§ 28. Mrs. Hardie
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether regulations provide that when a landlord demands increased rent from a tenant farmer and the tenant asks for arbitration the landlord is bound to accept and, where arbitration is accepted, that instructions are given to the arbiter as to how he should base his award?
The answer to the first part of the Question is in the negative. Under the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act, 1923, either the landlord or the tenant is entitled to ask the other to agree to arbitration in regard to revision of rent after an occupancy for five years at a previously agreed rent. If the landlord refuses or fails within a reasonable time to agree and the tenant gives notice to quit because of this, he is entitled to compensation for disturbance—normally equivalent to one year's rent. On the other hand should the tenant refuse to agree to arbitration and the landlord because of the refusal serves notice to quit, the tenant loses his right to compensation for disturbance. I have no power to instruct an arbiter as to the exercise of his independent judgment on any case submitted to him.
§ Mrs. Hardie
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that it is no remedy to the farmer to give notice to the landlord as he does not want to leave the farm; that there is no protection for the farmer whatever if the landlord is not prepared to agree to arbitration; and that many arbitrators base their award on the fact that other farmers round about are paying an increased base rent because they are afraid of quarrelling with their landlord; and cannot something be done?
As far as my evidence goes, there have been only three cases reported, so that there cannot be many cases at all.
§ Mr. Mathers
In view of the profit that the landlord is making out of this transaction, will the right hon. Gentleman direct the attention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to this fruitful source of income?