HC Deb 09 June 1943 vol 390 c679
4 Mr. Stokes

asked the Secretary of State for Air (1) how the value of the 10,400 acres of land held on lease by his Ministry at an annual rental of £40,267 was arrived at;

(2) how his Department arrived at the value of 58,223 acres of land purchased by his Department since 31st December, 1938, at an inclusive cost of £3,763,433;

(3) whether the buildings and improvements on the land rented by his Department, totalling 10,400 acres at an annual rental of £40,267, will accrue to the landlords without cost or what arrangements have been made whereby the landlord contributes to the Exchequer for any such improvement?

The Secretary of State for Air (Sir Archibald Sinclair)

The value of the land held on lease was assessed by competent valuers as the fair commercial value ruling in the locality at the time of the agreements to lease, which were negotiated before the war. No guidance as to rateable value was available in the majority of cases as the land was. agricultural and de-rated. The value of the purchased land was that accepted by both sides by agreement, or in default of agreement prior to the war, that fixed by arbitration before one of the official Arbitrators. In assessing values, my advisers have had the benefit of consultation with the Valuation Department of the Inland Revenue. The question of reversion to the landlord of buildings and improvements on the leased land depends in each case on the terms of the lease.

Mr. Shinwell

Was the amount paid in all these cases in any way related to the market value of the land before the war?

Sir A. Sinclair

Yes, as indicated in the terms of my answer.

Mr. Stokes

Was all the 58,223 acres agricultural land, and therefore de-rated?

Sir A. Sinclair

All agricultural land was at the time de-rated; therefore I have no knowledge of the rateable value.

Sir Granville Gibson

Is there any obligation on the Government to reinstate the buildings on the land?

Sir A. Sinclair

That depends on the terms of the lease.