it, except that it represents in their view the line above which it is no longer necessary to continue any form of control. I do not know, however, that there is, as regards this, much difference between a house of £40 or £45 rateable value and a house of, say, £50 or £60 rateable value. He goes on to say—and he is not an official, he is not a politician or a Member of Parliament, and he does not belong to any political party— The question of what the line should be is, I think, one that calls for further consideration. I speak with some experience when I say that the Minister is always prepared to listen to reason. While I did not succeed in persuading him in Committee on a former Bill, he gave way on Report. The right hon. Gentleman is comparatively new to this work, and I believe that he is bringing to it an open mind, and is prepared to listen to facts and figures provided that they are not put forward in a partisan spirit; and I believe that, if we could convince him that there is a case for reconsideration, he would accept some alternative figure. Several hon. Members, including the hon. Member for Eastbourne (Mr. Slater), joined me in the "tiger hunt" for baths, and by their persuasive eloquence we got the baths. Cannot we get an alternative figure here? We do not say that there is any magic in the word "eighty," but we say that there is a case for reconsideration of the actual figure in the Bill. I speak on this matter with the greatest detachment, because it will not affect my constituency, which is pretty well defended by the provisions in the Bill, so that nobody can say I am coming down here to look after the interests of my constituency alone. I am thinking of the black-coated worker—the bank clerk, the out-of-work architect, the out-of-work surveyor, of whom there are thousands at the present time living in Kensington, Paddington, Marylebone, Hampstead and Hammersmith. They live in rather drab, but respectable houses—rows of them—which come out at about £70 or £80 a year. They have a tremendous struggle to make ends meet. Indeed, I am not sure that in many ways their struggle is not worse than, and gets less sympathy, than that of what is called the working man.

Take the architect. At the present time there are hundreds out of work. They are not insured persons, and their only chance of getting back to employment is to keep up a facial respectability, with a clean collar and a black cost and an air of respectability. Otherwise, their chances of getting back to their profession will disappear. Now, on the top of the crisis, on the top of the terrible trade depression, they are faced with the possibility of an increase in rent. I hear from all sides that they are appalled. They say, not without reason, that they are not organised, that their numbers are not so large as those in the lower ranks of labour, and that, therefore, no one cares, and they are singled out for special attack. This is the most unfortunate time of all others at which to threaten them with an increase in rent, and the right hon. Gentleman might very well make some concession in their case. Later on, an Amendment will be moved to give them a period of grace, but that, of course, is subject to other discussion. In the meantime, I think the right hon. Gentleman would be well advised not to take this very artificial figure of £45, which has been selected by the Inter-Departmental Committee for no adequate reason except that they had to fix some figure, and this was a familiar one which was always recognised as the dividing line before the War. It seems to me that a figure of something like £65 or £70 would be a generous concession which would be much appreciated. It might be for a shorter period, but it would be meeting a very real and vital and living demand.

6.6 p.m.


I very much regret that the Minister has stated so definitely that he cannot accept any Amendment to alter the basic figure which is already in the Bill, but I want to make a further appeal to him. I believe that the speech of the hon. and gallant Member for North Islington (Colonel Goodman) is in itself a vindication of every argument that has been put before the House up to the present, and a vindication of our position that the figure of £45 should be raised. As a matter of fact, it means simply a rent of 17s. 6d. per week, and it appears to me that not only will many black-coated workers be hurt by the operation of this figure, but a great many of the better-class artisans will also suffer. I believe that the lower middle classes are nearly hopeless so far as organisation is concerned. If they had any organisation, if they had any idea of standing together at all, we should have heard protest after protest from all over the country against the provisions of this Bill. I do not believe that there is any class in the community which is more inarticulate and more patient and long-suffering than the lower middle class and the black-coated workers, but that is no reason why the House should proceed to do that class an injustice simply because of their lack of organisation.

The Minister has taken his stand very largely on the ground that the Marley Committee made certain recommendations, but I want to emphasise once again that circumstances have altogether changed since the Marley Committee heard its evidence. When that evidence was heard, there had been no crisis, the country had not gone off the Gold Standard, there had been no ruthless cuts in wages. The whole economic structure of millions of people has been altered since the Report of the Marley Committee. As a consequence of what has since occurred, wages have been ruthlessly cut, when unemployment among the lower middle classes, and particularly among the black-coated workers, is more severe now than it has ever been known to be throughout their history, and when those who are employed, and who had never known what it was to suffer a cut in their wages, have now suffered tremendous cuts of £50, £100 and even £150 per year. It is just this class of people who are now called upon to make still further sacrifices.

I know that in the main they have always been loyal supporters of the Conservative party. They are in the main tremendously respectable. They believe that in some degree Members on these benches are not quite as nice as they should be. But nothing gives me more pleasure than to stand up in defence of the class of people who up to the present, have been rather inclined to look upon us as wild and woolly Socialists who are only prepared to do something for the working class, and are not prepared to look after the interests of any other class. I have peculiar pleasure to-day in refuting that idea, and in showing that the Members of my party on these benches are keen to remedy injustices, irrespective of the class by whom they may be suffered. I suggest again to the Minister, in spite of his statement that he will not alter these figures, that he might at any rate give them some reconsideration. I am afraid that the appeal of the hon. Member for South-West Bethnal Green (Sir P. Harris), who rather attempted to choke the Minister with butter, will not be effective on this occasion. I feel, however, that the Minister will be affected by what he has heard from the hon. and gallant Member for North Islington. He will have heard sufficient from the hon. and gallant Member to recognise that here is a great constituency, represented by a Member of his own party, and containing 12,500 of a class most of whom have been loyal supporters of the right hon. Gentleman's policy and the right hon. Gentleman's Government. He has heard a Member of his own party stress very strongly the injustice and hardship which will follow the adoption of these figures.

The Minister gives as his reason for being prepared to agree to these figures the fact that in his opinion there is a sufficient supply of houses. I suggest it is obvious, from the speech of the hon. and gallant Member for North Islington, that, in a great London constituency like his, there is not, and there is not likely to be, a sufficient supply of houses, and the hon. and gallant Member has suggested that these people should be given a longer time, so that they may look round and find something cheaper, because, as he very truly says, when their present houses are decontrolled there will be an increase in the rents. The cry of the landlord class for decontrol has not been based on the fact that there is a sufficient supply of houses, but on the fact that they, as the landlord class, desire bigger rents—a bigger return on their money. I suggest that, if the only justification for this figure is that there is a sufficient supply of houses, the Minister, on that line of argument, is hopelessly at fault. Further, I want to emphasise the case, which has already been referred to, of the small tradesman. I am positive that the effect of this figure, and of this Bill generally, will be to handicap unduly a very worthy section of the community, who are struggling under very adverse conditions, with everything against them from an economic point of view at the moment. These people, again, will not have reason to bless the present Government, but, rather, very serious reasons to complain about it. [Interruption.] I hope they will not curse it; a good many people are doing that already. I suggest to the Minister that, in spite of what he has already stated, a case has been made out for some further consideration. It may be that the right hon. Gentleman thinks that there is a sufficient supply of houses, but I am afraid that experience is all against him.

The amount of rent paid is in altogether undue proportion to the actual income of the individual. Wages have decreased and salaries have been cut almost to the bone, but rents have remained precisely where they were, and under this Bill they will go up, not to 40 per cent. but to something like 85 or 90 per cent. beyond the standard rent. The result will be that, sooner or later, you will get a very serious revolt against rents at all. The Minister insists on making the point that there is a supply of houses. The 60 per cent. that is quoted so often is composed chiefly of houses that have been erected, not for rent but for the occupation of the owner. We are not concerned with that class of house at all, but with the class of house that is rented. Here you have a problem which is going to affect 1,000,000 houses, 4,000,000 of the population—a tremendous section of the community. You are going to present these people, who are struggling against adversity, with a problem which will be almost insoluble. You are going to bring widespread trouble upon almost the most deserving section of the community. We all pay tribute to that section of the community which endeavours to lift its head and to present an outward appearance to the world, which in good times and bad alike fights and is not discouraged, but wants to keep its outward respectability. I see nothing sacred about these figures at all. I am satisfied that, if the Marley Committee had the same set of circumstances before them that are operating to-day, it would be impossible for them to arrive at this figure of £45. I am sure the Noble Lord who presided over the Committee would be the first to agree with us that circumstances have changed, and the decision of the Committee would not be the same with the facts as they now are.

I should like to refer to a speech made by the hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. M. Beaumont) on Thursday, in which he said we on this side were impressed with the old fallacy that because a man was a tenant he was some form of angel who could do no sin, while if a man was a landlord he must be an evil scoundrel. That is not the basis of our speeches at all. We do not believe that all landlords are scoundrels or that all tenants are angels. We ask for justice for all sections of the community. We are quite prepared to do justice to the landlord class but, when they had justice, they would probably want a little mercy at the same time. The hon. Member went on to suggest that the reason that these people were in fear was that they had paid less rent than they should have done. I fail to see the force of the argument. Under the Rent Restrictions Acts these people have had to pay 40 per cent. over pre-War rates, of which 25 per cent. was supposed to be devoted to repairs, but the hon. Member knows as well as I do that in the vast majority of cases not a single copper of that has gone towards repairs. In any case, 40 per cent. increase over pre-War is doing some justice to the landlord. He has had his little bit and it is not fair or just to say that tenants are living in dread because they had not paid as much as they should have paid. If the hon. Member will go out and preach that gospel he will hear some remarks which will give him the other side of the case.

He further said the hardship was very largely manufactured. I wish he had heard the speech of the hon. and gallant Member for North Islington, who said, a few minutes ago, that 12,500 houses in his constituency would come under decontrol, showed that there was no supply of houses waiting and asked for time to give the tenants a chance to get, not better but worse houses. The hon. Member for Aylesbury lives in the country and does not know what happens in North Islington. These grievances are not manufactured. They are very real. They are coming, though not in the volume that they ought to, from a class of people who have been loyal

supporters of the Conservative party all their lives. We are not pleading for the class of people who support us. We are showing the hon. Member for Aylesbury what, perhaps, he would not believe, that we are capable of doing justice to all, irrespective of the class or the political party to which they belong. I hope enough has been said to show the Minister that there is some substance behind the very real grievance and the very real fear that this body of people, unorganised, with very little protection and with scarcely anyone to speak for them, feel that, if this figure is allowed to remain in the Bill, their position, which is very bad now, will become considerably worse. I hope the Minister will reconsider it. If not, I appeal to those who have supported the Amendment to come into the Lobby and vote for it, and show that they mean what they say.

Question put, "That the word 'forty-five' stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 302; Noes, 74.

Division No. 110.] AYES. [6.25 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Burton, Colonel Henry Walter Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)
Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Craigie M. Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley) Dunglass, Lord
Albery, Irving James Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley) Eden, Robert Anthony
Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.) Caporn, Arthur Cecil Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E.
Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent) Carver, Major William H. Elliston, Captain George Sampson
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Castle Stewart, Earl Elmley, Viscount
Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K. Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City) Emrys-Evans, P. V.
Aske, Sir Robert William Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Entwistle, Cyril Fullard
Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick Wolfe Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham) Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover) Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A.(Birm., W) Falle, Sir Bertram G.
Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton) Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N.(Edgbaston) Ford, Sir Patrick J.
Atkinson, Cyril Chapman, Col. R.(Houghton-le-Spring) Forestier-Walker, Sir Leolin
Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M. Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.) Fox, Sir Gifford
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric Fremantle, Sir Francis
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Christie, James Archibald Ganzoni, Sir John
Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet) Clarry, Reginald George Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton
Balniel, Lord Clayton, Dr. George C. Gibson, Charles Granville
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Cobb, Sir Cyril Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John.
Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Glossop, C. W. H.
Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury) Conant, R. J. E. Glyn, Major Ralph G. C.
Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th, C.) Cook, Thomas A. Goff, Sir Park
Beit, Sir Alfred L. Cooke, Douglas Gower, Sir Robert
Bennett, Capt. Sir Ernest Nathaniel Courthope, Colonel Sir George L. Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas
Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B. Cranborne, Viscount Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter
Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn) Craven-Ellis, William Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John.
Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton) Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. Grimston, R. V.
Blindell, James Crooke, J. Smedlay Gritten, W. G. Howard
Borodale, Viscount Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle) Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.
Bossom, A, C. Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro) Guy, J. C. Morrison
Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton Cross, R. H. Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Crossley, A. C. Hales, Harold K.
Bracken, Brendan Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard Hanley, Dennis A.
Braithwaite, Maj. A. N. (Yorks, E.R.) Culverwell, Cyril Tom Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry
Briscoe, Capt. Richard George Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery) Hartland, George A.
Broadbent, Colonel John Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Denman, Hon. R. D. Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F. Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C.(Berks., Newb'y) Donner, P. W. Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.
Buchan, John Drewe, Cedric Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.
Buchan Hepburn, P. G. T. Duckworth, George A. V. Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford)
Burghley, Lord Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel Hepworth, Joseph
Burnett, John George Duggan, Hubert John Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.
Hopkinson, Austin Morris, John Patrick (Salford, N.) Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.
Hore-Belisha, Leslie Morrison, William Shepherd Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-In-F.)
Hornby, Frank Moss, Captain H, J. Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)
Horobin, Ian M. Muirhead, Major A. J. Smith, R. W. (Ab'rd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Horsbrugh, Florence Munro, Patrick Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Howitt, Dr. Alfred B. Nail, Sir Joseph Somervell, Donald Bradley
Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport) Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H. Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)
Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries) Newton, Sir Douglas George C Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)
Hurd, Sir Percy Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth) Soper, Richard
Hurst, Sir Gerald B. Nicholson, Rt. Hn. W. G. (Petersf'ld) Sotheron- Estcourt, Captain T. E,
Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H. Nunn, William Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.
Jackson, J. C.(Heywood & Radcliffe) Ormiston, Thomas Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.
James, Wing-Com. A. W. H. Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A. Spencer, Captain Richard A.
Joel, Dudley J. Barnato Palmer, Francis Noel Spens, William Patrick
Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan) Patrick, Colin M. Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde)
Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Peake, Captain Osbert Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)
Ker, J. Campbell Peat, Charles U. Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur
Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton Percy, Lord Eustace Stevenson, James
Lambert, Rt. Hon. George Peters, Dr. Sidney John Stones, James
Law, Sir Alfred Petherick, M. Storey, Samuel
Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.) Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple) Stourton, Hon. John J.
Leckie, J. A. Peto, Geoffrey K.(W'verh'pt'n, Blist'n) Strauss, Edward A.
Leighton, Major B. E. p. Pike, Cecil F. Strickland, Captain W. F.
Lennox-Boyd, A. T. Potter, John Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-
Lewis, Oswald Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H. Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.
Liddall, Walter S. Pownall, Sir Assheton Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart
Lindsay, Noel Ker Procter, Major Henry Adam Summersby, Charles H.
Llewellln, Major John J. Pybus, Percy John Sutcliffe, Harold
Lloyd, Geoffrey Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian) Templeton, William P.
Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'ndsw'th) Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles) Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)
Loder, Captain J. de Vere Ramsbotham, Herwald Thompson, Luke
Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander Ramsden, Sir Eugene Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles
Lumley, Captain Lawrence R. Rankin, Robert Thorp, Linton Theodore
Lyons, Abraham Montagu Ratcliffe, Arthur Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)
Mabane, William Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter) Tryon, Rt. Hon, George Clement
MacAndrew, Lt.-Col. C. G. (Partick) Reid, James S. C. (Stirling) Turton, Robert Hugh
MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr) Reid, William Allan (Derby) Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)
McCorquodale, M. S. Rentoul, Sir Gervais S. Wallace, John (Dunfermline)
MacDonald, Rt. Hn. J. R. (Seaham) Renwick, Major Gustav A. Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw) Robinson, John Roland Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)
McEwen, Captain J. H. F Ropner, Colonel L. Wardlaw-Milne, Sir John S.
McKie, John Hamilton Rosbotham, Sir Samuel Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
McLean, Major Sir Alan Ross, Ronald D. Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Macmillan, Maurice Harold Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge) Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-
Macpherson, Rt. Hon. sir Ian Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A. Wells, Sydney Richard
Magnay, Thomas Runge, Norah Cecil Weymouth, Viscount
Maitland, Adam Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury) Whiteside, Borras Noel H.
Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l) Whyte, Jardine Bell
Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M. Salmon, Sir Isidore Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)
Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Salt, Edward W. Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Martin, Thomas B. Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham) Wills, Wilfrid D.
Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, putney) Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Meller, Richard James Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart Womersley, Walter James
Merriman, Sir F. Boyd Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Kingsley
Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.) Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D. Worthington, Dr. John V.
Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Selley, Harry R. Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)
Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.
Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr) Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Moreing, Adrian C Shepperson, Sir Ernest W. Lord Erskine and Dr. Morris-Jones.
Morgan, Robert H. Skelton, Archibald Noel
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke) Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George
Banfield, John William Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur Lawson, John James
Batey, Joseph Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) Leonard, William
Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale) Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.) Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Logan, David Gilbert
Briant, Frank Grundy, Thomas W. Lunn, William
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield) Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) McEntee, Valentine L.
Buchanan, George Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) McKeag, William
Cape, Thomas Hamilton, Sir R. W.(Orkney & Zetl'nd) Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)
Cocks, Frederick Seymour Harris, Sir Percy Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot
Cove, William G. Healy, Cahir Mander, Geoffrey le M.
Cowan, D. M Hicks, Ernest George Mainwaring, William Henry
Cripps, Sir Stafford Hirst, George Henry Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)
Curry, A. C. Holdsworth, Herbert Milner, Major James
Daggar, George Janner, Barnett Owen, Major Goronwy
Davies, David L. (Pontypridd) Jenkins, Sir William Parkinson, John Allen
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields) Pickering, Ernest H.
Dobbie, William Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Price, Gabriel
Edwards, Charles Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Rathbone, Eleanor
Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen) Kirkwood, David Rea, Walter Russell
Foot, Dingle (Dundee) Knight, Holford Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)
Rothschild, James A. de Wallhead, Richard C. Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)
Salter, Dr. Alfred Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A. (C'thness) Williams, Edward John (Ogmore) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Thorne, William James Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly) Mr. John and Mr. D. Graham.
Tinker, John Joseph Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)

I beg to move, in page 1, line 21, to leave out the word "forty-five," and to insert instead thereof the word "sixty."

Question put, "That the word 'forty-five' stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 303; Noes, 70.

Division No. 111.] AYES. [6.38 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Cranborne, Viscount Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T, (Leeds, W.) Craven-Ellis, William Hurd, Sir Percy
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. Hurst, Sir Gerald B.
Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Craigie M. Crooke, J. Smedley Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.
Albery, Irving James Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle) Jackson, J. C. (Heywood & Radcliffe)
Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.) Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro) James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Cross, R. H. Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan)
Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K. Crossley, A. C. Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)
Aske, Sir Robert William Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard Ker, J. Campbell
Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick Wolfe Culverwell, Cyril Tom Kerr, Hamilton W.
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover) Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery) Knox, Sir Alfred
Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton) Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton
Atholl, Duchess of Denman, Hon. R. D. Lambert, Rt. Hon. George
Atkinson, Cyril Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F. Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)
Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M. Donner, P. W. Leckie, J. A.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Doran, Edward Leighton, Major B. E. P.
Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet) Drewe, Cedric Lennox-Boyd, A. T.
Balniel, Lord Duckworth, George A. V. Lewis, Oswald
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel Liddall, Walter S.
Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell Duggan, Hubert John Lindsay, Noel Ker
Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury) Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.) Llewellin, Major John J.
Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B.(Portsm'th, C.) Dunglass, Lord Lloyd, Geoffrey
Beit, Sir Alfred L. Eastwood, John Francis Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'ndsw'th)
Bennett, Capt. Sir Ernest Nathaniel Eden, Robert Anthony Loder, Captain J. de Vera
Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B. Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E. Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander
Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn) Elliston, Captain George Sampson Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.
Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman Elmley, viscount Lyons, Abraham Montagu
Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton) Emrys-Evans, P. V. Mabane, William
Bird, Sir Robert B.(Wolverh'pton W.) Entwistle, Cyril Fullard MacAndrew, Lt.-Col. C. G. (Partick)
Blaker, Sir Reginald Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool) MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)
Blindell, James Falle, Sir Bertram G. McCorquodale, M. S.
Borodale, Viscount Ford, Sir Patrick J. MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)
Bossom, A. C. Forestier-Walker, Sir Leolin MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)
Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton Fox, Sir Gifford McEwen, Captain J. H. F.
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Fremantle, Sir Francis McKie, John Hamilton
Bracken, Brendan Ganzoni, sir John McLean, Major Sir Alan
Braithwaite, Maj. A. N. (Yorks, E. R.) Gibson, Charles Granville Macmillan, Maurice Harold
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Magnay, Thomas
Briscoe, Capt. Richard George Glossop, C. W. H. Maitland, Adam
Broadbent, Colonel John Glyn, Major Ralph G. C. Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Goff, Sir Park Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Goodman, Colonel Albert W. Martin, Thomas B.
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks., Newb'y) Gower, Sir Robert Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John
Buchan, John Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas Meller, Richard James
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter Merriman, Sir F. Boyd
Burghley, Lord Grenfell, E. C. (City of London) Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)
Burnett, John George Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)
Burton, Colonel Henry Walter Grimston, R. V. Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale
Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley) Gritten, W. G. Howard Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)
Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley) Guinness, Thomas L. E. B. Moreing, Adrian C.
Caporn, Arthur Cecil Guy, J. C. Morrison Morgan, Robert H.
Carver, Major William H. Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H. Morris, John Patrick (Salford, N.)
Castle Stewart, Earl Hales, Harold K. Morrison, William Shepherd
Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City) Hanlay, Dennis A. Moss, Captain H. J.
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Muirhead, Major A. J.
Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham) Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes) Munro, Patrick
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A. (Birm., W) Haslam, Henry (Horncastle) Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N.(Edgbaston) Haslam, Sir John (Bolton) Newton, Sir Douglas George C.
Chapman, Col. R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M. Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)
Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.) Hellgers, Captain F. F. A. Nunn, William
Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsf'd) Ormiston, Thomas
Clarry, Reginald George Hepworth, Joseph Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.
Clayton, Dr. George C. Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G. Palmer, Francis Noel
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Hopkinson, Austin Patrick, Colin M.
Conant, R. J. E. Hore-Belisha, Leslie Peake, Captain Osbert
Cook, Thomas A. Hornby, Frank Peat, Charles U.
Cooke, Douglas Horobin, Ian M. Percy, Lord Eustace
Courthope, Colonel Sir George L. Horsbrugh, Florence Peters, Dr. Sidney John
Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry Howitt, Dr. Alfred B. Petherick, M.
Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple) Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard Sutcliffe, Harold
Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D. Tate, Mavis Constance
Pike, Cecil F. Scone, Lord Templeton, William P.
Potter, John Selley, Harry R. Thomas, Rt. Hon, J, H. (Derby)
Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H. Shakespeare, Geoffrey H, Thompson, Luke
Pownall, Sir Assheton Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell) Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles
Procter, Major Henry Adam Shepperson, Sir Ernest W. Thorp, Linton Theodore
Pybus, Percy John Skelton, Archibald Noel Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)
Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian) Slater, John Touche, Gordon Cosmo
Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles) Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D. Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Ramsbotham, Herwald Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-In-F.) Turton, Robert Hugh
Ramsden, Sir Eugene Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam) Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)
Rankin, Robert Smith, R. w. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.) Wallace, John (Dunfermline)
Ratcliffe, Arthur Smith-Carington, Neville W. Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter) Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East) Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)
Reid, James S. C. (Stirling) Soper, Richard Wardlaw-Milne, Sir John S.
Reid, William Allan (Derby) Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E. Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
Remer, John R. Southby, Commander Archibald R. J. Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Rentoul, Sir Gervais S. Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L. Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-
Renwick, Major Gustav A. Spencer, Captain Richard A. Wells, Sydney Richard
Robinson, John Roland Spens, William Patrick Weymouth, Viscount
Rosbotham, Sir Samuel Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde) Whiteside, Borras Noel H.
Ross, Ronald D. Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland) Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)
Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge) Stevenson, James Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A. Stones, James Wills, Wilfrid D.
Runge, Norah Cecil Storey, Samuel Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury) Stourton, Hon. John J. Womersley, Walter James
Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l) Strauss, Edward A. Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Kingsley
Salmon, Sir Isidore Strickland, Captain W. F. Worthington, Dr. John V.
Salt, Edward W. Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)
Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham) Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.
Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney) Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart Summersby, Charles H. Lord Erskine and Dr. Morris-Jones.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) Grundy, Thomas W. Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot
Banfield, John William Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) Mander, Geoffrey le M.
Batey, Joseph Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)
Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale) Hamilton, Sir R. W.(Orkney & Zetl'nd) Milner, Major James
Briant, Frank Harris, Sir Percy Owen, Major Goronwy
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield) Hicks, Ernest George Parkinson, John Allen
Buchanan, George Hirst, George Henry Pickering, Ernest H.
Cape, Thomas Holdsworth, Herbert Price, Gabriel
Cocks, Frederick Seymour Janner, Barnett Rathbone, Eleanor
Cove, William G. Jenkins, Sir William Rea, Walter Russell
Cowan, D. M. Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields) Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)
Cripps, Sir Stafford Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Rothschild, James A. de
Curry, A. C. Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Salter, Dr. Alfred
Daggar, George Kirkwood, David Thorne, William James
Davies, David L. (Pontypridd) Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George Tinker, John Joseph
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Lawson, John James Wallhead, Richard C.
Dobbie, William Leonard, William Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah
Edwards, Charles Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen) Logan, David Gilbert Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)
Foot, Dingle (Dundee) Lunn, William Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)
George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke) McEntee, Valentine L. Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley}
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur McKeag, William Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)
Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.) Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Mainwaring, William Henry TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Mr. John and Mr. D. Graham.

I beg to move, in page 1, line 22, to leave out the word "thirty-five," and to insert instead thereof the word "fifty-two."

Question put, "That the word 'thirty-five' stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 303; Noes, 70.

Division No. 112.] AYES. [6.47 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M. Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton)
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. p. G. Balfour, George (Hampstead) Bird, Sir Robert B. (Wolverh'pton W.)
Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Craigie M. Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet) Blaker, Sir Reginald
Albery, Irving James Balniel, Lord Blindell, James
Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (L'pool, W.) Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Borodale, Viscount
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell Bossom, A. C.
Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K. Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury) Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton
Aske, Sir Robert William Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th, C.) Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.
Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick Wolfe Beit, Sir Alfred L. Bracken, Brendan
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover) Bennett, Capt. Sir Ernest Nathaniel Braithwaite, Maj. A. N. (Yorks, E. R.)
Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton) Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B. Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)
Atkinson, Cyril Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn) Briscoe, Capt. Richard George
Broadbent, Colonel John Heligers, Captain F. F. A. Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Henderson, sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford) Pike, Cecil F.
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Hepworth, Joseph Potter, John
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C.(Berks., Newb'y) Hopkinson, Austin Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.
Buchan, John Hore-Belisha, Leslie Pownall, Sir Assheton
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Hornby, Frank Procter, Major Henry Adam
Burghley, Lord Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S. Pybus, Percy John
Burnett, John George Horobin, Ian M. Raikes, Henry V. A. M.
Burton, Colonel Henry Walter Horsbrugh, Florence Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)
Cadogan, Hon. Edward Howitt, Dr. Alfred B. Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)
Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley) Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries) Ramsbotham, Herwald
Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley) Hurd, Sir Percy Ramsden, Sir Eugene
Caporn, Arthur Cecil Hurst, Sir Gerald B. Rankin, Robert
Carver, Major William H. Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H. Ratcliffe, Arthur
Castle Stewart, Earl Jackson, J. C. (Heywood & Radcliffe) Reid, Arthur C. (Exeter)
Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City) James, Wing-Com. A. W. H. Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Joel, Dudley J. Barnato Reid, William Allan (Derby)
Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham) Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan) Remer, John R.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N.(Edgbaston) Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Rentoul, Sir Gervais S.
Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric Ker, J. Campbell Renwick, Major Gustav A.
Clarke, Frank Kerr, Hamilton W. Robinson, John Roland
Clarry, Reginald George Kimball, Lawrence Rosbotham, Sir Samuel
Clayton, Dr. George C. Knox, Sir Alfred Ross, Ronald D.
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)
Conant, R. J. E. Lambert, Rt. Hon, George Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.
Cook, Thomas A. Law, Sir Alfred Runge, Norah Cecil
Cooke, Douglas Leckie, J. A. Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury)
Courthope, Colonel Sir George L. Leighton, Major B. E. P. Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)
Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry Lennox-Boyd, A. T. Salmon, Sir Isidore
Cranborne, Viscount Lewis, Oswald Salt, Edward W.
Crott, Brigadier-General Sir H. Liddall, Walter S. Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)
Crooke, J. Smedley Lindsay, Noel Ker Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle) Llewellin, Major John J. Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart
Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro) Lloyd, Geoffrey Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard
Cross, R. H. Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'ndsw'th) Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.
Crossley, A. C. Loder, Captain J. de Vere Scone, Lord
Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander Selley, Harry R.
Culverwell, Cyril Tom Lyons, Abraham Montagu Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.
Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery) Mabane, William Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Denman, Hon. R. D. Mac Andrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G.(Partick) Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.
Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F. Mac Andrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr) Skelton, Archibald Noel
Dickie, John P. McCorquodale, M. S. Slater, John
Donner, P. W. MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham) Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-In-F.)
Doran, Edward MacDonald, Malcolm (Basstelaw) Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)
Drewe, Cedric McEwen, Captain J. H. F. Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Duckworth, George A. V. McKie, John Hamilton Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel McLean, Major Sir Alan Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)
Duggan, Hubert John Macmillan, Maurice Harold Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)
Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.) Magnay, Thomas Soper, Richard
Dunglass, Lord Maitland, Adam Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.
Eastwood, John Francis Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.
Eden, Robert Anthony Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L
Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E. Martin, Thomas B. Spencer, Captain Richard A.
Elmley, Viscount Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John Spens, William Patrick
Emrys-Evans, P. V. Meller, Richard James Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde)
Entwistle, Cyril Fullard Merriman, Sir F. Boyd Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)
Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool) Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.) Stevenson, James
Falle, Sir Bertram G. Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Stones, James
Forestier-Walker, Sir Leolin Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale Storey, Samuel
Fox, Sir Gifford Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr) Stourton, Hon. John J.
Fremantle, Sir Francis Moreing, Adrian C. Strauss, Edward A.
Ganzoni, Sir John Morgan, Robert H. Strickland, Captain W. F.
Gibson, Charles Granville Morris, John Patrick (Salford, N.) Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-
Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh) Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.
Glossop, C. W. H. Morrison, William Shepherd Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart
Glyn, Major Ralph G. C. Moss, Captain H. J. Summersby, Charles H.
Goff, Sir Park Muirhead, Major A. J. Sutcliffe, Harold
Goodman, Colonel Albert W Munro, Patrick Tate, Mavis Constance
Gower, Sir Robert Nail, Sir Joseph Templeton, William P.
Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas Nall-Cain, Hon. Ronald Thompson, Luke
Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H. Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles
Grenfell, E. C. (City of London) Newton, Sir Douglas George C. Thorp, Linton Theodore
Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth) Todd, Capt. A. j. K. (B'wick-on-T.)
Grimston, R. V. Nunn, William Touche, Gordon Cosmo
Gritten, W. G. Howard O'Connor, Terence James Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Guinness, Thomas L. E. B. Ormiston, Thomas Turton, Robert Hugh
Guy, J. C. Morrison Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G.A. Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)
Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H. Palmer, Francis Noel Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Hales, Harold K. Patrick, Colin M. Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)
Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Peake, Captain Osbert Wardlaw-Milne, Sir John S.
Harbord, Arthur Peat, Charles U. Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes) Percy, Lord Eustace Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-
Haslam, Henry (Horncastle) Peters, Dr. Sidney John Wells, Sydney Richard
Haslam, Sir John (Bolton) Petherick, M. Weymouth, Viscount
Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M. Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple) Whiteside, Borras Noel H.
Whyte, Jardine Bell Womersley, Walter James
Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay) Wood, Rt. Han. Sir H. Kingsley TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.) Worthington, Dr. John V. Major George Davies and Lord Erskine.
Wills, Wilfrid D. Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)
Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Mallalieu, Edward Lanceiot
Banfield, John William Grundy, Thomas W. Mander, Geoffrey le M.
Batey, Joseph Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)
Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale) Hall, George H (Merthyr Tydvil) Milner, Major James
Briant, Frank Harris, Sir Percy Owen, Major Goronwy
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield) Hicks, Ernest George Parkinson, John Allen
Buchanan, George Hirst, George Henry Pickering, Ernest H.
Cape, Thomas Holdsworth, Herbert Price, Gabriel
Cocks, Frederick Seymour Janner, Barnett Rathbone, Eleanor
Cove, William G. Jenkins, Sir William Rea, Walter Russell
Cowan, D. M. Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields) Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)
Cripps, Sir Stafford Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Rothschild, James A. de
Curry, A. C. Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Salter, Dr. Alfred
Daggar, George Kirkwood, David Thorne, William James
Davies, David L. (Pontypridd) Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George Tinker, John Joseph
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Lawson, John James Wallhead, Richard C
Dobbie, William Leonard, William Wedgwood, Rt. Hen. Josiah
Edwards, Charles Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.) Logan, David Gilbert Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)
Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen) Lunn, William Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)
Foot, Dingle (Dundee) McEntee, Valentine L. Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)
George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke) McKeag, William Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)
Griffith, F. Kingsley(Middlesbro', W). Mainwaring, William Henry TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Mr. John and Mr. D. Graham.
The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN (Captain Bourne)

The Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member for East Woolwich (Mr. Hicks)—in page 1, line 22, at the end, to insert the words: or if it is a dwelling-house of which either the annual amount of the recoverable rent on the appointed day or the rateable value on the appointed day did not exceed—

  1. (a) in the Metropolitan police district or the City of London, seventy pounds;
  2. (b) in Scotland, sixty pounds;
  3. (c) elsewhere, fifty-two pounds;
and the council of the county borough or county district in which the dwelling-house is situated certifies that the dwelling-house is in working-class occupation, must be put down as a new Clause.

The SOLICITOR-GENERAL (Sir Boyd Merriman)

I beg to move, in page 1, to leave out line 23.

This Amendment is consequential on an Amendment already accepted.

Amendment agreed to.


The Amendment standing in the name of the hon. and gallant Member for Taunton (Lieut.-Colonel Gault)—in page 1, line 23, at the end, to insert the words: Provided that where the premises are occupied by the tenant, both for business purposes and for a dwelling-house, the rating authority shall, if required, certify the value of the part used for a dwelling-house separately from the part used for business purposes, and the provisions of this Act shall apply to each separately, must be put down as a new Clause.


I beg to move, in page 1, line 24, to leave out the words "Provided that where any dwelling house," and to insert instead thereof the words: (3) Where any dwelling-house to winch the principal Acts apply. This Amendment is also consequential.

6.58 p.m.


I do not know whether this is the place to discuss whether licensed premises will be excluded from control. I suggest that consideration has not been given by the Minister to the claims of the occupiers of licensed premises, whether they are tied houses or not. By a stroke of the pen all licensed premises throughout the country will now cease to be controlled.


On a point of Order. If the hon. Member wishes to discuss the omission of the Proviso, he should put down an Amendment to omit the Proviso. Is he entitled to discuss whether there should be a Proviso or not, on an Amendment of a purely drafting character relating to the first line?


I was listening to the hon. Member. It appears to me that he is going far outside the limits of the Amendment.


I should like to move the omission of the Proviso.


I am afraid that that cannot be done now. I have already put the Amendment, to leave out the first line and to substitute other words.

Amendment agreed to.

6.59 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 1, line 25, after the word "premises," to insert the words "used as a shop or."

I want to put before the Committee one or two general considerations which influenced me in putting down this Amendment. The Proviso sets out that where any dwelling-house consists of or comprises premises licensed for the sale of intoxicating liquor for consumption on the premises, the principal Act shall. … cease to apply to that dwelling-house. That is, dwelling-houses which are primarily public-houses and only incidentally dwelling-houses will cease to be controlled. I think this is a perfectly justifiable and right proposal with regard to places which are only incidentally dwelling-houses, and which are, in fact, small shops or other business premises. The Committee will remember that it is now 18 years since a War time Measure imposed restrictions, and that it is 13 years since, business premises were brought within the operation of these restrictive measures in the Act of 1920. It seems to me that, as we are removing from restriction a very large number of the more expensive dwelling-houses on the ground that there is a sufficient supply, this applies still more to those which are primarily business premises.

If it is right to exempt a public house, it is certainly right to exempt from restriction a shop. May I give the Committee one example of what actually occurred under the existing law before the lowering of the limit to £45 in London and £35 elsewhere. We are dealing with houses comprising shops which are restricted in their rent, and in the opportunities of the owners to gain possession. I have the case of a man who is a qualified optician who bought premises in Swansea—a house and shop in a main street. He bought them in 1919 and could not get possession. He bad to rent a lock-up shop in a side street at very nearly three times the rental paid for the small house and shop which he had bought. It took him some years, and expensive proceedings in the law courts, to get possession of his own property which he had bought as a business, and not primarily as a dwelling-house. It may be said in reply to this Amendment that, as Clause 1 reduces so materially the value of the buildings to which restriction will still apply, a very large number of people will be able to get possession of their shops, because they will be above the value of £45 in London and £35 elsewhere. That is quite true.

As to this Amendment, I put it before the Committee on the broad ground that it is only the dwelling-house with the smallest value that the Government consider should still be controlled. If that be so, and 13 years having elapsed since the Act of 1920, it is time we said to people who want to buy a little shop, with a room or two over it, that if they did buy such a shop they would get possession without costly proceedings, and without having to provide similar accommodation elsewhere. I ask the Minister to consider whether, if it is right to exempt public houses with rooms over them, it is not equally right to exempt a shop in exactly the same position?

7.5 p.m.


The Committee will certainly realise that, if this Amendment be accepted, we shall do an injustice to a very large class of people who are suffering severely at the present time. In many parts of the country, in the suburbs of our larger towns, in smaller towns, and in country and industrial villages, there is a large number of what are really dwelling-houses with small shops attached to them. If this Amendment be accepted the result will be that on 29th September, a month's notice being given by the landlord of the premises, the landlord will be entitled to get control of them. The position of the occupier of one of these small shops is certainly much harder than the position of the tenant of a dwelling-houses, pure and simple. In many cases the occupier has lived in the house and shop for 10, 15 or 20 years, and has managed to create a small business in the neighbourhood. That business depends entirely upon the occupier of the house and shop being able to continue to reside in that house and shop.

It is no good telling him that two or three hundred yards, or half a mile, away there is a possibility of finding a dwelling-house, because his whole business will have disappeared. The landlord will not only be getting possession of the house, but he will be in a position, as soon as he gets possession of the house, to let it at an enhanced rent to another person wishing to carry an a similar business. A goodwill has been created by the tenant and, if the landlord can get possession in the way that this Amendment would permit, he would be able to get an increased rent owing to the fact that there is a business there. The position is even harder than it seems at first view. If it were not a controlled house and shop, but small business premises where notice could be given in the ordinary way, there is good protection under the Landlord and Tenant Act, 1927. If the premises are controlled the tenant has no claim whatever for compensation, either for improvements or goodwill arising out of the provisions of the Act of 1927. I trust the Minister will not give way and accept the Amendment. Obviously this is a matter which must have been considered by the Government when the Bill was drafted. No suggestion of decontrol for the houses and shops of the character referred to in the Amendment appears in the Bill. I hope the Government will resist the Amendment, and I am certain that by so doing they will give satisfaction to a large class who would suffer severely if the Amendment were carried.

7.10 p.m.


I hope that the Government will not accept this Amendment, although I am not one of those who like the principle of the Act. It has, however, been in existence for many years, and has created a new series of vested interests which cannot be suddenly disturbed. So far as the shopkeeper is concerned, he will be in a far worse position than the private occupier who can move to another place. It is to the private occupier a matter of indifference where he lives, provided he lives within a reasonable distance of where he works. The shopkeeper, on the other hand, has built up goodwill and can be coerced in a way which does not apply to the private occupier. The Solicitor-General, I hope, will give some explanation of what is the reaction between this Bill and the Landlord and Tenant Act, because those of us who are not lawyers are in some confusion as to how these people stand.

7.11 p.m.


The Government cannot accept this Amendment. Although the hon. Baronet made a perfectly logical speech, as he always does, I think I can show him reasons why we cannot accept the Amendment, and that we are taking our stand upon perfectly reasonable grounds. The policy has been to give protection to premises which comprise dwelling houses and shops. As regards business premises pure and simple, which are not in any way connected with dwelling houses, protection was conferred on them under the Act of 1920, but was removed in 1921. In so far as premises comprise not only a shop but a dwelling house as well, protection has always been afforded by virtue of the dwelling house. Premises may be primarily a shop and, incidentally, a dwelling house. Under this Bill premises of that kind—largely of Category "A"—will be decontrolled.

After all, if you take two houses of small rateable value, one of which is a shop and nothing else, and one which is a shop and dwelling house, the second, with the shop and dwelling, will be put in a privileged position by virtue of the Rent Restrictions Act against premises which are solely a shop and which have not been protected since 1921. The decontrol of houses in "A" category will also decontrol the bulk of such premises as are primarily shops and, incidentally, are dwelling houses. As regards the "C" class shop, I think other considerations arise. The hon. Baronet will recognise them because the Marley Committee call attention to it on page 50 of their report: A dwelling-house to which the Acts apply and which is partly used for business is not on that account excluded from the Act. Some witnesses have suggested that such premises should now be entirely decontrolled. It is probable that this proposal would affect adversely a considerable number of small shopkeepers who are already suffering from the general depression of business, and we are unable to recommend it. That is perfectly reasonable, and that is the case for premises in the "C" class category, which is primarily a dwelling-house with a small window and one room used as a shop. If we decontrol premises of this sort it will create injustice for the small shopkeeper and, therefore, we think it a perfectly reasonable step when we continue to control the small shop for five years. The larger shops are treated in the same way as the larger dwelling-houses and are decontrolled after the passing of this Act.

7.15 p.m.


I take no exception whatever to the explanation given by the Parliamentary Secretary, but I cannot understand why he gives this protection to the small shopkeeper, to the grocer, the butcher, the baker, and the draper, and refuses it to his very good friend the unfortunate publican. I think we are entitled to some explanation.


After the explanation given by the hon. Member I am satisfied that the Government are doing justice as far as possible, and I ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment made: In page 2, line 2, leave out the words "date of the passing of this Act," and insert instead thereof the words: said twenty-ninth day of September."—[Sir H. Young.]

7.17 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 2, line 5, at the end, to insert the words: Provided also that where any dwelling-house has been reconditioned by the owner in pursuance of an undertaking given by the owner under Part II of the Housing Act, 1930, or of an agreement between the owner and a local authority, the principal Acts shall cease to apply to such dwelling-house as from the date of the giving of a certificate by a local authority that such reconditioning has been carried out in accordance with such undertaking or agreement. The purpose of the Amendment is to secure the decontrol of houses which have been reconditioned by the owner under an agreement with the local authority. Under the Housing Acts a local authority has power to condemn houses as unfit for habitation, but before a demolition order is made an opportunity is given to the owner to recondition the premises. An owner is far less likely to avail himself of this opportunity if the premises, after reconditioning, are to be controlled, and the object of the Amendment is to secure that an owner who has reconditioned his premises shall be in a position in which he will be free to deal with them as uncontrolled premises. It is apparent that there can be no hardship to the tenant, for if the owner does not recondition and a demolition order is made the tenant is deprived of the use of the premises, whereas if the premises are reconditioned there is at any rate, although they are decontrolled, an opportunity for the tenant to again become the tenant of the Premises. I understand that the Amendment has the support of the Corporation of Birmingham, who foresee that if it is accepted it may lead to a considerable increase of houses in the city. I have no doubt that the views expressed by the Corporation of Birmingham are shared by other local authorities.

7.19 p.m.


I can assure the hon. and learned Member for Holborn (Mr. S. Bevan) that it is not the intention of the Government or of the Bill to put any obstacle in the path of reconditioning. As a matter of fact, the Amendment cannot be accepted, and I will explain why in a single sentence. The houses to which he refers are houses which have become unfit for human habitation. It probably has not occurred to the framers of the Amendment that one of its consequences would be that anyone by allowing his house to become unfit for human habitation may thereby secure its decontrol. That is an impossible result. Let me assure the hon. and learned Member that this matter is dealt with by an Amendment which I have later to the Bill, under which I propose to allow an owner who spends money on reconditioning to charge fairer terms by way of rent.


I am indebted to the right hon. Gentleman for the explanation, and, in the circumstances, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

7.21 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 2, line 5, at the end, to insert the words: (4) A person who on the twenty-eighth day of September nineteen hundred and thirty-three is tenant of a dwelling-house to which the principal Acts cease to apply as from the following day by virtue of the provisions of this Section shall be entitled (notwithstanding that cessation and notwithstanding the previous expiration of the tenancy whether by effluxion of time, notice to quit, or notice having effect as such, or otherwise howsoever) to retain possession of the dwelling-house until the date specified in a notice served upon the tenant under this Sub-section by or on behalf of the landlord after the passing of this Act and shall be so entitled in like manner and subject to the like terms and conditions as if the principal Acts had not ceased to apply to the dwelling-house. Any notice served under this Sub-section shall be in writing and shall inform the tenant, either that he is required to give up possession of the dwelling-house on the date specified in the notice, or that he will be so required unless before that date an agreement for a new tenancy has been made between the tenant and the landlord, so, however, that the date specified in any such notice shall be not earlier than the twenty-ninth day of September, nineteen hundred and thirty-three, and not earlier than one month after the service of the notice. (5) The acceptance of rent or mesne profits by the landlord after the date specified in a notice served in respect of any dwelling-house under the last foregoing Sub-section shall not affect the validity of the notice; and if any such notice contains or is accompanied by an offer of the terms upon which the landlord is willing to grant a new tenancy of the dwelling-house then, if the tenant retains possession of the dwelling-house after the date aforesaid without having made an agreement with the landlord on any other terms, he shall be deemed to do so upon the terms so offered as aforesaid. The right hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Greenwood) when he referred to these proposals, in anticipation, said that "A" houses would for the most part be let annually or quarterly, and that tenants would have to assume that there would be no alteration of the law which would break any contract. I want to make it clear that there is no intention whatever of breaking any existing contract. If a tenant has some contractual right, other than that given him by this proposal, I am advised, and it accords with my own opinion, that these provisions do nothing to interfere with that tenant's right. What we are aiming at here is to deal with the position on 29th September in the case of those tenants who will at that moment have no further contractual rights. On that day, although I can imagine cases in which there will survive some contract between a tenant and his landlord in spite of the length of time the Rent Acts have been in force—in the vast majority of cases the tenant of an "A" class house will be dependent for his right to possession on the Act alone and at midnight on 29th September the Act will cease to apply to these "A" class houses.

If a tenant has been there on a fixed term of years, which has expired during the continuance of these Acts, he will have no further right to retain possession. If he is in on a periodical tenancy, yearly or monthly or weekly, then if a notice to quit has been given his right to retain possession is dependent solely on the Act. If nothing more has happened than that the landlord has given a notice to increase rent, the Act of 1923 says that this shall be equivalent to a notice to quit, therefore in all these cases, and they would account for 99 out of every 100, a tenant is solely dependent on the Act for his right to remain in possession. It is true that so long as the Act is in force the old terms of the contract are prolonged, but, of course, the protection given to the tenant by that section disappears on 29th September. That is the situation with which we are trying to deal. We are trying to avoid chaos, and I hope the general sense of the Committee is that we are doing it in the proper way.

Let me indicate the sort of difficulties which will arise. The tenant will be uncertain as to what are the intentions of the landlord. If no provision is made he will not know whether the landlord wants to get him out. The landlord, on the other hand, may think that it will be necessary for him to take ejectment proceedings at once in order to clarify his position. Neither of them can be certain what the courts will hold to be the implications from holding on after 29th September without any arrangement having been made. There is another point which is also very important. It is very undesirable from the social point of view that the landlord should be afraid to accept rent lest he should be creating some new implication of a tenancy which might prolong the rights of the tenant. It is equally undesirable that the tenant should hold over deliberately in defiance of the landlord's right, merely relying on the glut of ejectment actions which may be brought in the county courts.

What we are doing in short is this: We are providing that the landlord is to give a notice—a month's notice—not to expire before the 29th September, and, in giving that notice, he may give it in one of two forms. He may simply say, "I give you notice to quit," or he may at the same time offer new terms of tenancy. If he does the latter, and no other arrangement results, the tenant will be deemed to hold over on the terms offered. In neither case shall the notice to quit, whichever form it takes, be invalidated by the landlord accepting rent after the notice has been given. Let me make one matter perfectly clear. We say that a month's notice shall be given. There are several Amendments down to lengthen this period, but let me say at once that neither the giving of a month's notice, or any other period of notice, is designed to prolong the application of the Rent Acts to these "A" houses. When we were discussing the date, the 29th September, the Minister made it clear that we did not put in that date for the purpose of postponing the operation of the Act but for the purpose of greater certainty. We are not putting in a month's notice now for the purpose of prolongation; and for the same reason we shall be obliged to resist any extension of that period.

This proposal is designed to set up some sort of code in the absence of agreement. There is nothing whatever to prevent any landlord and tenant beginning to get together now and agreeing as to what the position shall be after 29th September. For some time now it has been known that houses over a certain rent are going to be decontrolled on the passing of this Bill and we have now fixed 29th September, and there is nothing whatever to prevent them getting on with fresh arrangements. All we axe trying to do is to avoid any chaos which may result from having no sort of code in the case of those who do not trouble to make any new arrangements for themselves.

7.29 p.m.


I should like some information on one or two points. I have not fully understood the meaning of this proposal, and perhaps the Solicitor-General for Scotland will be able to clear up the matter. Take the case of an annual tenancy from Whitsun—I understand that Michaelmas is to be substituted for the 29th September as far as Scotland is concerned. Do I under- stand that in the case of a yearly tenancy from Whitsun it will be competent to bring that tenancy to an end at Michaelmas of this year on one month's notice, instead of the 40 days' notice which is usually the case. I raise no objection to that, but I think it right that it should be made plain, because annual tenancies from Whitsun day are a very usual thing in Scotland, and many people reading this provision will have considerable doubt as to whether that is or is not intended. That is the first point I raise.

My second point is this: Sub-section (5) states that the acceptance of rent by the landlord after the date specified in the notice shall not affect the validity of the notice. I am not sure that I fully understood the Solicitor-General there. A case of this sort might arise: You have a landlord who gives a notice, not really intending to enforce it at all but merely in terrorem of the tenant. Then when the 29th September arrives there is no attempt on the part of the landlord to enforce that notice. On the contrary six months of the year may pass and the landlord may accept one, two, three or four terms' rent; the rent may be paid monthly or quarterly. Then is he to be allow ed, at the end of that time, to raise this obsolete notice and say, "It is perfectly true I have accepted rent time and time again. I made no attempt to put that notice into operation and took no steps following the notice, but I have now changed my mind. You have been sitting there wrongly and the obsolete notice will be put into operation"?

If the landlord takes any definite steps, by action of ejectment or whatever may be thought appropriate, it may be that he should be entitled to accept rent without prejudicing his position in that action of ejection. That would be reasonable enough. But surely it cannot be intended that a landlord shall be entitled to sit by and raise no action of any sort and accept rent placidly for months, and then turn round and say, "This notice I am now going back to, and it must be enforced as from 29th September." That is opening the door to a kind of slackness in landlords which I think will not be uncommon and will cause a great deal of trouble, unless this provision is tightened up considerably. The latter part of the Clause, I think, is again likely to cause some trouble, be- cause you may accompany a notice with a mere statement that you insist on higher rent. The tenant being a minatory person may pay no particular attention to that. It is not even incorporated in the notice. At the end of the day the landlord will turn round and say, "Because you have stayed on for a day after 29th September"—


I would point out to the hon. Member that there is on the Paper an Amendment, which will presently be called, to deal with that point. He had better leave the matter until that Amendment is reached


I had not observed that, so will conclude my speech with what I have already said.

7.35 p.m.

The LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. Craigie Aitchison)

The hon. Member has raised a matter affecting our Scottish system of lets. The hon. Member has rightly pointed out that under the system of lets prevailing in Scotland, in the case of houses with rents above £45, the normal or common thing is that the let should run from Whitsun day of one year to Whitsun day of the next year. As I understand it, the question which the hon. Member asks is as to the effect of the Clause, taken in conjunction with the earlier part of the Clause, in the case where notice is given by the landlord to terminate at the term of Martinmas. The answer is a perfectly simple one. If the right of the tenant is a contractual right, then notice to terminate at Martinmas is of no avail; the contract stands. That is to say, the contract runs until the following Whitsun day, and the normal period of notice, 40 days, is required before termination can take place. On the other hand if the contractual right of the tenant has disappeared during the currency of these Acts, and his sole right has become a statutory right under the Acts, so that he is nothing more than a statutory tenant, then although his original contract was a contract from Whitsun day to Whitsun day, there can be no doubt that it would fall to be determined at Martinmas.


Of course, in all normal cases there would be no contract. There would be tacit revocation, which sets up an annual contract. As I understand the Lord Advocate, he himself depends on this view. If there has been no raising of the rent and therefore no change from the contractual to the statutory basis, then the tacit revocation means an annual contract, and means that although the original lease ran out years ago, still the house cannot be resumed by the landlord until Whitsun day. On the other hand, if by some method the contractual basis has been changed to a statutory basis, I understand it is possible to turn the tenant out at Martinmas. Does the Lord Advocate not think that to dig into past history to discover whether it is a contractual tenancy, based on tacit revocation, or a statutory tenancy, is going to create a most amazing amount of trouble?


No, of course if there has been no increase in rent and no notice to quit, then the original contract stands; it stands in virtue of tacit relocation. In that event the provisions of the Act have no effect on the contract at all; and if it is a contract running from Whitsun day to Whitsun day, then the contract continues to run and nothing can happen. On the other hand if the contract has been terminated, either by increase in rent or by notice to quit, then the whole right of the tenant is a statutory right. He ceases to be a contractual tenant; he becomes a statutory tenant; and in that event the tenant may be compelled to vacate the premises at the term of Martinmas.

7.41 p.m.


I am sorry that my right hon. Friend the Lord Advocate has not made the matter clear to me. Whether he has made it clear to the hon. Member opposite I do not know.


I think the matter has now been made clear.


Everyone in. category "B" houses in Scotland comes under the missive system, but Martinrnas does not come into it at all.


We are discussing Class "A" houses only, and this provision does not touch Class "B" houses.


But Class "A" houses are in exactly the same position. All houses with the statutory rent come under the missive system, and that applies from Whitsun day to Whitsun day. I rather gathered from the Lord Advocate that it would be possible for the landlord of any one of these houses in that category to intermit an increase in rent, and there is nothing in the Clause here to make it clear that the landlord could not impose that increase in rent, although the contract between the landlord and the tenant for the occupancy of the house is from Whitsun day to Whitsun day. I would like the Lord Advocate to make it clear that the landlord cannot increase at Martinmas the rent that was agreed to at Whitsun day. Otherwise a section of people in Scotland will suffer very grievously under this Clause. I am afraid that the Clause will make it necessary for the tenant to go to the court, and then, as hon. Members from Scotland will agree, the Sheriff will not come to a decision on any statement that is made in this House, but will decide on what he reads in the Act. It is not clear here that the tenant of the type of house we are discussing is free of the possibility of increase of rent.

7.43 p.m.


There is just the possibility that unless we do not bring in Martinmas it means that after they have made an agreement which should last from Whitsun day to Whitsun day, the entire year, according to the Lord Advocate, if this Bill comes into operation landlords can break the agreement, and after a month's notice increase the rent.

7.44 p.m.


I cannot help thinking that there is some misapprehension on the matter. In reply to the last speaker, this Clause relates only to houses of Class "A" and has no relation to houses of Class "B." Accordingly the Clause cannot affect the position so far as Class "B" houses are concerned. The position, I think, is perfectly clear. Of course you originally start with a contract which, we will say, ran from Whitsun day to Whitsun day. But then, when the Rent Restrictions Acts came into operation, if the landlord proposes an increase in rent or gives notice to quit and the tenant stays on, or does not obey the notice, then the contract comes to an end, that is to say, comes to an end at Whitsun day, when the contractual term ran out. The whole right of the tenant after that is a statutory right; it ceases to be a contractual right and becomes a statutory right.

If the tenant stays on, his right ceases to be contractual and becomes statutory, and accordingly I agree with the view of my hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General that the proposal of the Minister can in no way interfere with existing contractual rights. All it says is that where the right of the tenant is a statutory right and his tenancy is a statutory tenancy, then the tenant must be given notice before his rights under that statutory tenancy can come to an end even though there is a specified date of decontrol in the Act. In other words, the tenant is given a privilege which from one point of view it was unnecessary to give him at all, but it has been given, in order to prevent confusion and to clarify the position. Where the tenant's position is that of a statutory tenant only, he gets this additional notice.


The question which I want answered is this. Assume the case of the tenant occupying a house with a £50 rent. He enters into occupancy on 28th May and he has contracted to pay a rent of £50 for the year running from 28th May until 28th May of the following year. Under the Minister's Amendment we are afraid that the landlord may have the right, on giving certain notice at the Martinmas term to increase the rent say to £60 a year.


It is perfectly plain that the landlord in the case suggested could not raise the rent, that is to say, impose a rent of £60 or a rent of £30 taking the half year as at the term of Martinmas. What he could do would be to ask the tenant to enter into a new agreement and if the parties agreed then there would be a new tenancy. But if the parties did not agree, the position must be that the tenant stands upon his statutory right which, under the Bill, comes to an end in Martinmas, 1932.

7.50 p.m.


A number of points also arise in connection with this proposal as it applies to England and Wales. I do not propose to deal with any of the questions raised in the Amendment put down by some of my hon. Friends and myself but there are one or two matters connected with this new Subsection upon which I should like an explanation. I am disposed to think that the addition to the Clause, as it stands, is going to be the subject of a good deal of litigation and, perhaps, as a practising lawyer I ought not to object to that. No Acts of Parliament have contributed more to the benefit of the legal profession than the Rent Restrictions Acts and if this Clause goes through in the form now proposed I am certain there will be a huge mass of litigation in the county courts with appeals to the other courts of the country.

The Solicitor-General said that certain of these proposals were made in order to avoid a glut of ejectment actions but there are several questions which I would like to put to him in that connection. In the first instance, he referred to the fact that there were practically no contractual rights remaining, that they all disappeared when the statutory tenancy came to an end on 29th September. I presume that if the landlord had given notice the tenancy would at once expire and, presumably, after that notice the tenant would become a, trespasser on the premises. But certain questions will arise as between landlord and tenant in this connection. Take for instance the question of fixtures. When the controlled tenancy comes to an end, will the tenant be entitled to remove tenant's fixtures from the house, or will those fixtures become the property of the landlord? In the houses which will come within the scope of this proposal there may be valuable fixtures and it is grossly unfair if the tenant is not to receive the protection which he would receive were his tenancy a contractual tenancy coming to an end in the ordinary course.


I do not think that the question of tenant's fixtures can arise on this Amendment, or indeed on this Bill at all.


I do not know. I submit that if this proposal is adopted in its present form that is one of the difficulties which will arise from it. In dealing with Scotland it is suggested that a particular date, I think 28th November, is the date upon which all tenancies actually come to an end and there seems also to be the assumption in this Subsection that all tenancies in England and Wales end on 29th September or one of the other quarter days, and that therefore a month's notice given before that date would be operative to determine the statutory tenancy on that particular date. But there are many parts of the country where the ordinary quarter days are not the dates on which tenants pay rent. In North Wales for instance, tenancies commence on 1st May or 1st November. What is going to be the position in a case of that kind if notice is given a month before 29th September? Is there any provision for the apportionment of rent from the landlord's point of view I Will the landlord be entitled to distrain for rent on 29th September if the Bill comes into operation in the form now proposed? That, obviously, is going to be a question of considerable importance, namely, whether rent can be apportioned as from 29th September, having regard to the other terms of the tenancy.

There is another point upon which I should like enlightenment. Cases are fairly numerous in some parts of the country in which Class "A" tenants have been in occupation for many years and no notice to quit has ever been given with a view to an increase in the rent. No statutory notice for increase of rent has been given, but, by agreement between the landlord and the tenant 25 per cent. or 30 per cent. or up to 40 per cent. has been paid. What is to be the position in those cases? Are those houses to come under the operation of this Clause, or are the tenants of those houses still entitled to require chat the ordinary notice to quit with reference to tenancies—six months' notice in the case of an annual tenancy is to be given?

A question has already been raised in reference to Scotland by the hon. Member for Stirling and Falkirk (Mr. J. Reid), which may also arise in connection with tenancies in England and Wales. Suppose that a landlord decides that it is not an opportune time to give any notice whatever. He simply allows the tenant to continue and gives no notice at all for six months or nine months or a year or more. The tenant continues to occupy the premises but, say two years hence, the landlord has an offer from someone who is prepared to take the premises at an enhanced rent. Is he then entitled to give one month's notice, as contemplated by this proposal, to determine the tenancy Obviously, serious difficulties may arise. A tenant may go on for three or four years paying the old rent and relying, as most tenants would, on the assumption that he would be entitled to the ordinary six months' notice—in regard to an annual tenancy—if the landlord wished to determine. Is the tenant still in a position to go on for any time, however long it may be, from the date that this Bill comes into operation as a statutory tenant?

Another point which appears to have been overlooked by the Solicitor-General is the position of the tenant himself in this respect. You may have cases where the landlord will suffer. Is the tenant himself entitled to relinquish possession of the house on 29th September or, if he continues in occupation and pays his quarterly or half-yearly rent, and if then for some reason he finds it to his advantage and convenience to give up possession, is no notice contemplated as far as the tenant is concerned? Will the tenant be entitled at any time, it may be seven years hence, to say to the landlord, "I am leaving to-day"? All these problems are certain to arise in the next few years, and it is better that they should be provided for in the Bill than that they should become subjects of litigation later.

7.57 p.m.


May I answer the hon. Member's question straight away. With regard to the last one I do not think the difficulty arises. There must be one of two things. If no notice has been given at all by the landlord the tenant is staying on under the terms of the Acts and, as long as the terms of the old Acts continue, the tenant cannot go out without giving either what was the notice under the old contract or else three months' notice. If, on the other hand, there is no question of his going on after 29th September I do not think there is any real hardship on the landlord. If the tenant chooses to go out on 29th September the landlord can always find out between now and then what the tenant intends to do. After all, the whole argument is that the landlord will not have any great difficulty in replacing that tenant with another. I hardly think it necessary to set up machinery for compelling a tenant to give notice.

With regard to the corresponding point which the hon. Member put as to a, landlord deliberately giving no notice and the tenant continuing on, say for two years longer, I am asked what would the position be in that case. Would the landlord even then be entitled to give a month's notice? The answer is, "Yes." Under the Clause he will be entitled to give a month's notice. The tenant has nothing to complain of because he has been enjoying the advantage of two years more of control in comparison with the rest of the 500,000 houses which can automatically become decontrolled by notice to expire on 29th September. I do not think any special provision is required for that. With regard to fixtures, the matter remains exactly where it is at present. Nothing in this Subsection which we are proposing, or in the Bill, affects the question of landlord's and tenant's fixtures one way or the other, and whatever the law is on that question remains the same when this Clause and this Bill become law. With regard to what would be the position of tenancies which ordinarily would not expire on the 29th September, I imagine that the ordinary rules as to apportionment of rent would apply. There is an Act known as the Apportionment of Rent Act, which lays it down that the rent accrues from day to day, and if some period short of the usual period remains unexpired on the 29th September, the appropriate apportionment would be made.

Lastly, the hon. Member asked about those eases in which no notice of increase had been given, where the landlord and tenant had made a new agreement instead of allowing the Act to operate. In that ease, if the new agreement either expressly or by implication contained what was in effect a contractual term for some period of notice other than a month, in my opinion that contract would not in any way be affected by this. Clause, which is designed to entitle the tenant to a month's notice, to which he would not otherwise be entitled, and not in any way to interfere with contractual rights to a longer notice.

8.2 p.m.


I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, in line 17, to leave out the words "one month," and to insert instead thereof the words "six months."

The learned Solicitor-General seemed to be under the impression that all the unfortunate tenants who were to be affected by the operation of this Bill were conscious of their fate, and that the proceedings of this House would have been so broadcast throughout the country and given such prominence that the tenants would realise that on the September quarter day they would be subject to one month's notice. Unfortunately, I am afraid that in these days, whatever may have been the case in the past, very little prominence is given to our proceedings. We are considering a very important new Clause, but look at the benches here. We have had the advantage of the hon. and learned Gentleman's most interesting and clear statement, but even the Members of the House of Commons itself are not greatly interested, although their constituents Are vitally concerned. I am afraid that until the axe falls, or until they find the rope round their necks, the tenants will not realise their fate.

I am fortified in this conclusion by the authority of the London County Council, who have given exceptional consideration to this problem. The council have had the advice of experts in the management of this class of property, and I am assured by them that they are convinced that when this machinery gets to work and these houses come to be decontrolled, especially in certain parts of London, like Paddington, Kensington, Marylebone, and the Western and Northern boroughs, there will be an uproar, an outburst of something like consternation. As the hon. and learned Gentleman knows, the London County Council is a very Conservative body and it accepts in principle this Bill. It has accepted the principle of decontrol in the categories embodied in the Bill, but I have received a letter from the County Hall, dated to-day, the 4th April, which I shall be pleased to show the Minister, as follows: The Parliamentary Committee on the 30th March considered various Amendments on the Order Paper with regard to the above-mentioned Bill"— that is, this Bill— including the Amendment of the Minister of Health requiring at least one month's notice by landlords and tenants to give up possession of premises or to enter into new tenancy agreements, and also your Amendment to this Amendment providing for a notice of at least six months. The Parliamentary Committee decided to support your Amendment. I was assured by the appropriate officials that all my Conservative friends representing London constituencies, especially those on the London County Council, would be here in their dozens. I felt sure my hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich (Sir G. Hume) would be here, as he told me only an hour or two ago that he was enthusiastic and that he was going to speak in support of my Amendment, but where is he? Unfortunately, London Conservative Members do not take their duties so seriously as do the Liberal Members.


They are meeting the co-operative societies.


Whatever the reason, they are not here, and even the London Labour Members are conspicuous by their absence. We are fighting the battle of the tenants, and we are putting the case for the London County Council, and it is really rather a comment on a Bill of such great importance, affecting the daily life of the people, that all these Conservative London Members, including even the Postmaster-General, are conspicuous by their absence. However, we have a very good substitute in the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health. He may not be a London Member, but he knows something about this question, and I suggest in this connection that the Government will be wise to reconsider the position. After all, many of these middle-class people, bourgeois as they are sometimes described, have been very good and loyal friends of the Conservative party, and in good seasons and in bad seasons have stuck by them, so that it is rather unfortunate that they should have been thrown to the wolves. With reasonable notice to readjust their affairs, to find a new tenancy, to find some new house in the suburbs, or even to raise the money in order to buy a house on the outskirts of London, they might not feel under a great grievance, but to come down suddenly and to tell them that, with only a month's notice, they will have to leave their house, where they have been protected ever since 1916 and where they felt they were safe from disturbance, is a very serious matter.

I suggest that my Amendment is reasonable, not raising the larger issue of whether it is a good thing to decontrol this property, but asking that this operation should be made to work as smoothly as possible and with as little hardship as it is reasonably possible for an Act of Parliament to provide. I recognise that this is a concession that we have received, and that the one month will be some help. Without something of the kind, the situation would be too terrible to contemplate, because no one would have known where he was, and neither landlord nor tenant would have been able to adjust himself to the position. If the Minister cannot accept six months, which I should like him to do, at any rate one month is quite inadequate, and if he likes to make some reasonable concession, like three months, that would to a certain extent meet the case. It is a mistake to think for a moment that the thousands of tenants who will be affected are conscious of the changes that are taking place under this Bill, and therefore I hope the Amendment will be accepted.

8.11 p.m.


I support the Amendment to the proposed Amendment on the grounds that I have endeavoured to stress right through any argument which I have, in my own feeble manner, been able to place before the Committee, but, which apparently has not so far had the result of convincing the Minister of Health that any concession should be given. Five hundred thousand houses are to be decontrolled, and I think we ought to form the basis of our opinions with regard to any matter pertaining to this particular portion of the Bill on that ground, and to consider how many people will be affected by the decontrol which is coming into effect. Five hundred thousand houses is a very large number, particularly when it is realised that in the course of 10 years only 700,000 new houses have been built. It therefore stands to reason that those who are occupying the 500,000 houses should at least be given an opportunity of knowing that they are to be dislodged, and the notice should be sufficiently long to give them an opportunity of looking around and seeing whether what is pre- dieted by the Government will actually take place, namely, that they will be able to find alternative accommodation at a similar rental.

What is being offered in this Bill? I agree with my hon. Friend that the Amendment is to some extent a concession, but it is a, very small concession in comparison with the numbers affected, The majority of the people, the lay people particularly, are very confused about these Rent Acts. They do not know when they started, they do not know when they finish, they cannot be expected to know on what grounds they are required to give up possession, and they cannot be expected to read the intricacies of the Acts which already exist. Therefore, they will naturally come to the conclusion that the Act which is now being put on the Statute Book is equally hard to understand, and probably they will not even take the trouble to read it in respect of this particular matter, which means so much to them. It may be said that that is their funeral, but the truth of the matter is that the average layman does not find time or disposition to keep reading every new Act that is placed on the Statute Book, and there will be nobody sufficiently daring to say that the majority of the people who will be affected will know what their position is going to be.

That being the case, I submit that it is very little that we are asking in this Amendment. I am sorry the previous Amendment was not found to be suitable for discussion, but here a fairly small concession is asked. It means that as soon as the Bill is passed a landlord who wishes to give notice can do so, and that, instead of obtaining possession of a house on the date when the Act comes into operation, he will be able to compel his tenant to leave a month later. Why should not that obligation be put on the man who desires to obtain possession? Surely he should be asked to give a reasonable notice to the tenant, and, if the Bill is not coming into operation until September, there is no reason why be should not immediately give notice to his tenant if he desires to dislodge him so that the tenant may have ample opportunity of looking round. We are not asking for an enormous thing; it is a very small thing. It is a small thing to ask that the principle of this Amendment shall be carried into proper effect, because we ask that ample notice should be given to the tenant so that he should be able to accommodate himself. This concession is small to us, because it means very little so far as the vigilant landlord is concerned, and we may be sure that he will have ample advice; but it is a very large concession for the tenant, because it will grant to him an opportunity of knowing what his position is. I hope that we shall not be refused this concession, particularly as a similar concession is to be given to the mortgagee. He is to have six months in which to find an alternative mortgage. Why should not the tenant be given the same opportunity?

8.17 p.m.


I am glad to see that, speaking generally, the attempt to deal with the situation which will arise on the 29th September seems to meet with general approval, but on this particular point of the length of notice I am sorry to say that the Government cannot give way. Let me put this point. The Committee has already decided that the date on which the Bill is to come into operation is the 29th September. Manifestly it is desirable, if possible—I do not say that it will happen in every case, because landlords may be dilatory—that the notice that should be given should be one that is capable of expiring on the 29th September. In view of the progress we are making with the Bill, it is by no means certain that it will be through both Houses and have received the Royal Assent by the 24th June, so there would be some danger of the whole machinery being upset if even three months' notice were provided. I do not, however, lay great stress upon that point.

The hon. Member for South-West Bethnal Green (Sir P. Harris) said something with which I am disposed to agree. I think that it is highly probable that the majority of the tenants are not following our proceedings with the closest attention, but I should rather doubt whether that is also true of the landlords, and they will have ample time to indulge in that educative process of the tenant between now and the passing of the Bill, still more between now and the 29th September. Our Amendment, which has met with general approval, gives him every inducement to conduct that educative process in such a way that the tenants will understand the position by the 29th September. In addition to that, what we are aiming at all the time is that this shall not be left to contention in the Courts and to the machinery of our law. We are trying to secure that the landlords and tenants come together and make their own arrangements. Therefore, I say that there is no reason whatever why that process should not begin now. I cannot accept what the hon. Member for Whitechapel (Mr. Janner) said about all these tenants being turned out into the streets—500,000 of them on the 29th September. Are all the landlords in the country to go mad? Is it really suggested that if all those 500,000 landlords turn their tenants out into the street—


I did not say they were going to be turned into the streets, but that they would be put at the mercy of those who would be entitled to turn them out.


They would be at the mercy of the ordinary law of supply and demand which the Marley Committee has held to justify the decontrol of these houses. That principle was accepted on Second Reading by the House of Commons, with the exception of the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) and the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton), who manfully told against it in an empty Lobby.


That does not mean to say that we were wrong.


I am giving the hon. Members credit for objecting. The hon. Member for White-chapel, however, has no right to object to that as a principle—


I want to make my position perfectly clear in this matter. I agreed to the Second Reading of this Bill, as I specifically stated in my speech on that occasion, because control was being removed from some of the houses which should be under control. I made that amply clear and I do not for a moment accept the contention that I am not entitled at this stage to argue against other Clauses of the Bill in respect of which I am bound to differ from the Government.


I do not say that the hon. Member is not entitled to argue against the Clauses, but I say that he is not entitled to make the assumption that 500,000 landlords are going to turn out 500,000 tenants on 29th September without any very great certainty of replacing them by others.

8.23 p.m.


I am very much surprised at the arguments of the Solicitor-General. I am pleased that hon. Members on the Liberal benches have moved this Amendment to the proposed Amendment, and, if they will be courageous enough to force it to a Division, we shall support them. The Solicitor-General stated with some contempt that the hon. Member for Whitechapel (Mr. Janner) should not have suggested that 500,000 tenants might be removed from their houses by the processes of this Bill. As a matter of fact, the hon. and learned Gentleman knows that it is possible that that might be done in any case. It is the intention of the Government to give power to the landlords to dislodge their tenants—the whole 500,000 of them if they want to do so. Let me put a point which I have not heard mentioned. When the hon. Gentleman who moved and seconded the Amendment to the proposed Amendment argued in favour of six months I thought that the Government representative came to the conclusion that no tenant of a house within this category could go out in less than six months, but even if the Committee carried this Amendment to allow six months' notice that would not preclude a tenant and his landlord making arrangements whereby the tenant could go out of the house voluntarily without notice. Consequently, in my view, there is nothing wrong in our adopting this Amendment. I am not sure that hon. Members fully appreciate how much sentiment attaches to the houses in which some of these families live. Hon. Members will know of members of their own families who have lived in a house for, perhaps, 20 or 25 years and who would regard it as a very serious matter to be told they must clear out at a month's notice. The hon. and learned Gentleman rather smiles at that.


No, I was not smiling at that.


If I may say so respecfully, I know his division almost better than he does himself.


Oh, rubbish!


At least I know the geography of it better than he does himself, and I think I know of families in his division of which all that I have said would be true. I will not dwell unduly on sentiment, but it does seem to me that the Government ought to have taken account of the fact that if these noices expire on the date mentioned in the Minister's new Clause people will be faced with the prospect of having to re move just before Christmas. If the Amendment before us were carried and they received six months' notice, at any rate they would be left in their homes for another Christmas. I think that is a point which this Government, which is supposed to be not only national in character, but national in sentiment, ought not to overlook. I am not sure that I have not influenced the Government a little in our favour by that reminder. What I cannot understand is why the Government did not meet the hon. gentlemen below the gangway half way and make the period three months. There would be some sense in that.

There is a protest which I wish to lodge against the Government in connection with this Bill. I have always understood that when a Government brought a Bill before the House of Commons they always had a little concession up their sleeve, as it were. This Government is too stupid to adopt that policy. They do not seem to have kept anything at all up their sleeve. I should have thought that the concession of three months would have been a very good way of meeting the criticism which has been advanced, because I cannot conceive that any great principle is involved as between one month and six months. I should have thought the Government would have made a compromise with the hon. Gentleman below the Gangway, in order, perhaps, to get them into the same Lobby with themselves on this Bill; but I am very pleased to think that we shall be together once again in the Lobby if they will press this Amendment to the proposed Amendment to a, division.


Jolly old pals!

8.29 p.m.


I am not able to make any general observations as regards the country, but I do know my own area, and I am not aware of a single house to let there under £1 a week. What I am anxious to know is, what is to become of tenants when this Bill is passed? There may not be evictions, but they will have a pistol held at their heads in the shape of a demand for more rent. It is true that the London County Council have erected a good many dwellings, and very excellent dwellings, but as there are already 20,000 applicants for them the possibility of any of these tenants getting in is very remote. The learned Solicitor-General said there was a process of the education of tenants to be undertaken by the landlords. I do not know of the landlord who will educate his tenants in these matters. He will, in order to take advantage of this Act, keep his tenant uneducated to the last moment, and then will know that he has got him under his thumb and can do as he likes with him.

There is the further point of the position of the shopkeeper. If there is time, some of us will take steps to educate him, and if there is an interval of three or six months he will get to know that under the Landlord and Tenant Act he can get compensation, whereas if only a month's notice is required 99 out of 100 shop-keepers will not get to know of their rights under that Act. The longer period would give those of us who are interested in those people an opportunity to give them some of the education which the landlord will deny them. I do not know what will happen to a number of tenants. I do not want to exaggerate, but I do not know of another house into which they can go at anything like £1 a week, and the only alternative will be for them to remain where they are and pay a considerably increased rent out of an income which has been decreased during the last year. Therefore, I think the Minister might take this point into consideration. I am not speaking in an exaggerated way, but I am speaking with some knowledge of the tenants in my own district and of the real hardships which they will face. If there must be decontrol there should be an extension of the period of notice beyond a month, so that opportunities for education may come to them from others than the landlords, because if they wait for the landlords to educate them they will not be informed until it is too late. I hope the Minister, who, I am sure is sympathetic to the position we have taken up, and sympathetic towards the tenants, will take this matter into consideration, and that if he cannot make a concession now he will bring in some Amendment on the Report stage.

8.30 p.m.


I understand that the Government are proposing a new date for Scotland in this matter. In this case the difference is as between a month and six months. The Government say the landlord can enforce his rights by the 29th September, and the purpose of this Amendment is to make the date six months later.


Three months.


But you have asked for six months. As I have said, Scotland is not involved, but I think that if the Minister could not accept the Amendment for England as a whole he might at least agree to it for London. I am not a native of London, but I think the problem in regard to houses of £45 and over is more acute in London than in any other part of the country. It is quite true, as the Solicitor-General said, that all landlords are not going to turn out their tenants. Landlords are not mad, and they are not all bad, but they are not all good. The point is that there are 500,000 people in houses owned by—I do not know how many landlords, perhaps 20,000 or 30,000 or 50,000, and we are placing those 500,000 tenants at the mercy, as regards terms, of a group of say 20,000 or 30,000 landlords. There is also this difference, that the landlord is skilled in negotiation and usually has an agent to act for him, whereas the other party is not in that position, and we are leaving him to be subject to whatever terms he may be able to get. We are putting tenants into a very awkward position by making the time so short, and my own view is that in London, in particular, there will be almost a panic among the people.

I do not know whether the learned Solicitor-General knows the terrible panic a man can get into over the prospective loss of his house. A man may lose his job. I have already said, and I repeat, that I have seen men who could go through hardships and could face terrible things, but the one thing that would bring them to their knees was the threat of losing their house. That is an awful thing. You only need say to the average decent person—and the more decent the occupier the more easily he is frightened, "We have power to shift you out," and that man, particularly if he has young children, becomes mortally afraid. It is not that the landlord is good or bad, but that the man knows that somebody has the power to turn him out. Once a panic starts, it spreads.

This is an extremely small Amendment, and I think that the Solicitor-General might have accepted it, so far as London was concerned. The problem of the middle-class population is a cruel one in most places, but it is ghastly in London. I should have thought that some effort might have been made. The Solicitor-General treated the Committee to the usual arguments based upon the Marley report. I grant that the Government have been better than the Marley report. The Marley report was signed by five Labour people and by Liberals and Tories, in July, 1931, and this is April, 1933, two years afterwards. The position is certainly not getting worse from the middle-class point of view, and I do not think that it is any worse from the point of view of the poorer classes. When hon. Members voted for the Second Reading of the Bill they did so because of the recommendations of the Marley Committee. Let the Government be under no illusions about that. It is shocking that in a big city like London a large number of people should be at the mercy of the landlords' terms, and I should have thought that the Solicitor-General, if he could not accept the Amendment for the whole country, might at least have made a reasonable effort in regard to London.

I make no apology for appealing for London. London people are, to a large extent, very tolerant. They probably have less civic sense than those of us in the provinces. I plead with the Solicitor-General, as one who has no contact with London, to accept the Amendment to the proposed Amendment in respect of London. The principle was accepted by the Marley Committee, and has been accepted by every committee that has considered London in relation to the housing problem. In the city of Glasgow the problem will not be so acute over the £45 houses as it is in London, where the effects of the Bill may be somewhat shocking. I ask the learned Solicitor-General to reconsider the matter between now and the Report stage.

8.40 p.m.


I do not very often find myself in agreement with the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan), but on this Amendment to the proposed Amendment I do, especially in regard to the important points that he has raised as to the position of the majority of tenants and landlords not only in London, but throughout the country. Those of us who have been associated directly with this problem realise the difficulty of the tenants not getting to know their position after the Bill becomes operative. Their difficulty will be considerably greater than that with which the landlords will be confronted. No hon. Member has mentioned that the landlords, in 99 per cent. of cases, are represented legally, and in every other respect, through the Property Owners' Protection Association. The landlord has no need whatever to study the Bill, or to make himself acquainted with a single word or deed that passes in this House. His position is considerably stronger than that of the tenant, because, in the majority of cases, landlords can be said to have had greater educational chances than the average tenant. Then there is the position that might arise among the 500,000 people concerned who, in the present position, can just afford to pay their rent and eke out a living, but whose plight when this Bill becomes operative will be obvious. Their difficulty is not so much in leaving a house as in finding another house that will meet their income. I am convinced that some landlords with whom I have come into personal contact are not going to be sufficiently human to take into consideration all these difficulties.

What is to be the position of many of the unemployed who have no possibility of employment in the immediate future? The landlords will place upon a large number of people in this country the fear of that notice coming on the 29th September, and the fear of not being able to find alternative accommodation. That is going to have a mental effect upon the people which I am sure the Government have no desire to help to create. On those grounds, we ask the Solicitor-General to reconsider his earlier decision. The hon. Member for North Lambeth (Mr. Briant) said that in the majority of cases landlords would keep tenants ignorant of the actual position of the law until the last moment. I have no doubt that in a vast number of cases especially in the heavy industrial areas, in regard to the old type of property, you will actually have that position. The landlord will keep the tenant blind to the position as affecting the tenant's own security. In consequence you will have, not only considerable disturbances of the mentality of the parents, but very unfortunate disturbances so far as the conditions of life of the children are concerned. Coming from one of these areas, where a very large number of people will be affected by this notice, I ask the Solicitor-General at least to grant a period of three months, if he cannot "go the whole hog" and alloy, six months, as the Amendment asks.

8.46 p.m.


I desire to urge the Government to agree to the suggestion which has been made by the Members associated with this Amendment, and at least to grant a period of three months instead of one month. The Committee has been considering the Bill for several hours to-day, and last week we occupied several hours on the earlier portion of Clause 1; and, although appeal after appeal was made to the Government to meet us on one point here or one point there, they have been adamant throughout. We knew what was likely to happen, but, at the same time, we thought that there would be some reasonableness in the attitude of the Government towards the Amendments which have been moved. Here is a case in which they can certainly meet those of us who have moved this Amendment, and it is evident that our views are not confined to the party that sits here or to the party that sits on the other side, but are also held by Members of the Conservative party in the House. They have been expressed very eloquently by the hon. Member for Attercliffe (Mr. Pike). We do not wish to press for the six months if there is any possibility of the Government meeting us by granting three months, but, if they are not prepared to do that, I am afraid that my hon. Friends and myself will have to divide the Committee on this question. I trust, however, that that will not be necessary.

8.48 p.m.


I think that hon. Members in all quarters of the Committee will agree that this is one of the most important Amendments with which we shall deal during the Committee stage of the Bill, and for that reason I wish to say a word or two in support of my hon. Friend the Member for Attercliffe (Mr. Pike), who, like myself, represents an important industrial division in the city of Sheffield. I am sure that the Government are endeavouring to hold the balance as fairly as they can between the landlord and the tenant, and that, for that reason, they will welcome contributions from Members for those industrial divisions which rallied so strikingly and emphatically to the banner of the Government at the last election.


This is their reward.


The hon. Member is entitled, as a Member of the Opposition, to make comment on the attitude of the Government, just as we are entitled, and it is our duty, as backbenchers supporting the Government, to raise these matters in Committee, which is the proper place for raising them. I was about to remark that I am sure the Solicitor-General will not dismiss lightly the opinions of those supporters of the Government who sit for these industrial divisions, who are in constant touch with the situation there, and who can assure him that this Amendment is in our view extremely reasonable and extremely necessary. I am not going to reiterate at length the arguments of other Members, but I would ask the Government to make some concession in this matter. Most of us are agreed as to the principle which they are endeavouring to follow, but then is this important difference of opinion with regard to an extension of time, and I think it would be a graceful act, and one which would be very much welcomed in the country, if my hon. and learned Friend could see his way to meet us.

Question put, "That the words 'one month' stand part of the proposed Amendment."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 229;Noes, 67.

Division No. 113.] AYES [8.50 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Hales, Harold K. Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leads, W.) Hanley, Dennis A. Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Ramsden, Sir Eugene
Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Craigie M. Harbord, Arthur Rankin, Robert
Albery, Irving James Hartington, Marquess of Ratcliffe, Arthur
Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (L'pool, W.) Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes) Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)
Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K. Haslam, Henry (Horncastle) Reid, Capt. A. Cunningham-
Aske, Sir Robert William Haslam, Sir John (Bolton) Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)
Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick Wolfe Hellgers, Captain F. F. A. Reid, William Allan (Derby)
Atkinson, Cyril Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford) Remer, John R.
Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M. Hepworth, Joseph Rentoul Sir Gervals S.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Herbert, Capt. S. (Abbey Division) Robinson, John Roland
Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J. Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston) Rosbotham, Sir Samuel
Balniel, Lord Hopkinson, Austin Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)
Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey Hornby, Frank Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.
Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury) Horobin, Ian M. Runge, Norah Cecil
Beit, Sir Alfred L. Horsbrugh, Florence Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Benn, Sir Arthur Shirley Howitt, Dr. Alfred B. Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury)
Bennett, Capt. Sir Ernest Nathaniel Hudson, Capt. A. u. M. (Hackney, N.) Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)
Blaker, Sir Reginald Hume, Sir George Hopwood Salmon, Sir Isidore
Blindell, James Hutchison, W. O. (Essex, Romford) Salt, Edward W.
Borodale, Viscount Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H. Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton James, Wing-Com. A. W. H. Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Johnston, J. W, (Clackmannan) Scone, Lord
Broadbent, Colonel John Kimball, Lawrence Selley, Harry R.
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Knox, Sir Alfred Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Hume, Sir Joseph Quinton Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Brown, Brig, -Gen. H.C.(Berks., Newb'y) Latham, Sir Herbert Paul Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Law, Sir Alfred Skelton, Archibald Noel
Burnett, John George Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.) Slater, John
Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley) Leighton, Major B. E. P. Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.
Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley) Lewis, Oswald Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-in-F.)
Caporn, Arthur Cecil Liddall, Walter S. Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Lindsay, Noel Ker Smith, R. W. (Ab'rd'n & Kinc'dine,C.)
Chapman, Col. R.(Houghton-le-Spring) Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe- Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Christie, James Archibald Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest Somervell, Donald Bradley
Clayton, Dr. George C. Llewellin, Major John J. Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)
Cobb, Sir Cyril Lyons, Abraham Montagu Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D, Mabane, William Soper, Richard
Conant, R. J. E. MacAndraw, Lt.-Col. C. G. (Partick) Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.
Cook, Thomas A. MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr) Southby, Commander Archibald R. J
Cooke, Douglas MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw) Spencer, Captain Richard A.
Craven-Ellis, William McEwen, Captain J. H. F. Stevenson, James
Crooke, J. Smedley McKie, John Hamilton Stones, James
Croom-Johnson, R. P. McLean, Major Sir Alan Storey, Samuel
Crossley, A. C. Magnay, Thomas Stourton, Hon. John J.
Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard Maitland, Adam Strauss, Edward A.
Culverwell, Cyril Tom Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M. Strickland, Captain W. F.
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.
Dickie, John P. Martin, Thomas B. Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart
Dower, Captain A. V. G. Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John Sutcliffe, Harold
Drewe, Cedric Meller, Richard James Tate, Mavis Constance
Duckworth, George A. V. Merriman, Sir F. Boyd Templeton, William P.
Duggan, Hubert John Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Thompson, Luke
Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.) Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale Thorp, Linton Theodore
Dunglass, Lord Moreing, Adrian C. Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)
Edge, Sir William Morgan, Robert H. Touche, Gordon Cosmo
Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey Morris, John Patrick (Salford, N.) Turton, Robert Hugh
Elliston, Captain George Sampson Moss, Captain H. J. Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Elmley, Viscount Munro, Patrick Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)
Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare) Nail, Sir Joseph Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)
Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool) Nall-Cain, Hon, Ronald Wardlaw-Milne, Sir John S.
Falle, Sir Bertram G. Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H. Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
Fleming, Edward Lascelles Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth) Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Ford, Sir Patrick J. Nunn, William Watt, Captain George Steven H.
Fremantle, Sir Francis O'Connor, Terence James Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-
Ganzoni, Sir John Oman, Sir Charles William C. Wells, Sydney Richard
Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton Ormiston, Thomas Whiteside, Borras Noel H.
Gibson, Charles Granville Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A. Whyte, Jardine Bell
Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Percy, Lord Eustace Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Glossop, C. W. H. Perkins, Walter R. D. Wills, Wilfrid D.
Goff, Sir Park Peters, Dr. Sidney John Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Gower, Sir Robert Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, B'nstaple) Wise, Alfred R.
Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas Peto, Geoffrey K.(W'verh'pt'n, Bliston) Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)
Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada
Grimston, R. V. Potter, John TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Guy, J. C. Morrison Procter, Major Henry Adam Mr. Womersley and Dr. Morris-Jones.
Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H. Raikes, Henry V. A. M
Adams, O. M. (Poplar, South) Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur McEntee, Valentine L.
Banfield, John William Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) McGovern, John
Batey, Joseph Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.) Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)
Bernays, Robert Groves, Thomas E. Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot
Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale) Grundy, Thomas W. Mander, Geoffrey le M.
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) Mainwaring, William Henry
Briant, Frank Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)
Brown, C. w. E. (Notts., Mansfield) Hamilton, Sir R. W.(Orkney & Zetl'nd) Maxton, James
Buchanan, George Hirst, George Henry Milner, Major James
Cape, Thomas Holdsworth, Herbert Parkinson, John Allen
Cocks, Frederick Seymour Jenkins, Sir William Pickering, Ernest H.
Cove, William G. John, William Pike, Cecil F.
Cowan, D. M. Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields) Price, Gabriel
Curry, A. C. Jonas, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton) Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)
Daggar, George Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A. (C'thness)
Davies, David L. (Pontypridd) Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Thorne, William James
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Tinker, John Joseph
Dobbie, William Kirkwood, David Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Edwards, Charles Lawson, John James Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)
Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.) Leonard, William Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)
Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen) Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)
Goodman, Colonel Albert W. Logan, David Gilbert
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Lunn, William TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Sir Percy Harris and Mr. Janner.

8.59 p.m.


I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, in line 20, to leave out from the first word "notice" to the end of the Subsection.

It appears to me that, if these words are allowed to remain, it will place a considerable amount of difficulty upon the tenant. Hitherto when a tenancy expired, if the landlord desired to take possession, he was allowed a certain amount as mesne profits for the interval that elapsed between the time of the expiration of the notice to quit and the time when he actually came before the Court, and it would be for the Court to decide what that amount was. According to the new Clause, the tenant is to be charged a certain rental at the discretion of the landlord. It may be five or 10 times as much as he was paying prior to the notice, and, if he does not accept that notice or come to some arrangement with the landlord in respect of it, he can be brought before the Court and he will have no defence as to the amount, no matter how heavy it may be. We feel that that would be an unreasonable thing to impose upon a tenant. We do not think it requires very much in the way of elucidation as to why there are objections to it. It must be clear to everyone that there are objections. Judgment can be entered immediately against a tenant for an extortionate amount, and the tenant will be compelled to pay.

9.2 p.m.


I cannot accept the Amendment to the proposed Amendment in its present form, to leave out the whole of these words, because they are essential to the scheme on which we are working. The idea, as I have explained in connection with an earlier part of the Clause, is, in the case of landlords and tenants who have not taken the trouble to make an agreement before 29th September, to provide a code by which, if the landlord offers terms and they are not accepted but the tenant nevertheless holds over, those terms will be deemed to be the terms of the tenancy. Something of the sort is necessary, and, in substance, we are all agreed about that, but the hon. Member has put his finger on a weakness. I agree that it would be possible for the landlord to keep up, as it were, a semblance of negotiations up to the moment when midnight of 28th September came, and the tenant who has been protesting against the terms offered and yet stays on until 1st October might, therefore, be held to be bound by the terms that the landlord had offered.

I agree that that could not be tolerated, and I suggest that the point can be met in this way. We can leave the Subsection as it is, but only enable the landlord to get the advantage of it if, at the same time as he offers the terms, he gives a notice calling attention to the effect of the Clause and informing the tenant that, if he holds over after 29th September without having come to some other arrangement, he will be bound by those terms. That would avoid altogether the possibility of a landlord entrapping a tenant for however short a time. I have a form of words in my mind, but the precise form had better be left to the Report stage if the principle is accepted. I suggest that if I give such an undertaking it will really meet the substance of the point which the hon. Member has put forward.

9.6 p.m.


I think that the learned Solicitor-General has in this respect met the point which was raised by my hon. Friend and myself. At the same time, I hope that the notice which is to be served will be a separate notice and not be part of the notice to quit which the landlord has to serve upon the tenant. I can conceive a state of affairs arising in which, if the landlord serves the tenant with a notice in accordance with the Schedule, plenty of ingenuity will be exercised to enable the landlord to serve notices, the import of which will not be clear to the tenant. A reference to the condition here would clearly bring the matter home to the tenant. I trust that when the addition to the Clause is decided upon for the Report stage, provision will be made for the landlord to serve a separate notice at the same time an he serves the ordinary notice to quit, so that there can be no excuse on the part of the tenant that he has not bad full information as to the situation.


I will bear that point in mind.

9.8 p.m.


It seems to me that the learned Solicitor-General has not met the point raised by the hon. Member for Stirling and Falkirk (Mr. J. Reid) a little earlier in the Debate. If I understand him aright, it will be possible for a landlord, if he gives notice in the prescribed form, and then waits for a period of three years, to make a claim for arrears of rent on the ground that he has only been receiving the old rent whereas he is entitled to the new rent. I hope that the learned Solicitor-General will bear that matter in mind when considering the alteration of the terms on the Report stage, so that any claims of this kind must be made within a reasonable period no matter what notice is given to the tenant.


I am obliged to my hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General for the manner in which he has accepted the suggestion, and I beg to ask leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment to the proposed Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Proposed words there inserted.

9.9 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 2, line 6, to leave out Sub-section (3).

The Members of the Committee will be aware that for a long time now the law has envisaged a gradual process of decontrol until complete control ends. Part II of the Act of 1923 makes provision for transitional arrangements after complete control has been brought to an end. It was thought then, in the days of a Government of much the same complexion as the present Government, that, whenever control came to an end, arrangements would have to be made to ease the burden and to graduate, during a transitional period, the burden which might fall upon tenants. Part II of the Act of 1923 is, in my view, one of the most important Sections of that Statute. It restricts the right to possession in certain cases after the principal legislation expires. Is is true that it gives only a very modified protection for the sitting tenant, who on the expiry of the. Acts happens to be the occupant of a controlled house. This modified protection was to have extended for five years after complete control came to an end, unless—and this, in view of the present Bill, is important—before the five years ended that provision was repealed by an Order-in-Council passed after approval by both Houses of Parliament. So that 10 years ago there was envisaged a process which would continue—in a very modified form it is true—a certain measure of protection for the tenant. To that part of Part II of the Act I attach very considerable importance.

There were other parts dealing with the possibility of a reduction of rent pending the execution of the necessary repairs by the landlord, and there was a restriction also during the period of five years with regard to the calling in of mortgages. Moreover, Part II of the Act enabled the Minister to establish reference committees. Something of that type appears in the Bill now, but on the Motion of the Minister the original pro- visions are to be weakened, which, no doubt, we shall be able to debate later. But the whole of the transitional arrangement as regards the protection of sitting tenants, the tenant of a controlled house where repairs ought to be executed, the calling in of mortgages, and the establishment of reference committees by the Minister to consider all these cases, have to go by the board. We have argued on this side of the Committee against the general principle of the Bill, but this provision—Sub-section (3) of Clause 1—which wipes out completely the five years' transitional period agreed to 10 years ago, is one which we regard as almost as bad a feature of the Bill as the earlier parts of Clause 1 which have already been argued.

Let us assume that the Government can justify their case for complete decontrol in certain cases and that the treatment which they are meting out to Classes "A," "B" and "C" houses is right. In the absence of any proof—and we have not had it yet—that the housing problem is likely to be dealt with very shortly, it is surely improper for Parliament to abolish that five years' easing down of the system. At least that might have remained, and my plea to the Committee is that this Section of the Act of 1923—assuming that the Government get their way with regard to decontrol as regards Class "A" houses and so on—ought to remain intact, as Parliament has allowed it to be for the last 10 years, in order that for five years from now, or until Parliament otherwise determines by Resolution of both Houses of Parliament, there shall be protection for sitting tenants and for people who are mortgagees.

I should have thought that the Committee, which has not shown the unanimity about this Bill that it has about other Bills, would have keen prepared to support this Amendment. I hope that it will do so. I have more faith to-night because I do not remember latterly a more representative body of people in one Lobby than appeared in the Lobby in which I have voted to-night. We have proved ourselves to be the real national party. We have been 'a collection—I do not use the word collection in any offensive way—of people gathered from every side of the House, in support of Amendments which have been moved from this side. I hope that the present Amendment will be in that category. It does not in any way infringe the general principle of the Bill. All that it seeks to do is to maintain the law as it has been since 1923 and to give a little hope when decontrol becomes effective that there will be some modified protection for those persons who, on that date, happen to live in controlled houses.

9.17 p.m.


I cannot help thinking that the right hon. Gentleman has moved the Amendment under a complete misapprehension. Part II of the Act of 1923 will have no effect whatever, one way or the other, on the situation created by this Bill. The right hon. Gentleman spoke as if it was going to be some assistance to the Class "A" tenants, whose houses are to be decontrolled, but it will be nothing of the sort. May I explain how Part II of the Act of 1923 came to be passed? it provides certain transitory provisions which are to come into effect when the Rent Acts come to an end, and not when certain houses are taken out of the Rents Acts. By this Bill we are taking out the "A" class houses. We are leaving the "B" class house as it is, and we are setting up a fixed control of the other houses for the next five years. Therefore, Part II of the Act of 1923 could not possibly come into operation until the time comes for some further step to be taken in decontrolling those houses which still remain controlled at the end of the next five years. It could have no effect whatever in favour of the "A" class tenants, who will be decontrolled on the 29th September.

Is there any real point in keeping Part II of the Act of 1923 alive with regard to what may happen five years hence? Let me remind the Committee how it came into existence. It was put into the Act of 1923 because in that Act the Rents Acts were prolonged for a further period of two years, at a time when everybody knew that there was no immediate possibility of the housing shortage being overtaken. Therefore, you were passing a Rents Act saying that it would be extended until 1925, and at the same time putting in transitory provisions to mitigate the shock in 1925. What we are doing here is something entirely different. In 1931 the Committee examined the whole thing elaborately and made a report which, is the basis of this Bill.

The hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) very generously admitted that we were going better than the report. No one can suggest that we are doing anything less than the Marley Committee recommended. They made their recommendation, which was that the housing shortage had been overtaken in regard to the "A" class houses and that there was no need for any transitory provision there, while as regards the "B" class houses the situation could be left to be dealt with by the gradual decontrol in operation; but as regards the "C" class houses it was stated that the shortage had not been overtaken and was not likely to be overtaken in the immediate future, therefore there must be a fixed period of control for those houses. The time to deal with the transitory provisions as to what is left when our Act has run its course for five years or longer as the case may be is surely when that time comes. These transitory provisions were put in because they were supposed to deal with the situation which would arise in two years from the time that they were passed, but they have absolutely no reference to the situation which will occur in the year 1938, and I cannot help thinking that the Amendment has been moved under a misapprehension.

9.23 p.m.


I am not sure that the Solicitor-General is correct when he suggests that the Amendment has been moved under a misapprehension. Five years hence is a very short time in the life of a nation, and if the Solicitor-General remains in office—we hope he will not—and pursues the policy enunciated in this Bill he will see complete decontrol take place of all houses. Then there will be no transition stage, no lightening of the fall for classes "A," "B" or "C" houses. The hon. and learned Member must know that the transition conditions were put in the Act of 1923 as a means of steadying the fall when ultimate complete decontrol took place.


Decontrol of all houses at the same time, all houses of the "A," "B" and "C" class simultaneously, in advance of over taking the housing shortage.


Exactly, and the right hon. Gentleman in this Bill suggests that that time will be five years hence. We know what the conditions were in 1930 and what they are in 1933, but what they may be in 1938 nobody can prophesy, and it would be extremely difficult to make a prophecy if the National Government remain in office. From that point of view it is asking for very little to suggest that the transition conditions be preserved until the date does arrive when the total decontrol is about to take place. Had the hon. and learned Member been following the action of the Minister of Health he would have known that as a result of the Housing Act passed a short time ago, house-building by municipalities had been completely brought to a standstill. From April, 1931, down to September, 1932, while 100,000 houses had been erected for the working classes, the £13 rateable value houses, 225,000 houses of that type were decontrolled.

That was when the housing subsidy was available. With no housing subsidy available it is obvious to those who visit working-class districts that private enterprise will not fill the breach for that section of the community. Therefore, in asking that these transitional conditions be preserved, we are not asking something under a misapprehension. We are very apprehensive of what may happen. At all events, it does seem to me, whoever may be charged with the responsibility of caring for the poor, miserable wretch who cannot buy a home for himself, that the least we can do is, to insist that these transitional conditions be preserved until total decontrol takes place. I hope that the Amendment will be pressed to a Division if the hon. and learned Gentleman will not accept it.

9.26 p.m.


It is, indeed, a happy and surprising phenomenon to find right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite so keen on Part II of the Act of 1923; because they did not manifest any particular enthusiasm for it when, as Parliamentary Secretary, I was trying to get it through in Committee upstairs. At the same time, I must say that the Solicitor-General has hardly done justice to this Amendment or to the position of the Government. He says that the position to-day is radically different from what it was 10 years ago, and that the way in which the Government are acting on the report of the Marley Committee is quite different from the way in which the Government 10 years ago were acting on the report of the Onslow Committee. I assure him that he is quite mistaken. The ideas which animate the Government to-day and the ideas which animated the Marley Committee are almost precisely identical with the view which animated the Government of 10 years ago, and which animated the Onslow Committee. The more it changes, the more it is the same thing, and so we have had this evening a sufficient warning of the kind of difficulty that any Government encounters when it tries to decontrol any class of house.

The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for South Nottingham (Mr. Knight) pointed out that it might be a good thing to decontrol houses some time, but this was not the time. I have heard hon. Members for the last 12 years say that it is a very good thing to decontrol houses but this is not the time, and whatever the social and economic conditions may be you will have that argument. The Government seem to rely on some decontrol of "B" and "C" class houses at some fixed date in future. In order to decontrol "A" class houses, where their case is particularly strong, they have had to add to this Bill a whole series of cumbrous provisions as to what is to happen between the landlord and tenant in the case of a very small class of house, and just in order to deal with hardships not affecting relatively a very great number of people, they have had to adopt cumbrous provisions of this kind. I think the Government realise what is in the mind of a large number of their supporters, who do not believe in any controls of this kind in themselves, but who realise how incredibly difficult it is to get out of such controls once you have got into them. Are you ever really going to get out of control of "B" and "C" class houses? That is what is felt by hon. Members opposite. I do not think they really believe in their heart of hearts very much more in rigid control by legislation than do we on this side.

The question in our minds is: Is it impossible to get some form of gradual decontrol in the sense of a control which becomes increasingly flexible as time goes on? When hon. Members in one part of the House talk about supply and demand, hon. Members opposite always groan and appear to be of a temper of that Mexican Congress which solemnly proceeded to repeal the law, of supply and demand as one of its first constitutional acts. It is true that when you have an artificial system of Government control, the law of supply and demand does not operate immediately, and the first reaction from the control is to tempt landlords, and perhaps tenants, to make demands on their opposite numbers, tenants or landlords, which are not justified by the economic state of the market. That dislocation and automatic reaction from the pressure of control is the difficulty with which we have to deal. It does seem to me to be an extraordinarily doubtful moment—looking five, six or seven years ahead when you hope to decontrol your "C" Class houses finally—whether you ought at this moment to abandon in advance the whole of the transitional machinery. I do not very much, like it. I have no feeling of paternity or sub-paternity for any particular form of transitional control under Part II of the 1923 Act. I think it might be very much improved. The Government are sitting down in the comfortable belief that at some fixed period in future they will be able to wipe away the whole thing. I think the experience of the Debate to-night shows how very fallacious that hope is. If the alternative is between Part II and an indefinite continuance of the present Bill under the Expiring Laws Continuance Act or general election after general election in order to avoid unpopularity, then I would much rather retain Part II.

9.34 p.m.


In rising to support the Amendment, I want to assure the Noble Lord that in 1923, when he was piloting the Bill through, we were not definitely opposed to the general principles embodied in Part II of the 1923 Act. We were, in our humble way, trying to help him to improve the wording his chief had put in. His chief and he were in a more amenable frame of mind than the present Minister of Health and his Parliamentary Secretary. On this occasion, up to the present, we have found the right hon. Gentleman a man of granite who is not prepared to alter one word or comma in the Bill. This Sub-section is, to my mind, the most dangerous thing in the whole Bi11. It is very far-reaching in its effects. It, is a subtle provision, and it is difficult to realise what it means. The Solicitor-General has said that Part II of the Act of 1923 only comes into operation when the Rent Restriction Act ceases to operate, but I suggest that some people will be outside the Act altogether and will have no rights of any kind. Immediately this Bill becomes operative people in Class "A" houses will come under the Landlord and Tenant Act, and thus subject to notice to leave with no appeal to the courts. They will be left entirely at the mercy of the landlord. Class "B" houses are to be decontrolled by a sort of graduation—


The inevitability of gradualness.


Yes, these people will be nicely put out of the way, and at the end of five years, if the Government is still in office, all control will cease to take effect. I think the Solicitor-General is wrong. This provision repeals Part II of the Act of 1923 and, therefore, at the end of five years there will be no need to bring in any Bill at all to keep it in operation: at the end of five years all these houses will be decontrolled. I think the Minister of Health might consider more seriously some sort of protection for Class "A" houses and Class "B" houses, because at the end of five years we shall be back under the old Landlord and Tenant Act, under which these tenants will have no right to appeal against any action which may be taken. I think this provision is one of the most dangerous and far-reaching in the Bill.

9.38 p.m.


A reasonable appeal has been made by the right hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Greenwood) supported by other hon. Members, who are under no misapprehension as to this provision. I do not desire to enter into a, controversy with the Solicitor-General as to the interpretation of this proposal in regard to Part II of the 1923 Act, but the practical point which has been made should induce the Government to realise the serious situation which may arise after 24th June, 1938, when the control of houses in classes "B" and "C" comes to an end. There will still he a certain number of houses in class "B" which will be under control. At the present moment there are in England and Wales 1,200,000 houses of class" "and 4,150,000 houses of class" C," and one can scarcely conceive that at the end of five years, when the whole of these houses, merely 5,500,000, are going to drop out of control there will be accommodation for all the tenants who now occupy these houses.

What will be the situation? On 24th June, 1938, all tenants who remain in controlled houses will be liable to proceedings in the county court or before the justices for ejectment. The Solicitor-General says that there may be a glut of ejectment actions id regard to class "A" houses, but here there is a possibility of scores and hundreds of cases in every county court district throughout the country. I think the Government should realise the reasonableness of the proposal to continue Part II of the Act of 1923 for a period after the Rent Restriction Acts come to an end in 1938. This is the provision made in Part II of the Act of 1923 in regard to applications for the recovery of possession or the ejectment of the tenant: should it appear to the court that the proceedings are harsh or oppressive or that exceptional hardship would be caused to the sitting tenant by the making or giving of an order or judgment for possession or ejectment, the court may refuse to make or give such an order or judgment or may adjourn the application for or stay or suspend execution of any such order or judgment or postpone the date of possession for such period or periods, and subject, to such conditions as it thinks proper. That is a reasonable provision. You do not take away from the landlord the right to possession of his property, but you say that although he may be legally entitled to get possession the court may consider that the tenant is going to suffer injury or that the proceedings are harsh and oppressive and may attach conditions or suspend the operation of the order for ejectment. Surely no one will suggest that this is an unreasonable power to give to the courts. The Solicitor-General may say that there is no reason why Parliament should legislate for a period five years hence, but that is what Parliament contemplated in 1923. It was then thought that Part II of the 1925 Act should only last for two years, but when the matter came before Parliament in 1925 it was realised that two years was too short, and in the amending Act it was enacted that Part II should remain in operation for a period of five years after the principal Act came to an end. That is all that is being asked to-day, that when the principal Acts come to an end in 1938 Parliament should adopt the same course as was adopted in 1923 and 1925, and during the transitional period, which may be one of considerable hardship to many tenants, should give unlimited protection such as was contemplated in 1923 and 1925. I trust that the Minister will accept the Amendment, which is a very reasonable one.

9.46 p.m.


There are two questions involved here, and I am not sure that we are really examining them. The proposal at present is that we should omit the Sub-section that effects the repeal of Part II of the Act of 1923. But that will not really meet the point which is behind the proposed Amendment, and in which I must confess I feel there is a good deal of substance. In the Act of 1923 there are various things provided in Part II. It is only in Section 12, as has just been pointed out, that protection is given to tenants in respect of whom exceptional hardship may be said to exist; but the Section in the form in which it is in the Act of 1923—it has probably been brought a little up to date in subsequent days, though I have not verified that—only protects tenants who happened to be tenants of houses on 24th June, 1925. The effect, therefore, will be that in 1938 you would only be protecting those tenants who were in existence in 1925. It seems to me that the Amendment does not meet the difficulty which I understand the right hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Greenwood) desires to put right.

My object in rising is merely to invite the Government to give reconsideration to the whole question here, because I cannot help feeling that, as in 1923 Parliament came to the view, that we ought to protect cases of exceptional hardship, there is no reason at all why in 1931 we should not make some equal provision on the basis that in 1938 Class "C" houses are to be wholly decontrolled. In those circumstances, illogical as it may seem, I shall find myself compelled to vote against the Amendment, because I do not believe that if we carried it we should be achieving what the Mover of it really desires to achieve. On the other hand I do feel, with some of my hon. Friends, that there is a point here which is worthy of further examination, and I hope that the Minister, even at this late stage, will be able to say that he will give further consideration particularly to Section 12, because I do not think that the other section of Part II matters.

9.50 p.m.


I rise in order respectfully to correct the hon. and learned Member who has just spoken, because I see that, apart from one point, he is agreeable to the point of view which most of us on these Benches, if not all, accept. There was an amending Act in the Rent Restriction (Continuance) Act of 1925. Subsection 1 (3) (d) of that Act says that the words "expiration of the principal Act" are to be substituted for those contained in the 1923 Act. It is presumption on my part, and I hope that my hon. and learned Friend will not, object to my having put this clearly because we do want him in the Lobby with us. If the Minister is not prepared to accept the Amendment as it stands, I would like to emphasize one point. A large number of houses may very easily be decontrolled as and when this term expires. It is obvious that the intention of the Government is to make this a definite thing. In all other respects they appear to be following the suggestions which are contained in the Marley Report, with very few and minor exceptions. But in this regard they have chosen to adopt a wholly different point of view from that expressed in the Marley Report.

The Marley Report said quite clearly, or at least indicated, that it does not consider a definite time can be stipulated when the case for removal of restrictions may arise. The Government in this Bill are putting a definite time on the expiration of the restrictions, and they intend obviously that people should act according to the suggestion that is contained in the Act, that in 1938 all landlords and tenants should realise that the Act is coming to an end, and that they should therefore make arrangements accordingly. At the present time the "A" class houses are being decontrolled to the extent of 500,000, and on similar lines it is quite possible, if not probable, that at the end of the Act all the houses will be decontrolled. It may be that a mistake is being made, and that When the five years have expired the position will not be such as to justify decontrol. It is said that a Judge of the Court, an impartial tribunal, shall be entitled to say whether a case is harsh or not. That is all that is contained in this particular Section. The Judge is to say that a case is one in which there is hardship, and in those circumstances that he considers that the conditions should be amended in a reasonable manner in respect of the tenancy in question.

I should have thought that there could not be a more reasonable request than that if things are so bad that they may be considered by an impartial tribunal to be harsh, some remedy ought to be available for the tenant. It may be that we are wrong. We do not claim infallibility, even on these benches. We make endeavours towards that end, and do our best according to our own lights, but we may be wrong on this point. At the same time we claim that human frailty of a similar nature may exist even on the Treasury Bench, and we say that a judge can very easily clear the matter up. In those circumstances I hope that the Minister will see his way to give us this additional concession, which is a reasonable one and will show that the Government are really in earnest when they say that it will be for the benefit of all concerned that decontrol should definitely expire in 1938.

9.54 p.m.


All the speakers on this Amendment have expressed general agreement that there should be a certain

amount of control and protection for the tenant after decontrol ceases. But surely the speakers have rather misunderstood the learned Solicitor-General, who never said that, there would be no protection after the ending of the Act. All he said was that the protection which was enacted in 1923 might not be applicable to 1938. Surely that is not an unreasonable position. We have heard, even in the course of this Debate, that the protection which Parliament in its wisdom accorded in 1923 was designed primarily for a period of only two years. To proceed on the supposition that all those provisions, even as modified from time to time by subsequent Acts, are going to be useful in 1938 would result in leaving this subject more confused than before. I support the position taken up by the Solicitor-General when he said that it is best to repeal this provision altogether. When we are faced in 1938 with the termination of this Measure, then is the time to make provisions, if such are required, to ease over the period of complete decontrol. I find it difficult to understand the remarks of the Noble Lord the Member for Hastings (Lord E. Percy). He said that control would never really cease and that in 1938 we would perpetuate its control. If that be so, it seems all the more ridiculous that we should rely now on provisions made in 1923 for easing over a period of decontrol. I think the Solicitor-General is right in his contention and I hope that the Government will maintain their position.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 249; Noes, 65.

Division No. 114.] AYES. [9.58 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury) Burnett, John George
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th, C.) Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley)
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Beit, Sir Alfred L. Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley)
Aitchison Rt. Hon. Craigie M. Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B. Caporn, Arthur Cecil
Albery, Irving James Bevan, Stuart James(Holborn) Castle Stewart, Earl
Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.) Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton) Cautley, Sir Henry S.
Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent) Blaker, Sir Reginald Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)
Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K. Blindell, James Chapman, Col. R.(Houghton-le-Spring)
Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick Wolfe Borodale, Viscount Christie, James Archibald
Atholl, Duchess of Bossom, A. C. Clayton, Dr. George C.
Atkinson, Cyril Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.
Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M. Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Conant, R. J. E.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Cook, Thomas A.
Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J. Broadbent, Colonel John Cooke, Douglas
Balniel, Lord Brocklebank, C. E. R. Craven-Ellis, William
Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey Brown, Ernest (Leith) Crooke, J. Smedley
Bateman, A. L. Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C.(Berks., Newb'y) Croom-Johnson, H. P.
Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Cross, R. H.
Crdddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton Renwick, Major Gustav A.
Culverwell, Cyril Tom Latham, Sir Herbert Paul Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) Law, sir Alfred Robinson, John Roland
Dickie, John P. Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.) Rosbotham, Sir Samuel
Dower, Captain A. V. G. Leckie, J. A. Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)
Drewe, Cedric Leighton, Major B. E. P. Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.
Duckworth, George A. V. Lewis, Oswald Runge, Norah Cecil
Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel Liddell, Walter S. Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Duggan, Hubert John Lindsay, Noel Ker Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury)
Duncan, James A.L.(Kensington, N.) Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe- Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)
Dunglass, Lord Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest Salmon, Sir Isidore
Eastwood, John Francis Loder, Captain J. de Vere Salt, Edward W.
Edge, Sir William Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey Mabane, William Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart
Elliston, Captain George Sampson MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G.(Partick) Selley, Harry R.
Elmley, viscount MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr) Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.
Emrys-Evans, P. V. McCorquodale, M. S. Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare) MacDonald, Rt. Hn. J. R. (Seaham) Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.
Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool) Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness) Skelton, Archibald Noel
Falle, sir Bertram G. McEwen, Captain J. H. F. Slater, John
Fleming, Edward Lascelles McKie, John Hamilton Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.
Ford, sir Patrick J. McLean, Major Sir Alan Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-In-F.)
Fox, Sir Gilford Magnay, Thomas Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)
Fremantle, Sir Francis Maitland, Adam Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Ganzoni, Sir John Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M. Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Somervell, Donald Bradley
Gibson, Charles Granville Martin, Thomas B. Somerville, Annestey A. (Windsor)
Gilmoar, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)
Glossop, C. W. H. Meller, Richard James Soper, Richard
Goff, Sir Park Merriman, Sir P. Boyd Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.
Goodman, Colonel Albert W. Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.
Gower, Sir Robert Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale Spencer, Captain Richard A.
Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres Spens, William Patrick
Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter Moreing, Adrian C. Stevenson, James
Grimston, R. V. Morgan, Robert H. Stones, James
Guy, J. C. Morrison Morris, John Patrick (Salford, N.) Storey, Samuel
Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H. Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh) Strauss, Edward A.
Hales, Harold K. Moss, Captain H. J. Strickland, Captain W. F.
Hanbury, Cecil Munro, Patrick Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.
Hanley, Dennis A. Nail, Sir Joseph Sudden, Sir Wilfrid Hart
Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H. Tate, Mavis Constance
Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth) Templeton, William P.
Harbord, Arthur Nunn, William Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles
Hartington, Marquess of O'Connor, Terence James Thorp, Linton Theodore
Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes) Oman, Sir Charles William C. Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Haslam, Henry (Horncastle) Ormiston, Thomas Turton, Robert Hugh
Haslam, Sir John (Bolton) Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A. Wallace, John (Dunfermline)
Hellgers, Captain F. F. A. Pearson, William G, Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)
Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford) Perkins, Walter R. D. Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)
Hepworth, Joseph Peters, Dr. Sidney John Wardlaw-Milne, Sir John S.
Herbert, Capt. S. (Abbey Division) Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple) Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston) Peto, Geoffrey K.(W'verh'pt'n, Bliston) Watt, Captain George Steven H.
Hornby, Frank Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour
Horobin, Ian M. Pike, Cecil F. Wells, Sydney Richard
Horsbrugh, Florence Potter, John Whiteside, Borras Noel H.
Howitt, Dr. Alfred B. Procter, Major Henry Adam Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Hume, Sir George Hopwood Raikes, Henry V. A. M. Wills, Wilfrid D.
Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries) Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian) Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romford) Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles) Wise, Alfred R.
Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H. Ramsden, Sir Eugene Womersley, Walter James
Jackson, J. C. (Heywood & Radcliffe) Rankin, Robert Worthington, Dr. John V.
James, Wing-Com. A. W. H. Ratcliffe, Arthur Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'oaks)
Joel, Dudley J. Barnato Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)
Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan) Reid, James S. C. (Stirling) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Ker, J. Campbell Reid, William Allan (Derby) Captain Austin Hudson and Lieut.-
Kimball, Lawrence Remer, John R. Colonel Sir A. Lambert Ward.
Knox, Sir Alfred Rentoul, Sir Gervais S.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Hirst, George Henry
Aske, Sir Robert William Dobbie, William Holdsworth, Herbert
Banfield, John William Edwards, Charles Janner, Barnett
Batey, Joseph Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.) Jenkins, Sir William
Bernays, Robert Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen) Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)
Briant, Frank Foot, Dingle (Dundee) Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield) Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)
Buchanan, George Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) Kirkwood, David
Cape, Thomas Griffith. F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.) Lawson, John James
Cocks, Frederick Seymour Groves, Thomas E. Leonard, William
Cove, William G. Grundy, Thomas W. Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick
Cripps, Sir Stafford Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) Logan, David Gilbert
Curry, A. C. Hall, George W. (Merthyr Tydvil) Lunn, William
Daggar, George Hamilton, Sir R. VI.(Orkney & Ztl'nd) McEntee, Valentine L.
Davies, David L. (Pontypridd) Harris, Sir Percy McGovern, John
Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan) Pickering, Ernest H. Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)
Mainwaring, William Henry Price, Gabriel Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)
Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot Rea, Walter Russell Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)
Mander, Geoffrey le M. Roberts, Alad (Wrexham) Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie(Banff)
Maxton, James Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A.(C'thness)
Milner, Major James Thorne, William James TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Nathan, Major H. L. Tinker, John Joseph Mr. John and Mr. D. Graham.
Parkinson, John Allen Williams, David (Swansea, East)

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

10.7 p.m.


I do not think it would be proper to allow this Clause to pass without some comment being made upon it. The only Amendments that have been made to the Clause have been Amendments proposed by the Minister. Hon. Members on all sides of the House have made strong appeals to the right hon. Gentleman to accept Amendments, but we have been turned down on every Amendment that we have put forward, and consequently we have either to accept the policy of the Government on the Clause or we must register our protest against that policy in the Division Lobby. I do not think there is any doubt that the kernel of this Bill is found in Clause 1, and complaints that we have made during the Debate and the Amendments that we have moved are to the effect that the amount of rateable value or recoverable rent is too low, in particular in London. I was sorry that the right hon. Gentleman was not in his place, although he was deputised very well, if I may presume to say so, by the Parliamentary Secretary, to hear the very cogent arguments in favour of one Amendment from the Liberal benches.

London has been given a very special place in this Bill, and every hon. Member who has spoken has admitted that London provides a very substantial and unique problem in relation to housing; and those of us who live in the provinces entirely agree with that contention. The contention made by hon. Members from London was that, as we stipulate a higher amount of rateable value or annual recoverable rent in London than in the provinces, the notice of one month to the tenant or the landlord in the new Sub-section introduced by the Minister ought to have been varied by some special provision for London in relation to the determination of the tenancy. But the right hon. Gentleman was not in his place. It is worth while mentioning that Members of his own party also spoke in favour of the Amendment, but the Government, of course, were adamant. We cannot make any impression at all upon them, unless it be at by-elections, and I should have thought that they could have taken just a hint as to the feelings of the people in those contests, even with regard to their housing policy, but they have done nothing of the kind.

Clause 1 not only deals with houses within these limits, but it also decontrols them at the same time as a change of tenancy. I must confess that I am not conversant with all the technical details of this very technical subject. The Minister has told us that there have been several Acts dealing with the problem. I have not yet known any Member of this House who has claimed to be an authority on every subject, and I am not an authority on this one. Still, I have come across a sufficient number of cases which fall within this category of £45 for London and a very much lower sum for the provinces.

In passing, may I say that I think there is some misapprehension among our Scottish friends, because it was understood when we dealt with these figures in the first instance that the Debate should cover the Metropolitan Police district, the City of London, Scotland, and elsewhere, and we took three separate divisions running in consequence of that Arrangement. Therefore, it will now, I suppose, be proper for any hon. Member from Scotland to argue about Scottish affairs on the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill." It is not for me to invite them to do so; I only make that comment in passing. [An HON. MEMBER: "A broad hint!"] Whether or not it wan a broad hint, I think I ought just to state that; and I am sure that other hon. Members will want to speak on this question as well.

Clause 1 not only decontrols certain types of houses, but it decontrols them when they change tenancies, and this decontrol policy of the Government is based on the assumption that we shall be provided with a plentiful supply of new houses by private enterprise. I have before me the comments of some of the local authorities, particularly in the provinces, with regard to this problem of houses, and I am only using these illustrations by way of argument. I understand that these quotations are from the annual reports of the medical officers of health of the towns to which they refer. Take the case of Ashton-under-Lyne. As a Member for 'a constituency in Lancashire, I am, of course, very interested in any town in that county, and this is what the Ashton-under-Lyne medical officer states: There is a large waiting list of applicants for council houses. Instances of overcrowding are often reported. Take the case of Barnsley: There are still a large number of houses overcrowded.


It is not very clear whether in the Debate on Clause 1 we shall be in order in discussing "C" class louses.


I do not want to be offensive, but the right hon. Gentleman has tried to put me in order more than once in this Debate, and I would have preferred if the Chairman had taken me to task instead. I will drop that point if it is offensive to the right hon. Gentleman. He does not like any quotations from the reports of medical officers of health of local authorities with regard to housing.


Oh, no, I simply want to preserve my own rights in replying to the hon. Gentleman.


The quotations I was giving from the report of the medical officers of health did not refer exclusively to small houses. In Manchester, for instance, there is as much overcrowding in the big old houses which will be covered by Clause 1 as in the smaller houses. In fact, overcrowding in some instances is much more terrible than in the, ordinary cottage property. Consequently, the Minister cannot get away with it by arguing in that fashion. We object to the provisions of this Clause because they are not generous enough in respect of London or of Scotland or of the provinces. The figures ought to be much higher in order to bring within the ambit of the Clause those old houses that are occupied by members of the professional classes in particular.



I want to ask the Minister if it is not possible to consider 'again one or two points that were raised in the earlier Debates on the Amendments. This Clause does apply to Class "C" houses in as much as it says that the Acts which affect them shall cease to operate in June, 1938. It also decontrols Class "A" houses, and allows those houses which were passed out of control by the 1923 Act to remain outside control. In other words, the houses that have passed out of control are not brought back by this Clause. I venture again to raise the question whether it is not possible to give the tenants and occupiers of the houses which have passed out of control the protection of the courts against eviction. I take a more serious view of that than I do of the rent increase. My experience of the Scottish courts is that a moment a house is decontrolled and the landlord is anxious to get control of the house, the tenant is practically left to the mercy of the landlord. The only power which the courts have is the power of delay, but they cannot go on operating in that way indefinitely. The least that the tenant has a right to expect is the defence of the courts. I am not arguing here what might be argued, and what I could argue if the occasion arose, that the tenant should have an absolute right. All I am arguing is that the court should have the right to adjudicate as between the person who wants the house and the person who remains in occupation of it. It may be that the law of supply and demand as to rents might operate, but I think that in the great mass of cases the courts ought to remain in control.

Another point about this Clause is that Class "A" houses pass completely out of control. Speaking for my own division, I do not know that that is a matter of very great concern to us, but I think it will be a matter of concern in some parts of the city of Glasgow, and most certainly it is, in London. The only justification the Minister has given for this Bill is the Marley Report. The Marley Report has been like King Charles's head. He has said the Marley Committee were appointed by the Labour Government, with a member of the Labour party as their chairman, and that after having gone into all the details and taken evidence they came to these definite conclusions, and that he, as Minister of Health, is carrying into effect what was recommended by this Committee representative of all shades of opinion. He oven reinforced himself by pointing out that the chairman was a Labour member who did not leave the Labour party and join the National Government. All that I grant, but I do not accept the view, which has been put forward by certain people who defend that Report, that things are different in 1933 from what they were in 1931. Of course they are different, in some cases worse, in some cases better. As regards Class "A" houses I would admit that things are better, but as regards Class "C" houses they are very much worse, because there has been the cut in unemployment benefit.

I hope that nobody is going to argue that the signing of such a report was justifiable in 1931. Nobody could justify decontrolling in 1931. I say that there is no defence for the signing of that report, none at all. I do not know of what the men and women who signed it could have been thinking. To my mind this is the most important matter outside unemployment benefit. We are going to leave occupiers of Class "A" houses at the mercy of the landlord, the occupiers of Class "B" houses will come to be at the mercy of the landlord by stages, and the occupiers of Class "C" houses will be at the mercy of the landlord in 1938. Nobody in this House, I am sure, will argue that that process was right in 1931. If there is a Member who will rise in his place and say it was right I will listen to him. I say it was wrong, that there was no defence for the majority of the committee coming to the conclusions they did. The only report the Government were justified in accepting was the minority report signed by the hon. Member for Hamilton (Mr. D. Graham).

If the Minister will give us nothing else on this Clause, at least he should, between now and the Report stage, apply himself to seeing whether he cannot give the occupiers of those Class "C" houses which pass out of control the protection of the courts. When he argued for Class "C" houses remaining as they are—that is the section that have passed out of the 1923 Act—he said that to bring them back would cause all sorts of inequalities. Of course it would, to some extent, but he should not forget that to leave them out would lead to worse inequalities. Look at the actual position. Take the case of 16 tenants living in the same close, as we say in Scotland. Some of them live in four or five decontrolled houses. Some of the tenants are unemployed, and some who live in controlled houses are at work. The employed man is able to pay a higher rent, but the unemployed man is often in the power of the landlord and without any rights. You therefore have the position that in one block of tenements occupied by, say, 100 tenants, in three, four or five closes, you have a proportion who are unprotected by anything and whose rent can be fixed.

Very often the people who are worse hit are the best people. Take the case of a man with four or five children. He is working and is in receipt of a decent wage. He decides, for the sake of his wife and family, to go to a better house, and he immediately goes into a decontrolled house, because he wants to give his wife and children better air. If he had remained in the old house, giving his family shocking conditions, he would still be entitled to the privileegs of control and to the defence of the courts. Because of his very decency to his wife and family, he is deprived of those things. The Minister says that we have not inequality; the only reasonable equality is to bring houses which have passed out of control back into control again. I hope that the Minister, when he replies, will not make use of the argument in regard to the Marley Report. I do not say it offensively to hon. Members on the Labour benches but I hope that they will stop using the argument that things are the same as they were in 1931. The Marley Report were unjustified in 1931. Nobody could justify signing the death-warrant of poor working-class tenants. It was a shocking thing to do. I hope that the Minister will defend these proposals on their merits and will not seek to take refuge behind the Committee's Report which, in my view, was wrongly drafted.

10.29 p.m.


Let me deal with the principal contention that has been advanced an, to the adoption of Clause 1. I will, first of all, remind the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) that most of the difficulties and possible hardships to which he referred, in relation to the small "C" class dwellings, are those which are expressly intended to be minimised by the Bill, because they arise from the progressive decontrol of Class "C" dwellings under the existing provisions of the law. The Act has been found to be a hardship, and the gradual diminution of the number of Class "C" dwellings has been unfair to the poorest paid class of wage earners. The express purpose and the direct consequence of this Bill will be to remedy those hardships by ensuring that that pool shall not diminish during the period of the Act. I say, therefore, that those very evils and hardships to which the hon. Member referred are the evils and hardships which this Measure, in one of its principal provisions, is directed to remedying.

In the second place, the hon. Member says, let there be some means of protecting tenants in regard to decontrolled dwellings. I am not going to re-argue, as, indeed, he has not re-argued, the case for or against the re-control of the decontrolled dwellings, but let me take his present contention. It is that we should establish courts, the powers of which should be those of a fair rent court, as between the tenant of a decontrolled dwelling and his landlord. That, in the first place, is certainly not a matter which falls within the purview of this Bill; it is another and quite different question; and, if I am not proposing in the Bill to do that at the present moment, it is because I do not believe that the existing law as between landlord and tenant and under normal conditions at the present time in this country is a hard or an inequitable one. On the contrary. I believe that, in the existing law as between the rights of a landlord and the rights of a tenant, there are ample provisions for the interests and liberties of the tenant, in relation to his landlord, and I have never heard a case made out for any further provisions in that regard.

The hon. Member for Gorbals asked me not to take refuge behind the Report of the Marley Committee. I would not do so, do not take refuge behind the Report. Every single provision of time Report which is adopted in this Bill I am prepared to justify on the grounds of common sense and fair dealing as between those who are involved. If I did not think that the provisions were justified by common sense and as maintaining fair dealing, I would not recommend them to the Committee in the Bill which is before the House. I think one is entitled to say that there can be no party spirit in the recommendations, when they have been supported by the six prominent Members of the Labour party who sat on that Committee; and every man of common sense must recognise that that circumstance is a guarantee that there is no partisan feeling in the recommendations which are embodied in the present Bill. But beyond that I do not go. I have been prepared, and I hope I shall continue to be prepared, to justify each of the provisions on its own ground, making use of the very laborious, careful and far-reaching inquiry into the facts which was made by the Committee in support of their recommendations.

The actual question now involved is the adoption of Clause 1, of which the principal recommendation is the decontrol of class "A" houses. There again the hon. Member for Gorbals used a phrase upon which I should like to dwell in defending the Clause. To summarise it, he said, "Do not deliver the tenants of class "A" houses to the mercy of landlords." If there were the least justification for supposing that under the present conditions, in the housing circumstances of the country, by the decontrol of class "A" houses the tenants were being delivered to the mercy of the landlords in the sense that they were being exposed to the imposition of unfair terms by a monopoly, and a monopoly in possession of a smaller supply than the effective demand for houses of this type, I should not be standing here proposing this Clause. It is because, on the facts as elicited by the Committee and verified by subsequent inquiry—on the facts as they are known to all those who have practical acquaintance with the conditions at the present time—it is certain that there is no exposure of the tenants of this class of houses to a monopoly, in possession of an unfair advantage over them, that it is fair and safe and reason- able at the present time to propose the decontrol of the class "A" houses We have to make up our minds on these questions. Is control to be a permanent system or not? If it is not, when is decontrol safe? The answer must be that decontrol is safe when there is an adequate supply of the class of houses to be decontrolled. All the evidence that is available, all the evidence that we have heard to-day, is to the effect that there is an adequate supply of class "A" houses available at present. In these circumstances, it is not exposing the class "A" tenants to any possible oppression to proceed with these provisions of the Bill.

10.37 p.m.


I was a member of the Marley Committee. It is true that there were a number of Labour Members whose opinions differed from mine. I gave as much attention to the business as any other member of the Committee. I have some knowledge of the conditions of the people whose houses were under control, and I gave as honest a report as the majority who differed from me. While I am not going to shelter under the wing of the Marley Report, I would ask the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) seriously to consider the advisability of not playing into the hands of the reactionary element who were the main people on that committee. The committee was set up by the present Prime Minister. In included others than Members of Parliament. It included representatives from the Departments, and they were the main members of the committee.


There was one from a Department.


There were two. I do not think the hon. Gentleman will disagree that on the committee there were representatives of the Ministry of Health, and they were particularly anxious that there should be an end put to decontrol, for what reason I do not know. They are charged, I understand, with the health of the people, and no Member of the House can possibly know the extent of ill health that is due to evil housing, particularly of the section of the community whom we claim to represent and whose views we are putting forward on this Bill. Although the committee did not make a specific recommendation, if the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Health had read the reports submitted to the committee from all parts of the country by all sections of the community, he would have found that the bulk of opinion was against decontrol until there was a sufficient supply of houses to meet the needs of the people.

There is the further point which I should like to make to which I particularly draw the attention of my hon. Friend the Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan), that the majority of the Marley Committee were unfavourable to a reduction of 25 per cent, of the rent unless the Bill laid down specifically that the landlord should expend that amount of money upon decorations and repairs. That particular part of the activities of the committee is not referred to here. It is glossed over entirely. If the opinion of the Marley Committee had been taken upon the matter, I have no hesitation in saying that the Government would have been prepared to accept many of the Amendments which have been proposed, and particularly they would have provided for some provision in the Bill laying it down as an absolute necessity on the part of the landlords to carry out decorations, repairs and painting, and other things necessary inside those houses. The Minister of Health, apparently, is very complacent upon this matter. He has never lived in a. Class "C" house. I say without hesitation that he simply does not know the conditions. I do not know who is advising him or whether he is allowing himself to be advised at all, but I do know that the Bill which he is fathering, and in respect of which he is using the full weight of his authority and that of the Government in order to put it upon the Statute Book, will mean very serious trouble in a great many of the industrial areas in the north of England, in London, in Scotland and in South Wales.

The talk about supply and demand is the sheerest humbug. Supply and demand do not prevail as far as houses are concerned. There are not sufficient houses at reasonable rents to satisfy the reasonable needs of the working class, and there never have been. The rent is fixed by the landlord. You do not enter into an agreement with him. He tells you the amount of the rent and you have to pay it or suffer the indignity of eviction in the event of being unable or unwilling to pay it. You may talk about the law of supply and demand which is supposed to play some part in the ordinary relations between workman and employer, but it does not really apply in the case of landlord and tenant, at least as far as the industrial areas are concerned. I do not remember a time when it was possible for a tenant to fix what the rent should be, but I do remember the time when the rent was less than half what it is now. There is no protection in the Bill. There is an admission on the part of the Government that a considerable number of people are in the unfortunate position of not being able to pay what is called a fair rent in present conditions, but when it comes to putting into the Bill anything that will preserve even the present relationship provided by the protection of the courts, the Government are adamant and refuse to give any consideration.

The right hon. Gentleman expects to have a large number of houses built. He published a statement a week or two ago, a statistical account of the number of houses controlled, decontrolled and new in the three classes contained in the Bill. I have taken some trouble to go through the list, and I find that between April, 1931, and September, 1932, the number of new houses in Classes "A," "B" and "C" erected was 305,000, and exactly the same number of houses was decontrolled in the same period. When you come to Class "C" houses the number built was 100,000 and the number decontrolled 225,000–125,000 more houses decontrolled between April, 1931, and September last year than were built, and during that period unemployment was growing at a high rate in most of the industrial areas. In Scotland the number of new houses built in the three classes "A," "B" and "C" was 30,200, and the number decontrolled 39,000–9,000 more houses decontrolled than built. When you come to Class "C" houses, the number built in Scotland was 11,700 and the number decontrolled 29,000.

I agree that the right hon. Gentleman is anxious that the question of housing should be put on something like a reasonable basis and that no difficulties should arise in consequence of the passing of this Bill, but if he makes inquiries as to the actual conditions of the section of the community who inhabit the "C" class houses in the North of England, in South Wales and in South-West Scotland, including the counties of Stirling, Dumbarton, Renfrew and Lanark he will find that there is any amount of feeling that when this Act comes into operation thousands of people will be turned on to the streets. As to the supply of houses, in the town in which I live there are hundreds of people at the present time who cannot get a house at all. We have had to draw attention to the fact that men have been compelled to take their families into houses which were condemned and have been sent to prison for it. There is no justification for the belief, which the Minister of Health evidently holds, that within the next five years there is going to be a sufficient supply of houses to meet the needs of the ordinary members of the working-class community. I am not prepared to say anything disagreeable about my hon. Friends below the Gangway. As one of the Members of the Labour party I want to say, with regard to my colleagues and associates, that they were anxious that the 25 per cent. then paid to landlords—


The hon. Member has said that before, but I see no recommendation along those lines. I see a very definite statement in the Minority Report, but not in the Majority Report.


I said that, if the Minister of Health had read the reports submitted, he would have discovered that the great bulk of opinion expressed by them was in favour of the 25 per cent. for repairs being definitely dealt with in that way. I am sorry the Minister has taken it for granted that the Members who sit on this side of the House and on the Labour benches are unworthy of consideration when a question of this kind arises. I do not suggest that he has treated us contemptuously, but anyone acquainted with the localities we represent will agree that we know something of the conditions of the people living in "C" class houses and also in "B" class houses. A very large percentage of the occupants of the latter, small shopkeepers and business men, are in many ways as unfortunately placed as the ordinary working man. I am sorry the Minister of Health has been so dog- matically opposed to any change. He has been unwilling to make any concession even to his own side and has pinned his faith to the most reactionary part of the Marley Report. If he had considered the situation in a more reasonable spirit, he would have been prepared to accept some of the Amendments from this side of the Committee which would have made the Bill a much better Act when it reached the Statute Book.

10.54 p.m.


It is accepted by every Member of the House that there is a shortage of about 1,000,000 houses in this country, and the Minister's Department will not deny that fact. We have had statements from the employers' and workmen's organisations to that effect, and as they have not been challenged we have to accept it as a positive fact that there is a shortage of many thousands of houses. If there is a shortage of houses one must conclude that immediately decontrol takes place landlords will take advantage of the fact. We are opposing decontrol not because we want it to exist in perpetuity but because we believe decontrol would cause great hardship not only to persons who occupy class "C" houses but to people who occupy class "A" houses. If a distinct hardship will arise then we think some provision ought to be made so that people who suffer hardship shall have the right of appeal to some court. We are opposing Clause 1 on the ground that it repeals entirely the Section in the 1923 Act which permits persons to put in some kind of defence, adducing some evidence before a court, so that an impartial judge may decide whether an order for ejectment should or should not be made. We have heard speeches from all sides of the Committee appealing to the Minister to give some opportunity to these people, who it is considered by everybody will be faced with great hardships immediately decontrol takes place, to have an appeal to the county court.

Let me take the matter from a purely academic argument to a letter which I have just received from a constituent. To-day that person was faced with an ejectment order. The house is owned by people who have engaged an agent. The family has been occupying the house since 1910 and at present are £38 in arrears. Until quite recently they have been paying the current rent and something off the arrears, but owing to the failure to pay the current rent during the last three weeks, after making every effort and actually pawning their clothes in order to obtain money to meet the honourable understanding to pay something off the arrears in addition to the current rent, the agent refused to accept the current rent for the fortnight and tendered a notice to quit within 14 days, although he must have known that he would have to go to the court before they can be ejected. The agent knows the facts; he knows that the husband is unemployed, another brother unemployed, and the father in receipt of a pension of 10s. per week. If the house was decontrolled they would be subjected to what is almost terrorism by the agent, and would be compelled to leave the house almost immediately. The furniture might be thrown out of doors; and there would be no appeal to the registrar or the judge of the county court. We contend therefore that as there will be a positive shortage of houses once decontrol takes place, there must inevitably be some kind of hardship, and that when that hardship comes some means ought to be provided to enable the tenants concerned to make an appeal to dispassionately-minded people for justice.

11.1 p.m.


There is one point that I tried to raise earlier in the Debate when the Chairman was in the Chair. I was then advised to raise it on. the Clause that we are now discussing. I am more familiar with the circumstances and conditions in London than with those else-where, and I would like an assurance from the Minister in regard to the sub-, tenants in Class "A" houses. If the Class "A" house itself becomes decontrolled will the sub-tenant have protection?


The point to which the hon. Member is referring will come up on Clause 2, when I shall be better able to deal with it.


I will not say with a wrong motive behind it, but it is an extraordinary position. I tried to raise this point earlier this week, and I was told that it would come up better on a later Amendment. I endeavoured to-day to raise the matter again on that later Amendment, and I was advised by the Chair that it would be best discussed on this Clause. Now, when I try to raise it once more, the Minister tells me that I must attend again and make practically the same speech on Clause 2. I am wondering whether, if I raise it on Clause 2, I shall not be told that Clause 3 or Clause 4 is not the better place to raise it. I do not care where I raise it so long as I raise it; and get some satisfaction with regard to it. As you, Mr. Chairman, advised me that this is the place to raise it, I suggest to the Minister that he permit me to finish my point and that he give an answer now. I am sure that an answer can be given.

Many thousands of tenants, in the London area particularly, desire to know what their position will be if and when this Clause becomes part of an Act of Parliament. The point is raised in some correspondence that I have had, and in a report in the Press of a sub-committee of the London County Council. I noticed that a case was decided in the court last week in regard to the existing state of the law, and it makes me very anxious that the existing state of the law should be preserved when this Bill becomes an Act of Parliament. The case was one that came before Judge Higgins. He gave the decision that a sub-tenant living in a house which became decontrolled, was decontrolled also. Fortunately, the tenant was in a position to take it to a higher court. Nineteen people out of 20, in similar circumstances, would not be in that position. The case came before Mr. Justice Macnaghten and another judge and the decision of Judge Higgins was reversed. It was held that the tenant was entitled to remain a controlled tenant, even though the house in which he was living, had become decontrolled. I am concerned about the many thousands of subtenants, particularly hi the large houses which abound in London. Probably there is a, greater proportion of these houses in London than in any other city in the United Kingdom and these houses are let at rents which bring them into category "A." The Minister was asked a question about this point last week by the hon. and learned Member for East Grinstead (Sir H. Cautley) but no satisfactory answer was given. The words of Sub-section (2) of Clause 1 are: Subject to the provisions of the principal Acts, those Acts shall apply to every dwelling-house which is a dwelling-house to which they applied immediately before the passing of this Act or then formed part of such a dwelling-house, I have endeavoured to find out the meaning of these words by consulting legal Members of this House and of the three legal Members to whom I put the point, two took one view and one took an entirely different view. If the Solicitor-General can give me a satisfactory assurance about this matter it would relieve my mind and relieve the minds of many thousands of people who are wondering what their position will be if this Clause means what some of us think it may mean. If there is a difference of opinion among legal Members it is not to be wondered that an ordinary layman, uneducated in the law, is unable to understand the meaning of this provision. The other point which I desired to raise is as to whether the supply of houses will be sufficient at the end of the next five years. Even if we accept the Minister's argument—which I do not—that there will be sufficient houses at the end of five years to meet the demand, there remains the hardship which will arise year by year during the five-year period. In the first year, even on the Minister's own argument, there will be great hardship; in the second year, perhaps less hardship and so on, but there is bound to be a certain amount of hardship in every year until the expiration of the period at the end of which the Minister hopes there will be a sufficiency of houses. I do not contemplate any such possibility and I think the Government ought to make some pro- vision to assist existing tenants and to prevent the hardships that the Bill will entail falling with undue severity upon them.

Question put, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 260; Noes, 66.

Division No. 115.] AYES. [11.12 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Ganzoni, Sir John Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton Nunn, William
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Gibson, Charles Granville O'Connor, Terence James
Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Craigie M. Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John O'Donovan, Dr. William James
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Gledhill, Gilbert Ormiston, Thomas
Atholl, Duchess of Glossop, C. W. H. Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.
Atkinson, Cyril Glyn, Major Ralph G. C. Palmer, Francis Noel
Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M. Goff, Sir park Pearson, William G.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Gower, Sir Robert Perkins, Walter R. D.
Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J. Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.) Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)
Balniel, Lord Graves, Marjorie Peto, Geoffrey K.(W'verh'pt'n, Bliston)
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Grimston, R. V. Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada
Barrie, Sir Charles Couper Gritten, W. G. Howard Pike, Cecil F.
Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey Guy, J. C. Morrison Potter, John
Bateman, A. L. Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H. Procter, Major Henry Adam
Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell Hales, Harold K. Pybus, Percy John
Beaumont, M. w. (Bucks., Aylesbury) Hanbury, Cecil Raikes, Henry V. A. M.
Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th, C.) Hanley, Dennis A. Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)
Beit, Sir Alfred L. Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)
Benn, Sir Arthur Shirley Harbord, Arthur Ramsden, Sir Eugene
Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B. Hartington, Marquess of Rankin, Robert
Sevan, Stuart James (Holborn) Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes) Ratcliffe, Arthur
Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman Haslam, Sir John (Bolton) Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)
Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton) Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M. Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)
Bird Sir Robert B. (Wolverh'pton W.) Hellgers, Captain F. F. A. Reid, William Allan (Derby)
Blaker, Sir Reginald Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford) Remer, John R.
Blindell, James Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston) Renwick, Major Gustav A.
Borodale, Viscount Hornby, Frank Robinson, John Roland
Bossom, A. C. Horobin, Ian M. Ropner, Colonel L.
Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton Horsbrugh, Florence Rosbotham, Sir Samuel
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Howitt, Dr. Alfred B. Roes Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Hume, Sir George Hopwood Runge, Norah Cecil
Briscoe, Capt. Richard George Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries) Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Broadbent, Colonel John Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romford) Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury)
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Jackson, J. C. (Heywood & Radcliffe) Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp't)
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks., Newb'y) James, Wing.-Com. A. W. H. Salmon, Sir Isidore
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Jennings, Roland Salt, Edward W.
Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie Joel, Dudley J. Barnato Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Burnett, John George Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan) Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart
Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley) Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton) Scone, Lord
Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley) Ker, J. Campbell Selley, Harry R.
Caporn, Arthur Cecil Kimball, Lawrence Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.
Carver, Major William H. Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Castle Stewart, Earl Latham, Sir Herbert Paul Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.
Cautley, Sir Henry S. Law, Sir Alfred Skelton, Archibald Noel
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.) Slater, John
Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham) Leckie, J. A. Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.
Chapman, Col. R.(Houghton-le-Spring) Leighton, Major B. E. P. Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-in-F.)
Christie, James Archibald Lewis, Oswald Smith, Louis W, (Sheffield, Hallam)
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Liddall, Walter S. Smith, R. W. (Ab'rd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J. Lindsay, Noel Ker Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Conant, R. J. E. Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe. Somervell, Donald Bradley
Cook, Thomas A. Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)
Cooke, Douglas Loder, Captain J. de Vera Soper, Richard
Cranborne, Viscount Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.
Craven-Ellis, William Lyons, Abraham Montagu Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.
Crooke, J. Smedley Mabane, William Spencer, Captain Richard A.
Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro) MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G.(Partick) Spens, William Patrick
Cross, R. H. MacAndrsw, Capt. J. O. (Ayr) Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde)
Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard McCorquodale, M. S. Stevenson, James
Culverwell, Cyril Tom MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham) Stones, James
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw) Storey, Samuel
Dickie, John p. Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness) Stourton, Hon. John J.
Donner, P. W. McEwen, Captain J. H. F. Strauss, Edward A.
Drewe, Cedric McKie, John Hamilton Strickland, Captain W. F.
Duckworth, George A. V. McLean, Major Sir Alan Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-
Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel Maitland, Adam Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.
Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.) Manningnam-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M. Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart
Dunglass, Lord Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Summersby, Charles H.
Eastwood, John Francis Martin, Thomas B. Tate, Mavis Constance
Eden, Robert Anthony Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John Templeton, William P.
Edge, Sir William Meller, Richard James Thompson, Luke
Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey Merriman, Sir F. Boyd Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles
Elliston, Captain George Sampson Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Thorp, Linton Theodore
Elmley, Viscount Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tf'd & Chisw'k) Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Emrys-Evans, P. V. Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare) Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres Turton, Robert Hugh
Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool) Moreing, Adrian C. Wallace, John (Dunfermline)
Fails, Sir Bertram G. Morgan, Robert H. Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)
Fleming, Edward Lascelles Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh) Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)
Ford, Sir Patrick J. Munro, Patrick Wardlaw-Milne, Sir John S.
Fox, Sir Gifford Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H. Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
Fremantle, Sir Francis Newton, Sir Douglas George C. Watt, Captain George Steven H.
Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour. Wills, Wilfrid D. Worthington, Dr. John V.
Wells, Sydney Richard Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)
Whiteside, Borras Noel H. Wise, Alfred R. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.) Womersley, Waiter James Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. Lambert Ward
and Captain Austin Hudson.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro',W.) McGovern, John
Aske, Sir Robert William Grundy, Thomas W. McKeag, William
Banfield, John William Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)
Batey, Joseph Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Mainwaring, William Henry
Bernays, Robert Harris, Sir Percy Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot
Briant, Frank Hicks, Ernest George Mander, Geoffrey le M.
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield) Hirst, George Henry Maxton, James
Buchanan, George Holdsworth, Herbert Milner, Major James
Cape, Thomas Janner, Barnett Nathan, Major H. L.
Cocks, Frederick Seymour Jenkins, Sir William Parkinson, John Allen
Cove, William G. John, William Pickering, Ernest H.
Cripps, Sir Stafford Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields) Price, Gabriel
Curry, A. C. Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Rathbone, Eleanor
Daggar, George Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Rea, Walter Russell
Davies, David L. (Pontypridd) Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Kirkwood, David Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A. (C'thness)
Dobbie, William Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George Tinker, John Joseph
Edwards, Charles Lawson, John James Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)
Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.) Leonard, William Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)
Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen) Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)
Foot, Dingle (Dundee) Logan, David Gilbert
Greenwood, At. Hon, Arthur Lunn, William TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) McEntee, Valentine L. Mr. D. Graham and Mr. Groves.

11.20 p.m.


I beg to move, That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again. I am moving this Motion in order to ask the right hon. Gentleman how far he proposes to go to-night, and what further arrangements he suggests making for the completion of the Committee stage of the Bill.


As regards the progress which we hope the Committee will be able to make to-night, I am sure that my right hon. Friend will agree that so far we have had ample opportunities for the discussion of the various points that have arisen. I understand there have been certain conversations through the usual channels as regards the completion of the Committee stage, with the result that it is understood that it will be possible to conclude the Committee stage before the Easter Recess next week by means of giving a day, and possibly a part of a day also, to that business. That leaves us with the task of making such progress to-night as will make it possible to secure the remainder of the Bill on those days, a task in which we can all co-operate. To that end I think it would be advisable to-night, in order to ensure that we shall be able to achieve that progress, that we should carry the Bill as far as Clause 4. [HON. MEMBERS: "Clause 2."] Well, perhaps if we get Clause 2, with good will, we can achieve our end. On that basis perhaps we might go as far as Clause 2 to-night.


I think the rest of the Committee will agree to that arrangement, and I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Motion.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.