HC Deb 04 April 1933 vol 276 cc1712-42

11.24 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 2, line 16, to leave out the word "twenty," and to insert instead thereof the word "thirty-five."

In view of the arrangements which have now been made. I do not intend to keep the Committee more than a moment, and I would suggest that we might, at the same time that we are discussing this Amendment, consider also the two following amendments in the name of myself and other hon. Members: In page 2, line 17, leave out 'twenty-six pounds five shillings' and insert' thirty pounds'; and In page 2, line 18, leave out 'thirteen' and insert 'twenty.' Then one Division might perhaps suffice. The point of these three Amendments is that the figures of £20 in the Metropolitan Police District or the City of London area, of £26 5s. 0d. in the Scottish area and of £13 in the provinces should be increased to the figures named in the Amendments, in the first case, £35 instead of £20, in the second £30 instead of £26 10s. and in the last case, £26 instead of £13. The reason for these Amendments is that we consider the figures in the Bill to be too low. We are satisfied that the economic conditions, and the situation with regard to houses, are such that we cannot afford at this moment to decontrol houses that have a small rateable value. Between April, 1931, and September, 1932, there were, in categories "A," "B" and "C" respectively 30,000, 50,000 and 225,000 houses decontrolled, making 305,000 houses decontrolled in 16 months—the identical number of new houses built during that period. Take category "C," while there were 225,000 houses decontrolled in the 16 months only 100,000 houses were erected. The rate of decontrol of houses with a rateable value of £13 is very rapid and likely to cause apprehension to tens of thousands of people.

If the right hon. Gentleman will consider for one moment the changed economic conditions in 1933, as distinct from those that operate in 1930, when the Marley Committee received their evidence, he will observe that there is no adequate reason for a change at this moment. I suggest therefore that the figures in these Amendments ought to be inserted in the Bill instead of those which are now there. No property-owner could object if the Minister accepted these Amendments, because the reasons must be well known, especially to every hon. Member of this Committee.

11.28 p.m.


Anybody with any knowledge of the history of this figure of £20 knows that in 1933 it is far too small and cannot be justified on any reasonable grounds. That limit was fixed as long ago as 1869 by the Poor Rate Assessment Collection Act, and it still operates, in spite of the increases in value that have gradually taken place from 1869 to 1914, while the jump since 1914 in the value of working-class houses has thrown the figure entirely out of scale. Take, for instance, cottages on the housing estates of the London County Council. Their rateable value is upwards of £32, which is a figure that could not be justified, when used in 1933. When we are recognising the necessity for control of a certain class of house, and if we are to put a valuation figure in the Bill, I suggest that that figure be based on something less prehistoric than a valuation of 1869. I know that the Minister will take cover behind the Marley Committee's Report. Lord Marley is a very useful person, and I am sorry that hon. Gentlemen opposite have to take responsibility for him. The Government must not consider the Report as shelter for an Act of Parliament. We are considering, not a Report, but an Act of Parliament, and, in the light of the information that I have, I am satisfied that this figure is much too small. Since 1914, of course, the figures have been going up at a tremendous rate, and, since the Marley Report, the pressure at the lower end of the scale has been tremendous. The shortage is real, and control must be continued. I suggest that the Minister ought to make a concession here and arrive at some figure which he can justify in relation to the facts of the present time.

11.31 p.m.


I should like the Minister to be good enough to deal with a point that has been put to me. In Manchester, the average rent of a house of a rateable value of £13 was 7s. 8d. in 1914. It is now 12s. 1¼d. The rateable values in the several districts of Manchester differ, and I will give the rents based on the £13 calculation, to show that, if the £13 is continued, people living in some parts of Manchester will not be able to avail themselves of the control. In North Manchester, the figure is 12s. 2¼d.; in South Manchester, 11s. 11¾d.; in Withington, 12s. 3¼d.; in Gorton, 11s. 9d.; in Levenshulme, 12s. 3¾d., and in Moss Side, 12s. 4d. That is to say, if the £13 is allowed to remain in the Clause, there will be three districts in Manchester, with the same class of houses, within the limit, and three outside it. It would be very unfortunate if the £13 were allowed to remain and to divide a city like Manchester into those two categories. It may be that there are other towns in the same position, and I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will enlighten us as to what will be the effect of the figure of £13.

11.33 p.m.


The substance of the Amendment is, of course, to extend the number of the Class "C" houses. As regards what I may call the lay-out of the provisions as between the Clauses, it is not, as I have already explained, the intention of the Government to depart from the scheme laid down in the Bill. I hope the hon. Baronet the Member for South-West Bethnal Green (Sir P. Harris) will bear with me patiently when I say that it is a scheme which was laid down in the report. I am not going to take shelter behind the Committee because it is a recommendation of the Committee, but, when a recommendation of the Committee happens to be a sensible and obvious recommendation, I am certainly not going to depart from it merely because it is a recommendation of the Committee. What is the basis of that recommendation? The Committee took as the dividing line for Class "C" houses the recognised compounding limit, that is to say, the limit of rateable value below which the local authority can require the owners of houses to be liable for the rates on the houses.

The hon. Baronet complained that the figure was fixed a long time ago, and that is true, but I do not think it is a relevant circumstance. The relevant circumstance is that it is working very well to-day, and that it has been continued and is still adopted as a limitation for the purpose of defining what may be called the class of the smallest wage-earners' houses. It is working well to-day and it was accepted by the Committee for the purpose. If I had to search about for a practical method, I should be quite at a loss to find any other. If you were to extend the class upwards in accordance with the Amendment, you would be reducing the class of "B" houses, which correspond to the middle range of wage-earners' incomes, overlapping both those who require houses to let and houses to sell. Also it is a class in which supply is overtaking demand but has not yet overtaken it. It would not be practical nor in accordance with the facts of the case

to cut into that class from the bottom any more than to cut into it from the top. I believe this dividing line of the compounding limit which was chosen by the Committee is still the most practical line that can be suggested. The hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. R. Davies) put cases in Manchester. I do not believe there is such an arbitrary distinction as that which he seems to have in mind. I cannot say how it will affect this house or that, but, taking it in general, it will be found that the class of house which it is desired to include in this freshly protected class is the class that coincides with those that fall below the compounding limit. If we leave that dividing line, we shall be at a loss to find another practical line.

11.37 p.m.


The right hon. Gentleman has made no reply to the figures that I gave, where in 16 months there has been in "A" class houses an increase of 10 per cent. in the number of houses decontrolled, in Class "B" 25 per cent. and in Class "C," the lowest of all, approximately 33 per cent. Surely the corresponding limit ought not to be like the laws of the Medes and Persians, immovable even though an obvious injustice will remain.

11.38 p.m.


I do not desire to disregard any contention that is advanced by hon. Members opposite. I did hot refer to the hon. Member's argument because it seemed so strongly to support the Government's case.


Does the right hon. Gentleman dispute the fact that the £13 limit will act in such a way that three rating districts in Manchester will be outside it and three others inside it?

Question put, "That the word "twenty" stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 237; Noes, 60.

Division No. 116.] AYES. [11.39 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C.)
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J. Beit, Sir Alfred L.
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Balniel, Lord Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn)
Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Craigie M. Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton)
Aske, Sir Robert William Bateman, A. L. Bird, Sir Robert B.(Wolverh'pton W.)
Atholl, Duchess of Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell Blindell, James
Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M. Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury) Borodale, Viscount
Bossom, A. C. Hellgers, Captain F. F. A. Ratcliffe, Arthur
Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford) Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Hornby, Frank Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Horobin, Ian M. Reid, William Allan (Derby)
Briscoe, Capt. Richard George Horsbrugh, Florence Remer, John R
Broad bent, Colonel John Howitt, Dr. Alfred B. Renwick, Major Gustav A.
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks., Newb'y) Hums, Sir George Hopwood Robinson, John Roland
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G, T. Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries) Ropner, Colonel L.
Burnett, John George Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romford) Rosbotham, Sir Samuel
Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley) Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.) Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)
Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley) James, Wing-Com. A. W. H. Runge, Norah Cecil
Caporn, Arthur Cecil Jennings, Roland Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury)
Carver, Major William H. Joel, Dudley J. Barnato Ruthertord, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)
Cautley, Sir Henry S. Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan) Salmon, Sir Isidore
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Ker, J. Campbell Salt, Edward W.
Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham) Kimball, Lawrence Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Chapman, Col. R.(Houghton-le-Spring) Knebworth, Viscount Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart
Christie, James Archibald Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Latham, Sir Herbert Paul Scone, Lord
Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J. Law, Sir Alfred Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.
Conant, R. J. E. Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.) Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Cook, Thomas A. Leckie, J. A. Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.
Cooke, Douglas Leighton, Major B. E. P. Skelton, Archibald Noel
Cranborne, Viscount Lennox-Boyd, A. T. Slater, John
Craven-Ellis, William Lewis, Oswald Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-in-F.)
Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro) Liddall, Walter S. Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)
Cross, R. H. Lindsay, Noel Ker Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard Loder, Captain J. de Vere Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Culverwell, Cyril Tom Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander Somervell, Donald Bradley
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) Lyons, Abraham Montagu Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)
Dickie, John P. Mabane, William Soper, Richard
Donner, P. W. McCorquodale, M. S. Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.
Drewe, Cedric MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw) Spencer, Captain Richard A.
Duckworth, George A. V. McEwen, Captain J. H. F. Spans, William Patrick
Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.) McKie, John Hamilton Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde)
Dunglass, Lord McLean, Major Sir Alan Stevenson, James
Eastwood, John Francis Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M. Stones, James
Edge, Sir William Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Storey, Samuel
Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey Martin, Thomas B. Stourton, Hon. John J.
Elliston, Captain George Sampson Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John
Elmley, Viscount Merriman, Sir F. Boyd Strauss, Edward A.
Emrys-Evans, P. V. Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Strickland, Captain W. F.
Stuart, Lord C. Crichton.
Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare) Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tf'd & Chisw'k) Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.
Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool) Molson, A. Hugh Eisdale Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart
Falle Sir Bertram G. Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres
Fleming, Edward Lascelles Moreing, Adrian C. Summersby, Charles H.
Ford, Sir Patrick J. Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh) Tate, Mavis Constance
Fox, Sir Gifford Morrison, William Shephard Templeton, William P.
Fremantle, Sir Francis Munro, Patrick Thompson, Luke
Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H. Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles
Gibson, Charles Granville Newton, Sir Douglas George C. Thorp, Linton Theodore
Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth) Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Gledhill, Gilbert Nunn, William Turton, Robert Hugh
Glossop, C. W. H. O'Connor, Terence James Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)
Glyn, Major Ralph G. C. O'Donovan, Dr. William James Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)
Goff, Sir Park Oman, Sir Charles William C. Warrender, sir Victor A. G.
Goodman, Colonel Albert W. Ormiston, Thomas Watt, Captain George Steven H.
Gower, Sir Robert Palmer, Francis Noel Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour.
Graves, Marjorie Pearson, William G. Wells, Sydney Richard
Grimston, R. V. Peat, Charles U. Whiteside, Borras Noel H.
Gritten, W. G. Howard Perkins, Walter R. D. Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Guy, J. C. Morrison Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple) Wills, Wilfrid D.
Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H. Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilst'n) Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Hales, Harold K. Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada Wise, Alfred R.
Hanbury, Cecil Pike, Cecil F. Womersley, Walter James
Hanley, Dennis A. Procter, Major Henry Adam Worthington, Dr. John V.
Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Pybus, Percy John Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'oaks)
Harbord, Arthur Raikes, Henry V. A. M.
Hartington, Marquess of Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totness) Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles) Lieut.-Colonel Sir Lambert Ward
Haslam, Sir John (Bolton) Ramsden, Sir Eugene and Commander Southby.
Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M. Rankin, Robert
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) Cripps, Sir Stafford Foot, Dingle (Dundee)
Banfield, John William Curry, A. C. Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur
Batey, Joseph Daggar, George Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)
Bernays, Robert Davies, David L. (Pontypridd) Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.)
Briant, Frank Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Groves, Thomas E.
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield) Dobbie, William Grundy, Thomas W.
Buchanan, George Edwards, Charles Hall, F. (York. W.R., Normanton)
Cape, Thomas Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.) Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)
Cocks, Frederick Seymour Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen) Harris, Sir Percy
Hicks, Ernest George Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick Pickering, Ernest H.
Hirst, George Henry Logan, David Gilbert Price, Gabriel
Holdsworth, Herbert Lunn, William Rea, Walter Russell
Janner, Barnett McEntee, Valentine L. Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)
Jenkins, Sir William McGovern, John Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A. (C'thness)
Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields) Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan) Tinker, John Joseph
Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton) Mainwaring, William Henry Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)
Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)
Kirkwood, David Maxton, James Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)
Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George Milner, Major James
Lawson, John James Nathan, Major H. L. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Leonard, William Parkinson, John Allen Mr. John and Mr. Duncan Graham.

11.49 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 2, to leave out lines 19 to 30, and to insert instead thereof the words: Provided that the said Section two shall not apply to any such dwelling-house whereof the rateable value on the appointed day exceeds the respective amount aforesaid if the tenant has sub-let part or parts of the dwelling-house into lettings which constitute each such part a separate dwelling-house to which the principal Acts apply, and has retained a part for his own use or occupation, the rateable value of which on the appointed day did not exceed the respective amounts aforesaid. This Amendment is intricate and deals with perhaps the most intricate part of the whole Bill. I will explain to the best of my ability what appears to me to be the intention of the Proviso in Clause 2, and then explain the intention of the Amendment. As I understand it, the Proviso deals with houses which have been let to a tenant who has himself sub-let the house into sub-tenancies. Apparently the position at the present time is that if the landlord has a house which was sub-let into separate tenancies prior to 1923, those tenancies became decontrolled. If he sub-let the house after 1923 the tenancies were not decontrolled. Consequently, those houses which have been let by the landlord himself entirely into sub-tenancies are still under control under the Acts and will continue to be under control even when this Bill has passed into law. The danger of this proviso is that, in houses which have been sublet and the tenant has sublet his portion again into sub-tenancies, those sub-tenancies, no matter how many they may be, will become decontrolled as and when they fall into the hands of the landlord, even though the rateable value or recoverable rent of each of those sub-tenancies is below the figure mentioned in the Clause. In other words, a large number of tenements at present occupied by the working classes, which would not be within the Bill if they were single houses, are automatically to become decontrolled.

It is impossible to know how many of those tenements are going to be involved. In my own borough we have 43,242 assessments, but there are only 39,084 dwelling-houses, which means that there is a considerable number of sub-lettings which are not complete dwelling-houses in the ordinary sense. There is no method at the present time of recording how many thousands or even hundreds of thousands of such tenements exist, particularly in London. We are afraid that, if this proviso is allowed to remain, it will result in a very large number of people being dispossessed who under normal circumstances, if they occupied an ordinary dwelling-house, would still be allowed to remain in possession under the Act. We consider that is not right. If a landlord has sublet a house of his own accord, those tenants are protected, whereas, if a tenant has sublet to people similarly placed, those sub-tenants are not protected. Consequently, we think that, in those circumstances, we ought to be given an opportunity of having this Amendment accepted, particularly as there is no possible method of calculating how many people will become dispossessed if this proviso is not accepted in this way.

The second part of the Amendment is merely to supplement the portion of the Amendment which relates to the proviso being deleted. If you delete the proviso, it means that all the tenements in the house, other than the portion the original tenant retains, will become controlled or rather continue to be controlled. In order to have the complete house controlled, we say it is not only necessary to have the rest of the house controlled but also the portion of the house that remains in the hands of the tenant himself. It is drafted in such a form as to enable the whole house, even though above these figures, to be retained under control if the rateable value of each tenement is below those figures. It would be unreasonable not to admit that a principle, which applies to dwelling-houses let singly or sublet by the landlord into smaller tenements, should also apply to these numerous tenements which are now to be decontrolled even though below the figure mentioned. We submit that, in order to follow the logical sequence of things and in order not to deprive a very large number of people of the protection of the Acts, this proviso should be amended accordingly.

11.55 p.m.


I believe that I can remove the apprehension of the hon. Member. He spoke of sub-tenants being dispossessed under the Bill. No subtenant who at present has protection can, under the Bill, be dispossessed; the protection which he now has remains. Sitting tenants will have the same protection they have at present; there can be no question of their being dispossessed. When the landlord has re-let his house in the form of Class "C" dwellings, where he has by his own volition created these "C" class dwellings, they will remain under full protection during the continuance of control. As to the case where the creation of "C" class dwellings in an "A" class house is the act of a sub-tenant, in that case all sitting tenants or sub-tenants will not be affected, their protection will remain as at present. The only case in which decontrol comes into force is where such "C" class dwellings created by a sub-tenant in an "A" class house fall back again into possession of the landlord; when there is no sitting tenant there. Since it is not the landlord who has created these "C" class dwellings, probably they were created over his head, without his knowledge and against his will by the sub-tenant, it is not fair that there should be control against him when they fall into possession. Let me specify actual conditions under which they may fall in, and the Committee will see that there is little cause for apprehension as to a decrease in the pool. As long as the superior tenant remains they will be protected, there can be no decontrol of any of the sub-let parts, no matter how many changes of subtenant there may be. A sublet part of a controlled house can only become decontrolled, and so diminish the pool, when the superior tenant has gone and the landlord comes into actual possession of the sublet part. Thus, so far as sublet parts of "B" class houses are concerned, the superior tenant must have gone, whereupon the sub-tenants become direct tenants of the landlord, and, after that, individual tenants must have left also before the pool can be diminished at all.

Amendment negatived.

11.59 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 2, line 25, after the word "effected," to insert the words: without the consent of the landlord. I will do so very shortly owing to the lateness of the hour.

On the Second Reading of the Bill the Minister of Health, dealing with Class "C" houses, the small houses for wage-earners, of which there are 5,700,000, said: Of these, 1,500,000 are already free, and there are no less than 4,100,000 which we propose to stabilise for five years—to keep controlled for five years."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th December, 1932; col. 58, Vol. 273.] The same day on the next page he said that "the Bill was stable as regards Class 'C' houses." The Parliamentary Secretary in the "News-Letter" again emphasised this point. In an article on lath February, 1933, he said: The Bill ensures that for the next five years there shall be no further decontrol of the cheapest class of controlled houses, over 4,000,000 in number, irrespective of changes of tenancies. This proviso does not carry out the Minister's intentions. There are, however, many cases where a landlord wants to resume control in order to put his property in order, and that is the reason why I did not support the Amendment just moved by the hon. Member for Whitechapel. That is a reasonable course to pursue. My Amendment is designed to deal with the case of the landlord who wants to get control of his property when the tenant has sub-let without his consent. Where the landlord is living in the house—it may be an "A" or "B" house—and his sub-tenants are definitely "C" tenants they are protected for five years. I want to make it possible for the landlord to get control over those houses which have been sub-let without definite consent in cases where the landlord does not live in the house. I think that that would carry out more closely the intentions of the Minister and the Parliamentary Secretary and keep a larger number of "C" houses in the "pool" than at present. It would be fair as between the landlord who wants to do his best for his property and the type of landlord who lets his property down, with consent to sub-let.

12.4 a.m.


I am sorry that it is impossible to accept the Amendment. My right hon. Friend the Minister has just explained the reasons for making a distinction between the case where the sub-let is with the consent of the landlord and where it is the act of the tenant. To introduce this necessity that the landlord should have given or withheld his consent is impossible. In 99 cases out of 100 the landlord has no say in the matter at all. It is quite impossible to open up Part II of the Bill to each single case, as to whether the landlord has or has not withheld his consent, or whether he has withheld it unreasonably.

12.5 a.m.


I am not at all satisfied with the explanation which has been given. The answer given to me on the previous Amendment was to the effect that these people were letting without the consent of the landlord. When the hon. Member moves this Amendment, which goes half-way to meeting the point raised in reply to me, we are told that it is not a question of whether the letting is or is not with the consent of the landlord. I think the Committee ought to insist upon this matter being made clear. The intention of the Bill is to put outside the power to decontrol those dwelling-houses which are under the rateable values specified. If that provision is to apply to a series of dwelling-houses in a row, why should it not apply also to a series of dwelling-houses which are above each other, in a perpendicular direction? If it is necessary in the case of one, it is necessary in the case of the other. If it is not necessary at all, there is an end of the matter. If there is to be decontrol by a gradual process, in accordance with the Act of 1923, let us have it all round. If the idea is that these houses which are below these figures are to remain controlled, then, obviously, it must apply to both the categories I have indicated. The request made by the proposer of the Amendment is a reasonable one, and I would ask the Committee to accept it even if the Government are not prepared to do so. They must stand by one principle or the other. If the principle is as they state it, then it must apply to the case of several houses which are situated above each other, as well as to the case of several houses which are situated beside each other, in a horizontal position.


Is there a difference?


That is exactly what I am trying to explain. There is no difference from this point of view, that the poor fellow in a tenement which had been sub-let, would find it just as hard to get into another house, as the man in the other kind of house, if he were dispossessed.


I am interested in what the hon. Member says and when he mentions the word "tenement" he sends a shiver through us. Is his point that the tenement differs in this respect from the other houses?


No, I say that they are exactly the same. If a house is sublet in different parts, each of those parts becomes a dwelling-house within the meaning of the Act—just as if they were a row of houses. An important consideration is that we have not yet been told how many houses are going to be affected by this point. In my constituency we have a considerable number, and it is a serious thing if the principle of control is not to apply to these dwellings, in the same way as it does to rows of houses in other districts, where, perhaps, it is not so much required. I ask the, Committee to accept the Amendment, or, possibly the Minister before the Report stage would consider extending this matter so as to include the whole of these tenements.

12.8 a.m.


I rise to put a question to the Lord Advocate. Tenements have been much referred to in this discussion. I think the Scottish tenements are secure, as far as the Measure gives any security at all. I think the tenement in Scotland is treated as being separate altogether, and is not covered by the point raised by the hon. Member in regard to England. But I would like to know from the Lord Advocate if the tenement in Scotland, that is, the individual tenement up a tenement "close" is treated as an individual house and not as being sub-let?


I have no hesitation in giving the hon. Member the assurance that the individual house in the tenement is a "house" for the purposes of this Measure.


If it is let by the landlord, yes. If it is let by the tenant, it is not. It is to ensure that point that we insist on the Amendment.

Question put, "That those words he there inserted."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 57; Noes, 210.

Division No. 117.] AYES. [12.10 a.m.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) Mainwaring, William Henry
Banfield, John William Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W). Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot
Bernays, Robert Grundy, Thomas W. Maxton, James
Briant, Frank Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) Milner, Major James
Buchanan, George Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Nathan, Major H. L.
Cape, Thomas Hirst, George Henry Parkinson, John Allen
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Holdsworth, Herbert Pickering, Ernest H.
Cocke, Frederick Seymour Janner, Barnett Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada
Cripps, Sir Stafford Jenkins, Sir William Price, Gabriel
Daggar, George John, William Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)
Davies, David L. (Pontypridd) Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields) Rea, Walter Russell
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Kirkwood, David Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)
Dobbie, William Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A. (C'thness)
Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.) Lawson, John James Tate, Mavis Constance
Edwards, Charles Leonard, William Tinker, John Joseph
Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen) Logan, David Gilbert Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)
Foot, Dingle (Dundee) Lunn, William Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)
Goodman, Colonel Albert W. McEntee, Valentine L.
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) McGovern, John TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan) Sir Percy Harris and Mr. Llewellyn
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Caporn, Arthur Cecil Goff, Sir Park
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Carver, Major William H. Gower, Sir Robert
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Cautley, Sir Henry S. Graves, Marjorie
Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Craigie M. Chapman, Col. R.(Houghton-le-Spring) Grimston, R. V.
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Christie, James Archibald Guy, J, C. Morrison
Aske, Sir Robert William Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.
Atholl, Duchess of Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J. Hales, Harold K.
Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M. Conant, R. J. E. Hanbury, Cecil
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Cook, Thomas A. Hanley, Dennis A.
Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J. Cooke, Douglas Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry
Balniel, Lord Cranborne, Viscount Harbord, Arthur
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Craven-Ellis, William Hartington, Marquess of
Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro) Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)
Bateman, A. L. Cross, R. H. Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)
Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.
Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury) Culverwell, Cyril Tom Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.
Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th, C.) Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C. Hornby, Frank
Beit, Sir Alfred L. Dickie, John P. Horobin, Ian M.
Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn) Donner, P. W. Horsbrugh, Florence
Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman Drewe, Cedric Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.
Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton) Duckworth, George A. V. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney, N.)
Bird, Sir Robert B. (Wolverh'pton W.) Eastwood, John Francis Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romf'd)
Blindell, James Edge, Sir William James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.
Borodale, Viscount Emrys-Evans, P. V. Jennings, Roland
Bossom, A. C Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare) Joel, Dudley J. Barnato
Boulton, w. W. Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool) Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan)
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Falls, Sir Bertram G. Ker, J. Campbell
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Fleming, Edward Lascelles Kimball, Lawrence
Briscoe, Capt. Richard George Fox, Sir Gifford Knebworth, Viscount
Broadbent, Colonel John Fremantle, Sir Francis Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton Latham, Sir Herbert Paul
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Gibson, Charles Granville Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)
Burnett, John George Gledhill, Gilbert Leckie, J. A.
Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley) Glossop, C. W. H. Leighton, Major B. E. P.
Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley) Glyn, Major Ralph G. C Lennox-Boyd, A. T.
Liddall, Walter S. Procter, Major Henry Adam Spencer, Captain Richard A.
Lindsay, Noel Ker Pybus, Percy John Spens, William Patrick
Loder, Captain J. de Vere Raikes, Henry V. A. M. Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde)
Lyons, Abraham Montagu Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles) Stevenson, James
Mabane, William Ramsden, Sir Eugene Stones, James
McCorquodale, M. S. Rankin, Robert Storey, Samuel
MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw) Ratcliffe, Arthur Stourton, Hon. John J.
McEwen, Captain J. H. F. Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter) Strauss, Edward A.
McKie, John Hamilton Reid, James S. C. (Stirling) Strickland, Captain W. F.
McLean, Major Sir Alan Reid, William Allan (Derby) Stuart, Lord C. Crichton.
Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. sir M. Remer, John R. Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.
Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Renwick, Major Gustav A. Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart
Martin, Thomas B. Robinson, John Roland Summersby, Charles H.
Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John Ropner, Colonel L. Templeton, William P.
Merriman, Sir F. Boyd Rosbotham, Sir Samuel Thompson, Luke
Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge) Thorp, Linton Theodore
Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tf'd & Chisw'k) Runge, Norah Cecil Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury) Turton, Robert Hugh
Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l) Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Moreing, Adrian C. Salmon, Sir Isidore Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)
Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh) Salt, Edward W. Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)
Morrison, William Shepherd Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney) Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
Munro, Patrick Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart Watt, Captain George Steven H.
Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H. Scone, Lord Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour.
Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth) Shakespeare, Geoffrey H. Wells, Sydney Richard
Nunn, William Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell) Whiteside, Borras Noel H.
O'Connor, Terence James Shepperson, Sir Ernest W. Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
O'Donovan, Dr. William James Skelton, Archibald Noel Wills, Wilfrid D
Ormiston, Thomas Sister, John Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Palmer, Francis Noel Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-in-F.) Wise, Alfred R.
Pearson, William G. Smith, R. W. (Ab'rd'n & Kinc'dine, C.) Womersley, Walter James
Peat, Charles U. Smith-Carington, Neville W. Worthington, Dr. John V.
Perkins, Walter R. D. Somervell, Donald Bradley Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)
Petherick, M. Soper, Richard
Peto, Geoffrey K.(W'verh'pt'n, Bilst'n) Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Pike, Cecil F. Southby, Commander Archibald R. J. Sir Frederick Thomson and Major
George Davies.

12.20 a.m.


I beg to move, in page 2, line 31, to leave out the words: let as a separate dwelling immediately before the passing of this Act. There has been a good deal of confusion of thought in regard to this Clause, and different interpretations have been placed on it. Some correspondence has taken place between the organisation in which I am interested and the Ministry of Health, as it was felt that this correspondence would simplify proceedings in the Committee stage. It has been stated by the Ministry that, if a house has become decontrolled under the 1923 Act, it cannot come into control again unless it is let as a separate dwelling house immediately before the passing of this Bill, and therefore any separate registration is not necessary. It may be the correct interpretation of the Bill that no separate registration is necessary, but there are many experts who think that a different interpretation can be placed on the Clause as it is drafted. I suggest, therefore, that the Minister should undertake to re-draft the Clause to give effect to his expressed intention, and to save future litigation in the courts.

12.22 a.m.


I am glad my hon. Friend has raised this point to give us an opportunity of clarifying the position. If the hon. Member will refer to Clause 1, he will see that the Acts, as amended, are applied to every dwelling house to which they applied immediately before the passing of the Bill. Under Sub-section (3) of Clause 2, where a landlord has a house let as a separate dwelling at the passing of the Act and wishes to claim that the house is decontrolled, he must register that house within three months. That means that the only person who has to register any house is the landlord of a house let as a separate dwelling, if he claims that it was decontrolled before the passing of this Act. The owner-occupier need not register at all. If these words were omitted it would mean that every owner-occupier, in order to prove his house was decontrolled, would have to register. I am sure that is just what my hon. Friend wants to avoid, and I hope with that explanation he will be satisfied.


I beg to ask leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

12.24 a.m.


I beg to move, in page 3, line 1, after the word "application," to insert the words: with the written consent of the tenant that the dwelling-house is decontrolled. We seek to provide that, when the landlord is making an application for a house to be placed on the register, the tenant should be consulted first, and should, in effect, give his written consent to the statement that the house is decontrolled. I think that safeguard is necessary from the tenant's point of view. The tenant himself cannot possibly be aware of the house being decontrolled, and we think that before a house is decontrolled the written consent of the tenant or the occupier should be obtained.

12.25 a.m.


Part of the contention of the hon. Member is correct, that the tenant should be informed when he is secure, but the second part, that the tenant's consent should be necessary, is going a great deal too far. By the mere act of a tenant's will that might prevent a house being registered, and so secure its re-control. The effect of that probably would be to secure the re-control of all decontrolled houses, which is surely beyond the intention of the Bill. I think the Clause in its present form goes as far as it is possible to go.

12.26 a.m.


I expected that we should be told something like that, that the Amendment goes too far, but the Minister's reply does not get over the first point, that the tenant is not consulted on the matter. While I have not the slightest doubt that our Amendment went much too far for the Minister, the substantial point has not been met. I would like the Solicitor-General to tell us whether there is any part of this Clause under which a landlord must consult or inform the tenant. I know there is a subsection later that places on the landlord the onus of seeing that register is kept open to public inspection at the Town Hall or the offices of the Council. But think what this safeguard means to the tenant in Glasgow or Liverpool, or any of

the big cities, which have a radius of 15 miles and where there is one office in the centre of the town. The register is to be kept there, and that is the only place where the tenant or occupier can find out whether his house is controlled or not. Suppose a tenant's name is placed on the register wrongly. The only way I know of remedying that is by an action in the courts to have the name taken off. Occupiers of working class houses cannot take court actions very readily. It is almost an impossibility for them. If you cannot give them the protection I want, there should at least be some responsibility placed on the authorities under this Clause to inform the occupier, so that he can take action before court proceedings become necessary. I hope the Solicitor-General or the Minister will concede the point that the tenant or occupier should first be informed before the name may be taken off the register.

12.29 a.m.


It seems to me that the hon. Member's method goes very much further than the point he is trying to meet. We should all agree that the landlord ought immediately to inform the tenant.


I hope we shall not get into a discussion of the position of the tenant, because that arises on the next Amendment I propose to select. I would like the hon. Member's Amendment to be considered as raising the separate point of the tenant's consent.


I do take the point that there should be, before an application is placed on the register, the consent of the tenant.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 33; Noes, 212.

Division No. 118.] AYES. [12.31 a.m.
Banfield, John William Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton) McGovern, John
Cape, Thomas Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)
Cripps, Sir Stafford Hirst, George Henry Mainwaring, William Henry
Daggar, George Jenkins, Sir William Milner, Major James
Davies, David L. (Pontypridd) John, William Nathan, Major H. L.
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Kirkwood, David Price, Gabriel
Dobbie, William Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George Tinker, John Joseph
Edwards, Charles Lawson, John James Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Leonard, William Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur Logan, David Gilbert
Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) Lunn, William TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Grundy, Thomas W. McEntee, Valentine L. Mr. Maxton and Mr. Buchanan.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.) Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)
Adama, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Grimston, R. V. Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Guy, J. C. Morrison Ramsden, Sir Eugene
Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Craigie M. Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H. Rankin, Robert
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Hanley, Dennis A. Ratcliffe, Arthur
Aske, Sir Robert William Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Rea, Walter Russell
Atholl, Duchess of Hartington, Marquess of Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)
Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M. Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes) Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Haslam, Sir John (Bolton) Reid, William Allan (Derby)
Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J. Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M. Renwick, Major Gustav A.
Balniel, Lord Hellgers, Captain F. F. A. Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Holdsworth, Herbert Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)
Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey Hornby, Frank Robinson, John Roland
Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell Horsbrugh, Florence Ropner, Colonel L.
Beaumont. M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury) Howitt, Dr. Alfred B. Rosbotham, Sir Samuel
Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C.) Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)
Beit, Sir Alfred L. Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romford) Ross, Ronald D.
Bernnys Robert James, Wing.-Com. A. W. H. Runge, Norah Cecil
Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn) Jennings, Roland Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury)
Blindell, James Joel, Dudley J. Barnato Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)
Borodale, Viscount Johnstor, J. W. (Clackmannan) Salt, Edward W.
Bossom, A. C. Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields) Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Boulton, W. W. Ker, J. Campbell Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Kimball, Lawrence Scone, Lord
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Knebworth, Viscount Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.
Briant, Frank Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Briscoe, Capt. Richard George Latham, Sir Herbert Paul Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.
Broadbent, Colonel John Law. Richard K. (Hull, S. W.) Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A.(C'thness)
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Leckie, J. A. Skelton, Archibald Noel
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Lennox-Boyd, A. T. Slater, John
Burnett, John George Liddall, Walter S. Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-In-F.)
Campbell, Edward Tat well (Bromley) Lindsay. Noel Ker Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley) Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick Somervell, Donald Bradley
Caporn, Arthur Cecil Lyons, Abraham Montagu Soper, Richard
Carver, Major William H. Mabane, William Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.
Cautley, Sir Henry S. McCorquodale, M. S. Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw) Spencer, Captain Richard A.
Chapman, Col. R.(Houghton-le-Spring) McEwen, Captain J. H. F. Spens, William Patrick
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D McKie, John Hamilton Stanley Lord (Lancaster. Fylde)
Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J. McLean, Major Sir Alan Stevenson, James
Conant, R. J. E. Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot Stones, James
Cook, Thomas A. Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M. Storey, Samuel
Cooke, Douglas Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Stourton, Hon. John J.
Cranborne, Viscount Martin, Thomas B. Strauss, Edward A.
Craven-Ellis, William Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John Strickland, Captain W. F.
Crookshank. Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro) Merriman, Sir F. Boyd Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-
Cross, R. H. Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Sueter, Bear-Admiral Murray F.
Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tfd & Chisw'k) Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart
Culverwell, Cyril Tom Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale Summersby, Charles H.
Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C. Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres Tate, Mavis Constance
Drewe, Cedric Moreing, Adrian C. Thompson, Luke
Duckworth, George A. V. Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh) Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles
Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.) Morrison, William Shepherd Thorp, Linton Theodore
Eastwood, John Francis Munro, Patrick Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Edge, Sir William Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H. Turton, Robert Hugh
Emrys-Evans, P. V. Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth) Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)
Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare) Nunn, William Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)
Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool) O'Connor, Terence James Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen) O'Donovan, Dr. William James Watt, Captain George Steven H.
Falle, Sir Bertram G. Ormiston, Thomas Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-
Foot, Dingle (Dundee) Palmer, Francis Noel Wells, Sydney Richard
Fox, Sir Gifford Pearson, William G. Whiteside, Borras Noel H.
Fremantle, Sir Francis Peat, Charles U. Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton Perkins, Walter R. D. Wills, Wilfrid D.
Gibson, Charles Granville Petherick, M. Windsor Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Gledhill, Gilbert Peto, Geoffrey K.(W'verh'pt'n, Bilston) Wise, Alfred R.
Glossop, C. W. H. Pickering, Ernest H. Womersley, Walter James
Glyn, Major Ralph G. C. Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada Worthington, Dr. John V.
Goff, Sir Park Pike, Cecil F. Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)
Goodman, Colonel Albert W. Procter, Major Henry Adam
Gower, Sir Robert Pybus, Percy John TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Graves, Marjorie Raikes, Henry V. A. M. Lieut.-Colonel Sir Lambert Ward
and Major George Davies.

12.40 a.m.


I beg to move, in page 3, line 2, after the word, "dwelling-house" to insert the words: as a decontrolled house and shall send to the tenant of such house by registered letter a notification of such application in the prescribed form. This is the first of a series of Amendments designed to achieve a certain purpose, and it would conduce to brevity if I tried to explain in a few sentences the general purpose of them. The Bill, as it stands, provides that Class "C" houses are to be deemed to be controlled unless the landlord applies for registration. Registration, however, settles absolutely nothing at all. It is only the first step towards ultimate litigation in the courts at some time in the future. It occurs to us that it would be very easy by a small modification of the scheme of the Clause to make that registration settle once and for all in nine-tenths of the cases whether the house was or was riot decontrolled. It is clear that, in the case of at least nine-tenths of the houses, where the landlord applies for registration, the house is, in fact, decontrolled because in the majority of these cases the tenant has been paying a rent higher than the full controlled rent for a number of years, and it would not be in his mouth to say in any court that he objected to the house being regarded as a decontrolled house. Therefore, in the majority of cases there would be no difficulty at all in the registration being regarded as final and in a certificate of decontrol being issued. The first step before a tenant can be foreclosed by any entry in the register must necessarily be an intimation to the tenant that this procedure is going on. The Amendment will ensure that the tenant will have proper intimation that registration is desired. Then, if he get that intimation, there will be two courses open to him. He can assent to this intimation in silence, in which case a subsequent Amendment provides that his silence shall after a certain time be taken as acquiescence in decontrol and a final certificate shall issue. In all the cases I have just mentioned there can be no hardship because the tenant knows perfectly well the house is decontrolled and has recognised that fact by paying a higher rent than the controlled rent.

I propose that the intimation shall take the form of a formal document giving the tenant full warning of his rights and saying that, if he chooses to object, he can keep the matter open. If he acquiesces, the case will be foreclosed. Any tenant then, by the expenditure of a penny halfpenny stamp and writing a letter to the local authority, will be able to keep the matter open. Suppose the tenant does keep the matter open, if he has been paying more than the controlled rent, he will not be listened to in a law court, and the only tenants who will keep the matter open will be tenants who are not paying more than the controlled rent. In those cases it will really be a purely academic question whether the house is controlled or not, if the rent charged is no more than the controlled rent.

The Amendment will serve two purposes. Firstly, it will foreclose the matter in the majority of cases by the issue of a certificate of control. In other cases it will keep the matter open, and there the question is entirely academic, and so it will not, in fact, lead to any serious amount of legislation. This scheme has the advantage that it does achieve finality, because it is very difficult in selling or letting a house to negotiate when you do not know if it is under control or not. In the interests of the tenant and certainly of the landlord, it is desirable to achieve finality. In other cases, where it is not possible to achieve finality, the matter will be kept open, but those cases will be no worse than the other cases under the Bill.

12.46 a.m.


There may be some misapprehension in the minds of the Committee as to the exact purpose for which this registration has been put in the Bill. Let me briefly state how it operates under the Bill and what will be the change under the Amendment. Under Sub-section (2) of Clause 2 of the Bill it is the duty of a landlord of a Class "C" house, if he claims it to be decontrolled by virtue of Section 2 of the Act of 1923, to register with the appropriate local authority within three months, but in any subsequent proceeding relating to that house, if it is proved that no such application was made, that particular house is to be regarded as recontrolled. The hon. and learned Member wants to alter the Bill in that respect. He wants to provide that, when the landlord applies for the registration of a decontrolled house, he shall at the same time notify the tenant. Then the tenant is given one month in which to register an objection with the local authority. If he does not register an objection, then that house is automatically deemed to be decontrolled. Obviously the method which is in the Bill is in the interests of the tenant. The method of my hon. Friend is more the interests of the landlord. He may not mean that, but it will turn out like it—


I was not proposing to alter the scheme whereby the tenant shall be deemed to be controlled if no application is made. That remains the safeguard of the tenant under the Bill. I was proposing, in cases where there was no injustice to the tenant, to do some justice to the landlord by settling it.


I realise that. Under our procedure, when the landlord registers a decontrolled house, the tenant who will have the advantage will not be the sitting tenant but a prospective tenant. He has only to go to the register, and, if it is on the register, then apparently that house is decontrolled. If, however, it turns out that it is not decontrolled, he can go to a court of law. If a house is not on the register and three months have elapsed since the passing of the Act, he knows for a fact that that house is controlled. Therefore, it is of great benefit to any prospective tenant of a house to know that, in fact, the house is controlled. There are certain provisions with regard to late registration, but even there the tenant is protected.

What will be the effect of my hon. Friend's Amendment? There will be a new kind of decontrol created. If a tenant has not complained within a month, there will be a new kind of decontrol as it were by silence. It might even be decontrolled by ignorance, because these matters are very complicated, and it may be that only Parliamentary draftsmen and the Solicitor-General really understand it. But I am quite sure that the majority of tenants will not realise that they can register objections within a month and that the house has then a status permanently fixed if they fail to object. You might even get decontrol by collusion between landlord and tenant. Therefore, for all these reasons, I think the hon. and learned Member will see that the Government form of registration is really in the interests of prospective tenants. Otherwise, a number of doubtful cases would slip through simply owing to ignorance or the silence of the tenant.

Amendment negatived.

Amendment made: In page 3, line 5, after the word "that," insert the words: but for the provisions of the said Section two of the Act of 1923 the principal Acts would have applied to the dwelling-house and that."—[Sir H. Young.]

12.52 a.m.


I beg to move, in page 3, line 10, after the word "application," to insert the words: made within six months after the passing of this Act. This proviso is to enable a landlord who, for some good reason, has originally taken steps to register the fact that a house is decontrolled to the local authority, to apply to the county court and get a certificate from the court to register the house. There ought to be some time limit. It is unreasonable that a landlord should be able to go on for an unlimited time without taking this step. Therefore, I suggest that the words "made within six months" should be inserted.

12.53 a.m.


I do not think that this Amendment will be a very simple one. The landlord will apply in three months. If he does not, then the court of jurisdiction may say that he had not a suitable opportunity of doing so. It is possible to realise circumstances that might render much more than even six months necessary, and the court can judge whether the circumstances are reasonable. Having given the court jurisdiction, we ought to trust the jurisdiction to that court, and not seek to impose arbitrary limitations on it.

Amendment negatived.

12.55 a.m.


I beg to move, in page 3, line 20, at the end, to insert the words: Provided that in all cases where the landlord registered a dwelling-house as having been decontrolled on or before the appointed day such registration shall be conclusive evidence of the decontrol of such dwelling-house. This is an attempt to bring some finality into this procedure and some reciprocity to the bringing of litigation. As has been pointed out, under Subsection (2) an obligation is put on the landlord to apply for registration, and, if he does not apply within three months, the house is subject to decontrol. That is the penalty for the landlord. If, on the other hand, he applies for registration, he gets nothing for doing so. The question whether the house is subject to control or not remains perfectly open and can be litigated at any moment. The tenant is protected by the methods provided for obtaining registration and by the penalty for any false statement made in so doing. Under Clause 8 the Minister can prescribe a form in which the application is to be made—that is to say, he can require what particulars are to be given, and this Sub-section says that it has to be made on the form that he has prescribed. Sub-section (5) says that if any person, with intent to deceive, knowingly makes any false statement he shall be liable to a fine or £10 or to imprisonment. It has been rightly stated that any landlord knows whether the house is decontrolled or not. The statements that are required are such that if he cannot fulfil them he cannot get decontrol. With a view to avoiding the continual chance and certainty of litigation, and settling once and for all whether a house is decontrolled or not, I submit that the words I propose to add settle that, if the landlord does not apply for registration, the house is not subject to decontrol. If he does apply, and he has to do that on statements rendering him liable to prosecution if they are false, it shall be subject to control.

12.59 a.m.


It is impossible to accept this Amendment. The Parliamentary Secretary has already explained what the object of our registration scheme is. It is simply as a warning to any prospective tenant that he shall not go into a house under the belief that it is a controlled house, when in fact it is decontrolled. It is quite impossible to accept this Amendment, making registration conclusive of the fact of decontrol.

Amendment negatived.

1.0 a.m.


I beg to move, in page 3, line 20, at the end, to insert the words: Notice shall be given by the landlord of such dwelling-house to the tenant thereof not less than fourteen days before the hearing of such application is to be heard, such notice to be in the prescribed form and to contain full particulars of the reason alleged for the failure to make application for the registration of the dwelling-house. I think this Amendment is a reasonable one and one which the Government should accept.


We cannot accept the Amendment. We cannot be giving notice to prospective tenants whom we know nothing about.

Amendment negatived.

1.2 a.m.


I beg to move, in page 3, line 20, after the word "dwelling-house," to insert the words: (including particulars as to the rent charged before the principal Acts ceased to apply and the existing rent). The Amendment is self-explanatory, and there is scarcely any need for me to take up the time of the Committee with it. It provides that the local authorities register shall give the particulars mentioned, and the Amendment is so reasonable that we can expect that at this stage the right hon. Gentleman will accept it.


We have heard the Amendment put in a reasonable way, but the hon. Gentleman's manner is more reasonable than the matter. The point is that the rent the tenant is going to pay will be told to him by his landlord. I cannot accept the Amendment.

Amendment negatived.

1.4 a.m.


I beg to move, in page 3, line 28, to leave out the words "so, however, that," and to insert instead thereof the words: (4) Any such council as aforesaid shall, on application being made to them by any person in that behalf, issue, on payment of a fee not exceeding one shilling, a certificate with respect to any dwelling-house in their borough or district stating whether or not the dwelling-house is registered under this Section and, if registered, the date of registration; and any such certificate shall, unless the contrary is proved, be evidence that application for registration of the dwelling-house has or has not been made by or on behalf of the landlord and, in the case of a certificate of registration, be evidence of the date before which such application was made, so however that neither, a certificate of registration nor other proof of. This Amendment is of a very simple nature. It provides for a fee of a shilling to be charged in respect of a certificate.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendments made: In page 3, line 30, leave out the first word "not."

In line 32, at the end, insert the words: Any document purporting to be a certificate issued under this Sub-section by a council named therein, and to be signed by an officer of that council, shall be received in evidence and be deemed to be such a certificate without further proof unless the contrary is shown."—[Sir H. Young.]

1.6 a.m.


I beg to move, in page 3, line 36, after the word "registrar," to insert the words "or clerk."

I think this is an Amendment which will be accepted by the Minister.


I accept it.

Amendment agreed to.

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

1.6 a.m.


There is one question which I wish to ask, and it is a very brief one. I wish to ask the Government if they have any idea as to what the extra charge is going to be in respect of this new scheme.

1.7 a.m.


The hon. Member will recognise that I have just introduced an Amendment making provision for a shilling charge, and it is hoped that that charge will enable local authorities to recoup themselves for the whole expenditure of keeping these registers.

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

The Committee divided: Ayes, 195; Noes, 31.

Division No. 119.] AYES. [1.7 a.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Falle, Sir Bertram G. Merriman, Sir F. Boyd
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Fleming, Edward Lascelles Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Foot, Dingle (Dundee) Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)
Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Craigie M. Fox, Sir Gifford Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Fremantle, Sir Francis Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres
Aske, Sir Robert William Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton Moreing, Adrian C.
Atholl, Duchess of Glossop, C. W. H. Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)
Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M. Goff, Sir Park Morrison, William Shepherd
Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J. Goodman, Colonel Albert W. Munro, Patrick
Balniel, Lord Gower, Sir Robert Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Graves, Marjorie Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)
Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey Grimston, R. V. Nunn, William
Bateman, A. L. Guy, J. C. Morrison O'Donovan, Dr. William James
Beauchamp, sir Brograve Campbell Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H. Ormiston, Thomas
Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury) Hanley, Dennis A. Palmer, Francis Noel
Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C.) Harmon, Patrick Joseph Henry Pearson, William G.
Beit, Sir Alfred L. Harvey, Major S. E (Devon, Totnes) Peat, Charles U.
Bernays, Robert Haslam, Sir John (Bolton) Perkins, Walter R. D.
Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn) Hellgers, Captain F. F. A. Petherick, M.
Borodale, Viscount Holdsworth, Herbert Peto, Geoffrey K, (W'verh'pt'n, Bilst'n)
Bossom, A. C. Horsbrugh, Florence Pickering, Ernest H.
Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton Howitt, Dr. Alfred B. Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Hudson, Capt. A. u. M.(Hackney, N.) Pike, Cecil F.
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romf'd) Procter, Major Henry Adam
Briscoe, Capt. Richard George James, Wing-Com. A. W. H. Raikes, Henry V. A. M.
Broadbent, Colonel John Janner, Barnett Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Jennings, Roland Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Joel, Dudley J. Barnato Ramsden, Sir Eugene
Burnett, John George Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan) Rankin, Robert
Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley) Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields) Ratcliffe, Arthur
Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley) Ker, J. Campbell Rea, Walter Russell
Caporn, Arthur Cecil Kerr, Hamilton W. Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)
Cautley, Sir Henry S. Kimball, Lawrence Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Knebworth, Viscount Reid, William Allan (Derby)
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton Remer, John R.
Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J. Law, Richard K. (Hull, S. W.) Renwick, Major Gustav A.
Conant, R. J. E. Leckie, J. A. Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.
Cooke, Douglas Lennox-Boyd, A. T. Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)
Cranborne, Viscount Liddall, Walter S. Robinson, John Roland
Craven-Ellis, William Lindsay, Noel Ker Ropner, Colonel L.
Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro) Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick Rosbotham, Sir Samuel
Cross, R. H. Lyons, Abraham Montagu Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)
Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard Mabane, William Runge, Norah Cecil
Culverwell, Cyril Tom McCorquodale, M. S. Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury)
Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C. MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw) Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)
Drewe, Cedric McEwen, Captain J. H. F. Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart
Duckworth, George A. V. McKie, John Hamilton Scone, Lord
Duncan, Charles (Derby, Claycross) McLean, Major Sir Alan Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.
Eastwood, John Francis Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M. Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare) Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.
Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool) Martin, Thomas B. Skelton, Archibald Noel
Evans, R. T, (Carmarthen) Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John Slater, John
Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-in-F.) Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-
Somervell, Donald Bradley Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F. Wells, Sydney Richard
Soper, Richard Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart Whiteside, Borras Noel H.
Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E. Templeton, William P. Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Southby, Commander Archibald R. J. Thompson, Luke Wills, Wilfrid D.
Spencer, Captain Richard A. Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Spens, William Patrick Thorp, Linton Theodore Wise, Alfred R.
Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde) Titchfield, Major the Marquess of Womersley, Walter James
Stevenson, James Turton, Robert Hugh Worthington, Dr. John V.
Stones, James Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull) Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)
Storey, Samuel Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)
Stourton, Hon. John J. Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Strauss, Edward A. Warrender, Sir Victor A. G. Major George Davies and Mr.
Strickland, Captain W. F. Watt, Captain George Steven H. Blindell.
Banfield, John William Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton) McGovern, John
Buchanan, George Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Mainwaring, William Henry
Cripps, Sir Stafford Hirst, George Henry Maxton, James
Daggar, George Jenkins, Sir William Milner, Major James
Davies, David L. (Pontypridd) Kirkwood, David Nathan, Major H. L.
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George Price, Gabriel
Dobbie, William Lawson, John James Tinker, John Joseph
Edwards, Charles Leonard, William Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur Logan, David Gilbert Williams, Thomas (York., Don Valley)
Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) Lunn, William
Grundy, Thomas W. McEntee, Valentine L. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Mr. Duncan Graham and Mr. John

Ordered, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and leave to sit again."—[Captain Margesson.]

Committee reported Progress; to sit again To-morrow.

The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.

It being after half-past Eleven of the Clock upon Tuesday evening, Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER adjourned the House, without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.

Adjourned at a Quarter after One o'Clock.