§ Development Included in Existing Use for All Purposes."
§ This Amendment does three things. It exempts from development charge the conversion of a dwelling house into flats; it enables any increase in value due to the possibility of such conversion to be paid to the owner and, in the event of an unconverted house being purchased under compulsory powers, it precludes the owner from claiming against the £300 million for any development value due to the possibility of such conversion. In effect, therefore, it recognises that any value from conversion purposes is part of an existing use value of land which the Bill leaves, and not part of the development value which the Bill transfers to the State. This matter was debated upstairs and we think this goes some way, at least to meet the views expressed.
§ Mr. J. S. C. Reid
I think the Government have been very wise to accept this, because a very long time was taken up in Committee pointing out the appalling con- 1818 sequences if the Bill stood as it was in this respect. I do not think that time was wasted, nor do I think time would be wasted if the hon. Gentleman looked a little more suspiciously at undigested Bills handed to him by his English colleagues—
§ Mr. Buchanan
I want this Bill to go through quickly, but I cannot allow the right hon. and learned Gentleman to say that without comment. This was suggested by the common sense usually associated with people from our part of the world.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Further Amendments made:
In page 123, line 6, leave out "occasion may require," and insert:
the person having the right to carry out such operations may desire.
In line 10, after "exceeded," insert:
in the case of a dwellinghouse, by more than one-tenth or fifteen hundred cubic feet, whichever is the greater, and in any other case."— [Mr. Buchanan.]
§ Mr. Buchanan
I beg to move in page 123, line 16, after "grounds," to insert," or timber yards."
In Committee, an Amendment was accepted adding the word "forestry" to paragraph 3 of this Schedule. The present Amendment is really consequential.
§ Mr. J. S. C. Reid
The drafting of this is so difficult that I am not sure whether timber yards are or are not a permitted use without paying development charge. Would it not have been consequential on inserting the word "forestry" that a nursery should also be exempted? It is not much good exempting forestry and making nurseries subject to development charge. Perhaps this could be looked at again.
§ Mr. Buchanan
I will look at the point about nurseries again. The Amendment guarantees exemption, but it would not exempt a fully developed sawmill. Everything associated with normal forestry work would be exempt.
§ Commander Galbraith
I should have thought that, having put in the word "forestry," we ought to exempt things, such as timber yards, connected with forestry. I can understand the hon. Gentleman's remark about a fully developed sawmill, but a timber yard is not a sawmill
§ Mr. Buchanan
A timber yard is exempt. This is merely to safeguard buildings like a sawmill which may be erected for other purposes, and it makes it quite clear that the timber yard is associated with forestry, and is so exempt.
§ Mr. Reid
I think not. What is exempt is… carrying out, on land … or forestry … other thanand the words "other than" still continue to govern the words "timber yards." Therefore a timber yard will be one of the things which are not exempt from development charge, if the words are put in in this place. I cannot help thinking that they are put in in the wrong place, and for that reason I ask that this matter shall be looked at again. I think the intention is to exempt timber yards, but it is put the wrong way round. As I say, the drafting is complicated, but if the hon. Gentleman says that the intention is to exempt timber yards, and that this will be put right, if it is wrong, that will satisfy me.
§ Mr. Buchanan
The right hon. and learned Gentleman must not take it as sarcastic when I say that when a distinguished member of the Bar says we ought to look at this again we must do so. It is our intention that timber yards should be exempt, and if there is any doubt about it we will have it put right.
§ 4.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Scollan (Renfrew, Western)
I think it is perfectly simple. The paragraph would read:nursery grounds or timber yards or for other purposes not connected with general farming operations.
§ Mr. Buchanan
We think that the hon. Gentleman the Member for West Renfrew (Mr. Scollan) is right, but we will examine it, and make certain.
§ Amendment agreed to.
Further Amendment made: In page 123, line 17, at end, insert:
or with the cultivation of telling 01 trees."—[Mr. Buchanan.]
§ Mr. Buchanan
I beg to move, in page 123, line 18, to leave out "before," and to insert "on."
This follows an earlier Amendment. Paragraph 4 of the Third Schedule enables the Secretary of State to specify any general class of use within which buildings or other land used for purposes before the appointed day may be used for other purposes without paying development charge. This Amendment is to specify that that shall be done on the appointed day and to make it clear that it is only on the appointed day.
§ Mr. J. S. C. Reid
I think this Amendment narrows the matter unduly. If the word "on" is inserted this paragraph will read:In the case of a building or other land which, on the appointed day, was used for a purpose falling within any general class—Very often one does not use a building or land for that purpose every day of the year. It may well happen that it is not being used on the appointed day for any purpose at all, and we shall get into all sorts of troubles if we try to tie it up narrowly like this. I thought the intention was to prevent the old prewar use, and I would not have objected if it had been limited to the use made of the building or land within the last 12 months. I hope that the Amendment will not be insisted upon, but that at a subsequent stage another word for the word "before" will be inserted. To tie this to one day, and say that the land must, have been used for this purpose on 1st April but that it does not matter for what i was used on 31st March or 2nd April, is making it too narrow. I hope that this cramping Amendment will not be insisted upon.
§ Mr. Buchanan
We thought we were being helpful. Paragraph 4 places no limitation on the length of time for which buildings or land may be used for any purpose in a specified general class. We will look at the matter again, but we felt that if we made it the appointed day it would be better than to leave it as an unlimited period of time.
§ Amendment agreed to.
Further Amendment made: In page 123, line 21, after "paragraph," insert:
or which, being unoccupied on the appointed day, was last used (otherwise than before the seventh day of January, nineteen hundred and thirty-seven) for any such purpose."—[Mr Buchanan.]
§ Motion made, and Question proposed. "That the Schedule, as amended, be the Third Schedule to the Bill."
§ Mr. J. S. C. Reid
It would be ungracious not to say that this Schedule has been considerably improved. On the other hand, it is highly desirable that one should again say here, where our proceedings get much more publicity than do our proceedings upstairs, how extremely unsatisfactory even the amended Schedule is. I will mention only two points. Other of my hon. Friends may have other points to raise. Under the Schedule, with all its Amendments, one still has to pay a charge, if one wants to set up even the humblest new dwelling house anywhere, even in the most remote fastnesses of the country, where there has been no question of the owner of the property having had any share of the £300 million. I can see the argument for saying that a person who wants to build a dwelling house, and who has had a share in the £300 million, ought to pay back part of that share if he wants to put up a house. Even that, however, would be unduly limiting and cramping the rehousing of our people, and the Government would have been well advised to forego the tiny financial advantage they get in order to place no obstacles in the way of rehousing our people. When we consider agricultural land the owner of which has had no share, and could have had no share, in the £300 million, it is monstrous for the Government to say, "We shall fine you before you are allowed to rehouse your agricultural workers."
I cannot help stressing once again the grave danger to agriculture in particular which this Schedule will constitute. There is another point. It is surely important in the coming years, the more so as pessimistic statements by the Government develop, that we should grow every ounce of food we can in this country. Therefore, I should have thought it highly desirable that the way should be free for a transfer from general farming to market gardening and intensive cultivation of that kind. Again, one has to pay a charge before one can change from general farming to market gardening. One must not erect, enlarge, improve or alter any building used for the purposes of market gardening without being fined. That is surely in flat contradiction of Government policy for the encouragement of agriculture.
1822 I can understand, in England, the Minister of Town and Country Planning, who has no direct responsibility for agriculture, allowing these things to go into his Bill, but I cannot understand the right hon. Gentleman, who is Minister of Agriculture in Scotland, allowing two provisions to pass which are so directly contrary to his own interests as the Minister charged with the improvement of our agriculture. How he can reconcile allowing these provisions to go into this Bill and thereby cramp and hamper the growing of food in Scotland, with his agricultural responsibilities, passes my comprehension. I wish to make the most emphatic protest on behalf of those of us who sit on this side of the Committee against this niggling way of trying to get a few pounds of money out of agricultural landlords, even though in the process it seriously hampers the growing of food for our people, who will very soon want it.
Colonel Gomme-Dunean (Perth and Kinross, Perth)
I would like very strongly to support what my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hill-head (Mr. Reid) has said in this respect. It is of the utmost importance today that we should develop in Scotland all the food production we possibly can, and this Schedule will undoubtedly have a restricting effect on the people who are trying to carry out that most necessary development. As my right hon. and learned Friend has said, one has only to consider the development from ordinary straightforward farming to market gardening. Nothing is needed more desperately in Scotland today than the extension of market gardening. This Schedule cramps the opportunity of people to develop land in that way, which will be much to the detriment of the Scottish people. I cannot understand how the right hon. Gentleman can agree to legislation of this kind on such a vital matter, which he and his colleagues are telling us every day will affect the wellbeing of this country as never before.
§ Mr. Henderson Stewart (Fife, East)
It is difficult to understand why the Secretary of State resists the demand which has been made from this side of the Committee on the question of market gardening and agriculture. In practice, it is impossible to distinguish between the one and the other. As I said in the Com- 1823 mittee, some of the most outstanding farmers in the world are in Scotland, where, in fact, every day of the year for years past, and I hope for years to come, market gardening and agriculture are combined to a perfection which is without compare in any part of the world. A particular farm to which I direct the attention of the Secretary of State has its system of underground steam piping, which has been described in almost every agricultural paper in every English speaking part of the world I have also seen an account translated into many languages. This farmer has many hundreds of acres of arable land, and also hundreds of acres of first-class highly cultivated land devoted to market gardening. Neither of these two sides of his undertaking could be worked without the other.
If the Secretary of State says to him, "You may put an extra building in that field because that, in my judgment—the great Secretary of State for Scotland—is agricultural land, but over the fence, where you are stupid enough to be growing lettuces, no, not a single building must be put there or I shall fine you." That is sheer nonsense. What will that man and other men like him do? They will dodge the law because they think so much of food production, and will make a fool of the Secretary of State. They will put a building in a particular place and call the land agricultural land when it is used for market gardening, and I question whether there is a judge in the land who will say that they are doing anything illegal or stupid. Surely, the Secretary of State does not intend gratuitously to make a fool of himself as he is doing in this Schedule. Is it not possible for him to consult his own advisers on the matter? Every Department in the country has its sections. The Department of Agriculture in Scotland has its horticultural, livestock and other sections, but they are all under one head, that of agriculture; there is one Minister and one permanent secretary in charge. The National Farmers' Union is divided into branches. The farmworkers in Scotland have their branches. There are men and women, mostly women in the East of Scotland, working in market gardens for certain hours and under certain rules. There are sections dealing with every branch of farming. Why does the Secretary of State close his eyes and 1824 refuse to recognise that the two branches are part of agriculture? I find it crazy. The Secretary of State is doing one of two things, either inviting people to flout the law, or cutting down food production Either must surely be a bad thing
The Secretary of State has made a grudging response to our appeal to free the farm cottage. I admit that he has gone some way, but it was a very grudging concession. It will still hamper the development and extension of farm workers' cottages. One cannot, at one and the same time, condemn capitalism, as the Government and their supporters are doing, and take away from these people the only way in which they can justify their existence and improve social conditions. I condemn as readily as any hon. Member opposite any landlord who declines or fails to improve his cottages. It Is his duty to improve his cottages if he is allowed, but now he cannot do it. [AN HON. MEMBER: "Why did not the Government do it before the war?"] If hon. Members want to talk about conditions before the war we can go back, but surely we are concerned with the position today. Let us discuss the position as it is now.
I could quote countless cases in East Fife where owners of agricultural properties are faced with the most appalling obstacles in their endeavours to have their cottages repaired, extended and improved Hon. Members opposite must know the position. Why do they make it more difficult? Do they not want farm labourers to be better housed? Throughout this Bill this awful prejudice against the private ownership of property is reflected, not in the owner, but in the poor men and women who occupy these cottages today. That is the damning thing about this Schedule and other parts of the Bill. The Government know perfectly well. I see the Joint Under-Secretary of State laughing at me—let us say that it is an encouraging smile. I was today handed this book on rent restriction. What does this mean? It means as hon. Members know very well, that no owner of property can get his rents increased. Therefore, he is going to get nothing out of improvements to his cottages. An extension or development would not bring him in any more money. Why for the sake of these stupid prejudices, 1825 prevent people who occupy little cottages being given better conditions? This is a crime on the part of the Government of which I should have thought they would be utterly ashamed. If this Schedule goes through without any alteration, the Government should be ashamed.
§ Mr. McAllister (Rutherglen)
The hon. Member for East Fife (Mr. H. Stewart) has spoken with his usual venom and his usual lack of appreciation of all the things involved in the subject about which he is talking. He talked as If this were something new. He says the Secretary of State for Scotland is trying to differentiate between agricultural land and market gardening land. He accuses the Secretary of State of showing no great sympathy for the future of our agricultural land and especially for the future of our market garden land near our great cities. The hon. Member mentioned the market garden land near Edinburgh. I am sure he knows as well as anybody in this Committee that hundreds of acres of precious market garden land near Edinburgh, and equally hundreds of acres of precious market garden land near Glasgow, were swallowed up between the wars by ill considered development which this Bill is designed to prevent. He said that there was no distinction or, at any rate, that there would be a process of law dodging. I take it that he was not advocating that or putting it down as the policy of the Liberal-National Party.
§ Mr. Stewart
The hon. Member should not gratuitously offer insults of that kind. I did not say any such thing. I was urging the Secretary of State for Scotland not to undermine the dignity of the law.
§ Mr. McAllister
If I recollect the hon. Member rightly, not only did he say that there would be law dodging, but he went so far as to say that not one of His Majesty's judges would dare to do other than condone such a thing. He said that there is no difference between agricultural and market garden land. Personally, I feel that there should be no distinction of any kind in regard to land. We ought to deal exclusively in one commodity—land. That has not been the practice of landowners in the past. We have had land which has been derelict waste land, or purely agricultural land, and then, when some corpora- 1826 tion wanted to do something to improve the value of the land and improve the service to the community, its value has shot up and it has acquired a completely different designation. This Bill is designed to prevent that sort of thing.
This Schedule makes exemptions. I am glad that the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Hillhead (Mr. J. S. C. Reid) had the courtesy, as he usually has, to acknowledge that the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Joint Under-Secretary have gone a long way to meet the desires of the Committee in the Amendments which have been made. That is true, and the Secretary of State and the Joint Under-Secretary should be congratulated. We on this side of the Committee are at least as keen as the hon. Member for East Fife, or anybody else, to protect agriculture and market gardening. We believe that these causes will be furthered by this Schedule.
§ Mr. Thornton-Kemsley
What the hon. Member for Rutherglen (Mr. McAllister) did not tell the Committee was the effect of the passing of this Schedule as it stands, upon agriculture, particularly with regard to the housing of rural workers. Under the Schedule, as amended, the owner of agricultural property can improve his farm steadings without incurring a liability for development charge. He can improve the byre in which he keeps his cattle. As the hon. Member for North Edinburgh (Mr. Willis) suggested, he can improve the conditions under which his livestock are housed. But if he endeavours to build a new cottar house for a farm worker, or to extend an existing cottar house by more than 1,500 cubic feet or 10 per cent. whichever is the greater, then he has to pay a development charge which my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hillhead (Mr. J. S. C. Reid) rightly described as a fine of an unknown amount.
I am very disappointed that the Secretary of State has not told us today that he has been able to go further along the road which was outlined by the Minister of Town and Country Planning as long ago as 20th May last. On that occasion, in connection with a proposal that had been made upstairs when the English Town and Country Planning Bill was under discussion, he told the Committee that he was in consultation with agricultural interests to see whether it would be 1827 possible to allow farm cottages to be treated somewhat in this way. They were to be valued in the usual way, the improvement was to be assessed, and a development charge imposed such as is proposed in this Schedule. If, upon a certificate of an agricultural committee, it could be shown that that cottar house was to be used for agricultural occupation only, then and from year to year so long as the certificate held good, the liability for development charge, which would be upon an annual basis, would be waived. I and some of my hon. Friends pressed that the Minister should embark upon a similar course. He told us that he would look at it sympathetically. I am very disappointed indeed that he has not done anything in this Schedule and that we must pass it now in the form in which that kind of hindrance to the proper housing of agricultural workers in Scotland is possible.
I would like to ask one question arising from this Schedule and an Amendment which the Committee has sanctioned today. In another part of the Bill, in Clause 9 (3, a),the Committee will later be asked to say that:the use as two or more separate dwelling-houses of many building previously used as a single dwellinghouse involves a material change in the use of the building and of each part thereof which is so used;Ought not that paragraph to be withdrawn, in view of the Amendments which we have passed recently on this matter? I am not sure that this is the proper place to raise this point, but I do not know, if I do not raise it now, where else I can raise it. I hope that whoever replies will give the Committee some guidance upon that point.
There can be no question that this Schedule, even with all the Amendments which have been made to it, is about to leave the Committee in a very imperfect state, and I share to the full the apprehensions that have been expressed on this side of the Committee about the position of horticulture in Scotland as a consequence of the way in which this Schedule has been drafted. I am surprised that the Joint Under-Secretary has turned such a deaf ear to all our pleas, both upstairs in Committee and here this afternoon, because, after all, horticulture and market gardening in Scotland are not in 1828 the condition in which we would all like to see them. There is no question that the passage of this Schedule in its present form will have a very depressing effect upon those engaged in horticulture and market gardening. It is usual to declare one's interest in a matter on which one is speaking, and I certainly declare my interest in market gardening, because I go in for it in a small way, and I can say that the views that have been expressed by my hon. Friends exactly fit my own point of view, because I find that I am likely to be penalised if I make some small development in my own small venture.
Further—and this is a point which has not yet been made—as I read paragraph 3 of the Third Schedule, forestry will also be penalised to a certain extent, because, after market gardens, we see that nursery grounds are also to be placed in the same category, in which anybody proceeding with a development may have to pay a substantial fine. The right hon. Gentleman knows just how largely forestry bulks in the general economy of Scotland. Certainly, I would say—and the Joint Under-Secretary nods his approval—it comes a very good second to agriculture, horticulture and market gardening, and I certainly think that anybody connected with forestry who reads this paragraph carefully may have ample grounds for fear that developments which he might have expected will not be entered upon in consequence of the risk to be run and the dire results that will follow. The right hon. Gentleman, in another Amendment to which the Committee has agreed, has now caused timber yards to be inserted in the Schedule, and they are now placed in the same category as market gardens, so that anybody who tries a modest development may run very serious risks. It is true that, at line 17, the Committee has agreed to an Amendment covering the cultivation or felling of trees, which may cancel out any fears I have expressed as to how forestry development would be effected. I see the right hon. Gentleman shakes his head. Then, I have no safeguard at all as to what the interpretation of the law may be—
§ Mr. Westwood
May I explain that I was shaking my head in view of the fact that this Schedule was reasonably well discussed in Committee, and because I have made concessions arising out of promises 1829 I gave, and yet we are having all this further discussion.
The right hon. Gentleman cannot well object while you, Major Milner, allow the discussion to continue, and while reasonable fears are being expressed. I am entitled to say that forestry plays a very large part in the economy of Scotland
§ Mr. McAllister
On a point of Order. Is the hon. Gentleman in Order in pursuing his argument in view of the discussion that took place on paragraph 3 of this Schedule, and in view of the reply given to the right hon. and learned Member for Hillhead (Mr. J. S. C. Reid) that timber yards were not excluded from the development charge?
§ The Chairman
The hon. Gentleman is not out of Order, but if he will forgive my saying so he is very repetitive and discursive and not always on the point under discussion.
§ 4.45 p.m.
I hope that we are not going to have the kind of conundrum as was envisaged by the hon. Member for East Fife (Mr. H. Stewart). I think that, in the defence which the hon. Member for Rutherglen (Mr. McAllister) put up, he gave a caricature of what was said by the hon. Member for East Fife, who only suggested that the matter might be so involved that no judge would be in a position to say just what the law was or exactly what was intended, and, therefore, the people who wished to evade it would be able to do so. I hope the Under-Secretary may be able to say something about that point. I am not satisfied that, as regards rural housing, this would work out in the way we would like. The hon. Member for West Renfrew (Mr. Scollan) asked us why we did not do it in the years before the war. A very great deal was done in Scotland, and I would advise him to look up the records for the counties in Scotland and see what was done. I admit that some counties came out very much better than others. I say that the rural worker will not have his state of affairs bettered as a result of the passage of this Schedule, or, at least, bettered in the way in which that task was done in the so-called bad old days before the Labour Government came to office.
§ Mr. Scollan
I would not have intervened in this discussion except for the criticism that has been offered. Anybody listening to this Debate might have got the impression that everybody was gasping to get down to the building of cottages for agricultural workers.
§ The Chairman
We cannot go into the general question of housing. I agree that the hon. Member did just mention the point, and I allowed another hon. Gentleman to make his reply, but the discussion of rural housing in general is out of Order in this Debate.
Further to that point of Order. Surely, the question concerning cubic feet, which has been mentioned in an Amendment, raises the whole question of housing in Scotland, urban as well as rural?
§ Mr. Scollan
The argument has been used that this Schedule will arrest all development in housing for agricultural workers in Scotland. That is the criticism of the Schedule. If that were true, then, obviously, something should be done about it, but it is not true. Therefore, one is entitled to ask, what arrested the development of housing for agricultural workers before this Bill came in? At the present time, whatever is done for agriculture will only be done with the help of Government subsidy. Consequently, we are entitled to see that any large house which is turned into a number of separate dwellings pays a development charge. This Bill is not an agricultural area Bill; it covers the whole of Scotland. Therefore, this Schedule must be read in conjunction with development under urban as well as rural areas. I do not think that any real criticism of the Bill can be offered, especially in view of the fact that when there was plenty of material and labour, and when money was plentiful, the party to which hon. Members opposite belong never tried to build houses for the rural workers in Scotland.
§ Colonel Gomme-Duncan
The hon. Gentleman stated that what had been said on this matter was untrue, but he has not developed it further than that.
§ Commander Galbraith
I think that this is the most important Schedule to the Bill, and that, therefore, the discussion has, perhaps, been well worth while. I would like to say one word in reply to 1831 the hon. Member for West Renfrew (Mr Scollan). I think he will find that money was not plentiful. Where a farmer has money, the fact is that he is only too anxious to build for the occupation of his workers. I want to mention two things which, I think, have been missed out, and which are going to affect the development of housing in the rural areas. The first is the extra charge that is going to be inflicted, and the second is delay. When people want to go ahead with a thing, and then find all kinds of delays cropping up, they are likely to become discouraged. I agree with the hon. Member for Rutherglen (Mr. McAllister) I am quite certain that both the right hon. and hon. Gentlemen are as keen as anyone of us to help the production of food. Therefore, having listened to the arguments which have been put forward, and which are of some force, I would ask them to consider once more before this Bill becomes an Act, whether it would not be wise to help the production of food in every way they can. I leave that matter with the right hon. and hon. Gentlemen to consider once again.
§ Mr. Buchanan
Three points have been covered in this discussion. The first is the effect on dwelling houses; the second, the point about nursery gardens; and the third, the point raised by the hon. Member for West Aberdeen (Mr. Thornton-Kemsley), as to why we have not dropped Clause 9 (3). The answer to the last point is that it is necessary to have that provision in order to make it clear that there is planning control
With regard to the first two points, the hon. Member for East Fife (Mr. Stewart) always commands my sympathy, first, because I have spoken so many times from the corner in which he sits, and, second, because I, in common with him, always had the failing when speaking of being inclined to overstate my case. There was his condemnation of the nursery. It is always difficult when a Government go out to meet their opponents and the criticisms made, because, if they give way on any point, that fact is always put forward as proof that they were wrong For instance, if we had brought agriculture within this Bill, the hon. Gentleman's speech would have been completely out of line, because then he would not have been able to 1832 mention the nursery; he would only have been able to ask why we had left out agriculture. Listening to him, I almost felt like bringing in agriculture in order to hear the glowing speech he would have made. We have been generous, but the line has to be drawn somewhere Many hon. Friends of mine think that agriculture nowadays, taking into consideration guaranteed markets, etc., should not be treated differently from the rest of the community. We have gone that way to meet the hon. Gentleman, but, because we do not go further, we are attacked Let me deal with the question—
§ Mr. Henderson Stewart
The hon. Gentleman is not answering the point I made. How does he distinguish between the one and the other?
§ Mr. Buchanan
The only way to meet the hon. Gentleman's case would be to bring agricultural land into relation with the rest of the land dealt with in this Bill. For instance, he says that the nursery land is necessary But the engineering shop which makes the agricultural machinery is also necessary. I say quite frankly to the hon Gentleman that the business of nursery farming and the development of nursery farming are, in many ways, as good a commercial proposition as that of the engineering works on the Clyde and in the Glasgow area.
One would think from the speeches which we have heard this afternoon that we were altering the law with regard to the development or alteration of a house. We do not make any change there. The owner of a house can change and alter it as much as he likes without any interference from us. We say—and here we meet hon. Members opposite again—that in the case of the smaller house there should be considerable room for improvement. We have put that into the Bill. It is true that the dwelling house is provided for. Speaking from memory, I think it is under Clause 63 that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has power, when he looks at the situation, to exempt any dwelling house he may desire when issuing his regulations. That, I think, really answers the point made by the hon. Member for West Aberdeen in relation to a speech made by the Minister in connection with the English Bill. If, when my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State issues his regulations, he 1833 feels that something like that ought to be done, he has the power under Clause 63 to do it.
§ Mr. Thornton-Kemsley
That is quite true, but the right hon. Gentleman has been looking at these things—or ought to have been looking at them—since 20th May. Surely, it should be possible for him, after all that lapse of time, to come to the Committee and say, "I intend to cover these points in the regulations." That is what we want him to say.
§ 5.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Buchanan
My right hon. Friend will cover the points when he sees the broad outline. That is the answer which he has already given. On the whole, we have gone a considerable way to meet the various criticisms and, with the explanations we have been given, we trust this Schedule will now be agreed to.
§ Mr. Niall Macpherson (Dumfries)
I would like to say one more word arising out of the statement of the Joint Under-Secretary. In answer to my hon. Friend the Member for East Fife (Mr. Stewart) the hon. Gentleman took the line that he had given way on the question of agriculture, and appeared to think that he was being asked to give way further on the question of market gardens. Nothing is further from the truth. One must have a comparison with something. The comparison is with agricultural land; otherwise, there would never be any development values at all. There is no giving way. What is the basis of this legislation? Surely it is the Uthwatt Report. That Report says:The owner of a farm, for instance, will remain free to farm in such a manner as be thinks fit and to make any such improvements as are in his view proper.What could be more proper than building additional houses on a farm? The Report goes on:The occupier of a house and garden or park which falls within the scheme will remain free to use his property for all the purposes of his residence, and (subject to compliance with any local bye-laws) will remain entitled to put up such additional buildings as are necessary or designed for the improvement or amenities of his house.Those are the two things for which we are asking, and for which we think there should be provision in this Schedule. On agricultural land a man should be entitled to build houses for his workers and to improve the houses which exist there 1834 without any limitation; secondly, a person who is in occupation of a house should be able to make any improvements he wishes to that house, and to build anything in his garden without payment of a development charge, provided, of course, he gets planning permission. Those are the two things which we think should be in the Schedule.
§ Schedule, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
§ Bill reported, with Amendments.
§ As amended (in the Standing Committee and on recommittal), considered.