HC Deb 24 May 1939 vol 347 cc2441-4

(1) The provisions of this Section shall have effect where the occupier of factory premises who is not the owner of the whole of the premises incurs expenses in executing works in pursuance of a notice served by or on him under the preceding provisions of Part III of this Act, being a notice which or, as the case may be, a copy of which, has been duly served on all the persons on whom the occupier is required to serve it by the said provisions, and not being a notice can celled on appeal.

(2) On the termination, within the period of ten years immediately following the date of the completion of the works, of any tenancy of the whole or any part of the premises, being a tenancy in existence at that date, the interest expectant on the termination of the tenancy shall, unless it is other wise agreed in connection with the works or after the completion thereof, be charged in favour of the outgoing tenant with a sum which bears to the net ascertained cost of the works, the proportion which so much of the said period as is unexpired at the termination of the tenancy bears to the whole of the period.

(3) In this Section, the expression "the net ascertained cost of the works," means such sum as may, within the six months next following the completion of the works, be agreed by all persons entitled to interests which may become subject to such a charge as aforesaid, or as may be decided in pro- ceedings commenced within the said six months, to be the amount of the reasonable expenses incurred in executing the works, as reduced by any grant out of moneys provided by Parliament towards those expenses:

Provided that in relation to a tenancy not extending to the whole of the premises, the said expression shall be construed as if for the reference to the amount of the said expenses reduced as aforesaid, there were substituted a reference to an amount bearing to that amount (as so reduced) the same proportion that the annual value, at the date of the completion of the works, of the premises comprised in the tenancy bears to the annual value at that date of the whole of the premises.

(4) Any charge created by this Section on any interest in factory premises shall have priority over all other incumbrances on that interest, except charges created or arising under any enactment authorising a charge for the recovery of expenses incurred by a local authority and charges created under any enactment authorising advances of public money; and any charge created under this Section may be registered under Section ten of the Land Charges Act, 1925, as a land charge of Class A and the person in whose favour the charge is created shall, for the purpose of enforcing it, have the same powers and remedies under the Law of Property Act, 1925, and otherwise, as he would have if he were a mortgagee by deed having powers of sale and lease, and of appointing a receiver.

(5) The provisions of this Section shall have effect in relation to any tenancy notwithstanding any term thereof requiring the tenant to pay outgoings or any similar term.—[Mr. Sandys.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. Sandys

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

Any hon. Member who cares to read this very long Clause will, I think, find that it is self-explanatory.

Mr. Elliot

I thoroughly agree with my hon. Friend that it is self-explanatory, and, what is more, it is consequential. With that combination of arguments, I will do no more than say that it really arises out of the series of Amendments moved at an earlier stage, and I think it puts them in a very business-like fashion.

10.13 p.m.

Mr. H. Morrison

This may be legislation according to new methods, but it really is not satisfactory. I do not know, and I do not think that half a dozen Members of the Committee know what the Clause is about. It really is not dignified legislative procedure for an hon. Member to move the Second Reading of a Clause and say nothing about it. It is pretty clear that he said nothing because he was not in a position to say anything. The Minister says a few words which sound better and that he understands it, but I am not sure. I really think that, on the whole, it would be more in conformity with the responsibility of Parliament if the Committee were given some information, so that we may have an inkling of what we are doing.

10.14 p.m.

Mr. Elliot

I respond to the challenge of the right hon. Gentleman. The general scheme is that if an occupier contracts out of a tenancy lease within 10 years, he recovers from the owner a sum of the same proportion of the ascertained costs of the work as the period between the expiry of the tenancy and 10 years bears to 10 years. I fully sympathise with the right hon. Gentleman in his desire that we should legislate in a dignified form and know what we are doing. Let me give him an example. If a tenancy runs for three years after completion of the work, the tenant recovers seven-tenths of the cost from the owner. I do not think that it is very complicated and it follows the series of Amendments moved earlier on. I do not want to pull wool over the eyes of the Committee. It is not a very complicated proposal, and I hope the Committee will accept it.

10.15 p.m.

Mr. Morrison

I am sure the Committee will congratulate the Minister on his rapid grasp of the purpose of the new Clause, and thank him for his explanation. I can only say that we hope the new Clause is all right, notwithstanding the fact that the hon. Member for South Croydon (Mr. H. G. Williams) is associated with it. Having great confidence in the public spirit of the Minister of Health, we hope that the Clause is in accordance with the public interest.

Sir Irving Albery

I hope the right hon. Gentleman will, on Report, consider inserting a similar provision covering local authorities when they have only a short lease.

Question, "That the Clause be read a Second time," put, and agreed to.

10.16 p.m.

Mr. Sandys

I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed new Clause, in line 42, at the end, to add: (6) Where the occupier of factory premises has become liable to pay any sums to the local authority (for the purposes of Part II of this Act) under an agreement for the provision by that authority of a public air-raid shelter for the use, in whole or in part, of persons working or living in the premises, Sub-sections (2) to (5) of this Section shall apply as if those sums were expenses incurred in executing works in pursuance of a notice duly served by the occupier under the preceding provisions of Part III of this Act (not being a notice cancelled on appeal), and as if the date of the conclusion of the agreement were the date of the completion of the works. This Amendment is consequential and deals with the position of a factory where shelter accommodation could not be provided. As the previous provision has been accepted, there ought to be no difficulty in accepting this Amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, as amended, added to the Bill.