HC Deb 07 July 1938 vol 338 cc763-82

Lords Amendment: In page 57, line 26, after "profession," insert: or a person who has had experience in the management of land or with business experience.

12.2 a.m.

Captain Crookshank

I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

This Amendment deals with the chairmanship of the Central Valuation Board and is inserted in the fear that possibly the Lord Chancellor might not be able to find a person who is a member of the legal profession for appointment to the Board who would be suitable for that appointment.

12.3 a.m.

Mr. Herbert Morrison

The defence of this Amendment by the Secretary for Mines is very quaint, and I am sure he does not take it seriously himself and will not expect us to do so either. It is a common practice in appointing independent chairmen to select members of the legal profession, and at any rate we have the satisfaction of knowing that lawyers act for both sides, for all sorts of sides, according to the views of the client who is briefing them. Therefore, there is quite a good case for the appointment, if possible, of people with legal experience to positions where independent judicial judgment is required, but it seems to me that it is a new doctrine to assume that this kind of judicial independence will be secured equally by the appointment of a person who has had experience in the management of land or who has had business experience. This Amendment has been inserted in another place obviously for a purpose, and the purpose was not because the Lord Chancellor could not find a competent lawyer to discharge this independent function. That really is nonsense, and the Secretary for Mines must not expect us to take that at all seriously. There is no shortage of competent lawyers to fill the appointment that will be required under this Schedule. What the members of another place wanted was to secure a bias in the direction of the landowner on the part of this Central Valuation Tribunal. If they wanted the typical person who is represented politically by members of their Lordships' House they could not have done much better for themselves than making provision for the appointment of persons who have had experience in the management of land, because 70 or 80 per cent. of them are thoroughly reactionary and conservative in their outlook and therefore good representatives of those who put forward this Amendment in another place. When the Patronage Secretary has finished his customary habit of interrupting we can get on with the business. [Interruption.] It is so, and I am entitled to protest.

This Amendment was not made for the purpose of preserving the independence of the chairman, but with the object of impairing that independence—it was deliberately done for that purpose. To a less extent, possibly, but to a considerable extent, at any rate, the same observation applies to the proposal that the person appointed shall have business experience. I will give an analogy. Suppose it were a question of determining the qualifications of the chairman of the Industrial Court, to which is referred cases concerning wages, and suppose an Amendment were submitted saying that the selection might be made not only from those experienced in the law but those experienced in the fixing of wages, as officials of trade unions. Nobody could deny that such a person would know a great deal about the relations of employers and employed and the fixing of wages, but precisely because his knowledge and experience had been gained on one side in the industrial battle rather than the other it would be objected that he would have a bias. In the same way we object to this Amendment. It will not extend the field of choice but is calculated to undermine the basis of the independence of the chairman. For these reasons we object to this Amendment, and we must treat with contempt, as no doubt he does himself, the defence made of it by the Secretary for Mines.

12.9 a.m.

Mr. MacLaren

Everybody knows that valuations in the mining industry are the most difficult and perhaps the most highly technical form of valuation, and I do not think it is right that the position should be left as the Amendment leaves it. The Bill says that the Chairman shall be a member of the legal profession, and I have no objection to that, but I know that there are persons who are not only trained legally but trained in valuation work, and I think it is highly necessary that the chairman of a valuation board should know something about the technique of valuation. From that point of view I do not think the Amendment helps at all. I am inclined to agree with the speech of the right hon. Member for South Hackney (Mr. H. Morrison), because it has been my experience that gentlemen who have been in the habit of managing land are not altogether, shall I say, up to date in their views on political matters, to say the least of it. I have intervened only to protest that this appointment should not have been kept an entirely legal appointment and should apply to a person of business experience or experience in the management of land. These questions of valuation are highly technical and involved, and if it is at all possible the Minister should see to it that the chairman of the Valuation Board should be not merely a legal person but one acquainted with the technicalities of the valuation of minerals.

12.11 a.m.

Mr. Davidson

I make no apology for intervening at this late hour, because this Bill affects Scotland arid Scottish interests, and we are entitled to ask the Secretary for Mines or a legal representative of the Government for a further explanation of it. I can speak with particular knowledge of those who, in Scotland, have had something to do with the ownership and management of land. Scottish landlords and those who have had the management of land are, as in England, reactionary individuals who cannot truly represent the nation, and are the type of person that has given rise to the demand for independent chairmen in matters of legislation. They are the reactionary landlords of Scotland.

I want to know exactly what is meant by this Amendment. For example, the practical intricacies of land management in Scotland are usually carried out by factors; I am sure that the Secretary for Mines will not attempt to tell us that the Lords desire that type of person to be the independent chairman of the Valuation Board. They really mean the landlords of this country, and they are giving them facilities not only to be compensated by the Commission throughout this Bill, but facilities to act as independent chairmen of the valuation boards that will affect to a very great extent conditions in the mining industry.

With regard to business experience, I was immediately struck by the point—although I do not think that their Lordships meant it—that we could have, under that qualification, as chairmen of valuation boards, either the Cameron of Lochiel of the Highlands, or Sir Harry Lauder, because of their business experience. The Secretary for Mines should recognise that this provision does not deal with the matter as it should be dealt with. I would rather have the Clause as it stands, providing for the appointment of an independent person, being a member of the legal profession, and definitely restricting the chairmanship to that particular profession. While the legal profession has many faults, and while there are many black sheep in it who fail to give us proper interpretations of certain Clauses in the Bill, generally speaking, I recognise that the legal profession is an honourable profession. [Hon. Members: "Hear, hear."] I grant that to the legal profession. But would hon. Members say "Hear, hear" if I said that the landlords of this country were an honourable section of the community? Would they say "Hear, hear" if I said that the business people of this country were an honourable section of the community? We might have a Hatry or some person of that description, with great business experience, as chairman of such a Valuation Board.

If I were the Whip of this party, whipping up the mining Members, I would tell them to carry on this discussion until we had an assurance from the Minister that this whole question would be reconsidered. Undoubtedly this Amendment has been inserted by the other House for the purpose of widening the scope of the chairmanship of the Valuation Board, so that certain interests may be represented. The Secretary for Mines and the President of the Board of Trade know that perfectly well, and, if they could stand up and divest themselves of their party obligations, they would say, "This is a bad Amendment; it is not the kind of Amendment that I as Minister for Mines or President of the Board of Trade would desire." It is an Amendment that restricts the work, the capabilities and the efficiency of these boards, and can bring all kinds of vested interests into the chairmanship of these boards. It should be repudiated by Members on all sides of the House.

12.17 a.m.

Mr. Jagger

One point has not been stressed in favour of leaving the Bill as it is. While I am not prepared to offer the same eulogies as the last speaker with regard to the legal profession, we must admit that at least the legal profession are trained to understand the laws of evidence and to weigh the value of evidence. That gives them their only claim to a position of this kind, and I hope that the Bill will be passed in the form in which it now stands.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker rose to put the Question.

Sir S. Cripps

Surely we are going to have an answer. The remark with which this Amendment was introduced cannot have been a serious remark. Surely we are to have some explanation of the reasons why we are asked to agree with the Amendment.

12.19 a.m.

Captain Crookshank

It is perfectly simple; it is only a question of one chairman—

Sir S. Cripps rose

Captain Crookshank

The hon. and learned Gentleman asked me to say something, and, before I have finished one sentence, he rises to interrupt me. He appreciates, I am sure, though I do not think that hon. Members behind him quite appreciate, that there is only one Board with which we are here concerned, namely, the Central Valuation Board. It has nothing to do with the regional boards. I am not going to discuss what the Board has to do; this is merely a question of who shall be the chairman. As the Bill left us, it was decided that he chairman should be an independent legal person, and in the other House an Amendment was inserted which is merely an alternative. There is nothing to prevent an independent legal chairman being appointed. But, supposing that for some reason a completely suitable legal person could not be found with the full necessary qualifications, as is quite possible—an hon. Member opposite said he thought it ought to be a landlord—then, since the appointment has to be made very soon after the passing of the Bill, it is desirable that it should be open to appoint someone who is equally independent but is not a legal person. There is no suggestion that: a person who has had experience in the management of land or with business experience may not be a legal person. This Board's functions are very narrow. They have to divide the country up into regions and to draw up rules of valuation which, if a further Amendment is accepted, will come up for approval in this House. It is a comparatively small function they have to perform, and it is just in case an independent legal person with just the qualifications required cannot be found, so that the whole work may not be held up, that the Amendment is worded in this way.

12.21 a.m.

Sir S. Cripps

This is, if I may say so, the most fatuous explanation I have ever heard. One man is to be appointed. In the City of London there are 2,500 solicitors, apart altogether from barristers. Out of the City of London alone, is it suggested that it would not be possible to find a chairman of the Central Valuation Board? Then there are the other big cities. There are tens of thousands of people available, and nobody will believe the explanation put forward by the Minister. The fact that he has put it forward shows that the real explanation is too disgraceful for him to suggest.

12.22 a.m.

Mr. Pritt

Only a little examination is needed to show how absurd that the Government's case is. Between the Bill leaving this House and coming back with its lordly improvements, somebody has discovered that out of all the lawyers in England there may not be one who is fit to act as chairman of the Central Valuation Board. Therefore, words are proposed which say not that in the event of no lawyer being compos mentis somebody shall be appointed who is compos mentis, but that somebody who has had experience of land management, and will be partial as a judge, shall be appointed.

Mr. Stanley

What sides are there on the Central Valuation Board?

Mr. Pritt

The President solemnly asks what sides there are on the Central Valuation Board. There is somebody who wants to have more than he ought to have, and somebody else who wants to pay less than he ought to pay. The other qualification is business experience. It has been often asked why should a person who spends his whole life preferring his private advantage to the public advantage be considered a suitable person to deal with questions of public advantage. But the matter does not stop there. The independent person who has had experience in the management of land would be very likely to be a person suitable to be recommended by the president of the Chartered Surveyors' Institution.

"The appointments … shall be made by the Board of Trade after consultation, in the case of the chairman of the Board, with the Lord Chancellor."

You must not ask the president of the Chartered Surveyors' Institution. If you want to find a person who has had experience in the management of land or with business experience, you ask the Lord Chancellor, and later, when you want to appoint other members of the Board, you are to ask the president of the Chartered Surveyors' Institution. This is to go out to the country as the product of the united wisdom of the House of Lords. Representatives of the Government do not get up and produce a reason for this. They do not produce one because there is not one.


Mr. Ede

In view of the alteration which is now proposed in the wording of this Clause, is there any person now in mind to be appointed? Those of us who recollect the incident about Sir Ernest Gowers, when he was appointed under the Act of 1930, are entitled to inquire whether there is some person who is now being considered for this post who does not possess the qualification that was requisite when the Bill originally left this House.


Mr. Stanley

Certainly not. The answer is "No," and in any case, I certainly could not dream, before the Bill becomes an Act of Parliament, of talking in public as to whether to consider this or that person. I can say that there is no truth whatever in the innuendo of the hon. Gentleman that we are already considering, for some disgraceful reason, the appointment of somebody who otherwise, before this Amendment, could not be appointed.

Question put, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

The House divided: Ayes, 150; Noes, 89.

Division No. 288.] AYES. [12.27 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J. Baldwin-Webb, Col. J. Bossom, A. C.
Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.) Barclay-Harvey, Sir C. M. Boulton, W. W.
Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G. Beauchamp, Sir B. C. Boyce, H. Leslie
Apsley, Lord Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h) Bracken, B.
Aske, Sir R. W. Bernays, R. H. Briscoe, Capt. R. G.
Baillie, Sir A. W. M. Bird, Sir R. B. Broadbridge, Sir G. T.
Butcher, H. W. Gridley, Sir A. B. Radford, E. A.
Cartland, J. R. H. Grigg, Sir E. W. M. Ramsbotham, H.
Cary, R. A. Gunston, Capt. Sir D. W. Rankin, Sir R.
Castlereagh, Viscount Hambro, A. V. Rayner, Major R. H.
Cayzer, Sir C. W. (City of Chester) Hannah, I. C. Reed, A. C. (Exeter)
Channon, H. Haslam, Henry (Horncastle) Reid, W. Allan (Derby)
Clarke, Colonel R. S. (E. Grinstead) Heilgers, Captain F. F. A. Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)
Clydesdale, Marquess of Hely-Hutchinson, M. R. Robinson, J. R. (Blackpool)
Cobb, Captain E. C. (Preston) Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P. Ropner, Colonel L.
Colville, Rt. Hon. John Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R.
Conant, Captain R. J. E. Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth) Salmon, Sir I.
Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.) Higgs, W. F. Salt, E. W.
Courthope, Col. Rt. Hon. Sir G. L. Holdsworth, H. Samuel, M. R. A.
Cox, H. B. Trevor Holmes, J. S. Scott, Lord William
Craven-Ellis, W. Horsbrugh, Florence Selley, H. R.
Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.) Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)
Crossley, A. C. Hulbert, N. J. Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)
Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil) Joel, D. J. B. Somervell, Rt. Hon. Sir Donald
De la Bére, R. Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.) Southby, Commander Sir A. R. J.
Dixon, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. Lamb, Sir J. Q. Spears, Brigadier-General E. L.
Doland, G. F. Latham, Sir P. Spens, W. P.
Donner, P. W. Law, R. K. (Hull, S.W.) Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'm'l'd)
Dorman-Smith, Major Sir R. H. Lennox-Boyd, A. T. L. Stourton, Major Hon. J. J.
Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side) Loftus. P. C. Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)
Dugdale, Captain T. L. Lyons, A. M. Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.
Duncan, J. A. L. Mabane, W. (Huddersfield) Tasker, Sir R. I.
Eastwood, J. F. M'Connell, Sir J. Tate, Mavis C.
Edmondson, Major Sir J. McCorquodale, M. S. Touche, G. C.
Ellis, Sir G. Macdonald, Capt. P. (Isle of Wight) Walker-Smith, Sir J.
Emmott, C. E. G. C. McKie, J. H. Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Entwistle, Sir C. F. Macmillan, H. (Stockton-on-Tees) Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)
Errington, E. Macnamara, Major J. R. L. Wardlaw-Milne, Sir J. S.
Evans, D. O. (Cardigan) Makins, Brigadier-General Sir Ernest Watt, Major G. S. Harvie
Everard, W. L. Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Wayland, Sir W. A.
Fox, Sir G. W. G. Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J. Wells, Sir Sydney
Fremantle, Sir F. E. Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth) Whiteley, Major J. P. (Buckingham)
Furness, S. N. Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Williams, H. G. (Croydon, S.)
Fyfe, D. P. M. Moreing, A. C. Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Gledhill, G. Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H. Womersley, Sir W. J.
Gluckstein, L. H. Nicholson, G. (Farnham) Wood, Hon. C. I. C.
Glyn, Major Sir R. G. C. Nicolson, Hon. H. G. Wragg, H.
Goldie, N. B. Palmer, G. E. H. Wright, Wing-Commander J. A. C.
Gower, Sir R. V. Patrick, C. M.
Grant-Ferris, R. Peake, O. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester) Procter, Major H. A. Mr. James Stuart and. Mr. Munro.
Acland, R. T. D. (Barnstaple) Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel) Pearson, A.
Adams, D. (Consett) Hayday, A. Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.) Henderson, A. (Kingswinford) Poole, C. C.
Anderson, F. (Whitehaven) Henderson, J. (Ardwick) Price, M. P.
Banfield, J. W. Hills, A. (Pontefract) Pritt, D. N.
Barnes, A. J. Hollins, A. Richards, R. (Wrexham)
Barr, J. Hopkin, D. Ridley, G.
Batey, J. Jagger, J. Ritson, J.
Bellenger, F. J. Jenkins, A. (Pontypool) Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Brom.)
Bromfield, W. Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath) Silkin, L.
Brown, C. (Mansfield) John, W. Silverman, S. S.
Burke, W. A. Jones, A. C. (Shipley) Simpson, F. B.
Cripps, Hon. Sir Stafford Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)
Collindridge, F. Kelly, W. T. Smith, E. (Stoke)
Daggar, G. Kirby, B. V. Smith, T. (Normanton)
Dalton, H. Lawson, J. J. Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)
Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill) Leach, W. Stokes, R. R.
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Lee, F. Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Dobbie, W. Lunn, W. Thurtle, E.
Dunn, E. (Rother Valley) Macdonald, G. (Ince) Tinker, J. J.
Ede, J. C. McEntee, V. La T. Tomlinson, G.
Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty) McGhee, H. G. Watkins, F. C.
Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H. MacLaren, A. Wilkinson, Ellen
Frankel, D. Marshall, F. Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)
George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey) Messer, F. Williams, T. (Don Valley)
Gibson, R. (Greenock) Milner, Major J. Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)
Grenfell, D. R. Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Haekney, S.) Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)
Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth) Noel-Baker, P. J.
Groves, T. E. Oliver, G. H. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Guest, Dr. L. H. (Islington, N.) Paling, W. Mr. Mathers and Mr. Adamson.
Hall. G. H. (Aberdare) Parkinson, J. A.

Question put, and agreed to.

Lords Amendment: In page 66, line 10, after "Act," insert: or to coal or a mine of which a person is entitled to require a lease to be granted to him under section twelve of this Act.


Captain Crookshank

I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

This Amendment is consequential on one carried yesterday, and it was then explained by my right hon. Friend. The four following Amendments are consequential on this one.

Subsequent Lords Amendments, to page 66, line 25, agreed to.

Lords Amendment: In page 67, line 35, after "Act," insert: or to coal or a mine of which a person is entitled to require a lease to be granted to him under section twelve of this Act.

Captain Crookshank

I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

This Amendment is consequential.

Lords Amendment: In page 68, line 26, at the end, insert: Provided that rules under this paragraph shall not be made until a draft thereof has been approved by a resolution passed by each House of Parliament.

Captain Crookshank

I beg to move, "That this House doth agreed with the Lords in the said Amendment."

Certain rules have to be drawn up by the Central Valuation Board with regard to the methods for securing uniformity of valuation.


Sir S. Cripps

The only thing I am afraid about in connection with this Amendment is that it will give the other House an opportunity of completely hanging up the whole proceedings. They only have to refuse to approve these draft rules and everything stops. This is a provision by which there has to be a positive resolution of both Houses before the rules can operate. From what we have seen of the other House with regard to this Bill, it seems to me that it is quite wrong that the people who have opposed everything in this Bill should be able to say, "Now we have a simple way of doing it. We will refuse to approve the rules of the Central Valuation Board," and the complete Bill is finished. I should like to know from the right hon. Gentleman whether he has considered, in view, of the complete lack of control that the Government have over their Lordships' House on matters where their Lordships are interested for themselves and nothing else, and what would happen if their Lordships refused to pass these draft rules by a positive resolution. I should also like to know whether he is satisfied that no such circumstances can arise, because, if not, then this Bill would be finished if such circumstances did arise.


Mr. Stanley

In spite of the mishaps and the slings and arrows of fortune, I still do not despair of a Government majority in another place. A great many people in another place, quite apart from any effect on their own pockets, have felt that this is a question of principle, a principle with which hon. Members opposite may disagree and with which I disagree, but a principle which they hold as strongly as hon. Members and I hold our principles. This, after all, will simply be a question of the way in which this particular valuation is to be carried out, and I do not contemplate the possibility envisaged by the hon. and learned Gentleman.

Sir S. Cripps

Would the right hon. Gentleman give an undertaking that, if such an event did occur, he would introduce legislation to solve the problem at once?

Mr. Stanley

I should, quite certainly. Not in any circumstances would the Government allow the whole scheme to come to naught because of that. If such an event did happen, if it was not simply a question of disagreement with some particular provision that could be got over by some Amendment, and if it was intended to bring the whole Bill to a standstill by the use of this procedure, then most certainly I should take another course.

Lords Amendment: In page 73, line 10, leave out "all purposes, including."

12.42 a.m.

The Attorney-General

I beg to move "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

This is simply a drafting point. As I think I explained when the Bill was in Committee, this Sub-section deals with payments on account and provides that, if a payment is made on account, the person who gets it is debited with 3 per cent. interest, which is subsequently deducted from the compensation. It was desired to provide that no money should actually pass, because the interest would be taken out of the compensation he gets. It was desired to provide that for Income Tax purposes those payments should be deemed to have been made on the anniversary of the day when payment on account is made, but the paragraph as originally drafted says that interest shall be deemed, for all purposes, including purposes of Income Tax, to be paid on those days. It is only for Income Tax purposes that it is necessary or desired, and the words "for all purposes" might raise questions of complication as between life tenants and remaindermen. For those reasons it is better to restrict it to the purposes for which it was intended. This explanation covers the present Amendment and the following one.

Lords Amendment: In page 73, line 13, at the end, insert: and accordingly shall be treated as a proper deduction from income.

Mr. Speaker

I have to inform the House that this Amendment raises a question of Privilege, because it makes clear what is the proper deduction from income for Income Tax purposes.


The Attorney-General

I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

These words arc necessary to make clear what was always intended in this paragraph, namely, that this income, being deducted, and coming off the amount of compensation which subsequently will be obtained, should be entitled to be deducted in the way that interest when paid in the ordinary way is deducted. The necessity for making it clear arises out of a recent decision of the House of Lords dealing with the somewhat different circumstances of a banking overdraft where interest went on mounting up, and whether it would or would not be paid in the end was doubtful. In view of that decision, it is desirable to make clear what was always the intention of the paragraph. In this case the interest is bound to be paid, in that it will be deducted from the compensation received.

Question put, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment," and agreed to.—[Special Entry.]

Lords Amendment: In page 73, line 21, leave out paragraphs 20 and 21, and insert:

"Disposal of compensation as between beneficial interests.

20.—(1) The compensation for a holding when paid by the Commission to the person entitled to receive it from them, including any sum paid on account thereof under the last preceding paragraph, and the income thereof, in order to its being applied as compensation to the persons whose interest are comprised in the holding, be held and disposed of for the benefit of those persons, or their personal representatives or assigns, in accordance with the succeeding provisions of this paragraph. (2) In the case of a holding that consists of or comprises an estate or other interest subject to a settlement within the meaning of the Settled Land Act, 1925, or to a trust for sale the proceeds whereof are subject to a settlement by way of succession, the trustees of the settlement or any Court having jurisdiction in relation to the execution of the trusts of the settlement, and in the case of the Court on the application of any beneficiary under the settlement may require and cause the compensation, or the part thereof attributable to that estate or other interest, as the case may be, to be laid out, invested, accumulated, and paid in such manner as, in the judgment of the trustees or of the Court, as the case may be, will give to the beneficiaries under the settlement the like benefit therefrom as they might lawfully have had from that estate or other interest, or as near thereto as may be, regard being had to the terms of the settlement and to all relevant circumstances affecting the premises in which the holding subsisted including—

  1. (a) the terms of any subsisting coal-mining lease and the operation of any provision therein contained as to undergettings, short workings, and other like matters;
  2. (b) the period within which coal being worked might have been expected to be worked out or coal not being worked might have been expected to come into working and to be worked out; and
  3. (c) the extent to which, having regard to those circumstances, the premises ought to be regarded as property of a wasting character:

Provided that—

  1. (a) where a payment on account of the compensation for the holding has been made under the preceding paragraph before the vesting date, the net income accruing to the trustees before the vesting date from the investment of the sum paid, up to an amount sufficient to make good to the capital of the settlement the interest on that sum brought into account under the last preceding paragraph against the capital of the compensation shall be set aside as capital of the settlement;
  2. (b) subject as aforesaid no part of the income of the compensation shall be required or caused by virtue of this sub-paragraph to he set aside as capital of the settlement.
(3) In the case of a holding that comprises an estate or other interest subject to a mortgage, the compensation (other than any part thereof that is attributable to an estate or other interest not subject to the mortgage) shall be held and disposed of in like manner as if it had been money arising under a power of sale conferred by the mortgage. (4) In the case of a holding that could have been sold as mentioned in sub-paragraph (a) of paragraph eighteen of this Schedule under powers conferred by the Ecclesiastical Leasing Acts, the compensation paid in respect thereof and the income thereof shall be held and disposed of, and the said Acts shall have effect, in like manner as if the compensation had been money paid to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners upon a sale under the said Acts of the premises in which the holding subsisted:

Provided that—

  1. (a) if the holding was a reversion and the rent reserved by the lease was subject, by virtue of a scheme in force under the said Acts, to a direction for the payment thereof to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for the benefit of their common fund, the direction shall have effect in relation to the income of the compensation as it had effect in relation to the rent; and
  2. (b) where a payment on account of the compensation for the holding has been made under the preceding paragraph before the vesting date, the net income accruing before the vesting date from the investment of the sum paid shall be set aside as capital of the compensation.

(5) Money representing compensation attributable to an estate or other interest subject to such a settlement or trust for sale as is mentioned in sub-paragraph (2) of this paragraph, or vested in trustees on or for charitable, ecclesiastical or public trusts or purposes, may, notwithstanding anything in the relevant trust instrument, be invested not only as authorised by law or by the trust instrument but also in or on (a) the stock or other securities of any local authority in the United Kingdom, or (b) the stock, shares or other securities of any statutory undertakers within the meaning of Section thirty-two of this Act, or (c) the debentures or debenture stock or the preference or wholly or partially guaranteed stock or shares of any company incorporated by a special Act of, or provisional order confirmed by, or by or under a public general Act of, the Parliament of the United Kingdom, or incorporated by Royal Charter, being a company which has paid dividends upon its ordinary capital at the rate of at least three per cent per annum for at least the five years next before the time of investment (of which fact a letter purporting to be signed by the secretary of the company or by a banker or member of a firm of bankers or by the secretary or manager of a joint stock bank or of any branch thereof shall be sufficient evidence) or (d) the ordinary or other stock or shares of any company incorporated as aforesaid, being a company which has paid dividends upon its ordinary capital at the rate of at least four per cent per annum for at least the ten years next before the time of investment (of which fact such a letter as aforesaid shall be sufficient evidence):

Provided that the power conferred by this sub-paragraph—

  1. (a) shall not extend to any stock, shares or securities to bearer or subject to any liability for calls or other payments; and
  2. (b) shall be exercisable subject to any consent that would have been requisite if the money had been proposed to be invested as authorised by law or by the trust instrument.
(6) Subject as aforesaid the compensation for a holding and the income thereof shall be held and disposed of in such manner as to confer on the existing owners whose interests are comprised in the holding, their personal representatives or assigns, the like benefits so far as may be, as they would have had from their respective interests in the premises in which the holding subsisted if those premises had not been acquired by the Commission.


The Attorney-General

I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

This is rather a lengthy Amendment. It arises from certain suggestions and representations made when the Bill was in Committee, and it was then suggested that the provisions of the paragraph—paragraph 20 on page 73, as it then was —were not sufficiently specific in describing how compensation was to be apportioned as between the life tenant and the remainderman or between mortgagor and mortgagee in cases where those persons with those rights had interests in the compensation sums. This Amendment deals with both cases where the interest vesting in the Commission is subject to a settlement. Paragraph 2 provides guidance for the trustees, and gives them power to make an apportionment on the lines there laid down, and it also gives power to a beneficiary to apply to the court, if any beneficiary so desires. Subparagraph (3) deals with the case of mortgage. Sub-paragraph (4) deals with the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and really reproduces the provisions applicable to them as they were in the original Bill. Sub-paragraph (5) is an investment Clause giving fairly wide powers of investment in respect of compensation money. It is not unreasonable that there should be a wider latitude than the ordinary latitude given to trustees for investing proceeds of the compensation. Sub-paragraph (6) is a general provision to provide for any cases which may not be specifically covered otherwise.

Lords Amendment: In page 74, line 41, at the end, insert:

"Expenses of Surface Damage Claims. The Commission shall pay the costs and expenses reasonably incurred by any person after the vesting date in connection with a claim for compensation in respect of damage arising from the working of coal to the land, buildings or other property of such person and to which he may he entitled under the provisions of paragraphs 5 and 6 of the Second Schedule to this Act."
Mr. Speaker

This Amendment raises a question of Privilege.

12.48 a.m.

Mr. Stanley

I beg to move: "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

There is some difference as to what this Amendment actually means. I think that perhaps it is my fault, my obstinacy. I am advised that its actual meaning is that the Commission shall pay the cost and expense which are incurred by somebody in prosecuting a claim for compensation in respect of damage from subsidence, which is successful. That, on the whole, is the view which my advisers take of it. If that is the meaning of the Amendment, I can say that it is unnecessary, because I am also advised that, anyhow, the compensation awarded will include the proper cost of prosecuting the claim. I, perhaps with some temerity, have been trying to differ from that, and to think that the words "to which he may be entitled" extend this rather further, and would in fact compel the Commission to pay the costs and expenses even if the claim to compensation was unsuccessful. That is clearly something which no one could contemplate. Whichever meaning is to be attributed to this particular Amendment, it need not, I think, worry us very much, because the noble Lord who moved it in another place made it quite clear during the course of his speech that he meant something quite different from either of these things.

Mr. Pritt

It is something to have made something clear.

Mr. Stanley

Clearly, this House ought not to shelter itself merely behind some misunderstanding in drafting, but, if there is a serious grievance behind the actual intention of the Amendment, we ought to be prepared to deal with it. The meaning of the Amendment as explained by the noble Lord was that at present, when the landlord is also the mineral owner, he is probably employing a land agent who looks after the surface and a mineral agent who looks after the working of the coal. The mineral agent is able to tell the land agent of the stages which are being worked or which have been reached in the working of coal, putting the land agent, therefore, on his guard as to the possibilities of subsidences on the surface. Now it is claimed that, when the coal is severed from the land and taken over by the Commission, there will no longer be a mineral agent employed by the landowner, but only a land agent, who will be unable himself to judge when any of the workings are likely to be dangerous to the land above; and that there will have to be employed what was described, I think, as a watchman to keep a watch on the surface in case of any sign of subsidence. It was further argued that it was only right that the Commission should be called upon to pay these expenses.

Mr. Silverman

On a point of Order. I hesitate to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman, but are we not getting perilously close to mentioning the unmentionable speeches in another place?

Mr. Speaker

I have not heard any speeches definitely quoted.

Mr. Stanley

On that point of Order. Surely it reduces our proceedings here to very great difficulty if one is not allowed, in explaining an Amendment, to say what was the interpretation placed upon it by the Mover in another place? Surely it is for the convenience of the House that we should be allowed to discuss that?

Mr. Speaker

The right hon Gentleman will have noticed that I said I had not heard any speeches definitely quoted. He is perfectly in Order.

Sir S. Cripps

Further on the point of Order. This question was raised because of a Ruling given yesterday—when you, Sir, were not in the Chair—by your Deputy, against an hon. Member reading from a paper an extract of something that it was reported had been said in another place. He was stopped from reading a comment on or a paraphrase of that speech because it was a paraphrase of a speech delivered in another place. That is why the question has been raised on this occasion, because the right hon. Gentleman just now was giving a paraphrase. I quite agree that it is a very convenient course in Debate, but it did seem to be contrary to the Ruling given yesterday.

Mr. R. J. Taylor

I was called to Order when I was paraphrasing what a Noble Lord said in another place. I wondered how far the right hon. Gentleman was going, because I thought that perhaps I should learn how it can be done without getting out of Order.

Mr. Speaker

Each paraphrase must be treated on its merits.

Mr. Stanley

If I may now continue with my paraphrase of paraphrases, I should like to take up the threads of the rather complicated argument I had embarked on, though perhaps it may not be easy. I come now to the argument which I have heard advanced in favour of a claim of this kind. It is in effect that the cost of this man, who has been referred to as a watchman, would be taken into account in these management costs which were deducted before arriving at the £4,430,000 on which finally the price was decided. With regard to the argument as to the watchman, I would remind hon. Members that there are a great many occasions" after all, when the land is separated from the coal, and I should be prepared to wager, if it were in Order to do such a thing, that in not one single instance has it ever been known for the owner of the surface to employ specially a man to do a job of that kind. If he wants a man to watch to see if there is any danger of subsidence, he tells his landlord to watch it, and does not do anything more.

With regard to the question whether this is a cost which was included in the costs which had been deducted, hon. Members will recollect that the cost deducted was based upon the allowance made in respect of Income Tax. I have made inquiries from the appropriate quarter, and am informed that, as for the purpose of Income Tax these claims for compensation are treated as capital returns and not as income, and, therefore, do not come into the Income Tax returns at all; so that any costs incurred in prosecuting these claims would not be allowed to be set off in the Income Tax return. For these reasons I ask the House to disagree with the Lords Amendment.

Sir S. Cripps

We are very glad to support this disagreement. It is apparently a case of cupidity so gross that even the Government reject it.

Lords Amendment: In page 75, line 35, leave out "of this Schedule".

Captain Crookshank

I beg to move "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

This is a drafting Amendment.

Lords Amendment: In page 77, line 28, at the end, insert: (v) Paragraph 20 shall have effect as if for any reference to an estate or other interest subject to a settlement within the meaning of the Settled Land Act, 1925, there were substituted a reference to an estate or other interest subject to a trust within the meaning of the Trusts (Scotland) Act, 1921, or to an entail or to a liferent and any reference to the trustees of the Settlement shall be construed accordingly.

The Attorney-General

I beg to move "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

This is the Scottish adaptation made necessary by the long Amendment which I moved just now.