HC Deb 26 October 1944 vol 404 cc411-26

Question again proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."

2.20 p.m.

Mr. Silkin

I hope it is not necessary for me to repeat the substance of the point I was presenting to the Committee. I was on my last point, which relates to the time when this will operate. Will it be possible for a person, even after the notice to treat, to create conditions which will make him an owner-occupier? Nothing is said in this paragraph about the period, and I fear it may be that when an owner becomes aware that it will suit his purpose to utilise part of the premises for a person in his employment for the purposes of that employment, he may thereby be in the position to create such an interest as to give him the rights and privileges of the owner-occupier. I should be glad, therefore, if my right hon. Friend could look at this paragraph again and make quite certain that it applies only to those to whom it was Intended to apply, and that it will not be possible to create a prejudicial interest after the time when that interest should have been created.

Sir Herbert Williams (Croydon, South)

This is a difficult matter, made all the more difficult by a speech yesterday by a Noble Lord who described everybody who did not live in his own house as an absentee landlord. Where are we? If that is the basis, it means that everybody who does not live in his own house is an absentee landlord. This deals with the problem of the absentee landlord. I wish the Noble Lord the Member for South Dorset (Viscount Hinchingbrooke) were here, because he might elucidate the matter—I see he is just coming in—because on his basis this is of great importance. Every landlord must be an absentee landlord now because the man who is an owner-occupier is not called a landlord, so we abolish the word "landlord" from the English language on the basis that, unless you live in the house, you are an absentee. I always thought "absentee" related to peers who had property in Ireland and lived here. I do not know whether the Noble Lord is affected in that capacity.

Of course, you can drive a coach-and-four through this. All you have to do is to give notice to all your tenants, become the occupier yourself of all the houses, buy the furniture from your tenants, and then take them in as lodgers. It is perfectly legal, and you become the owner-occupier of every house you own. I think we have to bear these matters in mind, because now the Bill has been wrecked—it cannot operate as the result of yesterday's decision and there will be no town and country planning now in respect of places where you are paying inadequate compensation. The Bill is dead, but it is just as well that we should realise the kind of devices which my hon. Friend the Member for Peckham (Mr. Silkin) wants to avoid, because a large number of his constituents in Peckham are caretakers and he wants them properly safeguarded. This is important because, whenever you make a bad law, ingenious people always get busy and drive a coach-and-four through it, and they can do it through this Bill. You can go on plugging it up until, 12 months or so from now, a Minister—maybe a new one—will introduce an amending Bill, which we shall welcome very cordially.

The Attorney-General

I will answer first the third point of my hon. Friend the Member for Peckham (Mr. Silkin). I will come to the point made by the hon. Member for South Croydon (Sir H. Williams) in a moment. The material time is the time of the notice to treat. I think that is clear from paragraph (d) on page 1460: if—(i) the title under which the building or property is held at that time is such that he then has the right, etc. I will look at it but I think it is quite clear. With regard to his third point, we are grateful to him for raising this question of caretakers. This provision, of course, was not intended to cover quite the case put by my hon. Friend the Member for South Croydon. It was not intended for instance, if a man had 20 houses that by putting a caretaker in each he would be able to say he was in occupation of them all. So if my hon. Friend will accept this assurance, we will look at that. It may require words which can be put in in another place. My hon. Friend the Member for South Croydon does not like the Bill in its present form—

Lieut.-Colonel Dower

Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman like it?

The Attorney-General

Certainly. I must say, in the case put by the hon. Member, that if a man does choose to buy a lot of houses and run them as a sort of combined boarding house, he will not necessarily get the 30 per cent. Some people think it is automatic, but it is not. If he says that he wishes to set up a similar arrangement for having lodgers, and that it will cost him more to set up in business on the same scale, I do not see why he should not be in the queue.

Mr. Silkin

I am very much obliged to the Attorney-General for his reply, but there is just one point. The Solicitor-General has given an undertaking to look at paragraph (a) with regard to the time of service of notice to treat, and has given an assurance that some other date will be inserted. I take it that the undertaking will apply all the way through the Clause.

The Attorney-General

I am afraid I did not hear it. I thought that what the hon. Gentleman was putting to me was, what was the date when a person had either to be in occupation, or could show the right to occupation. The answer is the date of the notice to treat, but if my hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General is looking at this, I will see that he looks at what I have said.

Mr. Silkin

That is the assurance that I would like. If that will be looked at as well, I shall ask leave of the Committee to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause be added to the Bill."

Mr. Hely-Hutchinson

I am one of those who, on yesterday's Ruling of the Chair, felt that it would not be in Order to discuss yesterday in any detail the distinction which this Clause draws between the owner-occupier and the owner-investor, and therefore I wanted to reserve my remarks for an occasion when one could discuss that point in isolation from other matters. Your predecessor in the Chair to-day, Major Milner, rather ruled to the effect that it was out of Order to repeat the arguments made yesterday, and it is only because I feel that I can produce one or two points which were not made yesterday, that I beg leave to offer them to the Committee now, when we are discussing whether this Clause should be added to the Bill.

2.30 p.m.

My hon. Friend the Member for Dud-deston (Sir O. Simmonds) speaking yesterday, claimed that there were high moral principles lying behind Tory-views on property, and the general titter which went round the Committee led one to feel that the Committee generally felt it quaint that anybody should hold such old-fashioned views about property. While I agree with my hon. Friend's views as to the moral basis of property, I would not seek to argue on behalf of property in this Committee solely on the basis of morality. I would also wish to add expediency. And it is on grounds of expediency that I wish to argue against the Government's proposal to draw for the purposes of compensation a distinction between the owner-occupier and the owner-investor. To-day my hon. Friend the Member for The High Peak (Mr. Molson) said that if he felt that the Government, in drawing this distinction, were attacking property as such he would be against the proposal. It is one of our complaints against my hon. Friend and some of his friends, with regard to some of their pronouncements, that their contacts with the world of commerce and finance are not sufficiently practical to enable them to draw sound conclusions on these matters. If my hon. Friend had had practical contacts on this point he would have learned that this distinction, now being drawn by the Government, is, in fact, being regarded as an attack on property as such. It is quite proper for the Committee, if it wishes, to think that propery owning is wicked, but we want to know where we are and to consider how expedient that is in the country's interests.

I assure the Government—and I would like to tell my hon. Friend, who is not in his place—that my contacts in this matter are extremely practical. I live and move among those whose business and duty it is to advise people with small and large amounts of money how to invest their money. Among those people there is a unanimous feeling that this new distinction which the Government have drawn, this new principle which has been introduced into the law of compensation for property, is, to put it in a short phrase, "a crack at capital" as such. They think that it will have a bad effect on the interests of the country from two points of view. One has already been mentioned—I will not go into details—and it is that it will discourage people from investing in real estate in this country. The other is a much wider one which we have to consider, especially in regard to the difficult times we shall come to after the war. It is feared that we shall frighten people outside this country from sending their wealth and goods here, because they will be afraid that it may be taken away from them when it gets here.

I would reiterate to the Committee that those who have practical responsibility in the business of advising their clients how to invest their money feel that through this distinction which has been drawn, a "crack at capital" has, in fact, been taken, in spite of all the words which the Minister of Town and Country Planning used in defending the distinction the other day. We can all see the distinction between the usufruct of property on one side and ownership without usufruct on the other. We say that it is a complete non, sequitur to apply that to the law of compensation for property which is expropriated, a non, sequitur being, as I understand it, defined as a conclusion which does not follow from the premise upon which it is alleged to be founded. The perfect example of a non sequitur is that of the man who found himself in the main street of Stony Stratford and exclaimed, "Well do they call this place Stony Stratford, for never have I been so bitten by fleas in all my life." This application of the undoubted distinction between the owner-occupier and the owner-investor has nothing to do with the law of compensation for expropriated property.

It is on these very practical grounds that I ask the Government to consider the fact that this new distinction they have drawn may have an effect both on the flow of capital into bricks and mortar, and the flow of capital from outside this country into this country in the years in which we shall need it very much, after the war. And I would add that the view of those I am quoting with regard to this particular distinction is strengthened by the slight lecture which the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave to property owners as such in his Second Reading speech last Thursday.

Mr. Mander (Wolverhampton, East)

In the absence of my hon. Friend the Member for The High Peak (Mr. Molson) I want to say a few words in reply to the hon. Member for Hastings (Mr. Hely-Hutchinson), who has expressed the view that it is because my hon. Friend is so ignorant of finance that he advocates the views he does. The hon. Member for Hastings said that the best people from whom to seek advice in legislation dealing with land, business or finance are those who are intimately connected with it. I cannot accept that point of view. Their views are, of course, entitled to be treated with the utmost respect, but I cannot help feeling that an association of that kind sometimes narrows the mind, and makes it impossible for such people to see the wood for the trees. I should have thought that the policy which the Government are asking the Committee to adopt was a reasonable and sensible compromise, having regard to the present situation and the change of attitude there is towards property. We take the view that human beings are more important than houses in matters of compensation and things of that kind. You cannot expect that property should receive 100 per cent. compensation for any loss that may have been suffered. After all, human beings cannot be compensated. They are giving, and have given, their lives, limbs, sight—everything. So I think it is stretching the point too far that to suggest that property is the one thing that must be sacrosanct and which, under all circumstances, must have its pound of flesh.

Mr. Woodburn

I regret that on two occasions to-day the whole question which we discussed yesterday has been raised again. I do not propose to follow that line. In the course of the Debate on this Clause certain things have been said which convey the impression that the Labour Party, in their attitude towards this Bill—and some members of the Government have been included in the condemnation—have acted in a vindictive spirit towards owners of property, as compared with owner-occupiers. I wish, on behalf of the Labour Party, entirely to repudiate that point of view. The House of Commons is a court of justice and while certain people are able put forward what appear to me to be ex parte pleas on behalf of certain interests we have not only to regard with sympathy any particular interest, but we must have regard to all the interests involved. While in some cases there may be people under this Clause who may suffer hardship, we have to consider the hardship of the people who live in the towns which want replanning, and who will have to pay the cost and have the greatest burdens to bear.

The hon. Member for Tamworth (Sir J. Mellor), who raised this question, stated that for generations people have been able to invest in property with the assurance that, whatever else happened to any other kind of investment, property would always be realisable at its value at the time it was purchased. I wish respectfully to suggest that that is special pleading for one section of the community, and is no argument against a Clause which limits this special compensation to the owner-occupier. The hon. Member for Hastings (Mr. Hely-Hutchinson) has spoken on somewhat the same lines, except that he based his argument on expediency and said that it would be a hardship to investors. Well, the only sacrifice investors are being asked to make is the common sacrifice that every other person, whose wealth is measured in terms of money, is being asked to make. If the value of our currency has depreciated by 30 per cent. that applies to everybody, even the person with the smallest savings in the bank. I cannot see any argument why an investor in property should be absolved and able to contract out of any depreciation which takes place in this property—

Captain Cobb (Preston)

What the hon. Member does not appear to realise is this: that for this planning, which is desirable, and which will be expensive and will be a great burden on the taxpayer and ratepayer, we object to one class of the community being asked to contribute more than any other class.

Mr. Woodburn

On general lines, I agree. If the community wants to plan and nationalise any industry in this country, the cost should be spread over the community. The Labour Party's position is that fair compensation should be paid.

Captain Cobb

To all?

Mr. Woodburn

I maintain that under this Bill fair compensation is being given to the investor who has got back, pound for pound, the value of his property in 1939. I say definitely that only special pleading for a vested interest, as against all the common interests in the country, would justify this distinction. I regret that the whole matter, which was debated yesterday and decided conclusively, has been reopened to-day as if it could be revised by this Committee. I appeal to the Committee that we should not reopen the discussion but should agree that the concensus of opinion expressed by the vote yesterday represents the judgment of this great Parliament, and that we should leave the matter where it is.

Mr. Turton

Let us get back to what happened yesterday—

The Chairman

That is precisely what the hon. Gentleman must not do; we cannot have a repetition of yesterday's Debate.

Mr. Turton

With great respect, Major Milner, the hon. Member for East Stirling (Mr. Woodburn) devoted part of his peroration to that, and I suggest that it would be opportune for me, and in line with our late Speaker's Ruling about "cut and thrust" in debate, if I made a reference to those remarks. I have no desire to go into what happened yesterday, which, of course, is entirely out of Order on this Clause.

Mr. George Griffiths (Hemsworth)

But the hon. Member started by saying, "Let us get back to what happened yesterday.

Mr. Turton

The hon. Member is fond of interrupting but I was about to say that yesterday we were dealing with one question, namely, whether we agreed with the 1939 ceiling or not. To-day we are dealing with another matter, namely, whether certain people are to have an added advantage over the rest of the community. I, personally, have no desire to be predatory on any member of the community, but I think it would be wrong if certain people were by chance selected to get a greater amount of compensation out of the community. If there is some special merit in these owner-occupiers I should be in favour of their having it. If it was calculated on some designed system of preference, if they were people who had in the years before the war conferred greater benefit on the community, such as was suggested by my Noble Friend the Member for South Dorset (Viscount Hinchingbrooke) yesterday, then no doubt they should get a higher reward.

2.45 p.m.

But the Attorney-General was very candid in reply to the hon. Member for South Croydon (Sir H. Williams) as to who these owner-occupiers might well be. He said it was perfectly true that, by devices, any owner-investor could divest himself of his tenancy and become an owner-occupier and qualify for the extra 30 per cent. When the Attorney-General replies I hope he will recall what he said to the hon. Member opposite.

The Attorney-General

I do not intend to reply, but I did not say what my hon. Friend puts into my mouth. I said that in the case put by my hon. Friend the Member for South Croydon (Sir H. Williams) the man might well be able to establish that he was carrying on a bona-fide boarding house business, which he was going to carry on elsewhere. I did not say that under this Clause owners would be able by devices to put themselves in the position of owner-occupiers.

Mr. Turton

If an owner adopts the procedure outlined earlier by the hon. Member for South Croydon he will qualify for the extra 30 per cent. Of course as the right hon. and learned Gentleman says he would have to put himself in the position really of a boarding house keeper. Is it possible under the Clause for owners of property to become owners of vacant property and by that means qualify for the extra 30 per cent.? You will have in a town shops which are chain stores where the company that owns the businesses will get the extra 30 per cent, and you will have in the same town small shopkeepers who are tenants who will only get the 1939 price. I think that is wrong. In country districts you will have large farms where the owner is also the occupier and 130 per cent. will be paid. A neighbouring tenant farmer will get no increase on the 100 per cent. I think the Committee should not allow that discrimination to lye made in favour of the large company or the man who is an owner-occupier and against the man who is an owner investor or the tenant of the owner investor. Many Members who would otherwise have voted against the Government yesterday could not do so owing to the narrow nature of the Amendment. I hope the Government will realise that some of their supporters in recent Amendments are still concerned about the discrimination that has been made in this new Clause.

Sir Frank Sanderson (Ealing)

I support the Clause because I regard its provisions as a fair and reasonable solution of what is admittedly a very difficult problem. The Government adhere to the 1939 standard as a general basis and have recognised there is a case for certain exceptions to that principle. I wish to make only one point which has not been put in the form in which I desire to put it. The whole question of the valuation of either land or property can be divided into two. There is property in parts of the country which has suffered severely from being blitzed and there are other parts of the country which have not suffered at all. I need not give illustrations, but I should have no difficulty in giving chapter and verse for properties which stood at x value in 1939 and, owing to the blitz, have suffered depreciation as high as 80 per cent., and have changed hands at those depreciated values. Already we have seen those values appreciate again. The Clause provides that the depreciated areas, where values have gone down, shall receive not less than the 1939 value, which will prove of incalculable value to these areas, whereas in the safe areas we have seen properties which have increased in value altogether beyond their intrinsic value, and the 1939 value, for no other reason than that there is a section of the public prepared to pay almost any price to secure premises in what is regarded as a safe area. For these reasons, on grounds of equity, in order to raise the value of depreciated properties which have suffered in consequence of the blitz, in order that they should get reasonable terms, which are the 1939 value plus the possibility of an increase up to 30 per cent., and in order to prevent the safe areas securing a price which could not in normal times be obtained, I support the Clause.

Captain Duncan

The hon. Member for East Stirling (Mr. Woodburn) referred to hardship. His suggestion seemed to be that it was not a question of justice or equity but of hardship that we were alleging in connection with the discrimination between the owner-occupier and the owner non-occupier. I want to make it clear that our opposition to this discrimination is not a question of hardship at all but purely a question of equity and justice, and whether it is right to discriminate between the two types of owner. I have no idea why the hon. Member for East Wolverhampton (Mr. Mander) has returned to that side, because he was loudly cheered when he joined his spiritual home on the benches below me.

Mr. Mander


The Chairman

That question is really quite irrelevant to the subject before us.

Captain Duncan

The hon. Member said almost exactly what my Noble Friend the Member for South Dorset (Viscount Hinchingbrooke) said yesterday, that we should discriminate between the different kinds of property, and personal uses of property, in dealing with the question of compensation in the future. I was delighted to notice that my hon. Friend the Member far The High Peak (Mr. Molson) disowned my hon. Friend, and will presumably in due course disown the hon. Member for East Wolverhampton. I am concerned about this discrimination on one point which I regard as of great importance, that is, the question of the aid which private enterprise can give in housing, as it has given in the past, and the tremendous difficulty that we are going to have in housing people, particularly ex-Service people when they come home from the war. It has been a tradition, through having fair compensation among other things, with small people as well as large that it is a good thing to invest in house property. Bricks and mortar are a good investment and it has been encouraged by the State.

The Chairman

I am sorry but clearly the hon. and gallant Gentleman's remarks are irrelevant to the Clause.

Captain Duncan

The Clause discriminates between the owner who occupies and the owner who does not. I am only saying that by this discrimination I am sure you will do a great deal of damage to that form of private enterprise. I wish to say nothing against municipal housing—I am all in favour of it—but we must have private enterprise housing as well in order to meet the urgent need. It is a case of all hands to the pump. These compensation Clauses are temporary, as the Minister announced yesterday. According to him they will last at any rate for five years. In my opinion they will not last for five years. I think they will have to be revised before then, and the sooner the better.

3.0 p.m.

Sir Ernest Shepperson (Leominster)

I rise to put a point to the Minister upon the agricultural situation. What I under stand the Minister intends in this Clause is that an owner of land should get 100 per cent. of the 1939 value, but an owner-occupier should get an extra 30 per cent. This 30 per cent., I understand, is the amount of compensation for the disturbance of the owner-occupier. If a man is a tenant, and the owner gives him notice to leave that land, that tenant has the right to one year of his rent plus disturbance. As I understand it, the 30 per cent. is given to the owner-occupier to compensate him for the disturbance he has been put to and the expense of finding another home. That, to my mind, is the whole point. There is one question I should like to ask the Minister. This is a Town and Country Planning Bill and it gives power to purchase land for the re-development of areas of extensive war damage or, indeed, for the re-location of population and industries of such areas. I want to ask whether the Bill is to be limited to that, or whether it may be used, during the course of five years, for the acquisition of land in various parts of the country?

The Chairman

We are not discussing the Bill now. The speeches have been rather of a Second Reading nature, and we must confine ourselves to the subject matter of this Clause, the supplement to the owner-occupier. That is the only question.

Lieut.-Colonel Dower

I rise for one moment because I do not want this Clause to go by without expressing my very serious misgivings that, when put into operation, it will be found to create so many injustices that local authorities will not work it at all. The proof of the pudding will be the eating. If we look back on this Debate in 12 months' time I think a good deal of sense will be found behind that remark. The hon. Member far South Croydon (Sir H. Williams) has already mentioned it, and I wish to underline it in a word or two before this Clause is passed and becomes the law of the land. Take one injustice which has never been mentioned at all. I was telephoned two nights ago by a person who said that his house was near an area which he thought would probably be acquired. He had lost a considerable amount of money and had been forced to let his house. We shall have the absurd position where a person, who has. lost a considerable amount of money and has had to let his house will not get the extra 30 per cent., whereas those who have been fortunate enough to live in their houses will be considered as owner-occupiers and will qualify for the 30 per cent. The only other instance I wish to mention is the case where people, other than Servicemen, have, because of this war, had to go to different parts and have left their houses with the intention of returning and living in them afterwards. I think that if my right hon. Friend only brings in ex-Servicemen and leaves it at that, then a whole group of other people will suffer hardship. I have no wish to detain the Committee any longer, and with those words of warning I will say no more.

Major Sir George Davies (Yeovil)

I only intervene for one moment because I feel that we have been presented in Committee with an inaccurate thesis and a wrong reading of the provisions of this Bill. I do not read it as a differentiation between two kinds of ownership. I hold the same views as my hon. Friends with regard to the ownership of property—that proper and equitable compensation should be paid to a person who is expropriated. But here, as I read it, there are two kinds of investor, the man who, having invested his money in a piece of property, also lives there, or carries on business there, and the man who invests in the same way but does not occupy the property. The same compensation in respect of ownership is paid in the two cases but in the one case there is what is called "disturbance" and for that he gets, as it were, a bonus on top of what is paid to him as compensation in his position as owner. Therefore, in my view there is no differentiation between the two types of owners except that, in one case, a bonus is paid for disturbance. That is fundamentally what I read into these provisions, and I think there is a perfectly sound argument for it.

Lieut.-Colonel Dower

Before the hon. Gentleman sits down I would like to point out that the difficulty, surely, is to put them into two water-tight compartments and say that one person is the owner and the other is the owner-occupier.

Mr. Piekthorn

Surely the argument of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Yeovil (Sir G. Davies) is perfectly plain and was used by the Minister himself. The Minister told us that the owner-occupier represents two persons in one suit of clothes. He gets 100 per cent. as one person, and 30 per cent. more as the other person. If the 30 per cent. is not an attempt to give, in certain cases, more compensation than in others, then why is it not given in respect of that something different when it is in different legal ownership? That seems to me to knock the bottom out of the case just put by the hon. and gallant Member for Yeovil to which the Minister has replied.

Mr. W. S. Morrison

I rise with almost a feeling of diffidence to address myself again to a topic on which I have already wearied the Committee several times, but I propose, if the Committee agrees, to refrain from re-hashing the points that have occupied so much of our time already. I have been conscious to-day, while this matter was under discussion, of a sort of agitation on the calm waters of the Committee which reminds me of the sort of ground swell that is sometimes visible on our coasts after a storm. But, like all manifestations of nature, I hope it will subside and that we shall get on with our business on the basis of the decision to which the Committee, after a long Debate and a Division, came yesterday. That decision was that in compensating for the acquisition of land we should proceed upon the standard of prices prevailing in March, 1939.

The objection to this Clause by my hon. Friends that is really relevant and in Order at this moment—I presume they are in Order, otherwise the Chair would have stopped them—is founded on the argument that having decided that the 1939 prices are fair, as my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing (Sir F. Sanderson) illustrated, we should not give anything more to the owner-occupier. That must be the argument; there is no other argument. I have already, for reasons I shall not repeat, indicated why we ought to give more to the owner-occupier, who loses not only a piece of property but his whole base of operations for either a dwelling or earning a livelihood. It is in the public interest that the men who are the subject matter of this Clause should be reinstated or enabled to reinstate themselves as soon as possible. When people talk about "discriminating against," that is not really the position. It is a tendentious way of putting the matter. What we are really doing, if any discrimination is in existence at all, is in this Clause discriminating, if you like, in favour of a man who is both occupier and owner, not as an owner but as an occupier. I hope that the Committee on reflection will not resist the Clause.

My hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) asked me a long question to which the answer is in the negative. I must mildly protest—I must not protest too much, for the sufferance of a Minister is the badge of my tribe—against his statement that the persons who are in this Clause have been selected by chance. He said that they are a group of people selected by chance. There is no element of chance in it. They are defined in exact legal language and they have been selected for treatment, not by chance, but for the various reasons I have already adduced. My hon. Friend the Member for Hastings (Mr. Hely-Hutchinson) summed up as against this Clause some conversations he has had with those with whom he does business. I am always ready to listen to expert advice and to give particular weight to the advice of persons in a particular calling which is the subject matter of our problems, but I do not think that Parliament can solve this problem by appealing to the authority of conversations carried on outside among certain groups of people. The case must be stated to Parliament first, and we cannot reject a Clause of this character on the ground that some people, talking among themselves, imagine that it will not have good results.

It is alleged that in some mysterious way this Clause will prejudice the erection of dwelling-houses by private enterprise after the war. I cannot see any connection between the two matters. How is the fact that we are to give the owner-occupier something extra in respect of his occupancy and the disturbance thereof going to make private enterprise build fewer houses? I cannot see it for a moment. So far as it affects the problem at all, it will encourage the ownership of houses and of property by persons who are going to live and carry on their business in them. I apologise for venturing on this matter again, and I hope the Committee will now let me have the Clause.

Question, "That the Clause be added to the Bill," put, and agreed to.