§ 54. Mr. Leslie
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will safeguard tenant farmers against being compelled to pay increased rent on the expiry of lease, by a measure providing security of tenure, fair rent and compensation for improvements?
In only a small number of cases do farmers in England and Wales occupy their land on lease, the customary tenure being annual tenancy. The Agricultural Holdings Act, 1923, provides for arbitration as to rent during the currency of a tenancy but, apart from this, no landlord can obtain an increased rent except by agreement with the tenant. Failing agreement, the landlord before obtaining an increased rent from a new tenant is obliged to give at least 12 months' notice to quit to the old tenant and pay him compensation for disturbance and improvements.
§ Mr. Leslie
Is there no other way of protecting tenants? Does the right hon. Gentleman appreciate that, by increasing rents because of the increased profits of farmers, money which should go to the Chancellor of the Exchequer is going into the pockets of the landlords?
I think we can trust the Chancellor of the Exchequer to get it out of the pockets of the landlords.
§ Mr. Mathers
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that landlords are reaping excess profits and are not subject to Excess Profits Tax? Will he ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer to impose it upon them?
No, Sir. I cannot accept that. Speaking generally, the owners of land are about the only section of the community who have had very largely increased costs, in the way of repairs and so forth, and have had practically no increase of income to meet the increased costs.