§ 9.42 p.m.
§ Mr. T. WILLIAMS
I beg to move, in page 3, line 4, to leave out the words, "Subject as hereinafter provided."
This Amendment, together with the next Amendment on the Paper, if carried, would leave the Clause reading as follows:Section two of the Act of 1923 (which provides for the exclusion of dwelling-houses from the application of the principal Act in certain cases) shall cease to have effect.It will be seen, therefore, that the point of these Amendments is to place category "A" and "B" houses in the same provision as category "C" houses. We have always objected to the principle of decontrol by a process of tenants leaving houses one by one. We think the principle has been entirely wrong from the start, and we believe that not only the Government's arguments in Committee, but the submissions of the right hon. Gentleman are equally unconvincing. He listened to the hon. Member for White-chapel (Mr. Janner), who put up a splendid case, and the hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. M. Beaumont), with whom, for the first time in 10 years, I found myself in agreement on the Second Reading of this Bill. In the provInces, for houses whose rateable value is between £13 anl £35, decontrol by a gradual process continues unless this Amendment is accepted, and we feel that that is inflicting a hardship upon the section of the community who are suffering, perhaps, as badly as the most depressed and demoralised section of the workers inside category "C." It comprises clerks, civil servants and professional men, many of whom are suffering 135 from the long-drawn-out period of depression and have no unemployment benefit and no means of visible substance. Because they happen to occupy a house in the provInces the rateable value of which is in excess of £13, and leave the house, the house becomes decontrolled and the powers of the landlord become supreme.
The right hon. Gentleman has evidence that the tendency is to increase rents despite all the building of the last 10 or 12 years, and that may very well inflict a hardship on the class of tenant who may be driven to occupy one of these houses because employment may be available for him in the district. The right (hon. Gentleman is aware that in 14 months 50,000 of this type of house have become decontrolled, and he has evidence of the increases in rents. In five years time, on the same basis, 240,000 more similar houses will become decontrolled. I do not think that the owners of property in Class "B" are any less damaged than the owners in Class "C." If undue hardship is inflicted on one section, it quickly reflects itself on other sections and to allow a gradual decontrol of Class "B" while there is a shortage of houses, may inflict a hardship on those resident in Class "C." Assuming the pressure moves from Class "B" to Class "C" in a large number of cases and the owners of property in Class "B" finds the tenants go to Class "C," the number of vacant houses would be such that the tendency to increase rents would not be there, and the process would even itself out in time. I do not think that experience has shown that to be the case, however.
The next argument which the right hon. Gentleman uses is that this gradual process has gone on for about eight years; that there have been few complaints, and that a process that has been satisfactory in the past will be satisfactory in future. In 1931 my salary here was £400 a year, Since when it has been reduced by £40, but the right hon. Gentleman must not tell me that on the basis of the reduction there is the same amount of fairness and equity. Because a thing happens to be, and because it was superimposed, it does not follow that it is fair or equitable; and because this gradual process has been in operation for eight or nine years, that is not a fair basis for calculating what, after all, is a very deli- 136 cate and difficult problem to a large number of people. The process of decontrol in certain categories has created every kind of anomaly. Imagine an employer changing officers from one office to another, moving one from Manchester to Liverpool and another from Liverpool to Manchester. These two persons are living in houses in excess of £13 rateable value, and the houses become decontrolled when the officers leave them. If by a Colncidence the two officers were to exchange houses as well as districts, both would have to pay an increased rent because under the terms of the Bill there would be gradual decontrol. The employer will not pay an increased wage because of that decontrol.
The right hon. Gentleman knows that we have always opposed the principle of gradual decontrol. Control first came because there was an accepted shortage of houses in all categories. It may be that the provision of house in the highest categories, "A" and "B", proportionate to the number of people who would reside in them, has been in excess of the provision in the lower categories. Until, however, the general need for houses of all kinds has been met, we think that it would be far better and much more consistent with fair play to all sections of the community to accept this Amendment. It would be fair to all sections of the community, including the fairly well-to-do professional man, who may now be unemployed through no fault of his own. There are, for instance, hundreds of architects for whom there is no work and who can find no opportunity to display their merits. People of that type would suffer acutely if they fell victims to this gradual decontrol. The general principle of gradual decontrol is at stake in these two Amendments, and I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will tell us, regardless of what the Committee reported, and as the result of the experience of 1933 and not of 1931, that he has considered sympathetically the plea that we have put forward.
§ 9.52 p.m.
Sir H. YOUNG
The House, of course, apprehends that this Amendment, so persuasively proposed by the hon. Member, strikes at the very root of the main principles of the Bill and is designed, indeed, to destroy it. The effect of the Amendment would be to cease the gradual 137 decontrol of the "B" class houses, which has been in progress for eight or nine years, quite regardless of the general principles at the basis of the Bill. What are these houses? They are those which were described as the middle range of small houses, combining both houses to let and houses to sell, and it is the type of house which has been most freely provided by the municipalities and from which the class of municipal tenant is largely drawn. The basic principle of the Bill is to let decontrol go pace by pace with the supply, so that as the supply is equal to demand there shall be decontrol. The result of the careful statistical investigation by the Committee of this class of house was to come to a conclusion which is perfectly well based.
The conclusion was that the supply of those houses has kept pace with the demand at about the same rate as the gradual decontrol which has been in progress for some years. So that by allowing that process of gradual decontrol to be continued, we should not be running the risk of a situation in which there would be a supply unequal to the demand and a mischievous rise of rents against the tenants of decontrolled houses. In those circumstances the Committee came to what is, I think, the perfectly natural and common sense conclusion that the right thing to do is to allow the gradual decontrol of "B" class houses to continue.
Let me mention two additional strong reasons for this proposal. The first is that it is the basis of our approach to this difficult problem that the more we encourage decontrol, when it is safe to do so owing to the adequacy of the
§ supply, the more we encourage the investment of private Capttal in the supply of that class of houses, and the more we benefit the tenants of such houses, because it will lead to a fall in rents. In the interests of the "B" class tenants themselves, therefore, the best thing we can do is to let decontrol go on. The other circumstance is that it has been powerfully argued in a certain quarter that there is a certain danger in decontrol of such houses all at once, and that the more we can avoid single occasions upon which we decontrol a block of houses the better for landlords and tenants. There is a great advantage to be gained from allowing the process of decontrol to be gradual, as far as it is possible, and that is no doubt what the Committee had in mind, and it is what the Government now have in mind, in this proposal. It is making provision that over as wide a range as is safely possible the process of decontrol shall be gradual, avoiding the shock of decontrol of whole classes all at once at specific dates. For these reasons I think the case for permitting the gradual decontrol of "B" class houses to continue is quite unshaken by the arguments advanced against it, even in the form in which they have been put forward just now by the hon. Member. The structure and the whole of the basis of the Measure and the facts of the case require the maintenance of this provision.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 257; Noes, 46.139
|Division No. 171.]||AYES.||[9.59 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton)||Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley)|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Bird, Sir Robert B.(Wolverh'pton W.)||Caporn, Arthur Cecil|
|Altchison, Rt. Hon. Cralgie M.||Blindell, James||Cassels, James Dale|
|Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent)||Boothby, Robert John Graham||Castlereagh, Viscount|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Borodale, Viscount.||Cautley, Sir Henry S.|
|Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Boulton, W. W.||Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)|
|Apsley, Lord||Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Braithwaite, Maj. A.N. (Yorks, E. R.)||Clayton, Dr. George C.|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Cobb, Sir Cyril|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Brass, Captain Sir William||Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Colfox, Major William Philip|
|Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)||Broadbent, Colonel John||Colman, N. C. D.|
|Balniel, Lord||Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Conant, R. J. E.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'I'd., Hexham)||Cooke, Douglas|
|Barrie. Sir Charles Coupar||Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Brown, Brig.-Gen.H.C.(Berks.,Newb'y)||Crookshank. Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)|
|Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury)||Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Croom-Johnson, R. P.|
|Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portim'th.C.)||Burghley, Lord||Cross, R. H.|
|Benn, Sir Arthur Shirley||Burnett, John George||Crossley, A. C.|
|Bernays, Robert||Butt, Sir Alfred||Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard|
|Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn)||Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley)||Culverwell, Cyril Tom|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)||Robinson, John Roland|
|Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.||Ker, J. Campbell||Rosbotham, Sir Samuel|
|Dickie, John P.||Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)||Ross, Ronald D.|
|Doran, Edward||Kerr, Hamilton W.||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Duckworth, George A. V.||Kimball, Lawrence||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A,|
|Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Eastwood, John Francis||Law, Sir Alfred||Rutherford, John (Edmonton)|
|Elliston, Captain George Sampson||Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)|
|Elmley, Viscount||Leckie, J. A.||Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Leech, Dr. J. W.||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Lees-Jones, John||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.|
|Evans, David Owen (Cardigan)||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Savery, Samuel Servington|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.)||Levy. Thomas||Selley, Harry R.|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Llewellin, Major John J.||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G||Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Loder, Captain J. de Vere||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)|
|Ford, Sir Patrick J.||Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.|
|Fox, Sir Gifford||Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin|
|Fraser, Captain Ian||Lyons, Abraham Montagu||Slater, John|
|Fremantle, Sir Francis||Mabane, William||Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.|
|Fuller, Captain A. G.||MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G.(Partick)||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-in-F.)|
|Gillett, Sir George Masterman||McKie, John Hamilton||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Glossop, C. W. H.||McLean, Major Sir Alan||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Goff, Sir Park||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)||Somervell, Donald Bradley|
|Goldie, Noel B.||Macquisten, Frederick Alexander||Somerville, Annesley A (Windsor)|
|Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.||Sotheron-Estcourt Captain T. E.|
|Gower, Sir Robert||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Southby, Comrmander Archbald R.J|
|Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.)||Marsden, Commander Arthur||Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.|
|Greene, William P. C.||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Spens, William Patrick|
|Grenfell, E. C. (City of London)||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Stanley, Hon. O. F, G. (Westmorland)|
|Grimston, R. V.||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Stewart, J. H. (Fife, E.)|
|Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.||Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)||Storey, Samuel|
|Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Moreing, Adrian C.||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Morris, John Patrick (Salford, N.)||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-|
|Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Morrison, William Shepherd||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.|
|Hamilton, Sir R. W.(Orkney & Zetl'nd)||Muirhead, Major A. J.||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Hanbury, Cecil||Munro, Patrick||Thompson, Luke|
|Hanley, Dennis A.||Murray-Phillpson, Hylton Raiph||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Hartland. George A.||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)||Nunn, William||Train, John|
|Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||O'Donovan, Dr. William James||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)||Penny, Sir George||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)||Percy, Lord Eustace||Wallace, John (DunferMilne)|
|Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Perkins, Walter R. D.||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Petherick, M.||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford)||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple.)||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Pike, Cecil F.||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Herbert, Capt. S. (Abbey Division)||Procter, Major Henry Adam||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.||Watt. Captain George Steven H.|
|Hopkinson, Austin||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour|
|Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Hornby, Frank||Ramsden, Sir Eugene||Whyte, Jardine Bell|
|Horsbrugh, Florence||Rankin, Robert||Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)|
|Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.||Ray, Sir William||Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)||Windsor-Clive. Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Hume, Sir George Hopwood||Reid, David D. (County Down)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)||Reid, William Allan (Derby)||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)||Remer. John R.||Young, Rt. Hon Sir Hilton (S'v'noaki)|
|Jesson, Major Thomas E.||Renwick, Major Gustav A.|
|Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)||Major George Davies and Lord|
|Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)||Erskine.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.)||McGovern, John|
|Banfield, John William||Groves, Thomas E.||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Coven)|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Grundy, Thomas W.||Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot|
|Briant, Frank||Halt, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Mander, Geoffrey le M.|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Harris, Sir Percy||Maxton, James|
|Buchanan, George||Hicks, Ernest George||Milner, Major James|
|Cape, Thomas||Hirst, George Henry||Nathan, Major. H. L.|
|Cripps. Sir Stafford||Janner, Barnett||Owen, Major Goronwy|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Price, Gabriel|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Kirkwood, David||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Edwards, Charles||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Smith, Tom (Normanton)|
|Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Lawson, John James||Tinker, John Joseph|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Leonard, William||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglessa)||Logan, David Gilbert||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Lunn, William|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||McEntee, Valentine L.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Mr. John and Mr. C. Macdonald.|
§ 10.7 p.m.
§ Mr. JANNER
I beg to move, in page 3, line 7, after the word "apply," to insert the words:as from the thirty-first day of December, nineteen hundred and thirty-two.My reason for raising this point is, that, owing to the fact that the Bill is likely to come into operation shortly, there is a good deal of forestalling in regard to the measures which are coming into force. The matter is one of considerable importance, and hon. Members will realise that that is so when they hear the type of letter which is to-day being sent by some landlords to their tenants in respect of this Bill. I have a copy of the letter, which reads:We have been instructed by your landlord to refer you to his previous offers of compensation for vacant possession of the house you occupy as above, and as you are aware, the new Rent Bill is at the moment being passed through Parliament and will come into operation early this year. Immediately this Act has been passed all offers of compensation will definitely be withdrawn"—That is underlined and in Capttal letters—Therefore, if you think you would be able to take advantage of this last opportunity"—I should be much obliged if hon. Members who are making so much noise would give me an opportunity to state the reasons for my Amendment.
§ Mr. JANNER
I am exceedingly sorry. That is my fault. It is a manuscript Amendment which is being moved with the idea of throwing the operation of this Bill back to December, 1932, so that there should be no forestalling. I was reading a letter which, in my view, was a very serious letter, and one which I believe the House will realise should be taken into consideration when coming to a conclusion about the Amendment I am now proposing. In those circumstances, I shall continue to read the letter. It says:Therefore, if you think that you would be able to take advantage of this last opportunity of receiving a substantial amount of compensation for possession, please let us hear from you at once."—That is underlined—We might add that we are instructed that any reasonable sum will be given pro- 142 viding you agree to move out within six or eight weeks' time. On hEarlng from you, one of our representatives will be pleased to call, by appointment, on you any time during the day or evening if you will kinaly telephone"—Then they give a number—or write us on the matter. If it will be more convenient for you to call here …perhaps you will drop us a postcard.That is a very serious thing. This letter, which is a cyclostyled document, has been sent to a large number of tenants by the individuals who sent it to the person whose name is on this letter. I am sure that no hon. Member will desire to make himself a party to enabling action of this description to be successful with regard to tenants. I am given to understand that quite a number of speculators are adopting a course of this description. The result is that a layman who does not understand what his position will be, and who might consider a very small amount to be reasonable compensation, would be beguiled into accepting that compensation and consequently losing the benefit of the Acts. A greater trouble will arise, because if an individual accepted compensation in that way, the house would be taken out of the provisions of the Acts, in so far as it would come into the possession of the landlord prior to the operation of this Bill and so a large number of houses might very easily be taken out of the scope of this, Measure.
In view of that, I think that I was justified in saying that this is a serious matter, and I hope that the Government will appreciate that this type of thing is happening and that they will nullify the effect of such action by people who desire to take advantage of the position. I am sure that the Government will forgive me in reminding them that they were very concerned about forestalling in another connection, and that they took such measures as in their wisdom they thought fit to prevent it. There is quite as much cause for precautions to be taken in respect of forestalling in these circumstances. I do not think that any further argument is necessary to convInce hon. Members that the Amendment should be supported, and that speculation of the description to which I have referred should be stopped as speedily as possible.
§ 10.14 p.m.
§ Mr. SHAKESPEARE
The Amendment moved by the hon. Member for Whiteehapel (Mr. Janner) will need a lot more argument to convInce us that it is justified. In the first place, I have a very great objection to any form of retrospective legislation. The Amendment would be introducing recontrol of houses which have been automatically decontrolled last December. What is the matter with August, September or October? If you are talking of houses that are to come back into control, why not go back one year, five years or 10 years? I see no reason for drawing a distinction. If you recontrol a house which has become decontrolled even within the last four or five months, you will very often do injustice to someone. New rights have been created in respect of decontrolled houses, and to recontrol them now would upset some of those rights.
The hon. Member talks about forestalling as though all that the landlord had to do, when he knew that we were going to pass this Bill, was to get the tenant out. There is, however, no analogy between forestalling here and forestalling in the case of import duties. You cannot get a tenant out, even under the present law, without the usual procedure of going to the court, and you can only go to the court on specified grounds which are well known to everyone. I do not think, therefore, that that argument will hold water. We are very much opposed to this form of retrospective legislation, which, indeed, was rejected by the whole of the Marley Committee, on which, it may satisfy my hon. Friend the Member for South-West Bethnal Green (Sir P. Harris) to know, there was a distinguished Liberal in the person of Sir Ernest Simon. For the reasons which I have given, the main one of which is the retrospective character of the proposal, the Government cannot accept the Amendment.
§ 10.17 p.m.
§ Sir P. HARRIS
I am considerably surprised by the speech of my hon. Friend, who also was, and, I suppose, still claims to be, a Liberal. He claims to be greatly concerned that injustice should not be done, but, after all, the weakest party to the contract in these cases is generally the tenant, and all that we want to do is to get reasonable pro- 144 tection for him. As I have said already, the average occupier of a house, unfortunately, is not conversant with all the intricacies of legislation that passes through the House of Commons. He hears vaguely that his occupation of a particular property is in danger; he is naturally nervous; and then he receives an alarming letter of this character. What concerns me most about this letter is that it is a circular letter—it is "roneo'ed." It has obviously been sent broadcast by a very clever and apparently very experienced firm of estate agents and valuers. I do not know why we should be bashful about mentioning the name of the firm. I do not want to give them a free advertisement, but I am quite prepared to hand the letter to the hon. Gentleman. There is no question about its genuineness, and there is no doubt about its purpose. The purpose is to alarm, to intimidate, to bring pressure upon, the tenant of particular premises to give up the rights which he has under previous Acts of Parliament to reasonable protection under the law.
The hon. Gentleman asked, Why not go back two, three, four or five years? I will tell him why. Because we are reasonable, practical people, and we are dealing with this particular Bill which is before the House. All that we are asking—it is nothing revolutionary or violent—is a reasonable concession to protect the right of tenants, which has been given to them deliberately by the House of Commons, to reasonable protection because of the shortage of houses in most of our great cities. As a matter of fact—and too much publicity cannot be given to it—there are in this letter statements which are really against the facts of the case, because it rather suggests that the tenant has no rights under this Bill. He has some rights, but it is quite clear that, if he takes compensation now in anticipation of the dangers that he may suffer in the future, those rights will be lost. I hope the Minister will be more sweetly reasonable than the less experienced Parliamentary Secretary when he has seen this letter. I do not think it is the kind of document that should be sent to tenants. I think the right hon. Gentleman has a great obligation to insert some words to protect tenants against circulars of this most undesirable character.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."146
§ The House divided: Ayes, 53; Noes, 259.147
|Division No. 172.]||AYES.||[10.20 p.m.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Mander, Geoffrey le M.|
|Banfield, John William||Hamilton, Sir R.W.(Orkney & Zetl'nd)||Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Harris, Sir Percy||Maxton, James|
|Buchanan, George||Hicks, Ernest George||Milner, Major James|
|Cape, Thomas||Hirst, George Henry||Nathan, Major H. L.|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||John, William||Owen, Major Goronwy|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Price, Gabriel|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Edwards, Charles||Kirkwood, David||Rea, Walter Russell|
|Evans, David Owen (Cardigan)||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.)||Laweon, John James||Smith, Tom (Normanton)|
|Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Leonard, William||Tinker, John Joseph|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Logan, David Gilbert||White, Henry Graham|
|George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea)||Lunn, William||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Williams, Thomas (York., Don Valley)|
|McEntee, Valentine L.|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.)||McGovern, John||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Groves, Thomas E.||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Mr. Janner and Mr. Briant.|
|Grundy, Thomas W.||Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Hore-Belisha, Leslie|
|Altchison, Rt. Hon. Cralgie M.||Cross, R. H.||Hornby, Frank|
|Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent)||Crossley, A. C.||Horobin, Ian M.|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Horsbrugh, Florence|
|Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Culverwell, Cyril Tom||Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.|
|Apsley, Lord||Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Hume, Sir George Hopwood|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset,Yeovil)||Jesson, Major Thomas E.|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Dickie, John P.||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Doran, Edward||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)|
|Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)||Duckworth, George A. V.||Ker, J. Campbell|
|Balniel, Lord||Duggan, Hubert John||Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Kerr, Hamilton W.|
|Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar||Eastwood, John Francis||Kimball, Lawrence|
|Bateman, A. L,||Elliston, Captain George Sampson||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Elmley, Viscount||Law, Sir Alfred|
|Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury)||Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)|
|Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th.C.)||Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||Leckie, J. A.|
|Beit, Sir Alfred L.||Everard, W. Lindsay||Leech, Dr. J. W.|
|Benn, Sir Arthur Shirley||Fade, Sir Bertram G.||Lees-Jones, John|
|Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn)||Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Leighton, Major B. E. P.|
|Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton)||Ford, Sir Patrick J.||Levy, Thomas|
|Bird Sir Robert B. (Wolverh'pton W.)||Fox, Sir Gifford||Llewellin, Major John J.|
|Boothby, Robert John Graham||Fraser, Captain Ian||Lloyd, Geoffrey|
|Borodale, Viscount.||Fremantle, Sir Francis||Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)|
|Boulton, W. W.||Fuller, Captain A. G.||Loder, Captain J. de Vere|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Ganzoni, Sir John||Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander|
|Braithwaite, Maj. A. N. (Yorks, E. R.)||Gillett, Sir George Masterman||Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Glossop, C. W. H.||Lymington, Viscount|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Goff, Sir Park||Lyons, Abraham Montagu|
|Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Goldie, Noel B.||Mabane, William|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G.(Partick)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Sower, Sir Robert||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)|
|Brown,Col. D. C. (N'th'I'd. Hexham)||Graham, Sir F. Fergus (Cmb'rl'd, N.)||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Greene, William P. C.||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C.(Berks., Newb'y)||Grenfell, E. C. (City of London)||McKie, John Hamilton|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Grimston, R. V.||McLean, Major Sir Alan|
|Burghley, Lord||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)|
|Burnett, John George||Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||Macquisten, Frederick Alexander|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.|
|Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley)||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.|
|Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley)||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Marsden, Commander Arthur|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Hanbury, Cecil||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John|
|Cassels, James Dale||Hanley, Dennis A.||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (P'rtsm'th, S.)||Hartland, George A.||Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington. E.)||Harvey, George (Lambeth.Kenningt'n)||Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale|
|Clayton, Dr. George C.||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)||Moreing, Adrian C.|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)||Morris, John Patrick (Salford, N.)|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Morrison, William Shepherd|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Cheimsf'd)||Muirhead, Major A. J.|
|Cooke, Douglas||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Munro, Patrick|
|Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Herbert, Capt. S. (Abbey Division)||Murray-Phllipson, Hylton Raiph|
|Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Salmon, Sir Isidore||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Nunn, William||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Thompson, Luke|
|O'Donovan, Dr. William James||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Penny, Sir George||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Percy, Lord Eustace||Savery, Samuel Servington||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Perkine, Walter R. D.||Scone, Lord||Train, John|
|Petherick, M.||Selley, Harry R.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnttaple)||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Pike, Cecil F.||Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.||Wallace, John (Dunfernniine)|
|Procter, Major Henry Adam||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Raikes, Henry V. A. M.||Slater, John||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midiothian)||Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Ramsden, Sir Eugene||Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-in-F.)||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Rankin, Robert||Smith, R. W.(Ab'rd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)||Watt, Captain George Steven H.|
|Ray, Sir William||Smith-Carington, Neville W.||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour|
|Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)||Soper, Richard||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Reid, William Allan (Derby)||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.||Whyte, Jardine Bell|
|Remer, John R.||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Renwick, Major Gustav A.||Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.||Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxtetff)|
|Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.||Spens, William Patrick||Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)|
|Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)||Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Robinson, John Roland||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)||Winterten, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Rosbotham. Sir Samuel||Stewart, J. H. (Fife, E.)||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Ross, Ronald D.||Storey, Samuel||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)|
|Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.||Strickland, Captain W. F.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Runge, Norah Cecil||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)||Captain Austin Hudson and Mr.|
|Rutherford, John (Edmonton)||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-||Blindell.|
|RuthErierd, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ 10.30 p.m.
§ Mr. JANNER
I beg to move, in page 4, line 7, after the first "court," to insert the words "of the district in which the house is situated."
The purpose of the 'addition of these words is merely to define the courts in which certain proceedings are to be taken. I understand that there is not likely to be objection to the Amendment, and in the circumstances I will not occupy the time of the House.
Sir H. YOUNG
I propose to accept the Amendment.
It is not the intention that litigants should run about all over the country hunting for a court. The Amendment will help to make that more clear.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ 10.32 p.m.
§ Mr. RHYS
I beg to move, in page 5, line 29, at the end, to insert the words:Provided that this Section shall not apply to any dwelling-house which at the date of the passing of this Act was in the actual occupation of the landlord or, if occupied by a tenant, was so occupied solely as a service tenancy.I move the Amendment in order to clarify the position. The Clause deals with the registration of houses, and whether in certain circumstances the 148 houses should be registered as decontrolled or not. Correspondence on the point has taken place between the Ministry of Health and certain organisations. In reply the Ministry have given an interpretation of the registration provision of Clause 2, which may be a correct interpretation, but I am informed that a considerable body of legal opinion does not accept it as the real interpretation. I should be very much obliged if my hon. Friend will assure me that there can be no possible doubt as to the interpretation of the Bill in this connection.
§ Mr. SHAKESPEARE
I can assure my hon. Friend that there is no possible shadow of doubt that both the owner-occupier and the owner of service tenancies are excluded from the Bill. If he will look at Clause 1 he will find that the principal Acts only apply to those dwelling-houses to which they applied at the date of the Act. That means that every decontrolled house that was let at the passing of the Act, every owner-occupied house, every vacant house, was excluded from the Act. The operative word is the word "let." The house which is owner-occupied is right outside the Bill altogether and there is no need for registering. As regards service tenancies, that is governed by the decision of the courts in 1928 that a service tenancy is always in the possession of the landlord, and, being in the possession of the landlord, 149 it is never controlled. I hope I have satisfied my hon. Friend.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.