§ CLAUSE 6.—(Provisions as to Scotland)
§ 3.48 p.m.
§ The Lord Advocate (Mr. G. R. Thomson)
I beg to move, in page 7, line 47, at the end, to insert:(8) Subsection (2) of the section of this Act relating to provisions as to inquiries shall not apply and the provisions of the Fifth Schedule to this Act shall have effect with regard to a public local inquiry held in pursuance of this Act.(9) Section five of this Act shall have effect as if for the definitions of ' held inalienably ' and ' National Trust,' there were substituted the following definitions—' held inalienably,' in relation to land belonging to the National Trust for Scotland, means that the land is inalienable under Section twenty-two of the Order confirmed by the National Trust for Scotland Order Confirmation Act, 1935:' National Trust for Scotland ' means the National Trust for Scotland for Places o) Historic Interest or Natural Beauty incorporated by the said Order.
§ This Bill in dealing with the question of inquiries incorporated certain provisions relating to Scotland, by reference to English Acts. It was suggested by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hillhead (Mr. Reid) that this was an un desirable course, and I am grateful to him for drawing attention to the point. His suggestion was that there should be reference instead to a Scottish Act. However, I thought it well to go further, and to deal with the matter by setting out in this Statute, for the convenience of all Scottish lawyers, a definite code dealing with inquiries. It is with that view that this Amendment is being made in the Scottish application Clause. It involves an addi- 390 tional Schedule, to which we shall come later, in which this code is set out. The addition of the new Subsection (9) is merely a drafting change, substituting definitions of "National Trust" and "held inalienably" in relation to the National Trust for Scotland for the definitions applying to England and Wales.
§ Mr. J. S. C. Reid
I agree that this is a definite improvement. I do not think it matters very much whether the right hon. and learned Gentleman adopts this method or the method which I suggested. There will be something more to be said on the Schedule, but, I agree that this is an improvement.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ The Lord Advocate
I beg to move, in page 9, line 4, to leave out from "in," to the end of line 5, and to insert:the Section of this Act relating to provisions as to inquiries as read with Subsection (8) of this Section.
§ This Amendment, and the following Amendment, are drafting and are consequential on the introduction of the new Subsection which I have just described.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Further Amendment made: In line 15, leave out Subsection (15).—[The Lord Advocate.]
§ Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
§ NEW CLAUSE.—(Provisions as to inquiries.)
§ (1) For the purposes of the execution of his powers and duties under this Act, a Minister may cause to be- held such public local inquiries as are directed by tiffs Act and such other public local inquiries as he may think fit.
§ (2) Subsections (7) and (3) of Section two hundred and ninety of the Local Government Act, 1933 (which relate to the giving of evidence on inquiries) and in relation to a proposed acquisition of land by a local authority, or to the proposed extinction of a right of way over land acquired or proposed to be acquired by a local authority, Subsections (4) and (5) of that Section (which relate to the defraying of costs of inquiries) shall apply to a public local inquiry held in pursuance of this Act as they apply to the inquiries mentioned in Subsection (1) of the said Section two hundred and ninety, but with the substitution for references to a department of references to a Minister.—[Mr. Key.]
§ Brought up, and read the First time.
§ Mr. Key
I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."
391 This new Clause arises out of an undertaking I gave in Committee, when we were considering the conduct of the inquiries which are necessary under this Bill. Inquiries must arise in the case of objections by owners, lessees and occupiers of land. I stated that in cases where there was serious objection by other interested people, the Minister of Health would hold inquiries. Doubt, however, was expressed with regard to the ability of other confirming authorities to hold inquiries at their own option, and I undertook that the matter should be looked into, and that if it was found there were other confirming authorities who had not the power, steps would be taken to secure that the power was provided for them. That is the purpose of the first part of the Clause. The Clause gives all the confirming authorities the power to hold inquiries, when objections have been raised not only on the part of owners, lessees and occupiers, but of all other interested parties as well. A second point was in regard to expenses of inquiries which arose where the acquiring authority was not the local authority. It was considered unfair that the expenses of such an inquiry should be placed on the local authorities, as is undoubtedly the case under the 1933 Act. Therefore, in the new Clause, we make definite provision, where the acquiring authority is a Minister of the Crown, when the public inquiry arises through his instigation, he shall bear his own costs.
§ Mr. W. S. Morrison (Cirencester and Tewkesbury)
I agree that this Clause should be added to the Bill, and that the explanation of its origin is correct. There arc, however, one or two small points I should like to raise in order to make sure that I understand what is intended. In the first place, the Clause mentions only public inquiries. A hearing has been found to be a convenient method of disposing of small differences of opinion, when the area of difference is not of a very wide scope. It is often found expeditious and just to bring the parties together, around a table, with an independent person at the head, in an atmosphere less formal and less protracted than is sometimes the case with a public inquiry. The matter can be satisfactorily decided in that way. I do not know whether it is necessary to have words in the Clause authorising the holding of a hearing, and I should like an answer on 392 that point. I should also like to know how far these new confirming and acquiring authorities will make use of the hearing procedure in a proper case. The Clause 2 procedure, abolishes the hearing and the inquiry, and gives a man whose land is taken, no chance to speak up for himself, and I ask the Minister to tell us whether he will in a proper case under that procedure cause an inquiry to be held. That would do a great deal to assuage, if not entirely remove our objections to the Bill.
§ 4.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Turton
The Parliamentary Secretary is now doing, although not completely, what I asked him to do in Committee. I gather that he is later proposing to leave out paragraph 20 of the First Schedule. Therefore, there will be no reference, except in this new Clause, to the Local Government Act of 1933. If there is an inquiry initiated not by a local authority, there will be no connection with Subsections (4) and (5) of Section 290 of the Local Government Act, 1933. That, presumably, will mean there will be no provision for the awarding of costs to either party. It would be helpful if we could have in this Clause something to enable a Department' to pay the costs of the successful applicant or opponent, where it was just to do so. The Parliamentary Secretary will recollect that, at an earlier stage, I suggested he should use the hearing method adopted in the Requisitioned Land and War Works Act. In that Act it is laid down that for the purposes of the Local Government Act, 1936, Section 290 (5) the Minister shall be deemed to be a party to the inquiry, and costs may be awarded, to be paid to, or by him, accordingly.
That does not appear to be possible under the proposed new Clause. It was felt that under the Requisitioned Land and War Works Act that was a fair condition. If a man wins his point in an inquiry, and if a Department has put him to considerable expense, it is only right that he should not have to bear the heavy costs—because they will be heavy at these public inquiries—without getting any award from the Department responsible. There seems to be this gap in the Minister's proposed new Clause, and I think that it would have been better if he had accepted the Amendment, moved in Committee by the right hon. Member for 393 Cirencester (Mr. W. S. Morrison), which made this quite clear. I hope that the Minister will consider putting this matter right on Report, otherwise I think there is a loophole in this new Clause.
§ Mr. Key
I am advised that it is not necessary to make a provision with regard to the hearings. The powers for holding a hearing lie with the confirming authority at present. It seems to me that such hearings, where they are acceptable to the parties concerned, are preferable to the holding of public inquiries, and I am certain that Departments will prefer that method of procedure and will use it in cases where it is possible for them to do so.
This new Clause definitely gives power to the confirming authority to hold public inquiries under the Clause 2 procedure, and in cases where the objections raised were such as to make that course advisable, an inquiry would be held. Subsections 4 and 5 of the Local Government Act, 1936, with regard to the defraying of expenses, are definitely included in the Clause, and are applied to the holding of public inquiries under this Bill both in Clause 1 and Clause 2 procedure. I feel that, after full consideration, we have come to the best arrangement we can for the holding of an inquiry and the meeting of the costs and expenses of the people involved, particularly since the Minister himself is directly concerned and is responsible for bearing his expenses.
§ Mr. Turton
What the new Clause says is that Subsections (2) and (3) of Section 290 shall apply, and in relation to the proposed acquisition of land by a local authority, or to the proposed exemption of a right of way over land proposed to be acquired by a local authority, Subsections (4) and (5) of that Section shall apply. Surely Subsections (4) and (5) will not apply to any inquiry, except those specifically referred to in that Section.
§ Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.394
§ NEW CLAUSE.— (Power to extinguish certain public rights of way over land acquired.)
§ (1) Subject to the provision of this Section, where land is acquired, or proposed to be acquired,—
- (a) in pursuance of a compulsory purchase order made under Section one of this Act or an authorisation given under Section two thereof, or
- (b) by agreement for a purpose, and by an authority, such that the compulsory acquisition of the land could be authorised by such an order or authorisation as aforesaid,
- >and there subsists over any part of the land a public right of way, not being a right enjoyable by vehicular traffic, then if the Minister of Town and Country Planning (hereinafter in this Section referred to as "the Minister ") is satisfied that a suitable alternative right of way has been or will be provided, or that the provision thereof is not required, he may by order extinguish the right of way as from such time as may be specified in the order, not being earlier than—
- (i) the making of the order,
- (ii) if in the exercise of any power conferred by this Act or by the agreement to acquire the land the acquiring authority enters on the land before the acquisition thereof is completed, the date on which the authority enters on the land,
- (iii) if the acquiring authority does not enter on the land in the exercise of any such power as aforesaid, the date on which the acquisition of the land is completed:
§ Provided that where a right of way is extinquished under this Subsection at a date before the acquisition of the land in question is completed, then if at any time thereafter it appears to the Minister that the proposal to acquire the land has been abandoned, he shall by order direct that the right shall revive, without prejudice, however, to the making of a new order extinguishing the right.
§ (2) The Minister shall cause a notice stating the effect of any order that he proposes to make under this Section extinguishing a right of way, and specifying the time (not being less than twenty-one days from the publication of the notice) within which, and the manner in which, objections to the proposal may be made, to be published in such manner as appears to him to be requisite, and in any case where the acquiring authority is not the local planning authority (that is to say, the council specified in Subsection (1) of Section two of the Town and Country Planning Act, r932) for the area in which the land is situated shall serve a like notice on the said local planning authority.
§ (3) If any objection to the proposal is duly made and is not withdrawn, the Minister shall, before making the order, cause a public local inquiry to be held.
§ (4) No order shall be made under Subsection (1) of this Section extinguishing a right of way over land on, over or under which there is any apparatus belonging to statutory undertakers unless the undertakers consent to the 395 making of the order, and any such consent may be given subject to the condition that there are included in the order such provisions for the protection of the undertakers as they may reasonably require.
§ The consent of statutory undertakers to any such order shall not be unreasonably refused, and any question arising under this Subsection whether any requirement or refusal is reasonable shall be determined by the appropriate Minister.
§ (5) The foregoing provisions of this Section shall not apply in any case where Section twenty-three of the Town and Country Planning Act, 1944 (which relates to the extinction of public rights of way over land acquired or appropriated for the purposes of Part I of that Act) applies.
§ (6) Except as provided by the foregoing provisions of this Section or by the said Section twenty-three, nothing in this Act shall be taken to authorise the extinction of any public right of way.—[Mr. Key.]
§ Brought up, and read the First time.
§ This Clause refers to a difficulty which arises in the general development of areas acquired, when there is a public footpath or a bridle way across the piece of land, the extinction of the rights over which are really necessary, in order to get adequate and proper development of the site. The only method that exists at present for the extinction of these rights of way, is to spend a considerable amount of time in going to quarter sessions to get a closing order in accordance with the procedure of the Highways Act of 1835. That is a long and cumbrous procedure. Many local authorities have brought this matter before the Ministry of Health, and have urged that steps should be taken to see that a more expeditious method of doing this is adopted. In the case of the Housing Act, 1936, and the Town and Country Planning Act, 1944, these rights of way can be dealt with by Ministerial Order, after due publicity and, if necessary, a public inquiry. But these powers relate only to activities under the Housing Act, 1936, and the Town and Country Planning Act. They are not available for new housing land to which so much of this Bill will refer. I want to point out that the new Clause deals only with public paths and bridle ways. It does not deal with public rights of way where vehicular traffic is concerned. We feel that such rights of way could only be dealt with adequately by legislation which amends the Highways Act of 1835, 396 and a provision of that sort is not considered appropriate to this Bill.
§ As regards redevelopment and reconstruction areas, Section 46 of the Housing Act, 1936, and the appropriate Section of the Town and Country Planning Act, 1944, make it possible to deal with these rights of way, and we feel that in this we have done what is necessary to give the local authorities power to deal adequately with the closing or diversion of public rights of way for this purpose. In this connection, I would draw attention to Subsection (6) of the Clause, because it deals with a point raised in Committee upstairs. Here we are making it definitely certain that there can be no extinction of rights of way unless the procedure laid down in this Clause is followed. So there is a real protection in that case with regard to the matters which were raised.
§ Mr. Derek Walker-Smith (Hertford)
When this matter was considered in Committee, the Parliamentary Secretary was at that time, unfortunately, unaware of the normal procedure of stopping up a highway under the Act of 1895. I then pressed this matter upon his notice. I am glad to think that in that small respect, at any rate, I have contributed to the improvement of this Bill. The procedure set out in this Clause seems to me to be reasonable and fair. I do not think that it can be argued that public rights of way, much as one might like it, can be sacrosanct and inviolate, because, if land is to be cleared for certain purposes, public rights of way on occasions must be stopped up. The specific matter to which I would draw the attention of the Parliamentary Secretary is the matter of objections, which are provided for in Subsection (2) of the Clause. That Subsection states:The Minister shall cause a notice stating the effect of any order that he proposes to make under this section extinguishing a right of way, and specifying the time (not being less than twenty-one days from the publication of the notice) within which, and the manner in which, objections to the proposal may be made, to be published in such manner as appears to him to be requisite.I think the Committee are entitled to an explanation on this question of objection in regard to the stopping up of these public rights of way, because, of course, the position is not entirely analogous to the ordinary position of serving a notice on the owner and occupier of land. A 397 public right of way, by its definition, is a matter which concerns the whole community, and I want to be assured by the Parliamentary Secretary that it will be within the competence of any person, local or otherwise, to enter objections under this Clause and that the words:within which," and the manner in which, objections to the proposal may be made,will not be used by the Minister to limit the scope of any objections under this procedure. As I see it, there would be ordinarily, two possible sets of persons or bodies who might wish to make objections under this Clause. First, there will be the local objectors who normally use the right of way in the locality. They should, naturally, have the right to make objections. Secondly, it is possible that an amenity society such as the Society for the Preservation of Commons and Footpaths, which is a part of the wider organisation of the Council for the Preservation of Rural England, might, as a matter of principle, wish to make objection to the stopping up of footpaths in any part of the country. I should like to have an assurance from the Parliamentary Secretary that the power given to him in this Clause, as to the specified manner in which objections may be made, will not be used to shut out, say, amenity societies, from entering objections in regard to the localities anywhere in the country. Speaking for myself, I think if the Minister can satisfy us on those points this Clause as drafted is as fairly and reasonably practical as it can be for the purposes which it is desired to meet.
Lieut.-Colonel Dower (Penrith and Cockermouth)
This matter of giving notice arose on the Trunk Roads Bill when the question was mentioned of shutting up trunk roads. In Committee this was debated at some length. The hon. Member who raised this matter drew our attention to the words:at appears to him to be requisite.Is there any reason why the Minister should not have a notice fixed near the bridle path or footpath which is going to be taken over? That would reach the eye of the public far quicker than any other method, and I would ask him to consider it.
§ 4.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Turton
I differ from the hon. Member for Hertford (Mr. Walker-Smith), because it strikes me that this Clause is 398 most unfortunate. The Minister gave an undertaking in Committee that he was not going to extinguish rights of way under this Bill. In Committee the hon. and gallant Member for Henley (Sir G. Fox) said the Minister was attempting to abolish rights of way, and the Parliamentary Secretary gave an assurance that there was no intention of doing so. Now he comes before us, with an effort to abolish rights of way under a procedure that gives objectors less time than they were ever given before in the history of the closure of rights of way. It may be that the method we all use of going to quarter sessions is too long, in these circumstances, but the Socialist Government of 1930 established a procedure whereby there was publication in the newspapers, following which there was to be a six months' wait, while objections could be made. That is in Section 13 of the Housing Act of 1930.
What is the Minister doing in this new Clause? He is saying that he can give notice in whatever manner appears to him to be requisite and within 21 days. We tried to raise this upstairs in Committee and did not meet with a great deal of success. I ask that when the Minister is proposing to close public footpaths, on the retention of which the inhabitants of the locality feel extremely strongly, he should give them the same protection as they had in the past. Let us go back to the 1930 Act. I should be quite satisfied if the Minister retained in this new Clause the six weeks of the 1930 Act and if it were also specified by regulation or otherwise, that there should be proper publication. We do not want rights of way even although they may not be rights of way for vehicular traffic, closed in any hole and corner manner. There should be publication in the local newspapers so that everybody affected will know about it. In this new Clause notice will be given in the way the Minister of Health thinks requisite, but I gather that it is not the Minister of Health alone who will be involved. Other Departments affected by this Bill will have their own method of closing roads and public footpaths. I think the Minister here is stepping into what will prove a hornet's nest. I feel he does not want to rob the people of their ancient public rights of way. They have been protected by the 1930 Act, which lays down that there must be proper advertisement before anybody can 399 infringe the public rights. Under the proposed Clause the Minister can close a right of way, giving the people only 21 days' notice in which to object, such notice being given in a manner which appears to him to be requisite. We do regard that as a hole and corner method.
§ The Solicitor-General (Major Sir Frank Soskice)
I am sorry to see the strong disagreement that exists among hon. Members opposite, and I sympathise with the two hon. Gentlemen who do not seem to be in accord. We on this side prefer to deal with the hon. Member for Hertford (Mr. Walker-Smith). The procedure set up in this Clause for closing roads is appropriate to present-day circumstances, and the question raised by the hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) is a very different one. As I read it, there is no doubt that under this proposed new Clause the Minister has only a limited power with regard to the prescribed method of making an objection. The new Clause does not empower him to exclude any particular person as a possible objector. At the same time if there is any doubt, the Parliamentary Secretary-authorises me to say that amenity societies will certainly have full consideration in any objection which they may raise in respect of a particular right of way.
Then the point was made that it was wrong that the method of publication should be left to the discretion of the Minister. I ask hon. Members to consider the actual circumstances. You may be closing a small footpath, about which few people except those who live in the immediate vicinity know anything, or you may be closing a right of way which is much more used, and much better known to the local inhabitants. It is right, I think, that there should be some discretion left to the Minister to say, with regard to that right of way, "Is the best way to bring notice of closing to those concerned to put up a notice at each end of the path, or to publish it in the newspapers, or would it be useless to publish it in the newspapers? If it should be published what are the appropriate papers? Should it be newspapers circulating in the vicinity, or should it be in newspapers with a much wider circulation? "I submit that the Minister must have discretion to enable him to decide upon such publication as 400 will most adequately bring the matter to the notice of the people concerned.
For that reason the new Clause is drafted in such a way as. to give the Minister discretion. It would be unfortunate if his hands were tied. Supposing the notice had to be published in d national newspaper, and the people who lived in the immediate vicinity of the right of way, and who used it, did not normally read that paper. That is a very real consideration which has to be borne in mind. That is why we thought it better to leave the Minister with discretion. I can, however, give this further assurance, that the Minister will be very careful, in dealing with the question, to see that all concerned are apprised of the fact that the question of stopping the right of way has arisen. The Minister, will, as all Ministers do in the present Government, exercise his discretion wisely for securing effectually the purpose for which that discretion has been vested in him.
§ Mr. W. S. Morrison
In dealing with rights of way, the Committee is dealing with a subject which arouses great feeling in the country. These rights of passage over other people's land, which are enjoyed by the public, are among our treasured possessions, and it is necessary that we should see exactly what we are doing. I cannot take the view that it is necessary sometimes to stop a right of way. It is clear that if you intend to dedicate land for a certain purpose the use of the land for that purpose might be quite incompatible with the continued existence of a free right of passage over it. I am glad, therefore, that the Government have listened to what we had to say in Committee upstairs, and have brought forward this Clause. At the same time, I am not convinced by what the Solicitor-General said, that we cannot have a little more explicit direction to the Minister as to what conditions of notice he has to impose. The hon. and learned Gentleman properly used the argument that rights of way vary in size and importance, that their locality varies, and that the sort of notice which might be good for a small one might not be applicable to a large one. But it is precisely the small rights of way that we have to look after because, from one cause or another, they are tending to diminish.
401 I should have thought that the proper course was to lay down a minimum standard of notice to be applicable in all circumstances. In the First Schedule a form of notice is set out. For example, you have to publish the notice twice in the local newspaper, and thus give the local inhabitants some idea of what is projected with regard to the right of way. I hope that it may be found possible, while not unduly shackling the discretion of the Minister, to ensure that there will at least be a certain minimum of notice. I, personally, welcome Subsection (3). which provides that if a proposal is objected to, and the objection is not withdrawn, the Minister, before making an order, shall cause a public local inquiry to be held. I think that is an important safeguard, and I rejoice in the fact that the obligation is mandatory on the Minister, and not left to Departmental discretion. I think we should accept the Clause, but I hope the Government will look again at this question of notice, and will see whether they cannot provide a basis on which we can act in future.
§ Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.
§ FIRST SCHEDULE.—(Procedure for authorising compulsory purchases.)
§ Mr. Key
I beg to move, in page 12, line 23, after "undertaking," to insert:of of land belonging to the National Trust which is held by the Trust inalienably.This Amendment arises out of the discussion we had in Committee about safeguarding the position of land belonging to the National Trust, and held by the Trust inalienably. I must frankly say that I was not happy about the outcome of that discussion, and we have, therefore, given further consideration to this matter. We feel that as Parliament has entrusted the National Trust, as a responsible body, with power to hold certain lands. Parliament has obviously regarded the Trust as being a body at least as important as local authorities and statutory undertakers. That being so, we thought it would be best to apply to the Trust safeguards of the same sort as those which apply to local authorities and statutory undertakers in regard to land. In those cases, if, after the confirming 402 authority has given its decision, the local authority or statutory undertaker still object, then the land can only be taken as a result of special Parliamentary procedure. What is being done by this Amendment, and the three Government Amendments which follow it, is to apply to the National Trust the same sort of protection of special Parliamentary procedure as it applies to local authorities and statutory undertakers.
§ Mr. Keeling (Twickenham)
Perhaps I may be allowed, on behalf of the National Trust, to thank the Government for accepting the strong views which were expressed upstairs. It may be of interest to hon. Members to know that not all land held by the National Trust is held inalienably. The only land which they hold inalienably is land which, because of its special beauty or interest, was either declared inalienable by the original National Trust Act, 1907, or has subsequently, from time to time, been declared inalienable by the Council of the Trust.
§ Mr. Turton
I would like to voice my gratitude to the Minister for moving this Amendment, and for adopting the words of an Amendment which I moved upstairs. One of the questions we had to consider was whether land belonging to the National Trust should be subjected to special Parliamentary procedure or not, and, if so, whether it was to be at the discretion of the Ministry of Town and Country Planning. We argued in Committee that it was wrong that the National Trust should be put under that Ministry and that this had never been the case before. This is no reflection on the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Town and Country Planning, but it would be something quite new in the procedure of the National Trust. I am very grateful to the hon. Gentleman for having advanced the interest of the National Trust both in the Committee upstairs and here today.
§ 4.30 p.m.
§ Mr. W. S. Morrison
I should like to add my word of thanks for the manner in which this matter has been dealt with by the Parliamentary Secretary. We attached a great deal of importance to this in Standing Committee and it is a happy conclusion that the Minister's name should appear with mine and those of my right hon. Friends to this Amendment. It is a very rare occurrence, and I hope the 403 result to the public may be advantageous. The Committee should know that the practical point of this, is that people should be encouraged to give land of especial value to the National Trust. They are so encouraged if they know that the land can be held inalienably by the Trust, but they are inclined to be discouraged, if they think that, after they have handed it over, it can be taken away from the Trust at any time for any purpose. By accepting this Amendment the hon. Gentleman has done good work not only for the Trust, but for the cause which the Trust exists to further—namely, to preserve places of peculiar beauty and historical interest to the nation.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Further Amendments made:
In page 12, line 25, at end, insert:
or the National Trust, as the case may be.
§ In line 48, leave out from "of," to "any," in page 13, line 1.
In page 13, line 6, leave out:
land held inalienably by the National Trust or.
§ In page 16, line 27, leave out paragraph 20.—[Mr. Key.]
§ Schedule, as amended, agreed to.
§ NEW SCHEDULE.—(Public Local Inquiries in Scotland.)
§ 1. The Minister shall appoint a person to hold the inquiry and to report thereon to him.
§ 2. The person appointed to hold the inquiry shall notify any person who has lodged, and has not withdrawn, objections in relation to any matter in question at the inquiry, and shall publish in such newspaper or newspapers as the Minister may direct a notice, of the time when and the place where the inquiry is to be held.
§ 3. The person appointed to hold the inquiry may, on the motion of any party thereto or of his own motion, serve a notice in writing on any person requiring him to attend at the time and place set forth in the notice to give evidence or to produce any books or documents in his custody or under his control which relate to any matter in question at the inquiry:
§ Provided that—
- (i) no person shall be required in obedience to such a notice to attend at any place which is more than ten miles from the place where he resides unless the necessary expenses are paid or tendered to him; and
- (ii) nothing in this Subsection shall empower the person appointed to hold the inquiry to require any person to produce any book or document or to answer any
404 question which he would be entitled, on the ground of privilege or confidentiality, to refuse to produce or to answer if the inquiry were a proceeding in a court of law.
§ 4. The person appointed to hold the inquiry may administer oaths and examine witnesses on oath and may accept, in lieu of evidence on oath by any person, a statement in writing by that person.
§ 5. Any person who refuses or wilfully neglects to attend in obedience to a notice under paragraph 3 of this Schedule or to give evidence or who wilfully alters, suppresses, conceals, destroys, or refuses to produce, any book or document which he may be required to produce by any such notice shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding twenty pounds or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three months.
§ 6. Where the inquiry arises out of a proposed acquisition of land by a local authority or the proposed extinction of a right of way over land acquired or proposed to be acquired by a local authority—
- (a) the expenses incurred by the Minister in relation to the inquiry (including such reasonable sum as the Minister may determine for the services of the person appointed to hold the inquiry) shall be paid by such of the parties to the inquiry in such proportions as the Minister may order; and
- (b) the Minister may make orders as to the expenses incurred by the parties to the inquiry and as to the parties by whom such expenses shall be paid.
§ 7. Any order by the Minister under paragraph 6 of this Schedule may be enforced in like manner as a recorded decree arbitral.
§ Brought up, and read the First time.
§ The Lord Advocate
I beg to move, "That the Schedule be read a Second time."
The purpose of this Schedule, to which I referred in moving an earlier Amendment, is to lay down a code for the procedure of public local inquiries in Scotland.
§ Mr. J. S. C. Reid
I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Schedule, in line 36', to leave out subparagraph (a).
The position, as the Lord Advocate said earlier, is that last year—I think for the first time in Scotland—a general code for public inquiries was framed in the Town and Country Planning Act, 1945. Before that date there had been different arrangements in different types of inquiry, and indeed we had on certain occasions to pray in aid certain English provisions. This code, however, was deliberately framed by a Coalition Government—and by the Coalition Members of the Scottish 405 Office headed by Mr. Thomas Johnston— with everyone's consent as a model- for the future. It left out Sub-paragraph (a) to which I have referred, but otherwise the Schedule which now appears in the name of the right hon. and learned Gentleman, is an identical copy of last year's code. The provision which we seek to leave out is one under which the Minister can—and indeed must—saddle those who appear at the inquiry with the Minister's expenses. We took the view last year that that was not a proper thing to do for a number of reasons, and Parliament agreed, because so far as my recollection serves, nobody questioned Section 50 of the Town and Country Planning Act, either on the Second Reading or on the Committee stage. At the time the present Secretary of State was, of course, Under-Secretary of State at the Scottish Office.
The reasons which were and are in my mind on this matter are, in the first place, that a number of persons who appear at these inquiries are small people and the Committee will know that there are a number of very small local authorities in Scotland. There is at least one Royal Burgh in Scotland with fewer than 300 inhabitants, and it is not right that a body of that character should be under liability to pay the expenses of the Minister if it chooses to bring forward the views of its ratepayers at an inquiry.
§ Mr. Kirkwood (Dumbarton Burghs)
May I ask the right hon. and learned Member the name of the Royal Burgh he has mentioned?
§ Mr. Reid
I think it is New Galloway— perhaps the right hon. Gentleman may be able to bear me out—which has a population of less than 300, and I believe there are one or two in Fife which are not much bigger. Accordingly it is important that these small authorities should not fail to put forward a case because they fear they may have to pay a sum for the expense of the inquiry which will put several pence on their rates. In the same way private individuals may be performing a public service by coming forward and putting the views and facts within their knowledge. Surely, if the Minister is to have an inquiry it is in the public interest that every source of public information should be tapped at that inquiry and that people should not be discouraged from appearing because of the 406 fear that they will have to pay the Minister's expenses. If a person raises a case in court the parties do not have to pay the judge's salary. It is quite true that they have to pay court fees which many people think are too large, but the small man will no longer have even to pay the court fees if proposals made by a Committee appointed by the last Government go through. The whole trend of opinion in recent times has been against calling upon the parties to pay the judge's salary. If this is right for a case in court surely it is equally so for a case before the Minister's arbiter or appointee at an inquiry. I cannot think of any reason or justification for saddling persons who come to an inquiry with the Minister's expenses. For that reason the law in Scotland was changed last year, and, we thought, changed for good in both senses of those words. I ask the Lord Advocate, "Why this retrogade step?" The only thing he said upstairs in Committee was that England had not yet seen the light and that it was necessary for Scotland to come back into line with England.
§ Mr. Reid
That is precisely what it means and my Amendment is intended to preserve for Scotland a concession which was allowed, presumably by the Treasury, on behalf of our colleagues. That concession is being given away by the Scottish Office now for no better reason than that England has not been sufficiently wide awake in the past to get the same concession. I was very surprised that the Lord Advocate should have put that forward, above all things, as a justification of his view. I have understood for some time that the view of the Socialist Party in Scotland is that Scottish affairs have not in the past received adequate independent consideration. I do not agree with that view. I think it was true 15 or 20 years ago, but I do not think it has been true recently. One of the first things which Scottish Socialist Members of this Government, holding that view, do, is to bring up the old argument that anything which is good enough for England is good enough for Scotland. [HON. MEMBERS: "NO."] That is what the right hon. Gentleman told us in Committee. Is this a question 407 of orders from the Lord Privy Seal, who was good enough to tell us in the Debate on the Address that Scotland had been too generously treated in the past? Is that the origin of the Government's attitude?
§ Mr. Reid
He was not very funny to some of us. I have seen a good deal since then to indicate that the view of the Lord Privy Seal is the preponderant view in this Government, and that Scottish interests are being neglected. This is an instance. I should be interested to hear any justification of the merits of this change which has been introduced. It was not put forward in Committee. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman has had some afterthoughts, and in order to give him an opportunity of airing those afterthoughts, I shall not add anything further at the moment.
Mr. McKie (Galloway)
I strongly support the remarks of my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hillhead (Mr. J. S. C Reid) with regard to the very small local authorities in Scotland. My right hon. and learned Friend alluded to the fact that I have the honour to represent the smallest Ancient and Royal Burgh in Scotland, New Galloway, whose charter goes back to Charles I. It is a relevant illustration of the danger which my right hon. and learned Friend sees in this Subsection that, some years ago, this small local authority endeavoured to promote legislation to have its burgh charter taken away, because it found the expense and difficulty of carrying on such a small community so great. It was not even able to raise the necessary sum of about £2,000, if my memory serves me rightly, to have that carried out. I am glad that it was not carried out, because I am glad to see the Ancient and Royal Burgh of New Galloway carrying on. That illustration, however, serves to show the position in which small local authorities, of which there are very many in Scotland, will be placed if this Subsection is retained in this Schedule relating to the acquisition of land by local authorities in Scotland. Why should they be called upon to pay the expenses of the inquiry conducted by the Minister? As my right hon and learned Friend pointed out, parties to a 408 lawsuit in court are not required to pay the expenses of the judge
§ Mr. McAdam (Salford, North)
While, they may not be called upon to pay the expenses of the judge, they are called upon to pay the expenses of the solicitors representing them.
§ 445 P.m.
That scarcely meets the argument I was endeavouring to put forward, and which my right hon. and learned Friend put forward so cogently. These small local authorities will be faced with a very difficult, awkward, and perhaps serious situation with regard to meeting these costs. Why should there be this retrograde step by the Socialist Government, which is departing from the principle laid down in the Town and Country Planning Act of last year by the Coalition Government, in which the present Secretary of State for Scotland served. as Under-Secretary of State? I hope there will be some attempt at an explanation of that point by the Lord Advocate. Paragraph (6) of the Schedule states that these expenses are to be met, where the inquiry arises out of a proposed acquisition of land by a local authority or the proposed extinction of a right of way over land acquired or proposed to be acquired by a local authority. These local authorities will be called upon, if this Subsection is retained, to finance the costs of the person holding the inquiry in connection with one of the most delicate questions— a fact to which my hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) alluded on a previous Amendment—in Scotland and in England, namely, the termination of ancient rights of way which the public have used it may be for two or three centuries. Wherever these inquiries take place, I hope they will be conducted in very great detail, and that many witnesses will be heard, and it is easy to see how the costs will mount up. I am glad to see that in paragraph (3), sub-paragraph (i), it is stated that:No person shall be required in obedience to such a notice to attend at any place which is more than ten miles from the place where he resides unless the necessary expenses are paid or tendered to him.That is a most excellent provision. Why not carry on in the same good way, and say that the local authorities also shall 409 not be required to be out of pocket owing to the holding of these most necessary inquiries? I hope the Lord Advocate will give us some very good reason why it is necessary to take what my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hill-head has so aptly described as a retrograde step. Twice today we have seen this Socialist Government acting in a manner which, I should have thought, was directly contrary to the best interests of those whom they always tell us they are sent to the House especially to protect. While my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hillhead was speaking, I thought I heard the hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood) expressing agreement with him, and I very much hope that the hon. Member will follow me and impress upon his Government the necessity for seeing that these small local authorities shall be left in the good position in which the Coalition Government thought they had placed them last year and which we thought and hoped would last for all time.
§ Mr. Charles Williams
I shall not follow my hon. Friend the Member for Galloway (Mr. McKie) in his effort to try to get a speech from the hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood). Of all the cooing doves which the Government Whips have produced to coo for the Government Front Bench, there is none that coos more than does the hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs. I really got up to say that I am afraid that my right hon. Friend who proposed this Amendment has placed me in a difficulty. I would wish to vote for his Amendment, but if I do so, as he clearly pointed out, I am in difficulties with my constituents, and I must justify my position because my constituents follow these things rather closely. I would not like to give a vote one way or the other in the event of a Division taking place, unless I gave some reason to justify myself in doing so. My right hon. and learned Friend pointed out very clearly, and I think he has the sympathy of the Committee, that inquiries of this "kind may be very expensive to the local authorities, and a very unfair expenditure may be laid on a private individual. These inquiries are at the order of the Government and are not necessarily in the interests of the local authorities. These inquiries may be forced on the local authority and on the 410 private individual, and a burden is imposed on them.
My right hon. and learned Friend pointed out that apparently that position would not have been imposed if only something had been carried into effect by some wicked Tories in the last Parliament with regard to a form of payment. That is no doubt correct, but what is the real position? If this is paid by the State, we English people have to pay our share instead of it all being paid by Scotsmen. That is a little hard on us. It may be hard, but some things are hard and some things are just. Here I come down on the side of my hon. and learned Friend. It may be true that the Scots have got away with this. It may be true that the late Secretary of State for Scotland, who, I believe, is very near to the Tory Party in many ways, and his Tory supporters, got away with something for Scotland as good Tories always do so much better than other parties. As far as this is concerned, it is no good unless there is a real sense of justice, and I do think that the case has been made out first of all to get this done in Scotland, in the interests of the Scottish people. When it is we shall have a splendid illustration of why it should be done in England. On that basis, I am perfectly justified in voting for the Amendment for the very simple reason that it is only fair and just to Scottish people. There is nothing we English delight in more than trying to see that the Scots have more than we have, because they are not as businesslike in their outlook as ordinary English people are. That may be so or it may not be so.
There is another side I would like to put to the Committee. I quite realise that very few sections of the community are getting justice under this Government. It always seems to me to be a little bit hard, that when you condemn a man to death, you should charge the rope to his executors. That is exactly what the Government are going to do. They are going to belabour unfortunate local authorities and individuals who have an inquiry, and by doing so, they are laying an unnecessary burden on them. I hope that the Government will support the Amendment to eliminate this part of the Bill, which would be just in every way, and I also hope some of the Government Back Benchers may, from the English point of view, say they hope that the Scots will gain this concession 411 so that we may have it in England in due course.
§ The Lord Advocate
I am almost tempted to agree to this Amendment on the idea that the English people would be paying for something which we are to get. However, I do not think I should take that selfish view. When one looks at the history of the matter, it is true to say that an Act was passed last year which contains provisions of this kind, but without the particular provision we are discussing at this moment. That was an innovation—the only Act of its kind in Scotland. There have been numerous Acts in which a clause of this kind stands —all the earlier Local Government Acts, the Town and Country Planning Act, 1932, the Restriction of Ribbon Development Act, 1935, the Requisitioned Land and War Works Act, 1945, the Hydro-Electric Development Act, 1943, and the Water Bill which is in process of passing into an Act at the present time. There is any amount of precedent for the course which we are following in this Bill, and there is only one contrary precedent and that is a very poor reason for making this innovation. It must be remembered that this Bill is of the nature of a codifying Bill—to codify what is the established and expressed practice in Scotland. I cannot help noticing that there has been a certain amount of patriotic fervour from hon. Members opposite. There has also been the talk one hears so much of now, this cry to look after the interests of the small people. These are familiar shouts now from right hon. Members opposite, but at the back of this solicitude for the small man and this patriotic fervour lies the point that they want to protect the pockets of the landowners.
§ The Lord Advocate
In my submission there is no reason at all why, if people get involved in an inquiry and make objections, they should not take the ordinary risks of taking objections and pay for those objections if they are wrong. That will make them cautious, and caution is a good thing, particularly among the Scots. Furthermore, there seems no reason at all why there should be any distinction drawn between the two countries in this matter. The principle seems to be sound and it is equally applicable to both.
§ Commander Galbraith (Glasgow, Pollok)
I am extraordinarily disappointed with the right hon. and learned Gentleman and what he has just said to us. I have always looked upon him as being one of these progressive people, and I do not know that I can think that any more, particularly if he is going to continue on the lines which he took in his reply just now. Let us for a moment consider what kind of a Scottish Office it was that put through this innovation, which he calls it, in the Town and Country Planning Act, 1945.
§ The Chairman (Major Milner)
The constitution of the Scottish Office would not appear to be relevant.
§ 5.0 p.m.
§ Commander Galbraith
But, surely, I am allowed to say that Mr. Thomas Johnston was there, that the present Secretary of State was there and that the right hon. and learned Member for Hill-head (Mr. J. S. C. Reid) was there? There cannot be any objection to my reminding the Committee that these were the persons who were responsible for the Government's policy in Scotland when this innovation, as the right hon. and learned Gentleman called it, was brought into being. They are persons who are very progressive in their outlook and it was, therefore, a very progressive step they took when they introduced this new Clause into the Bill of 1945, and which is now being removed so far as this Bill h concerned by sub-paragraph (a), which we would like to have deleted. I think it is a most amazing turnround on the part of the present Government, and I can only think that it has come about because the Scottish Office at the present moment is overburdened; that in the rush of things, the gentleman who was responsible for drafting this forgot that Scotland had obtained a new procedure and, in the excitement of the moment, went back to the old one.
This is going to affect small people far more than big people, and there let me ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman, who talked about our patriotism and working up a nationalistic spirit and so on, and that what we really wanted to do was to protect the pocket of the landlord—has he inspected the pocket of a landowner, as he calls him, recently? He will not find anything like as much in 413 it as in the pockets of many other sections of the community; in fact, there is a large hole in it, so that there is nothing left at all. As a matter of fact, this is a protection to small people.
Let me say why I think the right hon. and learned Gentleman is a reactionary. Is it not the right of people to have an opportunity to come and state their case and not be intimidated by the chance of heavy costs arising against them? I think it is a right, and it should be. I am very much surprised that the right hon. and learned Gentleman has not seen his way to accept this very reasonable Amendment.
§ Mr. Charles Williams
I, too, was amazed at the speech of the Lord Advocate, though I have been expecting this kind of speech for a long time. He made it plain that there was only one reason for resisting this Amendment, the matter
§ of precedent. In other words, he was saying quite clearly that this is a most completely reactionary Government, who have no intention of moving with the times, and if they can only find a precedent for oppressing people, they will use it. I wish to emphasise that very strongly, because I think that on an occasion like this, when there is an Amendment in the interests of the ordinary people of this country and the local authorities, and the Government blandly quote worn out precedents of this sort when they have a far better precedent for doing the right thing, some Tory should get up and point out how reactionary and backsliding they are.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the proposed Schedule."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 258; Noes, 135.417
|Division No. 105.]||AYES.||[5.5 p.m|
|Adams, Richard (Balham)||Corlett, Dr. J.||Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R|
|Adamson, Mrs. J L.||Cove, W. G.||Hannan, W. (Maryhill)|
|Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)||Crawley, Flt.-Lieut. A||Hardy, E. A.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Daggar, G.||Hastings, Dr. Somerville|
|Alpass, J. H.||Daines, P.||Haworth, J.|
|Anderson, A. (Motherwell)||Davies, Edward (Burslem)||Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)|
|Attewell, H. C||Davies, Clement (Montgomery)||Herbison, Miss M.|
|Austin, H. L.||Davies, Ernest (Enfield)||Hewitson, Capt. M.|
|Ayles, W. H.||Davies, Harold (Leek)||Hobson, C. R.|
|Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B||Deer, G.||Holman, P.|
|Bacon, Miss A.||de Freitas, Geoffrey||Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)|
|Balfour, A.||Diamond, J.||House, G.|
|Barstow, P. G.||Dobbie, W.||Hoy, J.|
|Barton, C.||Dodds, N. N.||Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.)|
|Battley, J. R.||Douglas, F. C. R||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayr)|
|Bechervaise, A. E.||Driberg, T. E. N.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)|
|Berry, H.||Dugģdale, J. (W. Bromwich)||Hughes, Lt. H. D. (W'lverh'pton, W.>|
|Beswick, Flt.-Lieut. F||Dumpleton, C- W||Hutchinson, H. L. (Rusholme)|
|Binns, J.||Dye, S.||Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)|
|Blenkinsop, Capt. A||Edelman, M.||Irving, W. J.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough, E.)||Jeger, G. (Winchester)|
|Boardman, H.||Edwards, Rt. Hon. Sir C. (Bedwellty)||John, W.|
|Boflemley, A. G.||Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)||Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools)|
|Bowden, Flg.-Offr. H. W.||Evans, E. (Lowestoft)||Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)|
|Bowen, R.||Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)||Keenan, W.|
|Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton)||Ewart, R.||Key, C. W.|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'p'l, Exch'ge)||Fairhurst, F.||King, E. M.|
|Braddock, T. (Mitcham)||Farthing, W. J.||Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr E|
|Brook, D. (Halifax)||Fraser, T. (Hamilton)||Kinley, J.|
|Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)||Gaitskell, H. T. N.||Kirby, B. V|
|Brown, georģe (Belper)||georģe, Lady M. Lloyd (Anglesey)||Kirkwood, D|
|Brown, W. J. (Rugby)||Gibbins, J.||Lang, G.|
|Burden, T. W.||Gilzean, A.||Lee, F. (Hulme)|
|Byers, Lt.-Col. F.||Glanville. J. E. (Consett)||Leslie, J. R.|
|Callaghan, James||Gooch, E G.||Levy, B. W.|
|Chamberlain, R. A.||Gordon-Walker, P. C.||Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)|
|Champion, A. J.||Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)||Lipson, D L.|
|Chater, D.||Grenfell, D. R||Logan, D. G|
|Chetwynd, Capt. G. R||Grey, C. F.||Longden, F.|
|Clitherow, Dr R||Grierson, E.||Lyne, A. W.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)||McAdam, W.|
|Cobb, F. A||Griffiths, Capt. W. D. (Moss Side)||McEntee, V. La T.|
|Cocks, F S.||Gruffydd, Prof. W. J.||McGhee, H. G.|
|Collins, V. J.||Guest, Dr. L. Haden||McKay, J. (Wallsend)|
|Colman, Miss G. M||Gunter, Capt. R. J.||McKinlay, A. S.|
|Comyns, Dr. L.||Haire, Flt.-Lieut. J. (Wycombe)||Maclean, N. (Govan)|
|Cook, T. F.||Hale, Leslie||McLeavy, F.|
|Cooper, Wing-Comdr. G.||Hall, W. G. (Colne Valley)||MacMillan, M. K.|
|Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N.W.)||Mainwaririg, W. H.|
|Mann, Mrs. J.||Rankin, J.||Thurtle, E|
|Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.)||Rees-Williams, D. R.||Tiffany, S.|
|Manning, Mrs. L. (E'pping)||Reid, T. (Swindon)||Timmons, J.|
|Marshall, F. (Brightside)||Rhodes, H.||Titterington, M. F.|
|Mathers, G.||Richards, R||Tolley, L.|
|Mayhew, C. P.||Ridealgh, Mrs. M||Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G|
|Medland, H. M.||Robens, A.||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Middleton, Mrs. L.||Roberts, Sqn.-Ldr. Emrys (Merioneth)||Usborne, Henry|
|Mitchison, Maj. G. R||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)||Vernon, Maj. W. F|
|Monslow, W.||Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)||Viant, S. P.|
|Montague, F||Rogers, G. H. R||Walker, G. H.|
|Moody, A. S.||Royle, C.||Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)|
|Morgan, Dr. H. B.||Sargood, R.||Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)|
|Morley, R.||Scott-Elliot, W.||Watkins, T. E.|
|Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)||Segal, Sq.-Ldr. S.||Watson, W. M.|
|Mort, D. L||Shackleton, Wing-Cdr. E. A. A||Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Moyle, A.||Sharp, Lt.-Col. G. M.||Weitzman, D.|
|Murray, J. D.||Silverman, J. (Erdington)||Wells, P. L. (Faversham)|
|Nally, W.||Skeffington, A. M.||Wells, W T. (Walsall)|
|Naylor, T. E.||Skeffington-Lodge, T C||White, C. F. (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Neal, H. (Claycross)||Skinnard, F. W.||Whiteley, Rt Hon. W|
|Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)||Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)||Wigg, Col. G. E|
|Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)||Smith, T. (Normanton)||Wilkes, Maj. L.|
|Noel-Baker, Capt. F E. (Brentford)||Snow, Capt. J. W.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Noel-Buxton, Lady||Soskice, Maj Sir F.||Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)|
|Oldfield, W. H.||Stamford, W||Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)|
|Paget, R. T.||Steele, T.||Williams, D. J. (Neath)|
|Parkin, Flt.-Lieut. B. T.||Stephen, C||Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)|
|Paton, Mrs. F. (Rushcliffe)||Stewart, Capt. Michael (Fulham, E.)||Williams, W. R. (Heston)|
|Paton, J. (Norwich)||Strachey, J.||Willis, E.|
|Peart, Capt. T. F.||Strauss, G. R.||Wills, Mrs. E. A|
|Perrins, W.||Swingler, Capt, S.||Wise, Major F J|
|Piratin, P.||Symonds, Maj. A. L.||Woods, G. S.|
|Platts-Mills, J. F. F||Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Popplewell, E.||Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)||Younger Hon Kenneth|
|Porter, G. (Leeds)||Thomas, georģe (Cardiff)||Zilliacus, K.|
|Proctor, W. T||Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Ed'b'gh, E.)|
|Ranger, J.||Thorneycroft, H||TELLERS FOR THE AYES. Mr. Pearson and Captain Bin|
|Agnew, Cmdr. P. G.||Glossop, C. W. H.||Mellor, Sir J.|
|Aitken, Hon. Max||Glyn, Sir R.||Morris-Jones, Sir H.|
|Amory, D. Heathcoat||Gomme-Duncan, Col. A. G||Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)|
|Astor, Hon. M.||Grimston R. V.||Neven-Spence, Sir B.|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Hare, Lieut.-Col. Hn. J. H. (W'db'ge)||Nicholson, G.|
|Barlow, Sir J.||Harvey, Air-Comdie. A. V.||Noble, Comdr. A. H P.|
|Beamish, Maj. T. V. H||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Nutting, Anthony|
|Bennett, Sir P.||Hogg, Hon. Q.||O'Neill, Rt. Hon Sir H.|
|Birch, Lt.-Col. Nigel||Hollis, M. C.||Orr-Ewing, I. L.|
|Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. (Wells)||Hope, Lord J.||Peake, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Bower, N.||Howard, Hon. A.||Pickthorn, K.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)||Ponsonby, Col. C. E.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Hulbert, Wing-Cdr. N. J||Price-White, Lt.-Col. D|
|Butcher, H. W.||Hurd, A||Raikes, H. V.|
|Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A. (S'ffr'n W'ld'n)||Hutchison, Lt.-Cm Clark (E'b'rgh W.)||Ramsay, Maj. S.|
|Carson, E.||Hutchison, Col. J. R. (Glasgow, C.)||Rayner, Brig. R.|
|Challen, C.||Jeffreys, General Sir G.||Reed, Sir S. (Aylesbury)|
|Channon, H.||Jennings, R.||Reid, Rt. Hon. J. S. C. (Hillhead)|
|Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col G||Keeling, E. H.||Robinson, Wing-Comdr. Roland|
|Cole, T. L.||Kingsmill, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Ropner, Col. L.|
|Cooper-Key. E M.||Lambert, Hon. G.||Sanderson, Sir F|
|Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow)||Langford-Holt, J.||Savory, Prof. D. L|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Law, Rt. Hon. R. K||Scott, Lord W.|
|Crowder, Capt. J. F E||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Smithers, Sir W|
|Cuthbert, W. N.||Lloyd, Maj, Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Snadden, W. M.|
|Davidson Viscountess||Low, Brig. A. R. W||Spence, H. R.|
|De la Bere, R.||Lucas, Major Sir J.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Digby, Maj. S. W.||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||MacAndrew, Col. Sir C||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M,|
|Dower, Lt.-Col. A. V. G. (Penrith)||McCallum, Maj. D.||Strauss, H. G. (Cem. Eng. Univ'sities)|
|Drayson, Capt. G. B.||Macdonald, Capt. Sir P. (I. of Wight)||Stuart, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Drewe, C.||Mackeson, Lt.-Col. H. R.||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Dugģdale, Maj. Sir T. (Richmond)||McKie, J. H. (Galloway)||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Duthie, W. S.||Maclay, Hon. J. S.||Teelinģ, William|
|Eccles, D. M.||Maclean, Brig. F. H. R. (Lancaster)||Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Eden, Rt. Hon. A.||MacLeod, Capt. J.||Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.|
|Erroll, F. J.||Macpherson, Maj. N. (Dumfries)||Thorp, Lt.-Col. R. A. F.|
|Fletcher, W. (Bury)||Maitland. Comdr. J. W.||Turton, R. H.|
|Fox, Sqn.-Ldr. Sir G.||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Vane, W. M. T.|
|Fraser, Maj. H. C. P. (Stone)||Marples, A. E.||Wakefield, Sir W. W|
|Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D.||Marshall, D. (Bodmin)||Walker-Smith, D.|
|Gammans, L. D.||Marshall, S. H. (Sutton)||Ward, Hon. G. R.|
|Gates, Maj. E. E.||Medlicott, Brig. F||Watt, Sir G. S. Harvie|
|Wheatley, Colonel M. J||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES: Mr. Studholme and Major Conant.|
|White, J. B. (Canterbury)||York, C.|
|Williams C. (Torquay)||Young, Sir A. S. L. (Partick)|
§ Proposed Schedule added to the Bill.
§ Bill reported, with Amendments; as amended (in the Standing Committee and on recommittal), considered.
§ NEW CLAUSE.—(Accommodation of displaced persons.)
§ No person residing on land acquired under this Act shall be displaced unless alternative accommodation on reasonable terms has been offered to him.— [Mr. W. S. Morrison.]
§ Brought up, and read the First time.
§ 5.15 p.m.
§ Mr. W. S. Morrison
I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."
The proposed new Clause is an attempt to secure that, if the Measure is put into operation, persons who are displaced from their homes and businesses shall have something done for them to find reasonable accommodation. There is nothing new in the idea. In Section 137 of the Housing Act, 1936, local authorities are required to make arrangements for the housing and accommodation of people displaced from their dwellings by the operation of that Statute. In the Town and Country Planning Act, 1944, which I have reason to remember, Section 30 lays down that if a planning authority is engaged in redeveloping its area, it must, before turning people from places which it has acquired, take steps to provide them with reasonable accommodation.
The proposed new Clause merely asks that the Bill shall confirm those two precedents, so recent and so fresh, and that steps should be taken now to make sure that we do not, in attempting to remove one difficulty, create a great number of hardships by people being left without anywhere to go. I am surprised that no steps have been taken to include a provision of that sort in the Bill already. There is no party matter about this. It is a matter of common interest to us all. We hope that Acts we pass in this House do good, but we should take pains to see that they do no avoidable harm. In these days of very scarce accommodation everyone knows how difficult it is for people to get a roof over their heads. This is not a time to relax provisions that we have found of value in those recent Statutes, or to say that land can be acquired, without 418 any care being taken to see that people are properly placed.
I am bound to admit, in all fairness, that the proposed new Clause was put down before I was aware of the Government's intention to bring forward a very welcome Amendment to Clause 2 exempting dwellinghouses from that harsh, arbitrary and bureaucratic method of procedure. To that extent the case for the proposed new Clause is weakened. The purpose I had in mind was to prevent people from being suddenly turned out by that rapid, ruthless procedure. They can still be displaced under Clause 1. This matter was raised at some length in the Committee upstairs when the Parliamentary Secretary, and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade, said that their Departments would see that displaced people were rehoused.
Why cannot we have something of this sort in the Bill before we part with it, to make sure that these people are looked after? We are all familiar in this House, in Debates on other matters, with the great problem of displaced persons in Europe and how difficult they are to deal with. I am only asking here to have a little care shown for displaced British persons, displaced not by the operations of war, but by the actions of the Government and of local authorities under the Government. I hope the House will give sympathetic consideration to the object we have in view, and add the Clause to the Bill.
§ The Solicitor-General
We on this side of the House considered most carefully the arguments advanced on this matter in Committee, and the result of our deliberations was that we thought it right and proper to compromise, so as to exclude all dwellinghouses, even if temporarily left unoccupied, from the provisions of Clause 2 of the Bill, although not from the provisions of Clause 1. I would remind hon. Members that this Bill is really an enabling Bill. It standardises the procedure in acquiring property. It does not create a new right to acquire property, but standardises procedure when another Act, which I may refer to as the parent Act, has created that power. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cirencester. (Mr. W. S. Morrison) instanced two Acts each of which is specifically excluded from 419 the operation of this Bill. Nevertheless, they are analogous as parent Acts. They are Acts which create the power to acquire land for specific purposes. If Parliament desires that any particular power should not be exercised except on condition that alternative accommodation has been found by the authority desiring to exercise the power, the proper place for that condition to be found is in the parent Act—the Act which creates the power to acquire the land—not in this general Bill, which simply standardises procedure when the power has already been created by the parent Act.
The right hon. Member for Cirencester as I say called attention to two Acts which provided that the power should not be exercised unless alternative accommodation was provided. There are in operation a number of Acts in which there is no such power, Acts which create a power to acquire land without the corresponding condition. We have both sorts of Acts which have been in force for many years. Both sorts have been tried and found to deal adequately with the purposes for which they were passed. I ask the House to say, in these circumstances, that it would be unduly hampering Parliament, which, after all, passes different Acts to deal with different purposes, sometimes more urgent and sometimes less urgent purposes, if in this general Bill we made it a sine qua non that alternative accommodation should be provided. It would be undesirable, irrespective of the justice of the case, in the particular set of circumstances to be dealt with. In spite of that, we have so far been inconsistent with that view in that we have provided that the speedy procedure laid down by Clause 2, shall not, in any circumstances, be exercised in relation to the exclusion mentioned in a later Amendment. We say that the speedy procedure should not be exercised in relation to dwellinghouses defined in the Amendment which the House will, no doubt, discuss later on.
I ask the House to take the view that having very anxiously considered this point, we have arrived at a compromise of the alternative points of view expressed on both sides of the Committee. We have excluded the dwellinghouses from Clause 2, but we felt that in regard to Clause 1 the less speedy procedure for acquiring land should not in this Bill be subject to the condition. If it should exist 420 in any particular set of circumstances, it should be found in the parent Bill.
I think the hon and learned Gentleman has sought to make a reasonable reply to the new Clause put forward by my right hon. Friend the Member for Cirencester (Mr. W. S. Morrison). I am not a lawyer, nor was I on the Committee which dealt with this Bill, but I am interested in this matter. As this land is to be acquired under this Bill, should not some reference be made drawing the attention of those who are to use the Bill to the provisions of the major Bill? I think it rather a pity that such a rigid machinery Bill as this should be introduced without some reference to the social consequences. I am sure the Solicitor-General would be the first to admit that it would be very deplorable if authorities concerned became so enthusiastic in their schemes in using the powers given under this Bill, that they forgot that they had to provide houses for the people displaced. I want authorities to get out of the habit of working all these things out on paper, and not asking themselves what will happen in actual practice to the people affected. They should ask themselves what is going to happen to the displaced persons in the meanwhile, and what provision should be made for them. For that reason, I think my right hon. Friend the Member for Cirencester has done a useful service in bringing this matter to the attention of the House. I join with him in saying that I appreciate very much the valuable Amendment as to the exclusion from the speedy procedure of people who occupy homes. I think that goes some way to meeting objections. At the same time, I regret that there is no reference in the Bill drawing the attention of those who are to use it, to the question of displaced persons.
§ 5.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Derek Walker-Smith
I feel a considerable degree of disappointment at the speech of the Solicitor-General, a disappointment which I think will be shared on this side, and possibly in all parts of the House. It is a great pity that the Solicitor-General has been unable to go the whole hog in this matter, and agree to this Clause, as well as putting down the Amendment which exempts dwelling houses from the speedy procedure of Clause 2. Listening carefully to the 421 Solicitor - General's observations, it occurred to me that though persuasive as always, they perhaps lacked something of the lucidity and authority with which he is accustomed to address this House. Does not his argument amount to this: that because this is an enabling Bill it would be improper to add a Clause which, in his view, would be more fittingly found in the parent Acts? It might well be that in applying the law it would be more convenient if this were to be found in each of the parent Acts to which the procedure of Clause 1 of this Bill applies. But since that is not in those parent Acts, surely, if the principle is right it should be embodied in this Bill. Though it might be a little inconvenient, or even unusual, I do not think the Solicitor-General would go so far as to say that it was in any way impossible, either legally or constitutionally.
He says that this Clause is unnecessary, because many of these parent Acts, as he describes them, have been in force for a number of years, and have, in his view, worked quite well without any such provision as this. But it. is just in those words "for a number of years" that the weakness of his case is fully exposed, because my right hon. Friend the Member for Cirencester (Mr. W. S. Morrison) prayed in aid some recent Statutes which were passed by Parliament to suit the conditions of today, and the conditions of today are those of marked and indeed tragic housing shortage. There is no evidence, from the returns so far produced by the Ministry of Health; that that shortage is to be in any way abated. Therefore, we now have the position that if a statutory obligation to
|Division No. 106.]||AYES.||[5.35 p.m.|
|Agnew, Cmdr. P. G.||Crotthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E||georģe, Maj. Rt. Hn. G. Lloyd (P'kt)|
|Aitken, Hon. Max||Crowder, Capt. J. F. E.||Glyn, Sir R.|
|Amory, D. Heathcoat||Cuthbert, W. N.||Gomme-Dunoan, Col. A. G|
|Anderson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Scot. Univ.)||Davidson, Viscountess||Grimston, R. V.|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R.||De la Bére, R.||Hare, Lieut.-Col. Hn. J. H. (W'db'ge)|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Digby, Maj. S. W.||Harvey, Air-Comdre. A. V.|
|Barlow, Sir J.||Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount|
|Beamish, Mai. T. V. H.||Dower, Lt.-Col. A. V. G. (Penrith)||Hogg, Hon. Q.|
|Bennett, Sir P.||Drayion, Capt. G. B||Hollit, M. C.|
|Birch, Lt.-Col. Nigel||Drewe, C.||Howard, Hon. A.|
|Boles, Lt.-Col. D C. (Wells)||Dugģdale, Maj. Sir T. (Richmond)||Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W||Duthie, W. S.||Hulbert, Wing-Cdr. N. J.|
|Brown, W. J. (Rugby)||Eccles, D. M.||Hurd, A.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G T||Eden, Rt. Hon. A.||Hutchison, Lt.-Cm. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)|
|Butoher, H. W.||Erroll, F. J.||Hutchison, Col. J. R. (Glasgow, C.)|
|Carson, E.||Fletcher, W. (Bury)||Jeffreys, General Sir G|
|Challen, C.||Fox, Sqn.-Ldr. Sir G.||Jennings, R.|
|Cole, T. L.||Fraser, Maj. H. C. P. (Stone)||Keeling, E. H.|
|Cooper-Key, E. M.||Galbraith, Cmdr. T D||Kingsmill, Lt.-Col. W. H|
|Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow)||Gammans, L. D.||Lambert, Hon. G.|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Gates, Maj. E. E.||Langford-Holt, J.|
§ find other housing accommodation is not imposed, it is extremely unlikely that these unhappy displaced persons will be able to find alternative accommodation for themselves. That is where our present situation differs from the situation which existed when these earlier parent Acts, to which the Solicitor-General referred, applied. If the conditions which apply today had applied then, we may safely assume that this House would have seen to it that some such provision as this was embodied in those Acts. But because the position has now changed we must put into this enabling Bill a provision to cover the present situation.
§ The Solicitor-General has been tempted to treat this matter a little too much as a technicality. It is quite clear that this principle is now necessary, and it is equally clear that there is no legal, constitutional or administrative difficulty in importing the words of this Clause into this Bill. In these circumstances, I am sure that those who have at heart the interests of the unfortunate people who may be displaced under the Clause 1 procedure of this Bill, will support us on this side of the House in inserting this Clause into the Bill. I am sure it is right, and so far we have heard nothing from the other side of the House which throws any doubt upon either the desirability or possibility of the inclusion of this Clause, which has been moved so eloquently and lucidly by my right hon. Friend.
§ Question put, "That the Clause be read a Second time."
§ The House divided: Ayes, Noes, 264.425
|Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.||Nutting, Anthony||Strauss, H. G. (Com. Eng. Univ'sities|
|Lloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Orr-Ewing, l. L.||Stuart, Rt. Hon. J|
|Low, Brig. A. R. W.||Peake, Rt. Hon. O||Studholme, H. G.|
|Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O||Pickthorn, K.||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|MacAndrew, Col. Sir C||Pitman, l. J.||Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (P'dd'ton, S.|
|McCallum, Maj. D.||Ponsonby, Col. C. E.||Teelinģ, William|
|Macdonald, Capt. Sir P. (l. of Wight)||Price-White, Lt.-Col. D||Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Mackeson, Lt.-Col. H. R.||Raikes, H. V.||Thorneycroft, G- E. P.|
|McKie, J. H. (Galloway)||Ramsay, Maj. S.||Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.|
|Maclay, Hon. J. S.||Rayner, Brig. R.||Thorp, Lt.-Col R. A. F.|
|Maclean, Brig. F. H. R. (Lancaster)||Reed, Sir S (Aylesbury)||Turton, R. H.|
|MacLeod, Capt. J.||Reid, Rt. Hon. J. S. C. (Hillhead)||Vane, W. M. T.|
|Macpherson, Maj. N. (Dumfries)||Renton, D||Wakefield, Sir W. W|
|Maitland, Comdr. J. W.||Robinson, Wing-Comdr. Roland||Walker-Smith, D|
|Marlowe, A. A. H.||Ropner, Col. L.||Ward, Hon. G. R.|
|Marples, A. E.||Sanderson, Sir F.||Watt, Sir G. S. Harvie|
|Marshall, D. (Bodmin)||Savory, Prof. D. L||Wheatley, Colonel M. J.|
|Marshall, S. H. (Sutton)||Smithers, Sir W.||White, J. B. (Canterbury)|
|Medlicott, Brig. F.||Snadden, W. M.||Williams, G. (Torquay)|
|Mellor, Sir J||Spearman, A.C.M||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Morrison, Rt. Hon W. S. (Cirencester)||Spence, H. R.||York, C.|
|Neven-Spence, Sir B.||Stanley, Rt Hon O.|
|Nicholson, G.||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES|
|Noble, Comdr. A. H. P||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.||Sir Arthur Young and|
|Adams, Richard (Balham)||de Freitas, Geoffrey||Key, C. W.|
|Adamson, Mrs. J. L.||Diamond, J||King, E. M.|
|Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)||Dobbie, W||Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. F|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Dodds, N. N."||Kinley, J.|
|Alpass, J. H.||Douglas, F. C. R||Kirby, B. V.|
|Anderson, A. (Motherwell)||Driberg, T. E. N||Kirkwood, D|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Dumpleton, C. W||Lang, G.|
|Attewell, H. C.||Durbin, E. F M.||Lavers, S.|
|Austin, H. L||Dye, S.||Lee, F. (Hulme)|
|Ayles, W. H.||Edelman, M.||Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)|
|Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B||Edwards, Rt. Hon. Sir C. (Becwellty)||Leslie, J. R.|
|Bacon, Miss A||Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)||Levy, B. W.|
|Balfour, A.||Evans, E. (Lowestoft)||Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)|
|Barstow, P. G||Evans, S N. (Wednesbury)||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.|
|Barton, C.||Ewart, R.||Logan, D. G|
|Battley, J. R||Fairhurst, F.||Longden, F.|
|Bechervaise, A. E.||Farthing, W. J.||Lyne, A W.|
|Berry, H.||Gaitskell, H. T. N||McAdam, W.|
|Beswick, Flt.-Lieut. F||Gallacher, W.||McEntee, V. La T|
|Blenkinsop, Capt. A||georģe, Lady M. Lloyd (Anglesey)||McGhee, H. G.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Gibbins. J.||McKay, J. (Wallsend)|
|Boardman, H.||Cilzean, A.||McKinlay, A. S.|
|Bottomley, A. G.||Glanville, J. E. (Consott)||Maclean, N. (Govan)|
|Bowden, Flg.-Offr. H. W.||Gooch, E G||McLeavy, F.|
|Bowen, R.||Gordon-Walker, P. C.||MacMillan. M. K.|
|Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton)||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.||Mainwaring, W. H.|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'p'l, Exch'ge)||Greenwood, A. W- J. (Heywood)||Mann, Mrs. J|
|Brook, D. (Halifax)||Grenfell, D. R||Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.)|
|Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)||Grey, C. F.||Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)|
|Brown, georģe (Belper)||Grierson, E.||Marshall, F. (Brightside)|
|Brown, T. J. (Ince)||Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)||Mathers, G.|
|Bruce, Maj. D. W. T||Griffiths, Capt. W. D. (Moss Side)||Mayhew, C. P.|
|Burden, T. W.||Gruffydd, Prof. W. J||Medland, H. M.|
|Byers, Lt.-Col. F.||Guest, Dr. L. Haden||Middleton, Mrs L.|
|Callaghan, James||Gunter, Capt. R. J.||Mitchison, Maj. G. R.|
|Champion, A. J||Haire, Flt.-Lieut. J. (Wycombe)||Monslow, W|
|Chater, D.||Hale, Leslie||Montague, F.|
|Chetwynd, Capt. G R||Hall, W. G. (Colne Valley)||Moody, A. S.|
|Clitherow, Dr. R||Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R.||Morgan, Dr. H B|
|Cluse, W. S.||Hannan, W. (Maryhill)||Morley, R.|
|Cobb, F. A||Hardy, E. A||Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)|
|Cocks, F S||Haworth, J.||Mort, D. L.|
|Collindridge, F.||Herbison, Miss M||Moyle, A|
|Collins, V. J||Hobson, C. R||Murray, J. D|
|Comyns, Dr. L.||Holman, P.||Nally, W.|
|Cook, T. F.||Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)||Naylor, T. E.|
|Cooper, Wing-Comdr. G.||Hoy, J.||Neal, H. (Claycross)|
|Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N.W.)||Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.)||Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)|
|Corlett, Dr. J.||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayr)||Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)|
|Cove, W. R.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Noel-Buxton, Lady|
|Crawley, Flt.-Lieut. A||Hughes, Lt. H. D. (W'lverh'pton, W.)||O'Brien, T.|
|Daggar,||Hutchinson, H L. (Rusholme)||Oldfield, W. H|
|Daines, P.||Irving, W. J.||Oliver, G. H.|
|Davies, Edward (Burslem)||Jeger, G. (Winchester)||Paget, R. T.|
|Davies, Clement (Montgomery)||John, W.||Palmer, A. M. F|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield)||Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools)||Parker, J.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)||Parkin, Flt.-Lieut. B. T|
|Deer, G.||Keenan, W||Paton, Mrs F (Rushcliffe)|
|Paton, J. (Norwich)||Skeffington, A. M.,||Walker, G. H.|
|Pearson, A.||Skeffington-Lodge, T. C.||Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)|
|Peart, Capt. T. F.||Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)||Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)|
|Perrins, W.||Smith, T. (Normanton)||Watkins, T. E.|
|Platts-Mills, J. F. F||Snow, Capt. J. W||Watson, W. M.|
|Popplewell, E.||Solley, L. J||Webb, M. (Bradford, C)|
|Porter, G. (Leeds)||Soskice, Maj. Sir F.||Weitzman, D.|
|Pritt, D. N.||Stamford, W||Wells, P. L. (Faversham)|
|Proctor, W. T.||Steele, T.||Wells, W. T. (Walsall)|
|Pursey, Cmdr. H||Stewart, Capt. Michael (Fulham, E.)||White, C. F. (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Ranger, J.||Stokes, R. R||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Rankin, J.||Strauss, G. R.||Wigg, Col. G. E|
|Rees-Williams, D. R.||Stubbs, A. E.||Wilcock, Group-Capt. C A. B|
|Reaves, J.||Swingler, Capt. S||Wilkes, Maj L|
|Reid, T. (Swindon)||Symonds, Maj. A. L.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Rhodes, H.||Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)||Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)|
|Richards, R.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)||Willey,O. G. (Cleveland)|
|Ridealgh, Mrs. M.||Thomas, I.O. (Wrekin)||Williams. D. J. (Neath)|
|Robens, A.||Thomas, georģe (Cardiff)||Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)|
|Roberts, Sqn.-Ldr. Emrys (Merioneth)||Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Ed'b'gh, E.)||Williams, W. R. (Heston)|
|Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)||Thorneycroft, H.||Willis, E.|
|Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)||Thurtle, E.||Wills, Mrs. E. A|
|Rogers, G. H. R.||Tiffany, S.||Wise, Major F. J|
|Royle, C.||Timmons, J.||Woods, G. S.|
|Sargood, R.||Titterington, M. F.||Yates, V. F.|
|Scott-Elliot, W.||Tolley, L.||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Segal, Sq-Ldr. S.||Turner-Samuels, M.||Younger, Hon. Kenneth|
|Shackleton, Wing-Cdr. E. A. A||Ungoed-Thomas, L.||Zilliacus, K.|
|Sharp, Lt.-Col. G. M.||Usborne, Henry|
|Silverman, J. (Erdington)||Vernon, Maj. W. F.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.|
|Simmons, C. J.||Viant, S. P||Mr. Joseph Henderson and Captain Bing.|
§ 5.45 p.m.
§ CLAUSE I.—(Procedure for compulsory purchase of land by local authorities, and by the Minister of War Transport for highway purposes.)
§ This Amendment—like several Amendments which are to follow later—is necessary in anticipation of the impending dissolution of the Ministry of War Transport.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. Key
I beg to move, in page 2, line 17, to leave out from "Schedule,"' to the end of line 18.
This is in anticipation of later Amendments which have to be moved because of the inclusion of the new Clauses with which we have been dealing, which make it necessary that some definition shall be transferred from the Schedule to the body of the Bill. We felt it was appropriate to bring all the definitions into the body of the Bill. That is what will happen as a result of this Amendment.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ CLAUSE 2.—(Temporary powers for speedy acquisition of land in urgent cases.)
§ Mr. Turton
I peg to move, in page 2, line 44, at the end to insert:(b) that the land is not growing a crop of cereals, potatoes or sugar-beet; and.426 This harsh procedure under Clause 2, which will turn a man out of the land he occupies within the space of a few days, if not hours, requires certain safeguards. That, I think, is admitted by the Government, for in the Second Reading Debate the Minister of Town and Country Planning, whose absence we deplore today, said:… I submit that there are adequate safeguards in the Bill against any irresponsible action. It is open to hon. Members opposite if they feel that additional safeguards are necessary, to put them forward on the Committee stage."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 31st January, 1946; Vol. 418. c. 1206.]That was an invitation to us to see that those who are to be dispossessed by local authorities or Government Departments are adequately safeguarded. We attempted to do our best on the Committee stage, but since the Second Reading a completely new factor has come to light that was not even present to us during the nine days we were on the Committee stage. Owing to the mismanagement of certain of the colleagues of the hon. Gentleman the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health, we are faced with a very grave cereal shortage in the world, and especially in England. That is not entirely due to their mismanagement; it is also due to a certain latitude on their part in not taking precautions to see that we had the cereals either grown in this country or stored here. We are now definitely in a very difficult food situation. 427 That fact leads to this: Today, in my view, food in the stomach is more important than a roof over the head. Therefore, we have to see that, whatever action any local authority or any Government Department takes, we will not lose essential foods that the people of England require.
In Committee, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport announced that there would be cases in which he would want to widen the roads, and would have to take crops of growing wheat. I am afraid that what this House has to see to is that, however important trunk roads and however laudable the Ministry's desire to widen roads in places, he must be prevented from taking crops of growing wheat, because the people of this country require that wheat for their bread.
I suggest, therefore, that the wording of this paragraph is necessary in view of the urgent food situation. I am leaving the wider aspects of agriculture, but we must have the position made clear that no local authority and no Government Department can take land that is in the process of producing food. It may well be that, when the crop is harvested, they will—if they can prove their case under the other safeguards—be able to take that land. It is unfortunate that Clause 2 is framed in this way as regards agricultural land. The House will recollect that a previous Parliament appointed a Committee to deal with the utilisation of land —what is now called the Scott Committee. The last Government gave this Committee its terms of reference, which were:To consider the conditions which should govern building and other constructional development in country areas consistently with the maintenance of agriculture.That Report, which, no doubt, hon. and right hon. Gentlemen have read, stresses that position, and points out that, in the past, local authorities and Government Departments have, in their haphazard efforts, cut into and across agriculture, and, therefore, diminished the potential food production of agriculture in Britain. I think that is generally accepted, and it seems to me wise, therefore, that, having had the benefit of the Scott Report, we should translate some of the recommendations of that report into a safeguard which we were invited to put in by the Minister of Town and Country Planning. I suggest that this is a method of intro- 428 ducing that safeguard so that, if land is growing crops of cereals or potatoes, it should not be seized.
It may be that hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House, or even on the other side, may think that we ought to extend the crops that ought to be protected today. I have limited the crops mentioned in the Amendment to those upon which the Minister of Agriculture has issued directions to his War Agricultural Executive Committees. It may be that the list should be widened, and, if it is suggested by the Government that it should be wider, I should be ready to accept an Amendment to widen the scope of the proposed paragraph (b). I have put in what I regard as the essential minimum, in view of the great food shortage at the present time. I hope that the point of the Amendment will be met by the Government, who have not handled this food situation very well up to now. I am not blaming the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health, for he has not been responsible, but there has certainly been some change of policy and even mismanagement by the Ministry of Food, and I hope it will be remedied by this Amendment.
§ Mr. York (Ripon)
I beg to second the Amendment.
I would like to take the argument a stage further by showing what the effect of the Amendment would be upon the house building or factory building programme which the Government and the local authorities have in mind. In point of fact, we would stress the necessity, in the case of cereals, of withholding authorisation under the Clause until the beginning, or perhaps the middle of September. In regard to potatoes, no doubt, if the land were urgently required, the crop could be got off the land by the end of October at the latest, and, in regard to sugar beet, that crop could be got off the land by the end of October, or, perhaps the middle of November. Therefore, the effect of this Amendment will not greatly delay the projects which may be affected under this Clause. I am quite certain that if the Government are to accept this responsibility for seeing that all crops are grown which can be grown, there is no better "or surer way of doing it than by accepting the Amendment. We want to provide first that acquisition is expedient, and second that the land is not actually 429 growing wheat, potatoes or sugar beet, and that it is urgently necessary to acquire it. My hon. Friend has said that it may be necessary—in fact, we believe it is necessary—to provide food before providing houses. I would reinforce what he has said, and would urge upon the House that the situation is now so serious that we must concentrate upon food rather than upon houses, where there is a conflict on the use of land.
A fact that we must all recognise is that the Ministry of Health is not a Ministry which is well known for its knowledge of, or its sympathy towards, the agricultural industry. In fact, yesterday, we had an indirect attack upon the industry from the Minister of Health. Taking that one stage further, if this Amendment were accepted, it would give an added pointer to the local authorities in making them aware that one of the primary uses of land is the growing of food. I feel that this Amendment may not go far enough. That is for the Government to decide, but I am certain that it is essential, for the next two or three years at least, that, when a local authority or other acquiring authority come to take possession of land, they should be certain, before they take it, that the crop which will be: done away with by their taking the land, is not one of the three crops which are of the greatest importance to this country at the present time.
§ 6.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Key
Nobody on this side will deny the seriousness of the general food situation or the necessity for the continued development of British agriculture. I can say definitely that we will take every step to see that British agriculture does develop and that we shall not allow it to drift into the position into which many hon. Gentlemen opposite allowed it to drift in the days between the wars. We want to see that our powers of food production are definitely and positively increased. Therefore, no one responsible for confirming a compulsory purchase under this Bill would very lightly confirm an Order which dealt with land where crops were already growing.
I want to point out that under Subsection (1, a), the matter has to be clear to the responsible Ministries before action is taken about it. The Minister of Agriculture will, therefore, have to give his consent or approval to a particular piece of 430 land being included in the confirming Order. It is an easy thing to say that no piece of land on which such crops were growing should be taken, but I want to point out that we have not merely to look at the crops which are growing at the present moment; we have also to give consideration to the increased crops that will be wanted later on. One of the things we have been pressed about—sometimes by hon. Gentlemen opposite—is that greater provision shall be made for the housing of the agricultural population. We have to get the necessary sites for these houses and it may be that the appropriate site in a particular locality is on": where a crop is already in existence. It may also be necessary, in order to get increased production in the years to come, to sacrifice the small amount involved on that particular land. Who would say that we would be wrong in doing that?
§ Mr. Key
I am not arguing that there is only one site; I am arguing that the proper and appropriate site in a particular locality may be in that state. Surely, when we have had so much talk from hon. Gentlemen opposite about planning in some areas, we have to give consideration to planning in our agricultural as well as industrial areas. Therefore, it may be absolutely essential, for correct and proper planning in a given instance, for such land to be taken, but I can say quite definitely that that would only be done in exceptional circumstances. We cannot agree that it would be a correct thing to so modify this Bill as to say that in no circumstances can areas of land so occupied be taken for these purposes. Therefore, we resist this Amendment.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Mr. W. S. Morrison
I beg to move, in page 3, line 11, to leave out from "the," to the end of the Subsection, and to insert "Minister of Town and Country Planning."
The House is now dealing with Clause 2 of this Bill, which is the most novel and, as we think, the most objectionable feature of it. The characteristic of the Clause is that it permits the process of the acquisition of land to be inaugurated 431 by an authorisation given in writing by a confirming authority. Therefore, it is a very evident thing that the confirming authority which starts the whole process of authorisation is starting a process which is very important and which may, in a very short time, without public inquiry, result in the permanent change of the use of the land. Under the machinery of the Clause, the confirming authority may be the Minister. of Health, the Minister of Transport, if it is a road that is in question, or the President of the Board of Trade if it is a question of a factory. The consequences is that these three right hon. Gentlemen have this new weapon placed into their hands.
On the mere ground of good administration and economy, I should have thought it was better, if he could be found, to get a single confirming authority so that there would be one authority to which all those wishing to employ this procedure could address themselves. It is a commonly heard complaint in the country today that people who are engaged in, say, an operation like building are bewildered by the number of different departments to whom they must apply for consents, licences, priorities and all the other documents which are the evil herbage of a time of comparative scarcity.
On the ground of good administration and economy of the public's as well as the Government's time, one authority would be better than three. There is no difficulty in having the appropriate single authority in this case, and the one suggested by my Amendment is the Minister of Town and Country Planning. The Ministry of Town and Country Planning is a very new department. It has not been in existence for more than three years and it may be that, like every other new department, it has to find its place in the existing hierarchy of Government Department. It must be prepared to use its elbows if it is to get space in which to move, act and breathe. Departments are very inclined, if they have been discharging a particular function for some time, to cling jealously to its continued discharge and to resent the intrusion of some new department which has not 100 or 150 years of senility to its credit.
432 There is a very good reason why the Minister of Town and Country Planning should be the single confirming authority for whose existence I am seeking. He is charged with the responsibility for securing the best use of all land in the national interest. He is not, like the Minister of Transport, eager to get land for roads, or, like the Minister of Health, all agog to get land for houses, or, like the President of the Board of Trade, equally desirous of beautifying the landscape of our rural areas with brand new ferroconcrete factories. He has none of these limited objectives. His responsibility is to see that the land is used in the best way and he has, therefore, to be acquainted with the needs of the country for housing, transport and industry. Properly equipped, as he is, to take an all round view of the problem, I suggest to the House that he should be the single confirming authority for the purpose of setting this particular process of land acquisition in motion.
I do not think there need be any departmental jealousy about this. After all, the Minister of Town and Country Planning has already been invoked by the Minister of Health for a particularly difficult, and sometimes distasteful, duty. One often finds that it is with these duties one is ready to part. The duty to which I refer is that of authorising the use of parks for temporary houses. Those temporary houses are the conjoint responsibility of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Works. It is upon the certificate of the Minister of Town and Country Planning alone that parks can be used for that purpose, and I think it is a very wholesome and salutary provision, because the Minister of Town and Country Flanning is in a position to know whether or not a site should be used for that purpose. I do not criticise it; in fact, I wish it could be extended. If we entrusted to the Minister of Town and Country Planning the duty of issuing the authorisation in writing, we would be entrusting that duty to a man whose responsibility it is to know the total demand for land in England for all the various purposes for which land may be used. Therefore, we would be getting the authorisation with a certain fund of knowledge behind it, and it would not be launched merely to secure one of the many objects for which land can be used. That is the real reason behind the Amendment.
Mr. Gallaeher (Fife, West)
Would the right hon. Gentleman excuse my interruption? He has said that the Minister of Town and Country Planning is the man who has the knowledge of all the land in England and the use to which it should be put. Would he support a proposition that all the land should be taken over and put at the disposal of the Minister of Town and Country Planning?
§ Mr. Morrison
I hope the hon. Gentleman knows me well enough to be aware that I would give an emphatic denial to the suggestion that I should agree to such a totalitarian proposal. Before I was interrupted, I had pointed out that the Minister of Town and Country Planning was in a position to give a decision whether or not this procedure should be authorised from, ex hypothesi, a wider view than any of the three Departmental Ministers to whom the Bill, unamended, is entrusted. This is particularly important in this connection. As I said at the beginning of my remarks, the particular feature of this Clause is that it disposes with the public inquiry or with the hearing. People are given a fortnight in which to send in written representations, and that is all they can do. I would be much happier if the authorisation of this speedy procedure were left in the hands of the three Ministers mentioned in the Bill, if I were sure that in case of objection there would be a public inquiry, because in that case the Minister would be armed with all the information which comes out at a public inquiry. Crediting, as I always do, Ministers of every party with the highest intentions, I have no doubt that the Minister of Transport, the President of the Board of Trade and the Minister of Health, with an inquiry and with all its facts behind them, would have been able to give what I would call a round decision on the matter, taking everything into account. In the absence of any such inquiry, however, I do not see how we are to avoid Ministers seeking to grab land for their own particular purposes without any knowledge of the repercussions it may have on the domain of other departments. Therefore, the characteristic of Clause 2 procedure being the abolition of the public inquiry, the authorisation procedure should be put in the hands of the Minister of Town and Country Planning, and thus secure some measure of coordinated examination of the problem.
§ 6.15. p.m.
§ Mr. Key
I entirely disagree with the theory of administration which the right hon. Gentleman has just propounded. I believe it to be the correct and proper function of the appropriate ministry to see that the services for which that ministry is responsible are properly related to the needs of the community as a whole. I do not believe the location, for instance, of water undertakings in this country should be done by the Ministry of Town and Country Planning which is not responsible for the water services. I do not believe the Ministry of Town and Country Planning should be responsible for determining the question of roads, when we have a Ministry of Transport whose duty it is to deal with transport facilities. Therefore, I maintain that it is the proper function of the appropriate ministry to be the confirming authority. The orders that are confirmed should be made to conform to general planning principles and, therefore, before confirmation is given, the Minister of Town and Country Planning should be asked to give his clearance of the scheme that is to be approved. In this Clause we definitely make provision for that procedure. That is, before the confirming authority, confirms the purchase, it gets the approval of the appropriate Minister, whether it be the Minister of Town and Country Planning, the Minister of Agriculture and so on, and then, in view of the clearance that has been so given, it gives the confirmation. That seems to me to be a sound principle of administration, and one which would be much better followed than that which would result from the change proposed in this Amendment. We therefore resist the Amendment.
§ Mr. Turton
I am surprised at the attitude taken by the Parliamentary Secretary, in view of the fact that during the Committee stage the chief initiator of this proposed Amendment was on his own side of the Committee. The hon. Gentleman the Member for West Woolwich (Mr. Berry) said:If the Parliamentary Secretary could arrange that the Minister o£ Town and Country Planning is the final arbiter I think it would meet the fears of many of us who value rural England and who value town and country planning."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee D, 26th February, 1946; c I73.]I thought that was the first gleam of sense that had come from the Government 435 side during the Committee stage. I am sorry the hon. Member for West Woolwich has not supported this Amendment either by his presence or by his speech this afternoon, because surely this Amendment is what he asked for.
I ask the Government to explain how they intend to work this business of the confirming authorities. I gather that at the present time, on the question of house building and the allocation of land for houses, the Minister of Health appoints the Minister of Town and Country Planning as the final arbiter. If I am wrong I hope the Parliamentary Secretary will interrupt me, but I have found that when land in my constituency is to be used for an aerodrome or for housing and I approach the Minister of Health or the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, I am constantly told that the Minister of Town and Country Planning is the man who decides the question. When we already have that situation it seems to me to be the proper course to state in this Bill that that is the case. I fear that in this matter the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of War Transport is the" nigger in the wood pile." I believe it is he who wants to seize land for road widening purposes, whether the Minister of Town and Country Planning would agree or not. I believe that Clause 2, with its effects on trunk roads, will cause the greatest amount of inconvenience and disruption to the amenities in the countryside, and in other respects. I very much regret to see the interest which the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport is taking in this Clause 2 procedure. I do not believe he ought to be in it at all. If he is in it, then I think we ought to have the curb of the Minister of Town and Country Planning, as the man who is going to plan the amenities of England.
Earlier this afternoon I referred to the Report of the Scott Committee on land utilisation. What was their recommendation? It was, that the whole question of the use of land by Government Departments should be centralised under the Minister of Town and Country Planning. Here, when we try to follow the report of a committee which, I believe, has the acceptance of all Members on all sides of the House who care for the amenities of England, we are met with hostility from 436 the Parliamentary Secretary. I do hope this is not the last word from the Parliamentary Secretary and in view of the fact that the hon. Member for West Woolwich supports this Amendment, although not by his presence, I hope we may get a more favourable reply. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Town and Country Planning is here. I hope he will give us his views on this Amendment and say whether he is in favour of it. [Laughter.]It is all very well for the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health to laugh. I suppose he has the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Town and Country Planning under such discipline, that the hon. Gentleman cannot rise in his place. Why cannot we have the views of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Town and Country Planning on this? It is an extraordinary thing that, throughout the whole of the proceedings of this Bill after the Second Reading stage, no spokesman from the Ministry of Town and Country Planning has taken the least interest in it, until now. We are delighted to see the Parliamentary Secretary here, on the Report stage, and I think we are entitled to have a reply from him on this Amendment.
§ Major Digby (Dorset, Western)
I am somewhat concerned about the planning aspect of this Bill, and I am even more concerned after the words that have fallen from the Parliamentary Secretary. On the Second Reading of this Bill I raised the question of how far planning considerations were to be taken into account. I then received an assurance from the Minister of Town and Country Planning. I thought that he would amplify that, and explain in more detail how planning considerations were to be taken into account under this Clause 2 procedure. However, no such explanation was forthcoming in the Committee. Indeed, as has already been pointed out, the Minister of Town and Country Planning was conspicuously absent for the nine days on which that Committee sat. It does seem to me that the Minister of Town and Country Planning should be the person to give authorisation under this very speedy procedure. We are told that the whole point of this procedure is that it works so quickly. We know that only 14 days' notice are given to somebody whose property is to be taken over under this speedy procedure. Then it is referred to the acquiring 437 authority. Presumably, as the procedure is so speedy, that authority will make up its mind within about a week. That gives us three weeks. After notice has been served another seven days is given to the occupier in which to get out. That makes one month all together.
I do not know what is the practice with most local planning authorities, the only conceivable people who can be consulted by the Minister of Town and Country Planning to see that planning considerations are properly taken into account. In the; case of the local planning authority to which I have belonged for a number of years, they meet only once a month. If that is the case, I do not see how it can be properly consulted in every case, unless
§ special meetings are held to consider matters of this kind.
§ Major Digby
I think we need some explanation of this matter. I would urge the Parliamentary Secretary to reconsider this Amendment, because under this speedy procedure it is absolutely essential that we make sure that town and country planning considerations are properly considered, and not considered after the event has actually happened.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 280; The House Noes, 136.
|Mart, D. L.||Rogers, G. H. R.||Ungoed-Thomas, L.|
|Moyle, A.||Royle, C.||Usborne, Henry|
|Murray, J. D.||Sargood, R.||Vernon, Maj. W. F.|
|Nally, W.||Soollan, T.||Viant, S. P.|
|Naytor, T. E.||Scott-Elliot, W.||Walker, G. H.|
|Neal, H. (Claycross)||Segal, Sq.-Ldr. S.||Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)|
|Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)||Shackleton, Wing-Cdr. E. A. A.||Wallace, H. W (Walthamstow, E.)|
|Nicholls, H. Ft. (Stratford)||Sharp, Lt.-Col. G. M.||Warbey, W. N.|
|Noel-Buxton, Lady||Shawcross, C. N. (Widnes)||Watkins, T. E.|
|Oldfield, W. H.||Silverman, J. (Erdington)||Watson, W. M.|
|Oliver, G. H.||Simmons, C. J.||Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Orbach, M||Skeffington, A. M.||Weitzman, D.|
|Paget, R. T.||Skeffington-Lodge, T. C.||Wells, P. L. (Faversham)|
|Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth)||Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)||Wells, W. T. (Walsall)|
|Palmer, A. M. F.||Snow, Capt. J. W.||Westwood, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Pargiter, G. A.||Solley, L. J.||White, C. F. (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Parker, J.||Soskice, Maj. Sir F.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon W.|
|Parkin, Flt.-Lieut. B. T.||Stamford, W||Wigg, Col. G. E|
|Paton, Mrs. F. (Rushcliffe)||Steele, T.||Wilcock, Group-Capt. C. A. B|
|Paton, J. (Norwich)||Stephen, C.||Wilkes, Maj. L.|
|Pearson, A.||Stewart, Capt Michael (Fulham, ft.)||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Peart, Capt. T. F||Stokes, R. R.||Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)|
|Perrins, W||Strauss, G. R.||Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)|
|Platts-Mills, J. F. F||Stubbs, A. E||Williams, D. J. (Neath)|
|Popplewell, E.||Summerskill, Dr. Edith||Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)|
|Porter, G. (Leeds)||Swingler, Capt. S.||Williams, W. R- (Heston)|
|Proctor, W. T.||Symonds, Maj. A. L.||Williamson, T.|
|Pursey, Cmdr. H||Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)||Willis, E.|
|Ranger, J.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)||Wills, Mrs. E. A.|
|Rankin, J.||Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)||Wise, Major F. J|
|Rees-Williams, D. R.||Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)||Woodburn, A|
|Reeves, J.||Thomas, georģe (Cardiff)||Woods, G. S.|
|Reid, T. (Swindon)||Thomson, Rt. Hn G. R. (Ed'b'gh, E.)||Yates, V. F.|
|Rhodes, H.||Thorneycroft, H.||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Richards, R.||Thurtle, E.||Younger, Hon. Kenneth|
|Ridealgh, Mrs. M||Tiffany, S.||Zilliacus, K.|
|Robens, A.||Titterington, M. F.|
|Roberts, Sqn.-Ldr. Emrys (Merioneth)||Tolley, L.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES|
|Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)||Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G||Mr. Joseph Henderson and Mr. Hannan|
|Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Agnew, Cmdr. P. G.||Gammans, L. D.||Medlicott, Brig. F.|
|Aitken, Hon. Max||Gates, Maj. E. E.||Mellor, Sir J.|
|Amory, D. Heathcoat||Glyn, Sir R.||Morris-Jones, Sir H.|
|Anderson. Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Scot. Univ.)||Gomme-Duncan, Col. A. G.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R.||Grimston, R. V.||Neven-Spence, Sir B.|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Hare, Lieut.-Col. Hn. J. H. (W'db'je)||Nicholson, G.|
|Barlow, Sir J.||Harvey, Air-Comdre. A. V.||Noble, Comdr. A. H. P|
|Beamish, Maj. T. V. H||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Nutting, Anthony|
|Bennett, Sir P.||Hogg, Hon. Q.||Orr-Ewing, I. L.|
|Birch, Lt.-Col. Nigel||Hollis, M. C.||Peake, Rt. Hon. O|
|Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. (Wells)||Howard, Hon. A.||Pitman, I. J.|
|Bower, N.||Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)||Ponsonby, Col. C. E.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Hurd, A.||Raikes, H. V.|
|Bracken, Rt. Hon. Brendan||Hutchison, Lt.-Cm. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)||Ramsay, Maj. S.|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W||Hutchison, Col. J. R (Glasgow, C.)||Rayner, Brig. R.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T||Jeffreys, General Sir G.||Reed, Sir S. (Aylesbury)|
|Butcher, H. W.||Jennings, R.||Reid, Rt. Hon. J. S. C. (Hilthead)|
|Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A. (S'ffr'n W'ld'n)||Kingsmill, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Renton, D.|
|Carson, E.||Lambert, Hon. G.||Robinson, Wing-Comdr, Roland|
|Challen, C.||Lancaster, Col. C. G||Ropner, Col. L.|
|Cole, T. L.||Langford-Holt, J.||Sanderson, Sir F|
|Conant, Maj. R. J. E.||Law, Rt. Hon. R. K||Savory, Prof. D. L|
|Cooper-Key, E. M.||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Scott, Lard W.|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Low, Brig. A. R. W.||Smithers, Sir W.|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col O. E.||Lucas, Major Sir J.||Snadden, W. M.|
|Crowder, Capt. J. F. E||Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.||Spearman, A. C. M|
|Cuthbert, W. N.||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O||Spence, H. R.|
|Davidson, Viscountess||MacAndrew, Col. Sir C||Stanley, Rt. Hon. O.|
|De la Bère, R.||McCallum, Maj. D.||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Digby, Maj. S. W.||Mackeson, Lt.-Col. H. R||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Dodds-Parker, A. d.||McKie, J. H. (Galloway)||Strauss, H. G. (Com. Eng. Univ'sities)|
|Dower, Lt.-Col. A. V. G. (Penrith)||Maclay, Hon. J. S.||Stuart, Rt. Hon. J|
|Drayson, Capt. G. B.||Maclean, Brig. F. H. R. (Lancaster)||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Dugģdale, Maj. Sir T. (Richmond)||MacLeod, Capt. J||Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (P'dd'ton, S.)|
|Duthie, W. S.||Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold||Teelinģ, William|
|Eccles, D. M.||Macpherson, Maj. N. (Dumfries)||Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Eden, Rt. Hon. A||Maitland, Comdr. J. W.||Thorneycroft, G. E. P.|
|Erroll, F. J.||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.|
|Fletcher, W. (Bury)||Marples, A. E.||Thorp, Lt.-Col. R. A. F.|
|Fox, Sqn.-Ldr. Sir G.||Marshall, D. (Bodmin)||Turton, R H.|
|Fraser, Maj. H. C. P. (Stone)||Marshall, S. H. (Sutton)||Vane, W. M. T.|
|Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D.||Maude, J. C.||Walker-Smith, D|
|Ward, Hon. G. R.||White, J. B. (Canterbury)||York, C|
|Watt, Sir G. S. Harvie||Williams, C. (Torquay)||Young, Sir A. S L. (Partick)|
|Wheatley, Colonel M. J.||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|White, Sir D. (Fareham)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl||TELLERS FOR THE NOES|
|Mr. Studho'me and Mr. Drewe.|
§ 6.30 p.m.
§ Commander Galbraith
I beg to move in page 3, line 13, to leave out from "aforesaid," to the second "the" in line 16.
Unless hon. Members have the Bill before them that will not convey very much to them, but let me remind the House that we are dealing with the Clause 2 procedure, the quick procedure, as the right hon. Gentleman said when he moved the last Amendment. This Amendment relates to the second Subsection of the Clause, which gives to the Board of Trade and to the Minister of Transport the right to use the quick procedure under the Clause. There may be a case, perhaps not a very strong case, for giving these powers to the Board of Trade, but I cannot see any reason why the quick procedure should be available to the Minister of Transport. The Minister of Transport requires land, so far as I understand it, only for the purpose of trunk roads, and I cannot believe that any case could arise where he would want to use this quick procedure. After all, the planning of trunk roads is something which must be done very thoroughly and a long way ahead; everything must be on the map, and the Minister must know considerably in advance what land he requires. It therefore seems that the Clause 1 procedure would be all that he would need. I can see no reason why he should require these powers, and that is why I move the Amendment.
I beg to second the Amendment.
We on this side of the House appreciate the necessity for speedy procedure in matters of great urgency, and the Government could, with some justice, say that we should give those powers to the Board of Trade, because we are always telling them to get a move on and make quick decisions. But hon. Members who took part in the discussions on the Trunk Roads Bill upstairs will remember that we were constantly pressing the Minister to get on with trunk roads, but we were told that there was no hurry at all. If that is so, I cannot see any really good argument for giving this ruthless procedure to anyone who comes along and says 442 he does not want to have any trouble in acquiring land. They want to be able to seize it whether they are justified in doing so or not. I should like to hear a word or two from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport in justification of this Clause.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport (Mr. G. R. Strauss)
I think it very easy to justify our request for powers of this sort. It was admitted by the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Pollok (Commander Galbraith) that there may be a case—he would not go so far, I think, as to say there was a case—for these powers to rest with the President of the Board of Trade where he desires to develop a factory or to help a development area for the purposes of production and, particularly, for the purposes of export production. Many of these development areas require, and require urgently, new roads to link them up with ports or with other centres of production, and it is probable that these roads will be trunk roads for which the Minister of Transport will be responsible. It may be that sometimes we will have to make a new trunk road or widen an existing one.
Our experience in the past has been that we have been held up sometimes by as much as six months by an obstructive owner of property who has not agreed with the amount of compensation offered to him. Under the old procedure, which is unchanged and merely codified under Clause 1, I am informed by my Department that we could be and have been held up, although we have done every thing we could do, by someone prepared to use every device of the law to obstruct us for six months. It is undesirable, when we want our development areas constructed as quickly as possible, that the Government should be held up for a long period making the necessary access roads—
Is do not think the hon. Gentleman wishes to fog the issue, but he says they could be held up under Clause 1 procedure for six months or more. What does he mean by that?
§ Mr. Strauss
What I say is, and I say it on the information that my Department has put before me, that if someone wants to stretch the law and be as obstructive as possible we could in future, as we have been in the past, be held up, up to six months. That is obviously undesirable, and in order that we may assist the President of the Board of Trade in creating his development areas by making the necessary access roads, and make them really effective for their purpose, it is desirable—it is essential—that my right hon. Friend the Minister of War Transport should have the powers which are proposed in this Subsection.
§ Mr. Walker-Smith
Would the hon. Gentleman enlighten the House? At what stage of the proceedings of normal compulsory acquisition is this six months' delay alleged to be probable? Is it in connection with the setting up of an inquiry or the confirming of it? At what stage is this delay likely to arise?
§ Mr. Strauss
I understand that it is not just at one special stage, but that there is a variety of stages by which obstructive landowners have been able to hold up progress by preventing the Government entering his land. We have had cases where in a mile there have been 150 owners, of whom 149 have agreed and been helpful, and one has held us up for many months. It is to overcome this difficulty in cases of emergency and urgency that we ask for these powers.
§ 6.45 p.m.
§ Mr. J. S. C. Reid
It is a great pity that neither the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport nor anyone in his Department has taken the trouble to read Clause 1 and the Schedule. I do hope the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health, who does know the Bill, will indicate to his hon. Friend, even while I am speaking, the true meaning of Clause 1. It is perfectly true, as the Parliamentary Secretary says, that it has been in the past possible to take up as long as six months, but that cannot possibly occur under Clause 1 procedure. I wish to put to the House what are the differences between the two procedures in order that we may test this. The differences amount to a few weeks and no more. Let me take it step by step. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health will correct me if I am wrong.
444 So far as the preliminary investigations are concerned and the confirming of plans, there can be no difference at all. None at all; because I assume that the Ministry is going to plan its development just as carefully and just as fully, no matter what may be the procedure for the acquisition of the land. The next point is service on the owners. Here there has been great delay in the past, but Clause 1 removes this entirely, because it gives the confirming authority power to dispense with the search for the owners and to use the short form of service wherever that is necessary in the interests of speed. I do not think we save even a day at that stage between Clause 1 and Clause 2. It might, perhaps, save two or three days, but that is about all, because I do not think the Ministry of War Transport would ever dream of adopting the shortened procedure of sticking notices on the ground instead of serving the owner if it were possible with reasonable diligence to find the owner in a few days.
The next stage is the stage of advertisement. There are to be two advertisements under Clause 1 and one under Clause 2, and so we save a week there. That is the first saving. The next stage is that of the 21 days for objections under Clause 1 and 14 days for objections under Clause 2. I am not sure that there is an extra week's saving. I rather think not. But let us give the Parliamentary Secretary the benefit of the doubt. He has saved a fortnight, that is all. The only remaining stage is that of the hearing or an inquiry, and we specially put in a new Clause today allowing inquiries in every case. I really cannot imagine the Minister of War Transport, that having been put on the Statute Book, refusing an inquiry where there is a genuine fear on the part of responsible people that a new road is going to destroy amenities or make agriculture more difficult, or something of that kind. But let us assume that he is not going to have an inquiry and, therefore, that he decides this matter in the dark. Is that inquiry going to take six months? All he has to do is to appoint his investigator at once so that he may summon people before him, which will take two or three days, and then write out his report. I cannot see how an inquiry can take more than a month, if things are done with reasonable speed and not in the manner with which some Departments treat their affairs when they 445 do not think they are urgent. Therefore, six weeks seems to me to be a reasonable estimate, an outside estimate, between Clause 1 and Clause 2 procedure.
The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport is a busy man, and we do not expect him to read all these details, but we do expect somebody in his Department to instruct him; and he has been gravely misinstructed in this point. I do hope, therefore, that he will either take a hint from his next-door neighbour just now, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health, or, at least, say he will reexamine this matter before it goes to another place. He will remember, I am sure, that, if you cut out too many safeguards, you are apt to make yourself very unpopular, and I do not think the hon. Gentleman would desire that. He will also remember that, when you cut out safeguards in regard to inquiries into the facts, you are much more apt to make mistakes. Some slight mistake in the siting of a house affects only a few people, and it does not, as a general rule, upset the amenities of a district—it is unfortunate, but it is not serious—but a mistake in the siting of a trunk road is a much more serious thing. Therefore, I cannot imagine any Minister of War Transport refusing an inquiry, or enough time to find out the defects, if there is some genuine difference of opinion. Even if he does refuse proper inquiry, he will save six weeks, but if he allows proper inquiry, he will save one or two weeks. Is it worth while to cut out the safeguards—they have been cut to a pretty bare minimum under Clause 1—for the sake of saving a few weeks? You cannot build or plan a trunk road overnight. Adding together the period of
|Division No. 108.]||AVES.||[6 55 p.m.|
|Adams, Richard (Balham)||Beswick, Fit.-Lieut. F.||Byers, Lt.-Col. F.|
|Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South)||Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Callaghan, James|
|Adamson, Mrs. J. L||Bing, Capt. G. H. C.||Castle, Mrs. B. A.|
|Allen, A. C. (Bosworlh)||Blackburn, A. R.||Champion, A. J|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Blenkinsop, Capt. A||Chater, D.|
|Alpass, J. H.||Blyton, W. R.||Chetwynd, Capt. G. R|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Boardman, H.||Clitherow, Dr. R|
|Altewell, H. C.||Bottomley, A. G.||Cluse, W. S.|
|Austin, H. L.||Bowden, Flg.-Offr. H. W.||Cobb, F. A.|
|Ayles, W. H.||Bowen, R.||Cocks, F. S.|
|Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B||Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton)||Collindridga, F.|
|Bacon. Miss A.||Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'p'l, Exch'ge)||Collins, V. J.|
|Balfour, A.||Braddock, T. (Mitcham)||Colman, Miss G. M|
|Barstow, P. G.||Brook, D. (Halifax)||Cook, T. F.|
|Barton, G.||Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)||Cooper, Wing-Comdr. G.|
|Battley, J. R.||Brown, georģe (Belper)||Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N.W.)|
|Bechervaise, A. E.||Brown, T. J. (Ince)||Corlett, Dr. J.|
|Bellenger, F. J||Bruce, Maj. D. W. T||Crawley, Fit.-Lieut. A|
|Benson, G||Burden, T. W||Daines, P.|
|Berry, H.||Burke, W, A||Davies, Clement (Montgomery)|
§ planning and the period of building, the additional few weeks in order to make certain that the plans are right, seem to be negligible. It gives the Minister a much better chance to avoid mistakes, even if he insists on the plans contained in this Bill.
§ Mr. Key
It is one thing to talk in theory about Clauses in a Bill, but it is another to speak from experience of the operation of the method here suggested. You can take minimum periods in the Bill, setting them out one beside the other, to show that there is not more than about six weeks difference between the Clause 1 and Clause 2 procedure, but people in local government who have tried to use this method of compulsory purchase know that things do not work out according to the theory laid down, and that there are all sorts of things which crop up and waste time. From long experience' in local government where compulsory purchase has been used, I say, quite definitely, that the saving between Clause 1 and Clause 2 procedure, on an average, will be three months, and probably considerably more.
§ Question put,"That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 289; Noes, 126
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield)||Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)||Scott-Elliot, W|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Lipson, D L.||Segal, Sq-Ldr. S|
|Davies, S O. (Merthyr)||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M||Shackleton, Wing-Cdr. E. A. A|
|Diamond, J.||Logan, D. G||Sharp, Lt.-Col. G M.|
|Dobbie, W.||Longden, F.||Shawcross, C. N. (Widnes)|
|Dodds, N. N||Lyne, A W.||Shawcross, Sir H. (St. Helens)|
|Donovan, T.||McAdam, W.||Silverman J (Erdington)|
|Douglas, F. C. R.||McAllister, G.||Simmons, C. J.|
|Driberg, T. E. N||McEntee, V. La T||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Dumpleton, C. W||McGhee, H. G.||Skefhngton-Lodge, T C|
|Durbin, E. F. M.||Mack, J D.||Smith, Ellis (Stoke)|
|Dye, S.||McKay, J. (Wallsend)||Smith, H. N. '(Nottingham, S.)|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Mackay, R. W. G (Hull, N.W.)||Snow, Capt. J. W|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Sir C. (Bedwellty)||McKinlay, A. S.||Solley, L. J.|
|Edwards, John (Blackburn)||Maclean, N. (Govan)||Soskice, Maj Sir F|
|Evans, E. (Lowestoft)||McLeavy, F.||Stamford, W|
|Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)||MacMillan, M. K.||Steele, T.|
|Ewart, R.||Macpherson, T. (Romford)||Stephen, C.|
|Fairhurst, F.||Mainwaring, W. H.||Stewart, Capt Michael (Fulham, E.)|
|Farthing, W. J||Mann, Mrs. J.||Stokes, R. R|
|Follick, M.||Manning, C. (Camberwell, N-)||Strauss, G R|
|Foster, W. (Wigan)||Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)||Stross, Dr. B.|
|Gaitskell, H. T. N.||Marshall, F. (Brightside)||Stubbs, A. E|
|Gallacher, W.||Mathers, G.||Summerskill, Dr. Edith|
|georģe, Lady M. Lloyd (Anglesey)||Medland, H. M.||Symonds, Maj. A L.|
|Gibbins, J.||Middleton, Mrs. L.||Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)|
|Gibson, C. W.||Mitchison, Maj. G. R.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Gilzean, A.||Monslow, W.||Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)|
|Gtanville, J. E. (Consett)||Montague, F.||Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)|
|Gooch, E. G.||Moody, A. S.||Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)|
|Gordon-Walker, P. C.||Morgan, Dr. H. B.||Thomas, John R. (Dover)|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.||Morley, R||Thomson, Rt. Hn G. R. (Ed'b'gh, E.)|
|Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)||Morris, Lt.-Col. H. (Sheffield, C.)||Thorneycroft, H.|
|Grenfell, D. R||Morris, P. (Swansea, W)||Thurtle, E.|
|Grey, C. F.||Mort, D. L.||Tiffany, S.|
|Grierson, E.||Moyle, A.||Titterington, M. F|
|Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)||Murray, J D.||Tolley, L.|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)||Nally, W.||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Griffiths, Capt. W. D. (Moss Side)||Naylor, T E.||Ungood-Thomas, L.|
|Gruffydd, Prof. W. J||Neal, H. (Claycross)||Usborne, Henry|
|Gunter, Capt. R. J.||Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)||Vernon, Maj. W. F|
|Guy, W H.||Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)||Viant, S P.|
|Haire, Flt.-Lieut. J. (Wycombe)||Noel-Buxton, Lady||Walker, G H|
|Hale, Leslie||Oldheld, W. H.||Wallace, G D. (Chislehurst)|
|Hall, W. G. (Colne Valley)||Oliver, G. H||Wallace, H. W (Walthamstow, E.)|
|Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R||Orbach, M.||Warbey W. N.|
|Hardman, D. R,||Paget, R. T.||Watkins, T. E|
|Hardy, E. A.||Paling, Rt. Hon Wilfred (Wentworth)||Watson, W. M|
|Herbison, Miss M||Palmer, A. M. F||Webb, M (Bradford, C.)|
|Hobson, C. R.||Pargiter, G. A||Weitzman, D.|
|Holman, P.||Parker, J.||Wells, P. L. (Faversham)|
|Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)||Parkin, Flt.-Lieut. B. T.||Walls, W T (Walsall)|
|Hoy, J.||Paton, Mrs. F. (Rushclifle)||Westwood, Rt. Hon J.|
|Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.)||Paton, J. (Norwich)||White, C. F. (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Hughes, Emrys (S, Ayr)||Pearson, A.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon W|
|Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Peart, Capt T. F||Wigg, Col. G. E|
|Hughes, Lt. H. D. (W'lverh'pton, W.)||Perrins, W.||Wilcock, Group-Capt C A. B|
|Hutchinson, H. L. (Rusholme)||Popplewell, E.||Wilkes, Maj. L.|
|Irving, W. J.||Porter, G. (Leeds)||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Janner, B.||Price, M. P||Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)|
|Jeger, G. (Winchester)||Proctor, W.||Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)|
|Jegur, Dr. S W (St Pancras, S.E.)||Pursey, Cmdr H||Williams, D. J (Neath)|
|John, W.||Ranger, J.||Williams, J L. (Kelvingrove)|
|Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools)||Rankin, J||Williams, W. R (Heston)|
|Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)||Rees-Williams, D. R.||Willis, E.|
|Keenan, W.||Reeves, J.||Wills, Mrs. E. A|
|Key, C. W.||Reid, T. (Swindon)||Wise, Major F. J|
|King, E. M.||Rhodes, H.||Woodburn, A.|
|Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr- E||Richards, R.||Woods, G. S|
|Kiney, J.||Ridealgh, Mrs M||Yates, V. F.|
|Kirby, B V.||Robens, A.||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Kirkwood D||Roberts, Sqn.-Ldr. Emrys (Merioneth)||Younger, Hon. Kenneth|
|Lang, G.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)||Zilliacus, K.|
|Lavers, S.||Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)|
|Lee, F. (Hulme)||Rogers, G. H. R||TELLERS FOR THE AYES|
|Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)||Royle, C.||Mr. Joseph Henderson and Mr. Hannan.|
|Leslie, J. R.||Sargood, R.|
|Levy, B. W.||Scollan, T.|
|Agnew, Cmdr. P. G||Barlow, Sir J.||Bower, N.|
|Aitken, Hon. Max||Beamish, Maj. T. V. H||Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.|
|Amory, D. Heathcoat||Bennett, Sir P.||Bracken, Rt. Hon. Brendan|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R.||Birch, Lt.-Col. Nigel||Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W|
|Baldwin, A. E,||Boles, Lt.-Col. D, C. (Wells)||Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T|
|Butcher H. W.||Jennings, R.||Reid, Rt. Hon. J. S. C. (Hillhead)|
|Butler, Rt. Hon. R A. (S'ffr'n Wld'n)||Kingsmill, Lt.-Col. W. H||Renton, D.|
|Carson, E.||Lambert, Hon. G.||Roberts, Maj. P. G. (Ecclesall)|
|Challen, C.||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Robinson, Wing-Comdr. Roland|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. W. S||Langford-Holt, J.||Ropner, Col. L.|
|Cooper-Key, E. M.||Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.||Sanderson, Sir F.|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Scott, Lord W.|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E||Low, Brig. A. R. W.||Shepherd, W. S. (Bucklow)|
|Crowder, Capt. J. F. E||Lucas, Major Sir J,||Smithers, Sir W.|
|Cuthbert, W. N||Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.||Snadden, W. M.|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O||Spearman, A C. M.|
|De la Bère, R.||MacAndrew, Col. Sir C.||Spence, H. R.|
|Digby, Maj. S. W.||McCallum, Maj. D.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Mackeson, Lt.-Col. H. R.||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Dower, Li.-Col. A. V. G. (Penrith)||McKie, J. H. (Galloway)||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Drayson, Capt. G. B||Maclay, Hon. J S.||Strauss, H. G. (Com. Eng. Univ'sities)|
|Dugģdale, Maj. Sir T. (Richmond)||MacLeod, Capt. J.||Stuart, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Duthie, W. S.||Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold||Studholme, H. G.|
|Eccles, D. M.||Maitland, Comdr. J. W.||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Eden, Rt. Hon. A.||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Teelinģ, William|
|Erroll, F. J.||Marples, A. E.||Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.|
|Fletcher, W. (Bury)||Marshall, D. (Bodmin)||Thorp, Lt.-Col. R. A. F.|
|Fraser, Maj. H. C. P. (Stone)||Marshall, S. H. (Sutton)||Turton, R. H.|
|Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D.||Maude, J. C.||Vane, W. M. T.|
|Gammans, L. D.||Mellor, Sir J||Walker-Smith, D.|
|Gates, Maj. E. E.||Morrison, Maj. J G. (Salisbury)||Ward, Hon. G. R.|
|Glyn, Sir R.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)||Watt, Sir G. S. Harvie|
|Gomme-Duncan, Col. A. G||Neven-Spence, Sir B.||Wheatley, Colonel M. J|
|Grimston, R. V.||Nicholson, G.||White, Sir D. (Fareham)|
|Hare, Lieut.-Col. Hn. J. H. (W'db'ge)||Nutting, Anthony||White, J. B. (Canterbury)|
|Harvey, Air-Comdre. A. V||Orr-Ewing, I. L.||Williams, C. (Torquay)|
|Hollis, M. C.||Peake, Rt. Hon. O.||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Howard, Hon. A.||Pitman, I. J.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)||Ponsonby, Col. C. E.||York, C.|
|Hurd, A.||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O.||Young, Sir A S. L- (Partick)|
|Hutchison, Lt -Cm. Clark (E'b'rgh W)||Raikes, H. V.|
|Hutchison, Col. J. R. (Glasgow, C.)||Ramsay, Maj. S||TELLERS FOR THE NOES|
|Jeffreys, General Sir G.||Rayner, Brig. R||Major Conant and Mr. Drewe.|
§ Amendment made: In page 3, line 13, leave out "War."—[Mr. Key.]
§ 7.0 p.m.
I beg to move, in page 3, line 26, at the end, to insert:Provided that the conforming authority shall not give an authorisation under this or the preceding Subsection enabling the acquiring authority to enter on or take possession of a building whereon the occupier carries on a trade or business unless alternative accommodation reasonably suitable for the purposes of that trade or business has been offered to him on reasonable terms by the acquiring authority.This is an Amendment of some substance, and one about which a lot of us feel very strongly. We wish to plead the case of the shopkeeper, tradesman or business man who is being displaced from the place where he earns his livelihood by means of the speedy procedure. This is a thoroughly reasonable Amendment, because all we ask is that these people should, if necessary, have their premises acquired under Clause 1 procedure or, if the speedy procedure is applied, that they should have alternative accommodation to which to take their business or trade.
If we consider the people who are to be affected by the speedy procedure, a man may well find that it is a greater 450 hardship for him to lose the place where he works than the place where he sleeps, if he is fortunate enough to find any place wherein to sleep. Even though he has other premises where he can carry on his trade, he will, in all probability, have lost his good will and business connections and will suffer in many other ways. Therefore, we wish to bring to the notice of the Parliamentary Secretary that we feel that the acquiring of business premises, shops and office accommodation should not be by means of the speedy procedure, but by means of the more normal procedure under Clause 1. It has been stressed by hon. Members during the course of this stage of the Bill that the speedy procedure goes through all its stages in 28 days or even less. During that period a written objection has to be sent in and of that period, seven days must be given for the objection to be considered and seven days before it can be returned. This period should only be applied in cases where it is reasonable, and I suggest that if, under that speedy procedure, we take a man' s place of business where he earns his livelihood, we shall impose a great deal of hardship and unkindness, whereas if he is given a little extra time, as under the Clause 1 451 procedure, he would be able to put his business affairs in order.
§ Mr. Walker-Smith
I beg to second the Amendment.
This Amendment has been moved in a temperate and persuasive way by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Penrith and Cockermouth (Lieut.-Colonel Dower). We pressed before for the principle of exempting dwellinghouses from the harsh and arbitrary procedure of Clause 2, and I am glad to say we did convince the Government on this issue. Now we are bringing to their attention the almost equally deserving claims of the person carrying on his trade or business. My hon. and gallant Friend has referred to the procedure of Clause 2 as speedy procedure, but it is not only because there is less time given to the person whose property is affected under the Clause 2 procedure that we think it presses unduly hardly upon the people placed in the position of those described in this Amendment, but it is also because their rights of representation are so restricted. It is obviously going to be much more difficult not to have authorisation made in the case of one's place of business under the Clause 2 procedure than it would be to prevent the confirming of a compulsory purchase Order made in accordance with the ordinary procedure now standardised under Clause 1 of this Bill. It seems to us that a person carrying on a trade or business deserves the same consideration that the Government have now agreed to apply to the case of dwellinghouses, because it is very difficult indeed, as I pointed out earlier this afternoon, for any displaced person, whose property is acquired, to acquire alternative accommodation unless steps are taken to provide it for him. Of course, that consideration applies equally strongly in the case of trade or business premises as it does in the case of the domestic accommodation. I would add this, that people carrying on retail trade are providing for the rest of the community and to take away their premises by this procedure without giving any alternative accommodation will bear hardly not only on the retailers in question but on that larger part of the community who may be their customers In the interests, therefore, of these people and others who deal with them I 452 think that this Amendment should be embodied in the Bill.
§ 7.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Key
In the Acts that authorize the compulsory acquisition of land, there is, at present, no provision made for giving alternative accommodation to the occupier, and this Bill is a procedure Bill. It does not affect the powers of particular authorities in acquiring land, and we are not prepared at the present time to introduce into this Bill drastic qualifications of the powers of compulsory purchase possessed by the various authorities. It is true that the Amendment relates only to Clause 2 procedure, but the essential difference between Clause 1 and Clause 2 procedure is merely that in Clause 2 the powers of compulsory purchase are given in writing, instead of by order, but more particularly that there is a much quicker right of entry in the Clause 2 method. In both, if the land is to be acquired, compensation is to be paid and in both entry can be made before purchase is complete. If the Amendment were passed it would still mean that under Clause 1 procedure no alternative accommodation would have to be provided, and, therefore, the effect of the Amendment is just merely to hinder and hamper—
§ Mr. Key
—the quicker procedure that is necessary for the carrying out of the functions which the acquiring authorities want to carry out. The Bill says definitely that the procedure can only be used in those specific cases where it is urgently necessary in the public interest that the acquiring authority should be enabled to obtain possession of the land without delay. Therefore, Clause 2 procedure is one of urgent public necessity. Yet we are being told that in cases of urgent public necessity a delaying notice is needed and this would be for the purpose of making it pretty well impossible to operate Clause 2 procedure. It is quite true that individuals have to suffer inconvenience in the public interest, but surely public interest must take precedence. Any acquiring authority will give as great consideration as it can to the interest of the individual concerned, but in the end the urgent public necessity must be weighed with it. For this reason I am not going to accept this Amendment.
§ Major Digby
I should like to support the Amendment and to ask the Parlia- 453 mentary Secretary to reconsider his attitude. I should like the Committee to consider for a moment how this particular Clause will affect the small shopkeeper. One day he is carrying on his business in premises in which he has probably carried it on for something like 20 years. The next day there is served on him a notice that it is proposed to take over compulsorily his shop and premises and he has 14 days in which to appeal. He goes round in a great hurry to find a solicitor and lodges his appeal. It may not take 14 days to lodge the appeal, but perhaps only seven days, but it will take another seven days to get an answer and the answer usually will be "No luck." Up to this he has been reluctant to believe that he is going to be turned out of his shop, and he has not been in a position, owing to that uncertainty, to make arrangements to leave it. Then, when he receives notice to say that he is to be dispossessed, he has exactly seven days in which to make all his arrangements for leaving the shop in which he has worked for so lons?. He has lost not only his shop, but his livelihood, which is a serious matter.
I am sorry that the Parliamentary Secretary did not see fit to accept this reasonable Amendment. In Standing Committee the Government put an Amendment into the Bill to safeguard the interests of people in regard to dwelling houses, who would otherwise have been very hardly dealt with by this speedy procedure which, we claim, should now be extended to shops, places of business and office accommodation. The very people who have been safeguarded as regards their dwelling houses might be more heavily penalised in regard to their livelihood by the refusal of the Government to accept this Amendment. My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for West Dorset (Major Digby) stressed the point that the people who are most likely to suffer hardship, if the Amendment is not accepted, will be small shopkeepers. Earlier today, the Lord Advocate sneered at what he called the "new-found zeal" of Members on this side of the House for the interests of small shopkeepers. Let me assure him, and the Parliamentary Secretary as well, that that is very wide of the mark. Our zeal for small shopkeepers and for people with small interests is no new-found zeal. We have always had their interests at heart. 454 Indeed, were it not for their support we would not be sitting here today.
The Government have gone a long way towards meeting our wishes in regard to dwelling houses, but what they have given with one hand they are taking away with the other as a result of the Parliamentary Secretary's stubborn refusal to accept the Amendment. I can well imagine the anger that will be aroused in the constituency represented by the Lord Advocate, where there are many people who are likely to be hardly hit if this speedy procedure is put into operation. There will be anger and resentment at the Lord Advocate's action in supporting the Government on this matter and at his attempt to brush aside the rights of small shopkeepers. Even at this late hour, I hope the Parliamentary Secretary will agree that there is great substance in the plea we have put forward, that his hard heart will soften and that the Government will do something, perhaps in another place, to meet our wishes, and prevent unnecessary hardship to a deserving class of the community.
§ Mr. Thornton-Kemsley (Aberdeen and Kincardine, Western)
I would not have attempted to catch your eye, Mr. Speaker, if it had not been for a few words which fell from the lips of the Parliamentary Secretary while defending his refusal to accept the Amendment. He spoke of individual inconvenience being caused, but said it must be overridden in the public interest. I suppose it is possible to describe the crashing of a man's life work as, "individual inconvenience," but that seems to be a light way in which to come here and speak of a man's shop or business, in which he has perhaps invested his life's savings, being taken from him. We are simply asking that the local authority, the acquiring authority, shall impose a little delay.
The Parliamentary Secretary opposed the Amendment on two main grounds. First, he said that there was no provision of this nature in any of the Acts in which power of compulsory acquisition has been given, and then he said that in any case small shopkeepers, traders, and manufacturers, if their land is to be acquired under Clause 1, will not be offered alternative accommodation by the acquiring authority. We say that the Government should not use this streamlined procedure to crush a man out of business without either 455 offering him alternative accommodation, or giving him adequate time to look about him, and set himself up somewhere else, somehow, so that he may carry on his livelihood. It is not unreasonable for us to ask that there should be a second thought about this matter, and that there should either be alternative accommodation offered by the acquiring authority, or that the procedure should be carried out under Clause I, instead of under Clause 2.
§ Mr. J. S. C. Reid
I find the devotion of the Parliamentary Secretary to precedent quite endearing. He tells us that because these words, or similar words, did not occur in the Act of 1845 it is, therefore, a bad thing that they should now be put into this Bill. It is nice to think that Members opposite have such great admiration for what our forefathers did, but the Parliamentary Secretary has completely forgotten that we have had two wars since then, with the result that whereas in 1845 anyone with money in his pocket had little difficulty in finding suitable accommodation almost overnight, one can be as rich as Croesus today without being able to find either business premises, or a place in which to sleep. It is no argument to say that when alternative accommodation is easily obtainable you do not need protection of this kind. Protection is only required now because of the scarcity of accommodation. It is not that we are asking for an extra week or two. We are, but that is not the real point. We are asking that there should be an opportunity for proper inquiry before a man's business premises are taken from him. If at an earlier stage the hon. Gentleman had accepted our Amendment to provide for an inquiry under Clause 2 this would not have arisen. Under Clause 2 as it stands there is no necessity for inquiry at all. There is no provision even for a hearing, and a confirming authority is perfectly entitled to turn a man out without his case having been heard. All that happens is that
|Division No. 109.||AYES.||17.33 p.m.|
|Ailken, Hon. Max||Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. (Wells)||Carson, E.|
|Amory, D. Heathcoat||Bower, N.||Churchill, Rt. Hon. W. S|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R.||Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col.G.|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Bracken, Rt. Hon. Brendan||Conant, Maj. R. J. E.|
|Barlow, Sir J.||Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W||Cooper-Key, E. M.|
|Beamish, Maj. T. V. H.||Buohan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.|
|Bennett, Sir P.||Butcher, H. W.||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.|
|Birch, Lt.-Col. Nigel||Butler. Rt. Hon. R. A. (S'ffr'n W'ld'n)||Crowder, Capt. J. F. E.|
§ the man concerned writes in some representation, and that representation may or may not be considered.
§ 7.30 p.m.
§ I am quite sure that all hon. Members opposite have a good deal of experience of the kind of representation that comes from a small man whose education is, perhaps, not very good. It is not easy to read and it is not easy to follow. We all get letters of that kind every day and it is a very great temptation to busy Government officials who get rather illiterate screeds not to take enough time to see the real point, which indeed may be very difficult to sec unless the man goes to the expense of getting a lawyer, and he probably does not think of that at that stage. If there were to be some kind of hearing he would probably get a local lawyer whom he knew to attend, and justice would most likely be done, but he will not think of that if he is told that he has 14 days to put in his representation. He will put in a representation which is very difficult to follow, and with the best will in the world the confirming authority will miss the point. It would be removing an essential safeguard to a man's business and life work if he were denied a proper opportunity for being heard, and I think that in the interests of so called celerity the Government are doing a very real injustice in this matter.
§ Mr. Medland (Plymouth, Drake)
This is not a question of the old Act of 1845. The provisions of the present Bill are almost on all fours with those of the Act passed by the Coalition Government in 1944 which gave no protection for business premises such as is now being suggested on the other side of the House. It did give protection for rehousing the population but none for the very people about whom hon. and right hon. Members opposite have almost been making me cry this afternoon.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 125; Noes, 292.
|Cuthbert, W. N.||Low, Brig. A. R. W.||Scott, Lord W.|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Lucas, Major Sir J.||Shepherd, Lieut. W. S. (Bucklow)|
|De la Bère, R.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.||Smith, E P. (Ashford)|
|Digby, Maj. S. W.||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon O.||Smithers, Sir W.|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||McCallum, Maj. D.||Snadden, W. M.|
|Donner, Sqn.-Ldr. P. W.||Mackeson, Lt.-Col. H. R.||Spence, H. R.|
|Dower, Lt.-Col. A. V. G (Penrith)||McKie, J. H. (Galloway)||Stanley, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Drayson, Capt. G. B||MacLeod, Capt. J||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Drewe, C.||Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold||Strauss, H. G (Com. Eng. Universities)|
|Dugģdale, Maj. Sir T. (Richmond)||Maitland, Comdr. J. W||Stuart, Rt. Hon. J|
|Duthie, W. S.||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Eden, Rt. Hon. A.||Marples, A. E.||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Erroll, F. J.||Marshall, D. (Bodmin)||Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (P'dd'ton, S.)|
|Fraser, Maj. H. C. P. (Stone)||Marshall, S. H. (Sutton)||Teelinģ, William|
|Gaibraith, Cmdr. T. D.||Mellor, Sir J||Thorneycroft, G. E. P.|
|Gammans, L. D.||Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury)||Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.|
|Glossop, C. W. H.||Morrison, Rt. Hon, W. S. (Cirencester)||Thorp, Lt.-Col. R. A. F.|
|Gomme-Duncan, Col. A. G.||Neven-Spence, Sir B.||Turton, R. H.|
|Grimston, R. V.||Nicholson, G.||Vane, W. M. T.|
|Hannon, Sir P. (Moseley)||Nield, B. (Chester)||Walker-Smith, D.|
|Hare, Lieut-Col. Hn. J. H. (W'db'ge)||Nutting, Anthony||Ward, Hon. G. R.|
|Harvey, Air-Comdre. A. V.||O'Neill, Rt. Hon Sir H.||Watt, Sir G. S. Harvie|
|Hallis, M. C.||Orr-Ewing, I. L.||Wheatley, Colonel M. J.|
|Hope, Lord J.||Peake, Rt. Hon. O.||White, Sir D. (Fareham)|
|Howard, Hon. A.||Pitman, I. J.||White, J. B. (Canterbury)|
|Hudson, Rt. Hon R. S. (Southport)||Ponsonby, Col. C. E.||Williams, C. (Torquay)|
|Hurd, A.||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O.||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Hutchison, Lt.-Cm. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)||Ramsay, Maj. S.||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Hutchison, Col. J. R. (Glasgow, C.)||Rayner, Brig. R.||Winterton, Rt. Hon Earl|
|Jeffreys, General Sir G.||Reid, Rt. Hon. J. S. C. (Hillhead)||York, C.|
|Jennings, R.||Renton, D.||Young, Sir A. S L. (Partick)|
|Lambert, Hon. G||Roberts, Maj. P. G. (Ecclesall)|
|Langford-Holt, J.||Robinson, Wing-Comdr. Roland||TELLERS FOR THE AYES|
|Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.||Ropner, Col. L.||Commander Agnew and Mr. Studholme.|
|Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H||Sanderson, Sir F.|
|Adams, Richard (Balham)||Chetwynd, Capt. G. R||Glanville, J. E. (Consett)|
|Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South)||Clitherow, Dr. R.||Gooch, E. G.|
|Adamson, Mrs. J. L.||Cluse, W. S.||Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)|
|Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)||Cobb, F A.||Grenfell, D. R.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Cocks, F. S.||Grey, C. F.|
|Alpass, J. H.||Collins, V. J||Grierson, E.|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Colman, Miss G. M.||Griffiths, O. (Rother Valley)|
|Attewell, H. C.||Cook, T. F.||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)|
|Austin, H. L.||Cooper, Wing-Comdr. G.||Griffiths, Capt. W. D. (Moss Side)|
|Ayles, W. H.||Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N.W.)||Gunter, Capt. R. J.|
|Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B.||Corlett, Dr. J.||Guy, W. H.|
|Bacon, Miss A.||Crawley, Fit-Lieut. A.||Haire, Flt-Lieut. J. (Wycombe)|
|Balfour, A.||Daines, P.||Hale, Leslie|
|Barstow, P. G.||Davies, Clement (Montgomery)||Hall, W. G. (Colne Valley)|
|Barton, C.||Davies, Ernest (Enfield)||Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R.|
|Battley, J. R.||Davies, Harold (Leek)||Hannan, W. (Maryhill)|
|Bechervaise, A. E||Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Hardman, D. R.|
|Belcher, J. W.||Deer, G.||Hardy, E. A.|
|Bellenger, F. J.||Delargy, Captain H. J.||Haworth, J.|
|Benson, G.||Diamond, J.||Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)|
|Berry, H.||Dobbie, W.||Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)|
|Beswick, Fit.-Lieut. F.||Dodds, N. N.||Herbison, Miss M.|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Donovan, T.||Hewitson, Capt. M.|
|Bing, Capt. G. H. C.||Douglas, F. C. R.||Hobson, C. R|
|Binns, J.||Driberg, T. E. N.||Holman, P.|
|Blackburn, A. R.||Dugģdale, J. (W. Bromwich)||Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)|
|Blenkinsop, Capt. A.||Dumpleton, C. W.||Hoy, J.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Durbin, E. F. M.||Hudson, J. H (Ealing, W.)|
|Bettomley, A. G||Dye, S.||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayr)|
|Bowen, R.||Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)|
|Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton)||Edwards, Rt. Hon. Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Hughes, Lt. H. D. (W'lverh'pton, W.)|
|Braddoek, Mrs. E. M. (L'p'l, Exch'ge)||Edwards, John (Blackburn)||Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)|
|Braddock, T. (Mitcham)||Edwards, W. J. (Whiteehapel)||Irving, W. J.|
|Brook, D. (Halifax)||Evans, E. (Lowestoft)||Isaacs, Rt. Hon G. A.|
|Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)||Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)||Janner, B|
|Brown, georģe (Belper)||Ewart, R.||Jeger, G. (Winchester)|
|Brown, T. J. (Ince)||Fairhurst, F.||Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E.)|
|Bruce, Maj. D. W. T.||Farthing, W. J.||John, W.|
|Buchanan, G.||Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.)||Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools)|
|Burden, T. W.||Follick, M.||Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)|
|Burke, W. A.||Foster, W. (Wigan)||Keenan, W.|
|Byers, Lt.-Col. F.||Gaitskell, H. T. N||Key, C. W.|
|Callaghan, James||Gallacher, W.||King, E. M.|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||georģe, Lady M. Lloyd (Anglesey)||Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E|
|Chamberlain, R. A||Gibbins, J.||Kinley, J.|
|Champion, A. J.||Gibson, C. W||Kirby, B. V.|
|Chafer, D.||Gilzean, A.||Kirkwood, D.|
|Lang, G.||Oldfield, W. H.||Summerskill, Dr. Edith|
|Lavers, S.||Oliver, G. H.||Swingler, Capt. S.|
|Lee, F. (Hulme)||Orbach, M.||Symonds, Maj A. L.|
|Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)||Paget, R. T.||Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)|
|Leslie, J. R.||Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth)||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Levy, B. W.||Pargiter G. A.||Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)|
|Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)||Parker, J.||Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)|
|Lipson, D. L.||Parkin, Fit-Lieut. B. T.||Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)|
|Lipton, Lt.-Col. M||Paton, Mrs. F. (Rushcliffe)||Thomas, John R. (Dover)|
|Logan, D, G.||Paton, J. (Norwich)||Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. R (Ed'b'gh, E.)|
|Longden, F.||Pearson, A.||Thorneycroft, H.|
|Lyne, A. W.||Peart, Capt. T. F.||Tiffany, S.|
|McAdam, W.||Perrins, W.||Titterington, M. F|
|McEntee, V. La T||Popplewell, E.||Tolley, L.|
|McGhee, H. G.||Porter, G. (Leeds)||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Mack, J. D.||Price, M. P.||Ungced-Thomas, L.|
|Mackay, R. W. G. (Hull, N.W.)||Proctor, W. T.||Usborne, Henry|
|McKinlay, A. S.||Pursey, Cmdr. H.||Vernon, Maj. W. F.|
|Maclean, N. (Govan)||Ranger, J.||Viant, S. P.|
|McLeavy, F.||Rankin, J.||Walker, G. H.|
|MacMillan, M. K.||Rees-Williams, D. R.||Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)|
|Macpherson, T. (Romford)||Reeves, J||Warbey, W. N.|
|Mainwaring, W. H.||Reid, T. (Swindon)||Watkins, T. E.|
|Mallalieu. J. P W.||Rhodes, H.||Watson, W. M.|
|Mann, Mrs. J.||Richards, R.||Webb, M. (Bradlord, C.)|
|Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.)||Ridealgh, Mrs. M.||Weitzman, D.|
|Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)||Robens, A.||Wells, P. L. (Faversham)|
|Marquand, H. A.||Roberts, Sqn.-Ldr. Emryt (Merioneth)||Wells, W. T. (Walsall)|
|Marshall, F. (Brightside)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)||White, C. F. (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Mathers, G.||Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Mayhew, C. P.||Rogers, G. H. R.||Wigg, Col. G. E.|
|Medland, H. M.||Royle, C.||Wilcock, Group-Capt. C. A. B.|
|Middleton, Mrs. L.||Sargood, R.||Wilkes, Maj L.|
|Mitchison, Maj. G. R||Scollan, T.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Montlow, W.||Scott-Elliot, W.||Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)|
|Montague, F.||Segal, Sq-Ldr. S.||Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)|
|Moody, A. S.||Shackleton, Wing-Cdr. E. A. A||Williams, D. J. (Neath)|
|Morgan, Dr. H. B.||Sharp, Lt.-Col. G. M.||Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)|
|Morley, R.||Shawcross, C. N. (Widnes)||Williams, W. R. (Heston)|
|Morris, Lt.-Col. H. (Sheffield, C.)||Silverman, J. (Erdington)||Willis, E.|
|Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)||Skeffington, A. M.||Wills, Mrs. E. A.|
|Morrison Rt. Hon. H (Lewisham, E.)||Smith, Ellis (Stoke)||Wise, Major F. J.|
|Mort, D. L.||Smith, H N (Nottingham, S.)||Woodburn, A.|
|Moyle, A.||Snow, Capt. J. W.||Woods, G. S|
|Murray, J. D.||Solley, L J.||Yates, V. F.|
|Nally, W.||Soskice, Mai Sir F.||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Naylor, T. E.||Stamford, W.||Younger, Hon Kenneth|
|Neal, H. (Clayeross)||Steele, T||Zilliacus, K|
|Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)||Stewart, Capt. Michael (Fulham, E.)|
|Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)||Stross, Dr. B.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES|
|Noel-Buxton, Lady||Stubbs, A. E.||Mr. Collindridge and Mr. Simmons.|
§ Amendment made: In page 3, line 29, leave out ''War."—[Mr. Key.]
§ Mr. Key
I beg to move, in page 3, line 31, to leave out "before the expiration of three months from," and to insert:not earlier than seven days nor later than three months after.This Amendment is in conformity with an undertaking I gave in Committee that there should be an intervening period between the date of the confirmation of the order and the power to enter and take possesion of the land. The Amendment gives a seven days' waiting period between confirmation and the power to enter and take possession.
§ Mr. Charles Williams
As the Parliamentary Secretary seemed to be anxious a little earlier to know whether we were duly grateful for an Amendment, may I say how grateful I am that he has 460 acceded to the invariable wisdom of the Tory Party in regard to this Amendment, and express the hope that he may do the same thing in regard to other provisions later?
§ Amendment agreed to.
Further Amendment made: In page 3, line 41, leave out "mentioned in that Subsection ", and insert:
of the foregoing Section, the Town and Country Planning Act, 1944, or the Distribution of Industry Act, 1945, as the case may be." — [Mr. Key.]
§ CLAUSE 5.—(Interpretation.)
§ Mr. Key
I beg to move, in page 6, line 5, at the end, to insert:' appropriate Minister ' means in relation to—
- (a) any railway, light railway, tramway, road transport, water transport, canal, harbour, pier or inland navigation, dock, lighthouse undertaking, the Minister of Transport.
- (b) in relation (o any undertaking for the supply of electricity, gas or hydraulic power, the Minister of Fuel and Power,
- (c) in relation to any undertaking for the supply of water, the Minister of Health;' ancient monument ' has the same meaning as in the Ancient Monuments Acts, 1913 and 1931;common ' includes any land subject to be enclosed under the Inclosure Acts, 1845 to 1882, and any town or village green;fuel or field garden allotment ' means any allotment set out as a fuel allotment, or a field garden allotment, under an Inclosure Act;' held inalienably,' in relation to land belonging to the National Trust, means that the land is inalienable under Section twenty-one of the National Trust Act, 1907, or Section eight of the National Trust Act, 1939.
§ This Amendment is consequential. It results from the inclusion of the new Clauses and the necessity for bringing the definition within the body of the Bill.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. Key
I beg to move, in page 6, line 11, to leave out "and any other," and to insert:the receiver for the metropolitan police district or any other authority being a.The purpose of this Amendment is to extend the powers of compulsory purchase to the receiver of the Metropolitan Police District and thus put the Metropolitan Police in the same position as the police authority in any other part of the country. The confirming authority in this case, as in the case of the other police authorities, would be the Minister of Health.
§ Mr. Charles Williams
This Amendment may or may not be necessary, but could the Parliamentary Secretary say why, if it is necessary, it was not put in the Bill at an earlier stage? Will he also tell us whether there was any direct application from the Metropolitan area to come under the Bill? Is it not possible that the Metropolitan Police would have been covered in any case, and that this Amendment is rather unnecessary?
§ Mr. Key
No, it is not unnecessary; it is a very necessary Amendment. The police in other parts of the country come under local authorities, and local authorities as such, for all their functions, are given these powers. In the case of the Metropolitan Police, there was no authority, and therefore, it was necessary to bring in the responsible authority for the Metropolitan Police, that is to say, 462 the receiver. The omission of the provision was an oversight.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Further Amendments made:
In page 6, line 17, at the end, insert:
' National Trust ' means the National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty incorporated by the said Act of 1907;
' open space ' means any land laid out as a public garden, or used for the purposes of public recreation, or land being a disused burial ground.
In line 24, at the end, insert:
' statutory undertakers ' means any persons authorised by any Act (whether public general or local), or by any order or scheme made under or confirmed by an Act, to construct, work or carry on any railway, light railway, tramway, road transport, water transport, canal, inland navigation, dock, harbour, pier or lighthouse undertaking, or any undertaking for the supply of electricity, gas, hydraulic power or water.
(2) If any question arises under this Act which Minister is the appropriate Minister the question shall be determined by the Treasury." —[Mr. Key.]
§ CLAUSE 6.—(Provisions as to Scotland.)
§ The Lord Advocate
I beg to move, in page 6, line 30, after "Health," to insert:or to the Minister of Town and Country Planning.This Amendment and the three following Amendments are consequential upon the new Schedule, and adapt the wording to Scottish procedure.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Further Amendments made:
In page 6, line 34, after "references," insert:
to the Town and Country Planning Act, 1932, and to subsection (1) of section two thereof, there shall be, respectively, substituted references to the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act. 1932, and to subsection (1) of section- two thereof; for references.
§ In line 35, after "thereof," insert "to section twenty-three thereof."
§ In line 39, after "thereof," insert" to section twenty-two thereof."
§ —[The Lord Advocate.]
§ The Lord Advocate
I beg to move, in page 8, line 4, after "roll," to insert:or otherwise known to the acquiring authority
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ The Lord Advocate
I beg to move, in page 8, line 11, after "if," to insert:the words in head (b) of sub-paragraph 1 from except in so far,' to ' particular case,' and head (c) of that sub-paragraph and.
§ This Amendment is very much on the same lines as the last one. It also meets a point raised in Committee.
§ Mr. Charles Williams
May I ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman for a rather wider explanation? Those of us who were not in the Committee have a right to an explanation of how it comes about that this Amendment is necessary. Was it one of the Amendments in Committee which was considered frivolous and is now found to be necessary? Could I have an explanation of precisely what it is, as it seems rather complicated? We would like to know before we let these powers go through. I do not want to be discourteous in any way. May I say how much Scots Members would appreciate it if we could have a fuller explanation so that we can be absolutely certain what we are doing?
§ The Lord Advocate
One or two points arose on account of the peculiarities of serving a notice in Scotland. It is a comparatively easy thing to do in Scotland, where there is a valuation roll of the owners and occupiers. It is a very simple matter. This Amendment and the previous Amendment are connected with that, and we are able to get rid of one or two of the complications which arise in England because they do not have a valuation roll here. That is why I agree to this form of Amendment.
§ The Lord Advocate
It arose out of discussions with the right hon. and learned Member for Hillhead (Mr. Reid), who is very familiar with this type of thing.
§ Mr. Gallacher
This is how the Subsection now reads:… if notice is served on all the persons appearing from the valuation roll to have an interest in the land…Will the Lord Advocate not add the wordsor otherwise known to the enquiring authority as having honestly come by an interest in the land "?
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ The Lord Advocate
I beg to move, in page 8, to leave out lines 18 to 30, and to insert:(II) For the purposes of Part III of the First Schedule to this Act.
§ This Amendment is consequential on the transfer to Clause 5 of the Bill of the definitions of "held inalienably" and of "National Trust "which are at present included in paragraph 14 of the First Schedule.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. Reid
I beg to move, in page 9, line 29, to leave out sub-paragraph (3), and to insert sub-paragraphs (2, b), (2, c), and (3).
This Amendment requires a little elucidation. It is quite simple. As the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Lord Advocate said a few minutes ago, the presence of a valuation roll in Scotland makes it a comparatively simple matter to discover the right person to serve with notices, and that applies equally under Clause 1 procedure, or under the speedy Clause 2 procedure. In the earlier part of Clause 6 we have said that in every case, speedy or otherwise, it is sufficient for the local authority to copy the names of the owner and the occupier off the list and post the letters. That is all they need do and that can be done in a very few minutes, whichever procedure is adopted. In England, the matter is not quite so simple, as will appear from the Third Schedule, paragraph 2 (2) of which sets out three alternative methods of serving notice under the speedy procedure. A notice may be served on the owner or occupier by sending him a letter, by delivering a letter to some person found on the premises, the letter being generally addressed to the owner and occupier and no name being used, or, if nobody is found on the premises at all, the notice is pinned up on some part of the premises and left there. The last two alternatives —the delivery of a letter with no person named on it, or the pinning up of a notice —are, no doubt, necessary in England, but they are unnecessary and out of place in Scotland, where the name is always known. We always have our valuation roll, and local authorities are sufficiently wide-awake to see that somebody's name goes in that valuation roll, because some- 465 body is always liable for owner's rights even if there is no occupier. Accordingly, it does not happen that you cannot find somebody's name to attach to a piece of ground. Therefore, we need never resort to the second or third alternatives. I do not, therefore, understand why the Lord Advocate has not accepted this Amendment to leave out all reference to those two alternative methods of serving, so far as Scotland is concerned, and relied here, as he has already agreed to do a moment ago in respect of Clause 1, on the valuation roll which will carry him through every time. I hope that with that explanation, Major Milner, the right hon. and learned Gentleman will see his way to accept this Amendment, I cannot see that any local authority can possibly object to it and it would remove a considerable blot.
§ 8.0 p.m.
§ Mr. William Adams (Hammersmith, South)
On a point of Order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. Is it in Order for hon, and right hon. Members opposite to address you by name?
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Major Milner)
It is not in Order, when I occupy Mr. Speaker's Chair as Deputy Speaker.
§ The Lord Advocate
I think I can agree with the right hon. and learned Member for Hillhead (Mr Reid) on this matter. I agree that these two Subsections are unnecessary. The view I took originally was that our application Clause was sufficient to exclude their application, but I am prepared to accept the Amendment because, in substance, we are at one on the matter.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ CLAUSE 7 (Short title and repeals.)
§ This Amendment, and the next two Amendments, which are consequential, have the effect of making a new Subsection (4) instead of the proviso as at present. It is intended to make the matter plainer, and there is no change in the intention
§ Mr. E. P. Smith (Ashford)
I am a little worried about the position of the colon at the end of line 36 under this rearrangement. What is to happen to it? Is it to be left suspended in mid-air?
§ Mr. C. Williams
I am not in the least worried about the colon, as far as this is concerned, but how do we arrive at the point when we no longer want a proviso to a Clause, and the matter can be dealt with by a new Subsection (4)? We were told that was necessary, and I am sure the Government said it in perfectly good faith, but it makes a big difference whether you have a proviso to a Clause or not. I think we are entitled to some explanation.
§ Mr. Key
Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will look at the proviso while I read what the new Subsection would become. The new Subsection (4) would read as follows:Where before the commencement of this Act proceedings for obtaining authorisation of a compulsory purchase in accordance with the provisions of any enactment referred to in section one of this Act have been begun but not completed, the proceedings may be completed as if this Act had not been passed.When we had this in Committee upstairs, there was some doubt whether or not it was as positive as it might be, and the rearrangement, I think, makes it much plainer.
§ Mr. Turton
I am happy about this Amendment because I think it is devised to meet the point of the Amendment which stands in my name and that of my hon. Friend the Member for Ripon (Mr. York)— in Clause 7, page 9, line 42, at the end, to add "in accordance with that enactment." No doubt that Amendment will not be called because it is covered by this Amendment. Unless we have some words like this, it does appear that any proceedings under the Public Works Facilities Act, 1930 which may have been taken before this Bill is passed, and have not been completed by the time it receives the Royal Assent, would be left in a state of suspended animation. The County Councils Association have been very worried about that matter.
§ Mr. Key indicated assent.
§ Mr. Turton
I gather by the way in which the Parliamentary Secretary is nodding his head that that is the intention of this Amendment?
§ Amendment agreed to.
Further Amendment made: In page 9, line 41, leave out "hereby repealed," and insert:
referred to in section one of this Act."— [Mr. Key.]
§ Mr. C. Williams
I am not sure whether we have been told for certain that this Amendment is consequential. Is this Amendment consequential?
§ Mr. Williams
The words "proceedings may be completed "seem to me to carry it a shade further, though I will not say a long way further. I think the Amendment may have a wider meaning, and I would like some legal advice on the matter. I am sure, if the hon. Gentleman opposite has his brief on the subject, he will be able to make me quite happy.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
In moving the first Amendment, the Parliamentary Secretary said that the next two Amendments were consequential, and in reply to the hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. C. Williams), he read out the new Subsection, incorporating the three Amendments.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ FIRST SCHEDULE. —(Procedure for Authorising Compulsory Purchases.)
§ Mr. Turton
I beg to move, in page 10, line 20, after "situated," to insert:and if the land comprised in the Order is situated within the area of another local authority, serve upon that authority.The Schedule as at present drafted protects the private owner of land, especially in paragraph 3 (b). He is served with a notice, and I hope I shall have the support of the hon. Gentleman who represents West Fife (Mr. Gallacher) and half the Communist Party in this Amendment, because it is devised to secure that the public and the local authority are informed when they are affected by any operation under Clause 1.
§ Mr. Turton
I am glad I have aroused the suspicion of the hon. Gentleman. It is a great advance because he has not been very attentive to the Bill up to now, and we are hoping that later on he will give his views on the Acquisition of Land Bill. I should have thought it was a matter in which he had considerable interest. I often hear him talk about some of his Friends as "robbers," and it might be a good Bill to talk about.
Coming back to this Amendment, it seems important that a local authority should be advised. It may be said, "We have provided here for publication in a local newspaper." That is not sufficient. I think it is quite sufficient for private owners, but it is not sufficient for a large local authority, like, say, the West Riding County Council or, indeed, in Scotland some of the Scottish county councils.
§ Mr. Turton
I did not know the Duke of Buccleuch was a local authority. I am glad I have aroused the suspicion and attention of the hon. Member for West Fife but not the attention of the hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood) for we are here dealing with local authorities. How are they to be advised when one Department or another local authority makes an incursion into their area? They are not the owners of the land, but they have an interest in how it will be utilised. It may well be that the utilisation of their land and the acquisition of it by another local authority will materially affect their own future. I remember that in the Committee the hon. Member for Harborough (Mr. Attewell) told us, in graphic terms, how he wished a sewer from Chingford to advance across into Middlesex. I felt rather sorry for Middlesex. Under the present arrangements Middlesex will not be advised when the hon. Member's sewer advances across from Chingford into Middlesex. Cases like that are present to the minds of hon. Members, and ought to be protected. Perhaps the Amendment is not drafted in the correct form but some amendment must be devised to secure that a local authority is told when it is affected by the plans of another local authority, or of a Government Department.
469 I put in a word of caution about my Amendment because I believe that elsewhere in the Bill there is a definition of "local authority" which would have the effect of making my Amendment rather too wide. It is a matter for the Minister to put right. I cannot alter his Bill by putting in a new definition of local authority. I am anxious to secure that all major local authorities who are periodically elected under the democratic procedure of Britain are advised when other local authorities are making invasions into their areas.
§ Mr. C. Williams
I beg to second the Amendment.
After the speech we have heard most of us realise that local authorities must have some protection. A local authority may propose to overflow not only into a neighbouring county, but also to absorb a great deal of the land in that neighbouring county. If this matter is not altered, there will not be the same right of appeal as there should be. Some of us have taken the trouble to go rather carefully into cases where two local authorities are trying to grab bits out of each other. Unless this provision is put into the Bill those cases will cause confusion and trouble. Naturally, the Government want to see their Bill work smoothly. There is nothing in the Amendment that would in any way handicap the working of the Bill. It would create the greatest good will among local authorities. For that reason I expect that the Government will accept the Amendment. We may get support for it from some hon. Members opposite, but even if we do not, I believe that the Government will readily accept the Amendment, because of commonsense and practical administration.
§ 8.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Key
There are two good reasons for not accepting the Amendment. The first is on the score of drafting. Here we deal with instructions to the acquiring authority about what they will do in the matter of issuing notices, but the acquiring authorities under the Bill are not only local authorities. There are the Minister of Transport and the President of the Board of Trade, and others. Therefore one cannot strictly talk about "the area of another local authority." Secondly, we should be in great difficulties even where the acquiring authority is the local authority. Take the case of a county 470 borough which wishes to get rapid possession of a piece of land outside its area in order to make provision for the overspill from that area. What is the local authority to do? The county borough have to give the necessary notices, but to whom? To the county council, the district council or to the borough council in whose area the piece of land may be? The land may be in all those areas and in that of the county district. Is notice to be given to the parish council or to sundry joint boards such as the drainage board, all of whom are included in the definition of local authority in the Bill? It is, therefore, not merely a case of giving notice to one other local authority.
Take what is perhaps the more ridiculous example of a county district council wishing to acquire land in its own area. The land falls within the area of a parish council or of a drainage board or another local authority. Has the county district council, in exercising its housebuilding functions inside its own area, to issue notices to those local authorities, in those circumstances?
§ Mr. C. Williams
Why should one local authority which is taking land from another local authority not give it notice? It would seem to help things on.
§ Mr. Key
If the hon. Member had read the Bill carefully he would have known that there must be public advertisement in two successive weeks in a local newspaper circulating in the locality, with information of the intention to do this thing. Is the hon. Member telling me that even the most conservative and Tory-minded local governing authority in this country does not carry out its duties sufficiently well to have people in its office who would read two successive issues of a local newspaper and give information of such advertisements? The local authority so concerned is not in the same position as those who are directly interested as owners of the land. I see no reason why we should pick out one particular set of people who are interested, it may be, but are not owners or lessees of the land, and give them special treatment.
§ Mr. Turton
In view of the explanation given by the Minister, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn471
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Further Amendment made: In page 10, line 35, after "days," insert "from the service of the notice."— [Mr. Key.]
§ Mr. Key
I beg to move, in page 10, line 36, at the end, to insert:(c) in the case of any land with respect to which a direction is given under the head (b) of this sub-paragraph, affix to some conspicuous object or objects on the land a notice or notices in the prescribed form addressed to ' the owners and any occupiers ' of the land (describing it) containing the particulars specified in the said head (b).When we were discussing this matter in Committee, the point was raised in connection with the first two lines in paragraph 3 (1, b) of the Schedule that if those powers were there exercised, the necessary notice would not be given to individuals who might be concerned. We felt that it would be right in this particular case to give some additional notice and for that, reason we wish to add this subparagraph (c).
§ Mr. C. Williams
May I thank the hon. Gentleman for making this concession to our wisdom, and congratulate him on having read his Bill, at least in part?
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Further Amendments made: In page 12, line 10, after "service," insert "or affixing."
§ In page 12, line 13, leave out "the form of."
§ In page 12, line 14, after "modifications," insert, "of the form of the notice."— [Mr. Key.]
§ Commander Galbraith
I beg to move, in page 12, line 39, after "land," to insert:(other than any such land as is referred to in the foregoing sub-paragraph (a)).This Amendment refers to the compulsory purchase of land which is owned by a statutory authority. Paragraph 10 suggests that where there is a compulsory purchase order which includes land belonging to a statutory undertaker and 472 used for the purpose of the undertaking, if objections are made within the period laid down in the Bill, the Minister has to be satisfied as to two conditions, one of which is contained in sub-paragraph (a):that any of the said land is used for the purposes of the carrying on of their undertaking.The compulsory purchase order shall not be confirmed or made if the Minister is satisfied, except in regard to land to which two other conditions apply, and these two other conditions follow immediately after. The Amendment wishes to exclude from these two other conditions the land which is included under subparagraph (a), that is, land used for the purposes of carrying on the undertaking.
§ Mr. Key
I thought we had argued this sufficiently in Committee for hon. Members opposite to be satisfied about the matter. The hon. Member who was responsible for moving the Amendment in Committee, after my explanation, quite definitely withdrew it. Sub-paragraph (a) saysthat any of the said land is used for the purposes of the carrying on of their undertaking,shall not be subject to compulsory purchase. What may that land be? It may be a sports ground that is held by a gas company. It may be the showroom of some electricity undertaking. It is there for the purposes of the undertaking. Are we to say that if some necessary alteration, such as a street widening is to be made, electricity showrooms are to be exempt from compulsory purchase merely because they are held as part of the statutory undertaking?
In dealing with the statutory undertakers, there are two stages if the undertakers object to compulsory purchase. The first stage is that the appropriate Minister has to be satisfied that the land is used or an interest in it is held for the purpose of carrying on the undertaking. If that condition is satisfied, the appropriate Minister has to certify one of two things, either that no serious detriment to the carrying on of the undertaking will result from the compulsory purchase order, or that if the particular piece of land is bought it can be replaced by other land belonging to the statutory undertaker or available for acquisition by the undertaker so that the undertaker can go forward 473 successfully. That test, it seems to us, is the correct one to apply in these cases. But the protection goes still further, because if the appropriate Minister certifies and the order is being confirmed and the statutory undertaker still objects to the operation of compulsory purchase, special Parliamentary procedure has to be adopted in order that the compulsory purchase order may be confirmed. What more can a statutory undertaking expect for the protection of the carrying on of its undertaking?
§ Mr. Berry (Woolwich, West)
As one who moved a similar Amendment in Committee, I am satisfied with the explanation that has been given. The anxiety among statutory undertakers is that their operational land shall not be touched. Operational land would certainly not include a sports ground of a gas company or similar undertaking, as cited by the Parliamentary Secretary, or the showroom of an electricity or gas undertaking. There is very keen anxiety that operational land should receive similar protection to that under the Town and Country Planning Act, 1944. It is clear from what the Parliamentary Secretary has said, that there is ample protection, and as one who, with other hon. Members in the Committee, kept a fatherly oversight in regard to statutory undertakers, I am bound to say I think that in the light of the explanation that has been given all possible protection is provided by this Bill. I would appeal to the hon. and gallant Member, in as much as he is speaking in the name of statutory undertakings, to agree that proper protection is given in the Bill as it stands.
§ 8.30 p.m.
§ Mr. C. Williams
I join the hon. Member for West Woolwich (Mr. Berry) in his appeal to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Pollok (Commander Galbraith) to withdraw this Amendment, in due course. I feel that we, and especially the hon. Member for West Woolwich, have done a useful bit of work in clarifying the position so that there can be no doubt that the operational area of these undertakings is secure. The Parliamentary Secretary, who is replying for the Minister of Health— and is doing so not so badly— eased my mind considerably on this matter. The statutory undertakens are doing a great deal for the country as a whole, and we have been able to satisfy 474 them. As the answer which has been given satisfies back benchers on both sides, I would ask my hon. and gallant Friend whether, in those circumstances, he might not withdraw his Amendment, unless there is some further point which he would like to extract from the Government, now that we have legal advice available.
§ Commander Galbraith
In view of the full and satisfactory explanation which we have received from the Parliamentary Secretary, and also in view of the fact that there is general agreement on both sides of the House that statutory undertakings are adequately protected, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. Turton
On a point of Order. Could the Parliamentary Secretary explain which Amendment he is moving?
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Mr. Hubert Beaumont)
The Amendment I called on the hon. Member to move was, "In page 14, line 1, leave out sub-paragraphs (1) & (2)."
§ Mr. C, Williams
On the point of Order. It would be interesting to the House to know whether the hon. Gentleman has been speaking on the Amendment which he moved, or on the one which he thought he was moving. He may be certain how much I sympathise with him in the slip he has made. I know how difficult it is to follow a complicated Bill of this kind. I was rather amazed at what he said just now, but I feel sure he would not like me to retaliate, so I will just say how much I appreciate his difficulty, and how I hope we may have the matter made absolutely plain now.
§ Mr. Key
I beg to move, in page 14, line 1, to leave out sub-paragraphs (1) and (2).
475 I admire the tolerance of the hon. Gentleman. I picked up the wrong paper when I rose on the last occasion. The position is that we have already included the definitions in the body of the Bill, and, therefore, there is no reason to repeat them in the Schedule.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. Key
I beg to move, in page 14, to leave out sub-paragraph (3), and to insert:(3) In the case of land falling within two or more of the preceding paragraphs of this Part of this Schedule a compulsory purchase order shall be subject to special Parliamentary procedure if required to be subject thereto by any of the said paragraphs.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
The answer to that is that the numbers will be altered in the Bill as a matter of course.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. Key
I beg to move, in page 16, line 19, to leave out from "If," to "to," and to insert:the Minister having jurisdiction to confirm or make the order in connection with which the document is to be served is satisfied that reasonable inquiry has been made and that it is not practicable.This amendment is to carry out an undertaking which I gave upstairs. I agreed to accept the principle of an Amendment which was put forward, but I could not accept its terminology. This Amendment will, in fact, tend to speed up the procedure, because the local authorities will now be quite satisfied that they have given the necessary information to the people concerned.
§ Mr. W. S. Morrison
We are much obliged to the hon. Gentleman for meeting the spirit of our Amendment by moving to insert these words.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ THIRD SCHEDULE.— (Provisions as to Authorisations under Section 2.)
§ Mr. Key
I beg to move, in page 19, line 5, at the end, to insert:or with respect to any dwelling house.(2) In this paragraph the expression ' dwelling house ' means any building or part of a 476 building in which persons are residing, and includes any other building or part of a building in which persons normally reside but from which they are temporarily absent.This again is an attempt to carry out a kind of agreement which I made in the Committee, when I gave an assurance that any Government Department, as the confirming authority, would permit no acquiring authority to put out persons without offering them alternative accommodation. We felt that it would be much better that the Clause 2 procedure, the rapid procedure, should not apply to inhabited houses, and for that reason we have brought forward this Amendment.
§ Mr. W. S. Morrison
Again I wish to say how we appreciate this effort to meet a point of view which we put forward in the Standing Committee. We felt very strongly that this harsh and sudden procedure, embodied in Clause 2 of the Bill, was inappropriate to dwelling houses, because when a man is deprived of his dwelling house, it is not merely a matter which can be settled by a monetary compensation; it is taking the roof from over his head. I feel very grateful that the Government have seen the reason for that, and have embodied it in these words.
§ Mr. Butcher (Holland with Boston)
I would like to add a word of thanks also, particularly with reference to the definition.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. York
I beg to move, in page 19, line 5, at the end, to insert:or to land consisting of the whole or part of an agricultural building.The Parliamentary Secretary will remember that on the Committee stage my hon. Friend and I moved an Amendment which was inclusive of both dwelling houses and agricultural buildings. The Parliamentary Secretary then refused to accept the Amendment, on the ground, in his own words, that we wereputting … little niggling objectionsinto the Bill. The Parliamentary Secretary just a moment ago proved that our niggling objections were by no means niggling. We thank him for that. One half of that Amendment has been accepted as reasonable and in no way impairing the use of quick procedure under Clause 2 if it is necessary. In this Amendment we are asking him to accept the 477 agricultural buildings in addition to dwelling houses. Nobody will argue— the Parliamentary Secretary certainly would not argue— that agricultural buildings should not be taken when it is necessary that they should be taken in the public interest. What we say is that just as it is very difficult at present to come by a dwelling house, if one is hastily thrown out of one's house, so it is equally difficult to house stock, if, at very short notice, agricultural buildings are taken over. It is undoubtedly true that the need in regard to agricultural building is very severe at the moment. That is partly because as a result of long years of war a large number of them are seriously out of repair, and partly because methods and practices in agriculture have had to be changed owing to war conditions. If we are to allow the present shortage of buildings to be made greater by reason of this quick procedure, and if we are to allow farm buildings to be taken away without a chance of new farm buildings being put up to replace them, the position will become increasingly more difficult for farmers, particularly in regard to milk production. It is upon those grounds that my hon. Friend and I are moving this Amendment. I hope the Minister will accept this Amendment in the same spirit as he accepted the last one.
§ 8.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Turton
I beg to second this Amendment.
I would like to remind the House that Clause 2 procedure is only to take place where the owner or occupier of the hereditaments is objecting to his building being seized. It seems to me that we have a strong case to say at the present time— remember this Bill is only a temporary Bill— agricultural buildings must not be taken away against the will of the man who is conducting the farming operations. The Minister has helped us on a great many Amendments. I think we are all grateful to the Parliamentary Secretary for the way he has tried to meet our objections but, whenever we get to agriculture, for some reason I do not think Poplar has got that same sympathy for agriculture as it has for the legal or other points we have put to him. We have not once had the slightest sign of sympathy from the Parliamentary Secretary for agricultural problems. Here is an opportunity for him to do something to help food production.
§ Mr. Turton
I am afraid I cannot even hear the Gaelic which is coming from the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher)— if it is Gaelic. May I proceed? For housing and road improvements in recent years agricultural buildings and farmsteads have been taken, thus dividing up the farm against the will of the farmer. That is extremely unfortunate. That may well be necessary under Clause 1 procedure. Here the Government are going to seize farm buildings under Clause 2 procedure. We maintain that is very wrong in view of the fact that we need every ton of food that can be produced in Britain today. For these reasons, I hope the Parliamentary Secretary will accept the Amendment which was so ably moved by my hon. Friend.
I would like to know where I stand as far as the Parliamentary Secretary is concerned—
I have listened to every word the Parliamentary Secretary has said and I am trying to follow, the rules which he is laying down as to what shall be excepted from this speedy procedure and what shall not be excepted. We have been told on several occasions that there is no need to except everything, because in fact the speedy procedure would only be used when it was absolutely necessary in the national interest.
That argument was put forward by the Parliamentary Secretary when it was a question of exempting shopkeepers from the speedy procedure. When we came to dwellinghouses, we were told such would be the hardship if the speedy procedure should be put into operation, that it was quite right he should come forward and meet the Opposition and concede that dwellinghouses should not be subject to the speedy procedure. Now we have this Amendment pointing out the importance of food production, with which I thoroughly agree, and which I am prepared to support; but may we have from the Parliamentary Secretary the true interpretation of this? Why does he say, if we make out a case where great hardship would be caused, that the speediest procedure should not apply? Then when we make out a case which perhaps he does not consider as great a hardship, 479 why does he say that no hardship will be done, because in fact this will never be put into operation, except in exceptional circumstances?
I would suggest that, when the Opposition make out a case where great hardship can be caused by the application of the speedy procedure, then the Parliamentary Secretary should meet us and exempt it from the speedy procedure. I suggest that the case has been very admirably made out by my hon. Friends who moved and seconded the Amendment, and I hope that, on this occasion, and in the interests of food production, the Parliamentary Secretary will see his way to admit that under the speedy procedure much harm could be done when there is a shortage of agricultural buildings and where there is necessity for the production of every single ounce of food that we can get. I hope the hon. Gentleman will realise that, if the speedy procedure was to apply to agricultural buildings, it would, in fact injure the quantity and quality of the food we are so anxious to produce.
§ Mr. Turton
Could the hon. Gentleman tell us what he means by a non-essential agricultural building at the present day?
§ Mr. Key
Yes, I know quite a number that are really non-essential, because they are encumbrances on the land and are not being used for any real purpose at all, yet they are agricultural buildings. Under this Amendment, the mere fact that they exist on a piece of land would prevent the speedy procedure from being used at all. There is a good deal of force in the contention that agricultural buildings are vital to the efficiency of the farm. That is admitted. [Laughter.]
§ Mr. Key
We have said that these things that are necessary for farm work shall not be taken by the speedy procedure unless — and this is the governing factor in all speedy procedure— the land on which they stand is urgently necessary in the public interest, and what must be done is that we must weigh one public interest against another, and, in the end, which of them will give the greatest benefit to the community. As I have said many times here today, before the confirmation of these Orders will be given, it will be necessary for the Minister of Agriculture to have been consulted in the particular matter, and it will be for him to give the clearance that will be necessary before the confirmation can be given. We feel that, by that procedure, we have given the necessary protection to agriculture as against other aspects of the public interest, and provided for a due balance to be observed and the best thing done in the interests of the public.
§ Mr. Renton (Huntingdon)
Will the hon. Gentleman tell us if he did consult his colleagues the Ministers of Agriculture and Food about this Amendment?
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Mr. Key
I beg to move, in page 19, line 7, to leave out from "must," to the end of line 8, and to insert:(a) have published in one or more local newspapers circulating in the locality in which any of the land to which the authorisation relates is situated a notice.This, again, is in fulfilment of a promise which I gave in Committee. Under the ordinary compulsory purchase orders, not only must individual notices be served on interested persons but also public advertisement must be made of the intention to use that method of acquisition. In the case of the speedy procedure, as the Bill stands, it does not provide for the necessary publication of notices in newspapers, and, in order to meet the objection that was raised, I propose that this paragraph be added for the purpose of securing the publication in local newspapers of the notice of the speedy procedure.
§ Mr. Walker-Smith
I should like to thank the Parliamentary Secretary for embodying, at this stage of the Bill, the principle of the Amendment which it was my privilege to move in Committee. We, on this side of the House, are very glad 481 that this right principle has been embodied in the Bill.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Further Amendment made: In page 19, line 13, leave out'' of the persons required to be served," and insert "person."— [Mr. Key.]
§ Mr. W. S. Morrison
I beg to move, in page 19, line 14, to leave out "fourteen," and to insert "twenty-one."
This is a very short point, and can be put very briefly. Under the Third Schedule, the operation of this expedited procedure is set in motion by an authorisation in writing given by the confirming authority, and the paragraph which is sought to be amended allows the people affected the space of 14 days in which they can make representations to the confirming authority against the proposed procedure. The simple point is that we think the period of 14 days is too short. We had a certain amount of discussion on this matter in Committee, but we think it is of such importance that the Government ought to grant an extra week. It will be appreciated that, where this procedure is launched, it takes effect automatically and anonymously from a distance, and, consequently, I do not think that three weeks is too long to give a man a chance of making representations for the last time whether or not his land should be included in this rapid purchase.
I know some people are very apt to obscure the discussion on all these questions of land acquisition with the idea that landlords and landowners are great and rich men and that it does not matter what happens to them in any case. But I know, from my own experience, how many of the contested cases of compulsory acquisition have arisen, not from great landlords, who have plenty of land and need not fear the loss of a little bit, but from smallholders and farmers, although not owners, whose tenancy might be disturbed and whose operations in agriculture might be jeopardised. I do not know how the Government Departments themselves, who are not always as speedy as they might be in doing everything that is required to be done, can expect the ordinary citizen to act with this rather lightning-like rapidity. Will they not feel themselves justified in granting the man an extra week in which to frame his representations on the justice of this particular form 482 of procedure? One has to think of the ordinary citizen in contrast with the Government Department, which is always in being. If one Minister goes, there is someone else to take his place.
If one Secretary or civil servant is absent on leave, there is somebody doing his job; if one man is on a journey there is somebody else there, and there is always a central spot from which the Department acts. But in the case of the ordinary citizen, he may be jeopardised by the operation of this Clause. He has his own business to conduct and he may be away from home on a lawful vocation— he may be having a holiday if he is fortunate enough to do that— and there are little lapses of time which may intervene between his knowledge of the proposed procedure and the time when he can effectively get his material together and make representations in the proper form. The difficulty of the ordinary citizen is far greater than that of a Department which is always on the spot and, therefore, it would be a graceful gesture at this eleventh hour if the Government would say to the proposed victims of this harsh procedure that they shall have at least another week in which to make representation.
§ 9.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Turton
May I remind the Parliamentary Secretary that in the House and in Committee there was so much doubt about this Amendment that even when a vote was taken upon it ten hon. Members voted for retaining 14 days and ten for 28 days, and the casting vote had to be given by the Chairman? It is clear that the Socialist Party, or some of its Members, agreed with this Amendment and, in view of that fact, we have put forward a compromise solution. I know the party opposite always likes to compromise, and 21 days would appear to be a satisfactory compromise to meet the wishes of those members of the party who did not vote against our Amendment before.
§ Mr. Turton
If I am being accused of misrepresenting the facts, I would like 483 to repeat that ten hon. Members voted for and ten against the Amendment. Many of the Socialists were not satisfied about this matter.
§ Mr. Key
They did not happen to be in the Committee Room when the vote was taken and were absentees for one or two minutes. If I had to give adequate and proper reports of other absentees, I could mention several who were absent for much longer. All I was trying to say was that the vote was that of all the hon. Members who were there, and that I was only trying to resist any implication that any of my hon. Friends on that Committee were in favour of the Amendment then moved.
§ Mr. Walker-Smith
If the hon. Gentleman says that those Members of his party were only absent for a minute or two, does he mean to suggest that they deliberately left the Committee in order not to be driven by their Whips?
§ Mr. Gallacher
Am I to understand, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, that it is in Order to discuss what happened upstairs?
Many of us have not had the privilege of being on this Committee, and, reading, as we always do, the OFFICIAL REPORT of the Debates that take place in Committee, we saw this Division. I myself looked at it and I thought the Committee must have been evenly divided. I feel the Parliamentary Secretary should tell us where his colleagues were.
§ Mr. Key
So far as the Amendment is concerned, we cannot accept it. It would 484 mean a further slowing up of what is designed to be a quick procedure to meet a really urgent condition of affairs. In this matter we have followed the example that was set to us in the Housing (Temporary Accommodation) Act, 1944, in which 14 days was the time allowed. We think in this case there is sufficient time allowed for the purpose.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Mr. Key
I beg to move, in page 19, line 15, to leave out "service of the notice on him," and to insert:publication of the notice; and(b) have served on every owner and occupier of any of the land to which the authorisation relates a notice in writing stating that the confirming authority is about to take into consideration the giving of an authorisation as aforesaid, and that representations which any of the persons required to be served desires to make must be made to the confirming authority in writing within fourteen days from the date of the service of the notice on him.
§ This Amendment is consequential.
§ Mr. Medland
On the Second Reading, I drew attention to the fact that the procedure for the serving of notices did not properly meet the case with regard to devastated land. I pointed out that there were areas of land which had to be acquired for the rebuilding of a city, in respect of which land there were no signs of any owners or occupiers. I was told that this point would be dealt with in Committee upstairs, and that provision would be made for the posting of a notice on the site which would be sufficient to enable the land to be acquired. I would like to ask the Parliamentary Secretary whether this Amendment does meet the point in the case of land where there are no houses and no occupiers, and where it is difficult to find the owner. I ask that a post may be put up and a notice published on the site, that notice to be equal to the serving of a notice to an individual owner or occupier. Unless we get these powers in devastated areas it will take us months to find the owners and to acquire the land. I would like to know whether this proposed Amendment will meet such a procedure as that.
§ Amendment agreed to.485
§ Mr. Key
I beg to move, in page 19, line 40, to leave out from "authority," to the end of line 41.
This is largely as a result of the Amendment which we made before, in which we have made it necessary for publication to be made of information with regard to these inquiries, and to give the opportunity, not only to owners and occupiers, but to other persons to make representations. The effect of the Amendment which I am moving is that the Minister will have to give consideration to the representations made by these other individuals to whom the notices have been made.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ FOURTH SCHEDULE.— (Minor and Consequential Amendments.)
|''The Metropolitan Police Act, 1886 (49 & 50 Vict.C. 22)||In Section two, for the words "purchase and" there shall be substituted the words" purchase by agreement, or if so authorised by the Minister of Health, compulsorily, or."|
|In Section four, Subsections(1)to(10) shall cease to have effect; and in Subsection (11) after the word "Act" there shall be inserted the words "and of the Acquisition of Land (Authorisation Procedure) Act, 1946," after the word" shall "where it first occurs there shall be inserted the words" with the necessary modifications," and for the words from "save that the provisions" to "Parliament" there shall be substituted the words "and where an order authorising the compulsory purchase under this Act of any such land has come into operation "."|
§ This is very largely consequential upon the Amendment which I moved some time ago to extend the powers of compulsory purchase to the receiver of the Metropolitan Police. This Amendment assimilates the words of the Metropolitan Police Act, 1886, with respect to the purchase of land in consequence of that Amendment.486
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Consequential Amendments made.
§ The Lord Advocate
I beg to move, in page 25, line 6, column 2, after "Sections," to insert "thirty-two and."
This Amendment is designed to secure that Section 32 of the Housing (Scotland) Act, 1925, shall not apply where the compulsory purchase is for purposes of Part III of that Act. In any such case, the provisions of the Bill should apply to the exclusion of those of the Housing Acts.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. Key
I beg to move, in page 29, line 12, column 2, at the beginning, to insert:In Section sixty-nine, for Subsections (2) and (3) there shall be substituted the following Subsections:(2)The county council or a borough council may acquire by agreement any land for the purposes of this Part of this Act, and the county council may acquire any land for those purposes compulsorily if so authorised by the Minister of Health.(3)In the last foregoing Subsection the expression ' land ' includes any right or easement in or over land.(4)In relation to the acquisition by agreement of any land for the purposes of this Part of this Act the Lands Clauses Acts (except the provisions thereof with respect to the purchase and taking of land otherwise than by agreement) shall be incorporated with this Act; andThis Amendment is necessary in order to bring the procedure for the compulsory purchase of land in Section 69 of the Public Health (London) Act into line with Clause 1 of the Bill.
- (a)the provisions of the said Acts so incorporated which would be applicable in the case of a purchase of land shall be applicable in the case of a purchase of a right or easement in or over land; and
- (b)for the purposes of this Part of this Act the expression ' the promoters of the undertaking,' wherever used in the Lands Clauses Acts, shall be construed as meaning the county council or the borough council, as the case may be."
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. Key
I beg to move, in page 32, line 11, to leave out "paragraph," and to insert "Section."
This Amendment is largely drafting. In the Water Act, 1945, the divisions are called "Sections" and not "paragraphs." That is the reason we make the alteration.
§ Amendment agreed to.487
§ Further Amendment made: In page 32, line 12, leave out "sub-paragraph," and insert" Subsection."— [Mr. Key.)
|"The Water (Scotland) Act, 1946 (9 & 10 Geo. 6. c.)||In relation to local water authorities, the Act shall be amended as follows: In section twenty, in subsection (4) the words "by means of a compulsory purchase order made by them and confirmed," and subsections (5) to (8) shall cease to have effect, and in subsection (9) for the words "to acquire by a compulsory purchase order made "there shall be substituted the words" to purchase compulsorily."|
|The Second Schedule shall cease to have effect.|
|In the Fourth Schedule, in section 7, in subsection (1) the words "by means of a compulsory purchase order made by the undertakers and confirmed" shall cease to have effect, for the reference to the Second Schedule there shall be substituted a reference to this Act, and the words "order made "shall cease to have effect."|
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ FIFTH SCHEDULE (Enactments Repealed.)
§ Amendment made: In page 33, line 7, at the end, insert:
|" 49 and 50 Vict. c. 22.||The Metropolitan Police Act. 1886.||In section four, subsections (1) to (10)."|
§ — [The Lord Advocate.]
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."
§ 9.16 p.m.
§ Mr. W. S. Morrison
I think it would be improper if we were to allow a Bill of this character, which has occupied so much time and labour, to go from us to another place without a few words, if not of commendation, at least of criticism and of hope that, in another place, something may be done by the Government to improve it. I must confess that during its Committee stage a great deal has happened to the Bill which has improved it; 488 it has emerged from that stage very much better than it entered it, and in that regard I cannot refrain from paying my tribute to the Parliamentary Secretary, not only for his conduct of the Bill but also for the very satisfactory way in which he has fulfilled the undertakings which he gave in Committee, and as a result of which we withdrew certain Amendments. It has all been a very fine piece of work, and I am glad to acknowledge it.
The Bill in its present state is in two parts. Clause 1 is a very useful piece of codification, and an expert piece of draftsmanship. No doubt it was well worth doing. As the House is aware, my objection to the Bill, and that of my hon. Friends, is centred entirely on Clause 2 and its relevant Schedules. I am bound to say, before we part with the Bill, that I believe the Government have made a mistake in resorting to this form of procedure for the acquisition of land. I say it more in sorrow than in anger, because the Bill has now reached its penultimate stage, and I do not intend to occupy the House with the detailed arguments against it. The stark fact remains that the Government have found it necessary to dispense with what has always been considered in the past an essential safeguard in all these questions of acquiring land, namely, allowing the man whose land is to be acquired, or whose possession is to be disturbed, the right to be heard in public in defence of his own view. The Government have done that on the score of speed, but I venture to say that the gain of speed is very trivial when everything is worked out. My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hillhead (Mr. J. S. C. Reid) showed, in the course of the Debate, that the gain in speed by dropping this safeguard to the individual is likely to be a very small and poor one.
In these days one cannot regard any whittling away of the individual's right to appear and to be heard with equanimity. I have noticed in the course of the discussions on this Bill, and on previous discussions on cognate topics in which I have been engaged in the past year or two, a certain impatience in the minds of some hon. Members opposite with any attempt whatsoever to secure that the process of acquiring land compulsorily is conducted with some degree at least of deliberation and consideration for the other side. I find too prevalent a mood in which hon. Members opposite tend to say, "The 489 local government authority wants this land, why should they not have it? "It is a sort of mood that I think is very dangerous, because it implies, in the subconscious minds of those who use that sort of doctrine, the idea that the Government is always right The whole essence of democracy is that the Government are frequently wrong I am sure no one would agree with that more than the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher), because he is in a very small minority, and yet he claims that democracy gives him the right to be heard in his own defence and in his own case. It is a bad bargain to sacrifice the old bulwark of democracy, this right of the individual to be heard against the State, if necessary, for a very trivial and a very illusory gain in speed.
§ Mr. Morrison
The hon. Member and I differ, perhaps, in our estimation of the extent to which honesty is prevalent in this country. I think he thinks it is centred in a very small coterie of which he is a member. I hold the view that the people of this country deserve to be treated as honest men, and that the liberty given to them is not abused.
I believe this is a retrograde step. It is no excuse for the Government to say they are doing this with the best of intentions. Every tyrant who ever cumbered the earth started off with the best of intentions. I am sure the Government will come to the realisation that they have got very little by sacrificing a great deal. Is this gain in efficiency so very great? Mere speed is not always efficiency. One requires that the job should be done not only quickly, but well, and that justice should be done. I am bound to say that this procedure for acquiring land without any public inquiry, without giving a man the right to be heard, seems to me to be very dangerous from the point of view of the proper use of our land.
I was here on the Second Reading Debate, and the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Town and Country Planning wound it up with a very eloquent speech. He said a thing which struck me, and which I can bear out from my own experience. He said that for an upright and conscientious Minister there was no more difficult task that fell to the lot of a Minister than that of deciding appeals in dis- 490 puted cases. It is the sort of responsibility of which no one else can relieve him. He has to do the best he can on the evidence before him. But when one has an inquiry, as we have had hitherto, the Minister has all the information on which to come to a conclusion; not only has he evidence on both sides, but the witnesses on both sides who have been cross-examined. The Minister, faced with the difficult task Parliament has cast upon him of deciding disputed cases on appeal, had that much assistance, at least, until this unhappy innovation. I think decisions will frequently be made in consequence of this innovation as to the use of the land that will be sudden, rash and haphazard.
I do not think we make for efficiency in this free society if we leave the people with whom we are dealing with a sense of grievance. Very often specious proposals are put before us for this or that short cut to the millenium. One has to learn that one is dealing with human beings, and that they do not, perhaps, see eye to eye with what the executive Government say is in their best interest. They will go along with us on one condition, that we let them have their say, that they can talk openly before their friends, and have the matter inquired into in a spirit of fair play and impartiality. If this country is to be efficiently governed, it is necessary that it should be governed in direct accord with its own temperament and inherited political wisdom, and for that reason, I think the position in regard to Clause 2 represents an unhappy and retrograde step.
§ 9.25 p.m.
§ Mr. Derek Walker-Smith
Like my right hon. Friend the Member for Cirencester (Mr. W. S. Morrison), I have consistently, throughout the proceedings on this Bill, denounced the hardship and arbitrary procedure of Clause 2, which is introduced into the machinery of compulsory acquisition of land. I have not, of course, always been able to equal the richness of his eloquence on these matters, but I have, at any rate, been equally sincere in denunciation of this new feature in our machinery. Like him, I acknowledge that the Bill is better on its Third Reading than it was when originally introduced in this House. These concessions have been wrung out of the Government, who, like Pharaoh, hardened their hearts against any response to our gentle pressure, and 491 the logic of our case. Like my right hon. Friend, I pay tribute to the Parliamentary Secretary. He has been a Casabianca in the Government team, deserted by his Minister and by his colleagues. Nevertheless, he has more or less remained afloat amid the difficulties through which he alone has had to steer the Government barque.
I will not try to add anything to what my right hon. Friend has said in regard to Clause 2. Clause 2 is a procedure from which I believe the democratic feelings of this country will revolt. It is a procedure more suited to the bureaucratic concepts of a totalitarian régime, and the only comfort we can take to ourselves at this stage, is that this Bill is limited in its operation to five years, and that when that time arrives we shall, fortunately, no doubt, have a different Government. I wish to make reference to the Clause 1 procedure, which my right hon. Friend has not seen fit to mention. Clause 1 procedure is a consolidating procedure It lacks the peculiarly odious features of the new Clause 2 procedure. I say now, as I said on Second Reading, that it is an unhappy thing that we should be asked to standardise an unsatisfactory procedure for the compulsory acquisition of land. I know that there is a tendency on the part of those with large majorities to think that we have arrived at a state of near perfection, but in regard to the machinery for the compulsory acquisition of land, we are far from any state of perfection. Far better would it be, rather than standardise the procedure, to make an objective and dispassionate inquiry into the whole machinery for the compulsory acquisition of land. I hope that the passage of this Bill, passed as it will be by the cohorts of the janissaries opposite, will not be thought by this Government to be incompatible with the undertaking of such an objective and dispassionate inquiry into the whole machinery, and that at no distant date we may be able to standardise a procedure wholly in keeping with the needs of the community at this time.
§ 9.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Gallacher
I want to reply to the request made by the hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) that I should give my views on this Bill. I am only sorry that the Bill does not go the full length. We have to ask for the pro- 492 vision of land for houses and of land for agriculture, and in order to ensure that, I would have had the Bill take over all the land. I would not have left the landlord with sufficient land to provide him with a decent burial.
§ 9.31 p.m.
I wish to make a few brief remarks about Clause 2 procedure, and to make a plea to the Minister to ensure that his Department uses it mercifully. The people who own the land of this country today are not the robbers which we so often hear about. Many are smallholders who have bought their own smallholdings. In my own constituency there are only a handful of people who can be called fair-sized landowners, and there are several hundreds who own their own smallholdings. If Clause 2 procedure is used too harshly it will not be used against the so-called land robbers; it will be used against the people who are perhaps, in many cases, even more humble than those who sit on the Benches opposite.
§ 9.33 P.m.
§ Mr. Turton
I would like to draw the attention of the Minister to the fact that nine days in Committee have changed the child which he saw last on the Second Reading and which he sees now, at this late stage before the conclusion of the Third Reading, very materially. The Minister, who absented himself throughout most of the proceedings of the Committee, described our Amendments as frivolous. We have got some greater safeguards into this Bill as a result. I, for one, am very pleased with the improvements that have been made in the Bill. I am, however, still worried over the question of the use of agricultural land, not so much by any omission in Clause 2, but as to how Clause 2 will be administered. If the Minister of Health and the Minister of War Transport are to take agricultural land against the advice of the Minister of Agriculture, under the quick procedure of Clause 2, it will be to the disadvantage of agriculture. The hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher) made a brief intervention into this Debate. I noticed that he has now changed his agriculture policy. Two years ago, at my invitation, he gave me a copy of the Communist policy on agriculture. I thought that it was very Conservative, 493 and I told him so. I gather that he has now changed his policy.
I hope that the Minister will give us an assurance that the Minister of Agriculture will, at all times, be consulted in the taking of any agricultural land under Clause 2. It is vital that we should not lose more of our food producing land at the present time, and during the next five years. The Service Departments have taken away, for aerodromes and Army training grounds, many acres of land It is very important that the activities of these three Departments should not further diminish the amount of land. May I end my speech by referring to what some might think is a minor point, but to which I attach importance as I know other people do who love the English language. The Minister has brought in this Bill which is described as the "Acquisition of Land (Authorisation Procedure) Bill." I did not know that one could have two nouns together, and use one as an adjective. Many grammarians in this country are very perturbed about this point.
§ Mr. Turton
I was not going into details, but I thought it would be in Order for me to comment on the Title of the Bill, and to suggest that in another place the time and the opportunity would be taken to have this Bill framed in English grammar. I bow to your Ruling and I hope I have made my point.
§ 9.37 p.m.
§ Mr. Orr-Ewing (Weston-super-Mare)
There may have been a tendency in the last few minutes for hon. Members opposite to imagine that this Bill is of no importance whereas it is of great importance. I do not wish to refer to any words which the hon. Member for Hertford (Mr. Walker-Smith) used, but rather to the attitude of hon. Members opposite who greeted his remarks with such kindness. I was one of those who refrained from voting against the Bill on Second Reading, taking the rather long odds that it would be wrong if we were to deny the opportunity of trying to make the Bill something which would help to produce houses more quickly by the more rapid acquisition of land where that was necessary. I remember saying on that occasion that I hoped that the Bill would 494 be licked into shape in Committee. I can only say that I was not a Member of the Standing Committee which considered the Bill, and, therefore, my observations were from a remote position. If any licking was done it must have been done at a very great distance from the Minister of Health, because I believe he did not find it possible to attend this Committee once.
§ Mr. Orr-Ewing
Looking at it from a distance., however, I could see a gradual improvement of the Measure as it passed through the Committee and Report stages. I feel that now we have a vastly improved Measure. It has in it a great many safeguards, which were not in it originally and which the Minister must agree should have been in it. It has one grave weakness and that is in connection with the compulsory acquisition of land. There is an abnormal procedure, in that the person who thinks he is wronged has no real opportunity of making his voice heard. That point was dealt with by the right hon. Member for Cirencester (Mr. Morrison) and I do not wish to waste the time of the House in referring to it at any length. There is one point which he did not mention and to which I attach very great importance. It is all very well for Parliament to pretend that in a time of emergency— and this is a time of emergency as regards housing— we should adopt emergency measures such as we have in this Bill. But I would ask whether we are right in forgetting that the whole prestige of Ministers of the Crown is involved in this sort of procedure. Something which we sometimes overlook is that we run the risk of undermining any decision a Minister may make, if powers such as these are not used with the greatest possible care assuming that those powers do not give the right to the individual to frame his case and do not allow the individual to make his voice heard. I feel that it is our duty as back benchers of this House not only to safeguard the position of Parliament in these matters, but in safeguarding the position of Parliament to assure that Ministers of the Crown do not put themselves in a position where their prestige will be undermined, and through them the prestige of Parliament. It is a very difficult point to put, and I know I am putting it extremely badly 495 because I am not a lawyer. [HON.MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I know there are a lot of lawyers on the opposite side of the House, a lot of people who know everything about everything—
§ Mr. Speaker
I was not quite clear myself. I rather thought that the hon. Gentleman was commenting on an omission from the Bill. If so, that is out of Order on the Third Reading.
§ Mr. Orr-Ewing
Far from wishing to comment on an omission from the Bill, Sir, I was commenting on certain powers which are inherent in the Bill. I was trying to point out that when a Minister of the Crown assumes to himself, as he must, under this Bill, certain rights and powers which deny the right of an individual to state his case, a special responsibility rests upon that Minister. I think that is very much in the Bill. If that responsibility is laid particularly on the Minister, then I think it is the right hon. Gentleman's duty now to give us a very solemn assurance that those special emergency powers will not be abused—
§ Mr. Orr-Ewing
I know the hon. Member gives it, but he is not the Minister yet. I think we are entitled, as we did not have the benefit of any direct assurance from the Minister on the Committee stage, to a very definite and solemn assurance from him now that he will not do anything which will undermine the prestige of Ministers of the Crown.
§ 9.43 p.m.
Certain concessions have been made by the Government which remove from the speedy procedure the acquisition of dwelling houses, but powers are being taken now by the Minister to apply that speedy procedure to the acquisition of shops and business premises. I should be out of Order if I dwelt on that at length, but I hope the right hon. Gentleman will realise that greater harm and suffering will take place if that is done than if he takes a man's home. I therefore hope he will give us an assurance that this harsh procedure will only be used, as the Parliamentary Secretary said, in exceptional cases, where the national interest demands it.
§ 9.44 p.m.
§ The Minister of Health (Mr. Aneurin Bevan)
I am exceedingly obliged to the 496 right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. W. S. Morrison) for the very warm tribute he paid to my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary. That tribute is a complete answer to the reproaches which have been heard from Members opposite that I did not put in an appearance during the Committee stage of this Bill upstairs. The fact is, that I have the utmost confidence in my hon. Friend, because I know he has great experience and sagacity. That being so, there was no reason at all for my presence in the Standing Committee. Indeed, I had a great deal of other work to do, and I should like to remind hon. Members who do not appear to have had much Parliamentary experience that it is quite customary and, I think, desirable for Ministers to allow the hon. Gentleman who is the Parliamentary Secretary to participate to the full in the conduct of legislation.
I want to say one or two words about what has been said by hon. and right hon. Members opposite. One hon. Member suggested that there was something wrong with the title of the Bill because we had brought two nouns together so as to make the first into an adjective and thus offended certain elements of good English. I think he has forgotten that the science of semantics teaches us that, in English particularly, the conversion of nouns into adjectives enriches our language on very many occasions, and I can think of very many nouns converted into adjectives which I would be very much out of Order in mentioning at the present time. I should like to repeat one thing in case it has not been made sufficiently clear before. It is, that before land is acquired for housing purposes both the Ministry of Town and Country Planning and the Ministry of Agriculture have to approve the site. That procedure has been simplified by the Ministry of Health because they now undertake the responsibility, at the original level, of obtaining the consent of the Ministry of Town and Country Planning and the Ministry of Agriculture. This relieves the local authority of the necessity of carrying on negotiations with three Government Departments, because the Ministry of Health alone is the Department with which the local authority is in correspondence over the acquisition of land. It does not follow that the other two Departments are not consulted In point of fact they 497 always are consulted, and land would not be acquired for housing purposes unless it was on good town planning lines. I could not agree more with the hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) that we do not wish to lose much more good agricultural land. We have lost a great deal already and it is very necessary that in all circumstances we should build on it only if (here is no other land available in the area. I hope that this assurance will satisfy hon. Members on that point.
I noted an ominous undercurrent in some speeches One or two almost incited another place to scrutinise this Bili very closely. I understand that the machinery has already been adapted very considerably, and hon. Members claim that it has been improved. The only principle in the Bill which is the cause of contention is the speedy acquisition under Clause 2. I do hope that the incitements I have heard will not be taken in another place as an invitation to do anything at all about the speedy acquisition under Clause 2. I can assure hon. Members that that would be a very serious matter indeed.
§ Mr. Quintin Hogg (Oxford)
On a point of Order, Mr. Speaker. The right hon. Gentleman is surely making animadversions on possibilities in another place, which are out of Order.
§ Mr. Speaker
I do not think the right hon. Gentleman had gone so far as that. I think the hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Hogg) saw that I myself was becoming restive.
§ Mr. Bevan
I had already reached the frontiers, and I was well aware of it, but it is very necessary for me to reply to some of the statements that have been made by hon. Members opposite. I would remind them that we require these powers very quickly, if only for the purpose of providing cottages this year in the agricultural areas. I have made this point before, and I repeat it with solemnity. The arrangements made by the Government for supplementing the traditional housing resources in the rural areas mean that we are going to provide a type of house which does not demand skilled building labour and does not call 498 upon building materials, such as bricks, which are in short supply. Therefore, in order that those houses may be provided quickly, smoothly and inexpensively, it is necessary that sites be prepared for them well before the houses themselves are ready. To do this, land needs to be acquired and to be cleared. Any delay in this Bill being passed into law will mean the sacrifice of large numbers of houses in rural England this year. If hon. Members wish to take the responsibility for that upon their shoulders, they may do so, but I most solemnly warn them that the needs of the agricultural population should be set against the needs of certain landlords who want to argue about the acquisition of the land. I most seriously ask that hon. Members should not do anything which would further delay the passing of this Bill into law.
§ Mr. Bevan
Our resources, like the hon. and gallant Member's interruptions, are infinite. As I have pointed out, the rural authorities are just the authorities which have not got land in their possession to any considerable extent. If hon. Members will look at the reports, they will see that local authorities have a great number of acres of land in their possession, but they are not the rural authorities. The rural authorities did little house building between the wars, and consequently, they did not acquire land, and therefore, they have not sufficient land at the moment for housing purposes. If they acquired the land under the normal compulsory purchase procedure, they would not get it quickly enough to build houses this year. As hon. Members know, I have addressed local authority conferences in many parts of the country, and everywhere I have been the representatives of the rural authorities welcomed this Bill, because it will be for them an invaluable instrument in acqu7iring the land they need so urgently for housing purposes. Therefore, I hope that, with those further considerations before them, hon. Members will now give the Third Reading to the Bill.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill accordingly read the Third time, and passed.