§ 6.47 p.m.
§ Mr. Johnston
I beg to move, in page 4, line 1, after "subsequently," to insert "but not before the commencement of this Act."
Under the 1926 Act, a landlord was entitled to charge, for a period of 20 years, an increase of 3 per cent. on the rent in respect of his share of the expenditure on improving or reconditioning a cottage. If an amount of £l00, for instance, was expended on improving or reconditioning a cottage, and one-third of the amount was provided by the State, one-third by the local authority and the remaining one-third by the proprietor, the proprietor was entitled to charge 3 per cent. per annum on £33 6s. 8d., and that 3 per cent. was an addition to the normal agricultural rent. Clause 6 of the Bill now before us provides for the increased percentage of the rent to he raised from 3 per cent. to 4 per cent. As I read the Clause, it does not make clear that the landlord will not be able to charge the 4 per cent. retrospectively upon any increased expenditure he may have incurred on a cottage prior to the passing of this Measure.
The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Wedderburn)
Under the 1935 Act, he is now charging 4 per cent. on improvements made before the passing of this Measure.
I am not quite sure whether the Amendment has the same purpose as the next Amendment on the Order Paper, and I cannot quite understand what its effect would be. Under the Housing Act, 1935, the permitted increase was altered from 3 per cent. to 4 per cent.
Not in respect of expenditure incurred before 1935, but for the last three years, 4 per cent. has been the permitted increase. The Amendment is rather meaningless since it reads:but not before the commencement of this Act,but already, before the passing of this Measure, an additional I per cent. was permitted.
§ Mr. Johnston
If I were the proprietor of a cottage and had incurred expenditure in 1928, I should have been permitted td charge an increased rent to the extent of 3 per cent. upon the amount expended in 1928. If I had incurred further expenditure in 1935, after the Act was amended, do I understand that I should have been entitled to charge 4 per cent. not only upon the new work done after 1935, but upon the money expended in 1928 as well?
As I recollect the 1935 Act, I think it was only on subsequent expenditure, but I will confirm that in a minute or two.
§ Mr. Johnston
Evidently there is some doubt on the Treasury Bench; but whatever was done in 1935, we are now dealing with the question of what it is proper to do in 1938. As the Clause is drafted, I submit that it is clear that the proprietor of a cottage, who has already made two, three or four separate pieces of expenditure upon his property, under the Rural Workers Housing Act, some of it at 3 per cent. and some perhaps at 4 per cent., is to be entitled, if the Clause is not amended, to charge an increase of 4 per cent. on past expenditure. He would be allowed an increased rate of f per cent. back to 1926 or 1927. I hope that is not the intention of the Government. If I understand the Under-Secretary correctly, that is what happened after the 1935 Act, and when new work was done on property, the proprietor not only got 4 per cent. with regard to the new work, but got an increase of 1 per cent. on the previous work.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Mr. Bernays)indicated dissent105
§ Mr. Johnston
The Parliamentary Secretary disputes what the Under-Secretary of Scotland said. I ask them to make up their minds which is correct.
I must confirm that. I gather that this Amendment is to protect the position between 1935 and now.
§ Mr. Johnston
If we are correctly informed, and if the increased rate of interest with regard to any improvements made to property after the 1935 Act was passed was not made retrospective, may we be similarly assured that, under this Bill, there is to be no retrospective increases? As I read the Clause, it will be retrospective, and on past expenditure the landlords will get 4 per cent. instead of 3 per cent. If we are correctly advised, and if the two hon. Gentlemen on the Treasury Bench have made up their minds on the subject, I suggest that it is time the Clause was carefully explained to the Committee. If this is to be done, let it be done openly and above board, so that Parliament may know what is happening. If it is not to be done, let the Clause be so amended as to make it clear beyond all doubt that no landlord who has made expenditure in connection with improvements to property shall be entitled to charge 4 per cent. on previous expenditure as well as 4 per cent. on present expenditure.
§ 6.55 p.m.
The position with regard to permitted increases of rent was that, before 1935, the permitted increase was 3 per cent. on the amount paid by the owner, whereas under the Housing Act, 1935, the permitted increase was raised from 3 per cent. to 4 per cent. in respect of works completed after 1st January, 1935. This Clause does not alter the position retrospectively; it refers only to new cases, and does not mean that an additional I per cent. can now be obtained in respect of money spent, let us say, in 1928, but only on additional sums before the passing of this Act and since 1935; that is to say, since the date at which the permitted increase was raised from 3 to 4 per cent. I could not quite make out what was the purpose of this 106 Amendment when the manuscript was handed in. I think that perhaps the whole position with regard to increases of rent can be more fully discussed on the next Amendment, if the right hon. Gentleman intends to move it, but this Clause certainly does not alter the position retrospectively.
§ Mr. Johnston
As drafted at present, the Clause reads:in respect of a dwelling, and subsequently further assistance has been so given in respect of that dwelling.Are we to understand that, without there being any qualification limiting the operation of these words, 4 per cent. is to be charged only upon 1935 payments and 1938 payments, and that there is not to be increase from 3 to 4 per cent. in connection with payments in 1926, 1927 or 1928?
Yes. If the right hon. Gentleman thinks there is any doubt about that point, I will certainly undertake to examine it; but as I read the Clause I cannot see that there is any doubt.
§ Mr. T. Williams
As the 1935 Act amended the 1926 Act, is there any necessity for this Clause, since it appears to deal only with subsequent improvements?
§ 7.0 p.m.
I think the Clause should be taken with Clause 9, which gives power to grant increased assistance for the abatement of overcrowding. That is a new provision. The effect will be that if under Clause 9 further assistance is given in order to relieve overcrowding, in addition to the improvements that have been already carried out, then the permitted increase in rent will be 4 per cent. —that is, 4 per cent. on the portion of the cost that is paid by the owner.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ 7.1 p.m.
§ Mr. Barr
I think there is sufficient reason for opposing this Clause until we can have it further elucidated. We are entitled to make some further inquiry as to why an increase to 4 per cent. should be permitted now, when 3 per cent. was sufficient before. This deals with a case 107 where buildings have been extended and reconditioned, and it is found that that is not sufficient, and further improvement is necessary and, so far as that is paid for by the owner he is permitted to increase the rent by 4 per cent. That does not altogether appeal to me. This is a building that has already been patched up and is found insufficient, and you are going to patch it up again. That may be justified on the ground of relieving overcrowding, but it seems to me a doubtful policy. The fact that what you have done is quite insufficient and you are asking leave to do it again—and for anything we know it might be done still another time —suggests that the real solution is new housing. It is evident that after all your policy of reconditioning is proving insufficient.
§ 7.4 p.m.
This Clause applies only to those houses for which a pecuniary rent can be charged. The greater part of the houses which are reconditioned under the Act are houses attached to a farm, which are rent free, so they are not affected by the provisions for permitting an increase of rent. The only effect of this Clause is to permit an increase of rent to be charged in respect of additional works. If it were not passed the result would be that if the owner of the house had carried out the whole of the work at one time he would be permitted to charge 4 per cent. on his expenditure, whereas if he did the work in two instalments (for example, if he adequately reconditioned the house and in a year or two it became overcrowded and he added another room) then he would not be permitted to charge 4 per cent. on the second expenditure. I do not think there is any good reason for making a distinction of that kind.
§ 7.6 p.m.
§ Mr. Ridley
The Under-Secretary has just made a statement which astonishes me. I understood him to say that the great majority of houses covered by the Bill would be houses in respect of which no pecuniary rent was paid. Am I correct?
I did not say they would be. They are. It always has been so. The great majority of houses attached to a farm are houses for which no rent is paid.
§ Mr. Ridley
That astonishes me. It may be so in Scotland, with which the Under-Secretary is evidently more familiar than he is with the conditions in England and Wales.
I am informed that in England they very often do pay rent, but in Scotland they do not.
§ Mr. Ridley
I have spent a great part of my life in English villages living in the sort of cottages which may or may not be affected by this Bill. I think I shall have the Minister of Agriculture with me when I say that only a very small minority of English agricultural cottages are cottages for which no pecuniary rent is paid, and, so far as England is concerned, Clause 6 covers the great majority of English agricultural labourers.
§ 7.8 p.m.
§ Mr. Maitland
The hon. Gentleman will appreciate that it is only in respect of the amount expended that additional rent can be charged. Whilst I agree that circumstances may be different in Scotland, the landlord is expressly prohibited under this Bill from charging any excess in the rent which is now payable and which was payable before the works were executed.
It was intended to be an explanation rather than a defence, but as a matter of fact the vast majority of houses which have been reconditioned under this Act are in Scotland; comparatively few are in England. The position about English service cottages is that the conditions governing their rents override the power to increase the rent of an improved cottage under the Housing (Rural Workers) Act. Exactly in the same way Clause 6, dealing with a permitted increase, will not affect service cottages in England.
§ 7.11 p.m.
§ Mr. Sexton
On looking at the principal Act referred to in Clause 6 I see words which say thatno fine, premium or other like sum shall be taken in addition to the rent.In this Bill these words are omitted. Does that mean that a fine, premium or other like sum can now be charged in addition to the rent? It is very remarkable that 109 those words were necessary in the principal Act, and are not now
§ Question put, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 204; Noes, 110.111
|Division No. 206.]||AYES.||[7.13 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J.||Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.)||Plugge, Capt. L. F.|
|Adams, S. V. T. Leeds, W.)||Grigg, Sir E. W. M.||Ponsonby, Col. C. E.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G.||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Procter, Major H. A.|
|Albery, Sir Irving||Guest, Lieut.-Colonel H. (Drake)||Raikes, H. V. A. M.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Guinness, T. L. E. B.||Ramsay, Captain A. H. M.|
|Baillie, Sir A. W. M.||Gunston, Capt. Sir D. W.||Ramsbotham, H.|
|Balfour, G. (Hampstead)||Hacking, Rt. Hon. D. H.||Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)|
|Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet)||Hannah, l. C.||Rayner, Major R. H.|
|Balniel, Lord||Harris, Sir P. A.||Reed, A. C. (Exeter)|
|Barclay-Harvey, Sir C. M.||Harvey, T. E. (Eng. Univ's.)||Reid, W. Allan (Derby)|
|Baxter, A. Beverley||Haslam, H. C. (Horncastle)||Remer, J. R.|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton)||Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Porum'h)||Heilgers, Captain F. F- A.||Robinson, J, R. (Blackpool)|
|Beechman, N. A.||Hely-Hutchinson, M. R.||Ross, Major Sir R. D. (Londonderry)|
|Bennett, Sir E. N.||Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan-||Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)|
|Bernays, R. H.||Herbert, A. P. (Oxford U.)||Rowlands, G.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)||Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R.|
|Boulton, W. W.||Holmes, J. S.||Russell, Sir Alexander|
|Brass, Sir W.||Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J.||Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)|
|Briscoe, Capt. R- G.||Hopkinson, A.||Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)|
|Broadbridge, Sir G. T.||Horsbrugh, Florence||Sandeman, Sir N. S.|
|Brocklebank, Sir Edmund||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.)||Sanderson, Sir F. B.|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham)||Hume, Sir G. H.||Sandys, E. D.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith)||Hunter, T.||Scott, Lord William|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)||Hutchinson, G C,||Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)|
|Bull, B. B.||James, Wing-Commander A. W. H.||Shepperson, Sir E. W.|
|Burghley, Lord||Joel, 0. J. B.||Shute, Colonel Sir J. J.|
|Campbell, Sir E. T.||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (S'k N'w'gt'n)||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.|
|Cary, R. A.||Kerr, Colonel C. l. (Montrose)||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)|
|Cayzer, Sir C. W. (City of Chester)||Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.)||Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)|
|Cualet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Knox, Major-Genera! Sir A. W. F.||Somervell. Sir D. B. (Crewe)|
|Channon, H.||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Chapman, A. (Rutherglen)||Law, R. K. (Hull, S.W.)||Spears, Brigadier-General E. L.|
|Chorlton, A. E. L.||Leech, Sir J. W.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)|
|Christie, J. A.||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Clarke, Frank (Dartford)||Levy, T.||Storey, S.|
|Clarke, Colonel R. S. (E. Grinstead)||Lindsay, K. M.||Strauss, E. A. (Southwark, N.)|
|Clarry, Sir Reginald||Lipton, D. L.||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)|
|Colville, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. D. J,||Llewellin, Colonel J. J.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Conant, Captain R. J. E.||Lloyd, G. w.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.|
|Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)||MaCorquodale, M. S.||Tasker, Sir R. l.|
|Cooper. Rt. Hn. A. Duff (W'st'r S. G'gs)||MacDonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.)||Macdonald, Capt. P. (Isle of Wight)||Titchfield, Marquess of|
|Cox, H. B. Trevor||McKie, J. H.||Train, Sir J.|
|Crooke, Sir J. S.||Macmillan, H. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Tree, A. R. L. F.|
|Cross, R. H.||Macquisten, F. A.||Tryon, Major Rt. Hon. G. C.|
|Crossley, A. C.||Maitland, A.||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Crowder, J. F. E.||Makins, Brig.-Gen. E.||Wakefield, W. W.|
|Davies, C. (Montgomery)||Manningham-Buller, Sir M.||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Da la Bère, R.||Margessan, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Markham, S. F.||Warrender, Sir V.|
|Denvlite, Alfred||Mason, Lt.-Col. Hon. G. K. M.||Watt, Major G. S. Harvie|
|Duncan, J. A. L.||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.||Wayland, Sir W. A|
|Edmondson, Major Sir J.||Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth)||Wedderburn, H. J. S.|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Wells, S. R.|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Moore, Lieut.-Col. Sir T. C. fl.||White, H. Graham|
|Erskine-Hill, A. G.||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)||Whiteley, Major J. P. (Buckingham)|
|Evans, D. 0. (Cardigan)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)||Williams, H. G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Fleming, E. L.||Munro, P.||Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir A. T. (Hitchin)|
|Foot, D. M.||Nail, Sir J.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.|
|Fremantle, Sir F. E.||Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H.||Wist, A. R.|
|Furness, S. N.||Nicholson, G. (Farnham)||Withers, Sir J. J.|
|Fyfe, D. P. M.||Nicolson, Hon. H. G.||Womersley, Sir W. J.|
|Gluckstein, L. H.||O'Connor, Sir Terence J.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Goldie, N. B.||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Wright, Wing-Commander J. A. C.|
|Gower, Sir R. V.||Owen, Major G.||Young, A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Grant-Ferris, R.||Peters, Dr. S. J.|
|Gretton, Col. Rt. Hon. J.||Petherick, M.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Gridley, Sir A. B.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Captain Dugdale and Mr. Grimston.|
|Adams, D. (Consett)||Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Barnes, A. J.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.)||Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Barr, J.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.)||Banfield, J. W.||Bonn, Rt. Hon. W. W.|
|Benson, G.||Henderson, T. (Tradeston)||Ridley, G.|
|Broad, F. A.||Hills, A. (Pontefract)||Riley, B.|
|Bromfield, W.||Hopkin, D.||Ritson, J.|
|Brown, C. (Mansfield)||Jagger, J.||Salter, Dr. A. (Bermondsey)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (S. Ayrshire)||Johnston, Rt. Hon. T.||Sexton, T. M.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Jones, A. C. (Shipley)||Shinwell. E.|
|Chater, D.||Kelly, W. T.||Silverman, S. S.|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. J. R.||Kirby, B. V.||Simpson, F. B.|
|Cocks, F. S.||Kirkwood, D.||Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)|
|Cove, W. G.||Leach, W.||Smith, E. (Stoke)|
|Cripps, Hon. Sir Stafford||Leonard, W.||Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees- (K'ly>|
|Daggar, G.||Leslie, J. R.||Smith, T. (Normanton)|
|Dalton, H.||Logan, D. G.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Lunn, W.||Stephen, C.|
|Day, H.||Macdonald, G. (Ince)||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)|
|Dunn, E. (Rother Valloy)||McEntee, V. La T.||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)|
|Edo, J. C.||McGhee, H. G.||Summerskill, Edith|
|Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough E.)||MacLaren, A.||Thorne, W.|
|Edwards, Sir C. (Badwellty)||Maclean, N.||Tinker, J. J.|
|Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.||Maxton, J.||Tomlinson, G.|
|Frankel, D.||Messer, F.||Viant, S. P.|
|Gardner, B. W.||Milner, Major J.||Walkden, A. G.|
|Garro Jones, G. M||Montague, F.||Walker, J.|
|Gibson, R. (Greenook)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Watkins, F. C.|
|Green, W. H. (Deptford)||Naylor, T. E.||Watson, W. McL.|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.||Oliver, G. H.||Welsh, J. C.|
|Grenfell, D. R.||Paling, W.||Williams, D. (Swansea, E.)|
|Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)||Parker, J.||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Griffiths, J. (Llanelly)||Parkinson, J. A.||Williams, T. (Don Valley)|
|Groves, T. E.||Pearson, A.||Wilson, C. H. (Attercliffe)|
|Guest, Dr. L. H. (Islington, N.)||Pethick-Lawrenoe, Rt. Hon. F. W.||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|Hall, G. H. (Aberdare)||Poole, C. C.|
|Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Price, M. P.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Hardie, Agnes||Pritt, D. N.||Mr. Whiteley and Mr. Adamson.|
|Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)||Richards, R. (Wrexham)|
Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.
§ Clauses 7 and 8 ordered to stand part of the Bill.