HC Deb 04 May 1934 vol 289 cc699-704

I beg to move, in page 8, line 23, after "undertakers," to insert "at their own expense."

This is a rather technical matter which brings statutory undertakings as other bodies under the Act.

Amendment agreed to.

3.43 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 8, line 31, at the end, to insert: (7) In this section the expression 'owner'—

  1. (a) in relation to a building occupied under a tenancy for a term of years whereof fire years or more remains unexpired, means the occupier of the building;
  2. (b) in relation to a building occupied under any other tenancy, means the person who is receiving the rack rent or who would receive the rack rent if the building were let at a rack rent;
  3. (c) in relation to a building forming part of an aerodrome licensed pursuant to an order made under the Air Navigation Act, 1920, means (notwithstanding anything in this Sub-section) the person having control of the aerodrome;
and the expression 'own' shall be construed accordingly; and the expression 'rack rent' means in relation to a building a rent which is not less than two-thirds of the full net annual value of the building. This is really a definition Sub-section. It requires the undertakers to obtain the consent of the owner before attaching a bracket to a building, and it seems only fair that where there is a long tenancy, the tenant should be the one to be dealt with.

3.44 p.m.


I think that we ought to have a little more explanation of this Amendment, which covers a very wide extent of ground; it is almost a new Clause. In regard to paragraph (a), we have never been told why five years is stated. If a small bracket is put in a building, it may be of equal concern to a person whether the tenancy is for one, three or five years. Five years is an arbitrary term. I am willing to accept it if any hon. Member can give a real explanation of the position. The Amendment also refers to a building occupied by any other tenancy. That raises the question of rack rents. This is a matter rather beyond my ken; it does not relate to the standardisation of hours, but to the standardisation of rents. This is really not a very small matter. It deals with a question of public convenience. It may be necessary to insert a bracket and poles, and I want to see it made as easily easy as possible, but I do not see why we should accept this Amendment merely because the hon. Member says that it is what we have to do. We are not here for that purpose, and the House will be ill-advised to just open its mouth and swallow this long Amendment without a clear definition of what it means. Perhaps the Parliamentary Secretary can explain it. He has explained many Amendments this afternoon, and he may have something to say about this.


There seems to be some substance in what the hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. C. Williams) has said, and I think it would help if the Parliamentary Secretary would just say a few words.

3.47 p.m.

Lieut.-Colonel HEADLAM

I am always glad to help the hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. C. Williams) if I can. These words were moved in the Committee, but there was apparently some misunderstanding, and the Amendment was disallowed. It is necessary, however, to define the word "owner," and the first part of the Amendment simply de fines the meaning of the word "owner." It is obvious that in the case of a long tenancy the person really interested is the tenant—


The matters on which we feel concern are not so much what the Amendment means, we understand that, but what we want to know is whether the Parliamentary Secretary is satisfied that it is a good interpretation.

Lieut.-Colonel HEADLAM

I am satisfied that it is a good interpretation and that it is necessary.


The Parliamentary Secretary says that there was a misunderstanding in Committee. Are we to understand that the Committee turned down words which we are now being asked to put in?

Lieut.-Colonel HEADLAM

I cannot recollect if this Amendment was actually proposed in Committee, but the question of the necessity of a definition of "owner" was discussed, and these words are introduced to carry it out.


Are we contradicting a decision of the Committee?

Lieut.-Colonel HEADLAM

No, I do not think that we are doing that.

3.50 p.m.


There is an important principle here. For the first time the word "owner" is being defined and, apparently, it means a tenancy of five years and upwards. The House, I am

sure, does not want to give away the rights of an owner to a tenant of five years.

3.51 p.m.


The House of Commons is the best place for getting cheap law. Last Friday we had many sound lawyers and incipient judges giving their opinion on most abstract points of law. Now we are proposing to define an owner, and it is a serious thing that in such a small Bill as this we should put in the definition of an owner as one who has a lease on premises for five years or more. I think we should be careful before we accept this definition. Probably the hon. and learned Member in charge of the Bill has no strong objections to the Amendment. All this afternoon he has reminded me of the passage— A little still she strove, and much repented, and whispring 'I will ne'er consent'—consented.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."

The House divided : Ayes, 78; Noes, 53.

Division No. 244.] AYES. [3.53 p.m.
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M. Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)
Aske, Sir Robert William Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P. Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)
Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet) Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston) Remer, John R.
Broadbent, Colonel John Howard, Tom Forrest Rickards, George William
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Runge, Norah Cecil
Cadogan, Hon. Edward Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries) Rutherford, John (Edmonton)
Caporn, Arthur Cecil Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg) Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Ker, J. Campbell Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart
Clayton, Sir Christopher Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton Scone, Lord
Cooke, Douglas Leckle, J. A. Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.
Crossley, A. C. Lindsay, Noel Ker Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.) Summersby, Charles H.
Denman, Hon. R. D. Lovat Fraser, James Alexander Sutcliffe, Harold
Denville, Alfred McCorquodale, M. S. Tate, Mavis Constance
Duckworth, George A. V. McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston) Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles
Emmott, Charles E. G. C. Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.
Entwistle, Cyril Fullard Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.) Whyte, Jardine Bell
Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare) Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Evans, David Owen (Cardigan) Milner, Major James Wills, Wilfrid D.
Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Unlv) Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr) Wilmot, John
Goodman, Colonel Albert W. Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth) Wise, Alfred R.
Grimston, R. V. Penny, Sir George Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, I.)
Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H. Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)
Hales, Harold K. Pownall, Sir Assheton TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Hamilton, Sir R. W. (Orkney & Zetl'nd) Raikes, Henry V. A. M. Sir George Hume and Brigadier-
Hanley, Dennis A. Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich) General Nation.
Albery, Irving James Davies, David L. (Pontypridd) Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Dickie, John P. Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)
Attlee, Clement Richard Dobbie, William Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Edwards, Charles Lindsay, Kenneth (Kilmarnock)
Banfield, John William Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin) Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'ndsw'th)
Bossom, A. C. Galbraith, James Francis Wallace Mabane, William
Brocklebank, C. E. R. George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke) McEntee, Valentine L.
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks., Newb'y) George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea) McGovern, John
Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm Goldie, Noel B. McKie, John Hamilton
Cape, Thomas Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) McLean, Major Sir Alan
Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City) Groves, Thomas E. Magnay, Thomas
Courthope, Colonel Sir George L. Grundy, Thomas W. Maitland, Adam
Daggar, George Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford) Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streetham)
O'Donovan, Dr. William James Smith, Tom (Normanton) Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)
Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H. Somervilte, Annesley A. (Windsor) Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Renwick, Major Gustav A. Strauss, Edward A.
Ropner, Colonel L. Thorne, William James TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge) Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull) Mr. C. Brown and Mr. C. Macdonald.
Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Unv., Belfast) Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Joslah

It being after Four of the Clock, and objection being taken to further Proceeding, further consideration of the Bill, as amended stood adjourned.

Bill, as amended (in the Standing Committee), to be further considered upon Monday next.

The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.

Whereupon Mr. SPEAKER adjourned the House, without Question put, pursuant to Standing Order No. 2.

Adjourned at Three Minutes after Four o'Clock.