HC Deb 11 July 1947 vol 439 cc2565-607

Order for Third Reading read (King's Consent signified.)

11.6 a.m.

The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. West wood)

I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."

This is one of the largest, most complex and far-reaching Measures that it has been my lot to introduce to Parliament. It has given rise to a great deal of discussion. Twenty-one days we spent in Committee on the Bill, and several hundred Amendments were made, both there and on Report. The Bill has emerged somewhat larger than when it was introduced. It now consists of 113 Clauses and 11 Schedules. I think there will be general agreement that it is now a much improved Measure.

I want, if I may, to thank hon. Members on both sides of the House for the manner in which they have assisted in bringing the Bill to its present stage. During the Second Reading proceedings hon. Members opposite moved an Amendment for its rejection. I think it would be quite correct to state that some of the reasons for which they did so no longer apply. For example, the 1939 standard of compensation for the compulsory acquisition of land, which was so strongly criticised on that Second Reading, is now being abandoned. Compensation will in future represent current market value, with the qualification contained in the Bill that present high scarcity values will be eliminated.

As hon. Members are aware, properties sold with vacant possession are fetching fantastically high prices at the present time, owing to the prevailing shortages. I submit that it would be quite unjustifiable that the public purse should pay for these inflated values. It is true that the new basis of compensation will not please everybody, but I suggest that the proposals in the Bill are an improvement on the original proposals. I think they are a vast improvement on the 1939 standard, which, through the lapse of time, was rapidly becoming out-of-date. We have tried, both myself and the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, who gave such valuable assistance during the Committee and the Report stages, we tried jointly and we have done our best, to meet the Opposition's criticism that the Bill left too many essential matters to be dealt with by regulation. It is inevitable that a Measure dealing with a subject of this complexity must leave many matters of comparative detail and procedure to be determined by statutory rules. The Amendments made in the Committee and now contained in the Bill go some way, though they may not meet all that has been claimed by Members of the Opposition, to meet the Opposition's point of view by defining somewhat more precisely the scope and the content of some of those rules. During the previous stages of the Bill the Government have made a good many concessions, and over a fairly wide field there is now a substantial measure of agreement. I am rather surprised, therefore, that the Opposition, following the procedure adopted by them on Second Reading, propose to move an Amendment for the rejection of the Bill.

Let me consider for a few moments some of the proposals which are in the Bill. Firstly, there is the matter of the constitution of the Central Land Board. At the outset it was suggested by hon. Members opposite that the Bill would be administered by a Board consisting largely of Englishmen sitting in London with little or no knowledge of Scottish conditions, but I made the announcement to the House on the Report stage that at least two Scottish representatives would be appointed to the Board—and there is a possibility of more than two Scottish members if the full complement of 10 members is appointed. Therefore, the possibility of three is not ruled out. It was still maintained, and no doubt will be maintained again today, when the Opposition's Amendment is moved, that this would achieve little or nothing even though the Bill provides, in addition, that in carrying out their functions the Board will be subject to the direction of the Secretary of State.

The Bill provides that the Board shall have an office and a staff in Scotland for the performance of Scottish work. The contention may be that there must be a separate Board for Scotland or, at all events, a separate Scottish Committee of the Board. May I ask what that would imply? This would surely imply that hon. Members opposite want a different policy to be adopted for Scotland as regards the valuation of development rights and the fixing of development charges. Frankly, any approach on these lines would be quite unreal, and indeed, the right hon. and learned Member for Hillhead (Mr. J. S. C. Reid) himself admitted as much on the Report stage when he implied that there would be some questions requiring joint decisions for the United Kingdom.

Mr. J. S. C. Reid (Glasgow, Hillhead) indicated assent.

Mr. Westwood

The right hon. and learned Gentleman agrees that I am not misquoting him. The Board will be dealing with principles of valuation common to both countries. The Board provided for in this Bill and in the English Bill will be advised so, far as Scotland is concerned by the valuation department of the Board of Inland Revenue, and if there is to be consistency and uniformity on general policy questions it is essential, I submit, to have one Board operating for the country as a whole. This does not mean, as the Opposition have suggested, that the detailed administration of the Board must necessarily be the same in both countries or that no decisions can be taken by the Board's Scottish Office without reference to London. Scotland has its own distinctive legal system and its own form of land tenure, and of itself this will necessitate a special treatment of Scottish cases. For example, I can say quite categorically that the Board's Scottish Office will fix the amount of development charges in Scottish cases without reference to London. They will do so in consultation with the chief valuer for Scotland. There will, therefore, be no running back and forward to London for instructions.

Similarly, the Scottish Office of the Board will be responsible for deciding how development charges should be secured in particular Scottish cases and as to the method of disposing of land, for instance, by way of sale, of feu or of lease. The day to day work will, of course, be carried through by the Scottish staff of the Board provided for in the Bill. Any other arrangement will be unworkable; but on points of difficulty the Scottish members of the Board will be available for consultation and will be able to give decisions. These arrangements will ensure that Scotland has a full say in the policy of the Board and that day to day Scottish business is transacted by the Board's office in Scotland without reference to London. This, I submit, is surely substantially the result which we all desire to achieve so far as the principles and the application of the principles contained in this Bill are concerned.

Mr. Stephen (Glasgow, Camlachie)

Does that mean that the Scottish members of the Board will in effect act as a Committee of the larger Board in dealing with specific Scottish questions?

Mr. Westwood

I do not want to use the word "Committee." They will be part of the Central Land Board. They will have a say in the general policy which is to be adopted for Great Britain, but in the application of that policy, and subject to directions from the Secretary of State for Scotland, they will do their work in Scotland. Another criticism levelled against the Bill in the Motion for rejection is that it: …subjects the development of Scotland …to the veto of the President of the Board of Trade. There is, of course, no substance what ever in this charge.

Mr. J. S. G. Reid indicated dissent.

Mr. Westwood

I am saying quite definitely and categorically that there is no substance whatever in that charge. I am rather surprised at the source from which it has come because the Distribution of Industry Act was passed by the Coalition Government and, according to my recollection, the right hon. and learned Member for Hillhead was a Member of that Government. There is, of course, no substance in that charge. The control of development will be the responsibility of the local planning authorities working under the general guidance and direction of the Secretary of State, and not the affair of a Whitehall Minister.

Clause 12 (4) of the Bill says that applications for planning permission to erect new industrial buildings of any class prescribed by the Board of Trade must be accompanied by a certificate from the Board that the development can be carried out: …consistently with the proper distribution of industry. This provision expresses the Government's general policy with regard to industrial location. The need for securing a proper distribution of industry throughout Great Britain as a whole was emphasised in the Barlow Report, was accepted by the Coalition Government in the White Paper on Employment Policy, and is embodied in the Distribution of Industry Act, 1945. In Committee the Opposition moved an Amendment to Clause 12 providing that in exercising their functions under the Clause the Board of Trade should have regard only to the proper development of industry in Scotland. Presumably, they want the Board of Trade to have regard not to proper distribution of industry over Great Britain as a whole, but merely to the industrial position of Scotland itself. The implication is that Scotland and England should be treated as two separate economic units.

What would be the effect of such a provision? Surely, it would mean that in handling proposals for industrial development in England the Board would be unable to consider whether those developments might more appropriately be established in Scotland, particularly in the Scottish Development Area, where the need for new employment is urgently necessary. The vital need in Scotland is to attract new industries from England and elsewhere, and it is clearly to the advantage of Scotland that the Board of Trade should consider industrial location over the country as a whole. The Board of Trade are alive to the vital need for getting new industries into Scotland, and may I point out to the House that in no case has industry been "steered" from Scotland into England but that there has been a good deal of "steering" in the opposite direction, and all to the advantage of Scotland. For example—it is necessary to mention this because of the Amendment which stands in the name of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite—that of the new factory building projects approved for the whole of Scotland at the end of February, one in five are for firms coming from outside Scotland. Moreover, as many of the schemes originating south of the Border are large projects, their employment value will represent as much as 41 per cent. of the total employment value of all new projects for Scotland.

The Opposition Amendment complains that the Bill provides no compensation as of right for the loss of development value, and establishes no principles for the division of the £300 million. I, as a Member of the Government, and the Joint Under-Secretary, dealt with this specific point when it was discussed in the early stages of the Bill. The Government have made it quite plain that they consider that land owners have neither a legal nor a moral right to compensation for loss of development values. We do not want there to be any misunderstanding in connection with this. Here there is a vital difference of opinion between the two sides of the House. I want to repeat—because it is not merely the decision of the Government but also a persona] view I have held ever since I have been in the Labour and Socialist movement—that when the community creates values, those values should belong to the community and not be appropriated by private individuals.

That is the basic difference between the conception of equity on the part of hon. Members on this side of the House and on the part of hon. Members opposite. It is a gulf which will never be bridged so far as we are concerned, and we have the power now to give effect to the principles for which we have fought, some of us for 20, 30 and even 40 years. We see the chance of it being given effect to now, so I want to make it perfectly clear that we consider that landowners have neither a legal nor a moral right to compensation for loss of development values. In some cases these values have accrued over a long period of years without having been paid by the landowners. Moreover, they are generally attributable, not to the efforts of the landowner but to public developments carried out on behalf of the community. A sum of £300 million has been set aside to meet cases of hardship, and the Government consider that this sum is not ungenerous. While hon. Members on the opposite side of the House may think it is too little, there are hon. Members on this side who say it is far too much. Any principles for the distribution of this sum which could be laid down at the present time could only be of an arbitrary nature, and would in all probability not achieve fair treatment to the various claimants. It is essential, therefore, to defer the determination of the basis of distribution until the necessary information has been received as a result of the submission of claims. When this point is reached, the Treasury will make the necessary scheme, and it will be submitted for the approval by affirmative resolution of Parliament.

As I have said, the Government have made a good many concessions on this Bill to meet the points raised by hon. Members opposite and I had hoped there would be no opposition to the Motion for the Third Reading. The Joint Under-Secretary and I endeavoured in Committee and on the Report stage to give long and careful consideration to the various points made by right hon. and hon. Members opposite. We did everything reasonable on purpose to meet the points they made and, that being so, I had hoped there would be no Amendment for the rejection of the Third Reading. The Opposition, however, are attacking the fundamental principles of the Bill. I do not complain; that is the purpose of a free Parliament, and we are a free Parliament, so free today that I am perfectly sure, by an overwhelming majority, we shall get the Third Reading of this Bill. The Government believe that these principles are fair and reasonable and in the best interests of the community as a whole and there can, therefore, be no question of abandoning them.

I am confident that this Bill will come to be recognised as a real achievement in the realm of social planning. Wisely administered by the local planning authorities, as I am sure it will be, and by the Central Land Board, and with the full co-operation of the public, it will present a unique opportunity for the re-planning and the redevelopment of Scotland on the best modern lines. I therefore commend the Bill to the House for Third Reading.

Mr. Thornton-Kemsley (Aberdeen and Kincardine, Western)

I beg to move to leave out from "That" to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof: this House declines to give a Third reading to a Bill which subjects the development of Scotland to the control of a Land Board located in London and to the veto of the President of the Board of Trade; which denies to an owner compensation as of right for the loss of development value and establishes no principle for the division of the fund which is to be set aside to meet cases of hardship; and which, by the removal of incentives to development and by the imposition of charges of an indeterminate amount, will hinder any policy for the full employment of the Scottish people. I have never disguised from this House my own personal view, which I believe is held by many of my right hon. and hon. Friends on this side of the House, that the time is ripe for a comprehensive Measure of Town and Country Planning. I am satisfied that were we on these Benches in power, we would want to bring in a Measure for the development and for the planning of the towns and countryside of Scotland. I believe there is much in this Bill, so far as its planning provisions are concerned, which we would not want to reverse were we in the place now occupied by the right hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends. I think it is a good thing, and I have said so before, that the obligation to prepare a plan is placed fairly and squarely upon the shoulders of the local authorities. I think it is a good thing that powers are given for the positive planning of the land of Scotland. I think it is a good thing that we have de parted during the Committee stage of this Bill from the old basis of 1939 values for land which is being acquired compulsorily for public purposes. I want to agree with what the right hon. Gentleman said about the Committee stage of the Bill. We have had a good and, in the main, a fair discussion of most of the provisions of the Bill. We were not subject to the guillotine. We thrashed out these things in detail and I think the Bill has been im- proved as a result of the stages through which it has gone.

We have been asked, "Why are you going to oppose the Third Reading?" The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State expressed surprise that we should have had the temerity to put down a reasoned Amendment to this Bill. He wants to know why it is. I will tell him. I will give him six main reasons, matters of principle, why we think this Bill ought to be rejected. The first is about the machinery of the Bill. I cannot see that it will advantage Scotland, which is what we are concerned with at present, to be subject to the determination of a Central Land Board which is set up in respect of the whole of Great Britain. The right hon. Gentleman announced a concession during the Report stage. He said that he was now in agreement that the Land Board should have an office in Scotland, and that two out of the nine members of the Board—and now he says there is a possibility that there might be three—would be appointed in respect of Scottish interests.

Mr. Westwood

I do not think I ever said there might be two. I said there was a minimum of two, and there was a chance of getting three.

Mr. Thornton-Kemsley

I was remembering that in the English Bill provision was made for the establishment of a Central Land Board which would not exceed nine members.

Mr. Westwood

Plus the chairman.

Mr. Thornton-Kemsley

Plus the chairman. That would be 10 members, and Scotland is now to have two and, it may be, three. That is a good deal better than the eleven-eightieths of the Goschen formula. I do not deny that for a moment. But the Board still has only three main functions. The first is to divide the £300 million global sum as between England and Wales, on the one hand, and Scotland, on the other. When that is done, its functions, as far as Scotland is concerned, become purely Scottish. It has to assess the development charges, and the right hon. Gentleman has told us that that is now in any case to be done by the office in Edinburgh, with the advice of the Chief Scottish valuer to the Inland Revenue Department. It has also to act as a "middleman" under the terms of Clause 40 of the Bill by holding land which has been acquired, and reselling it to developers, plus a development charge. That is a purely Scottish function. I cannot see any valid reason why, after the initial divide up of the £300 million between England and Wales, on the one hand, and Scotland, on the other, there should not be a separate board dealing with what after all are purely Scottish matters. I cannot see how it is possible for a Land Board of 10 members to be subject both to the directions of the Minister of Town and Country Planning and to the directions of the Secretary of State for Scotland. I believe it is wrong in principle, harmful in practice and a betrayal of Scotland's interests that Scotland, which has its own planning Bill, should not also hold entirely in its own hands the machinery for implementing the provisions of this Measure.

I pass to the question of compensation. I regret that there is no intention in the Bill to compensate as of right owners who are being deprived by the terms of the Bill of their development rights. I regret there is no provision to compensate them as of right, but that instead they are being compensated on some indeterminate basis which brings in the element of the hardship they might suffer were they not compensated, and makes no definition of the principles upon which that hardship is to be assessed. What about land which has been bought in recent years at more than existing use values? Is the owner of that land, when he is deprived of its development possibilities, to be denied compensation for a consideration for which he has already paid a price? No one knows. What about the case of trustees and executors who have paid Death Duties on land which has been valued at a high development value? No one can tell. These matters are left to be determined by Treasury regulations which will be subject to an affirmative Resolution of both Houses of Parliament. Treasury regulations cannot be amended, they have to be accepted or rejected. These are matters of such general importance, and of such general concern, that Parliament ought to be given at least an outline of the scheme which is envisaged by the Government, before being asked to delegate legislative powers in so important a field.

I come to the question of what is called "designation." We have discussed this a great deal in Committee, and all hon. Members who were on the Scottish Grand Committee will by this time be very familiar with all the intricacies of the designation of land for compulsory acquisition under the provisions of the Development Plan. The power of designating land which ought to be acquired for public purposes during the ensuing years is one of the means of ensuring what is called positive planning. The planners say that one of the weaknesses of the present system is that it is possible for planning authorities to zone land for development of a certain kind, but they have no power to enforce that development, and it then rests with the owners of the land either to carry out that development themselves, or to sell the land to someone who will carry it out in the way proposed by the Plan. By designating land in order to secure its use in the manner proposed by the Plan, planning authorities are able to compel an owner to sell his land to the Central Land Board which, under the terms of Clause 40, can then add to it a development charge, and resell it for development. We on this side of the House have always taken the view, and have been consistent throughout the Committee stage in this respect, as in others, that designation should be restricted to land which is required for Government or local authority purposes, for bona fide purposes of statutory undertakers, or for the comprehensive development as a whole of an area of blight or obsolete development. We say that the powers which are given by Clause 3 (2) of the Bill are far too wide. We have always held the view that planning authorities are likely to use this power of designation far too widely, and are likely to be over-anxious to designate every possible piece of land which ought to be developed in accordance with the proposals, and that by doing this they will cast a blight over the whole of the land designated in this way.

In the Committee stage we urged the Government to adopt the principle of the purchase order, to allow an owner whose land has been designated in this way to say to the local authority, "I want to buy another property, and, therefore, it is only fair that you must take my land over now so that I shall have the wherewithal to rehouse myself." I am glad that the Government have accepted the principle that we have advocated, though I regret that the period during which they suggest that these powers should not be exercisable by the individual is too long. In the case of agricultural land, the period is land which has been designated for a period of eight years without acquisition, and in the case of the owner of other land, his land will have to have been designated for a period of 12 years without acquisition.

The right hon. Gentleman referred to the fact that in order to eliminate the scarcity value which is attributable to vacant possession of properties at the present time, special provisions have been made where such properties are to be compulsorily acquired. Those provisions introduce a complicated and highly artificial valuation device, which depends upon the idea that the property cannot be sold with the advantage of vacant possession, but that it is subject to a notional lease which expires in 1954. The unfortunate effect of this fiction—for fiction it is—will be that a man who at any time after the appointed day, and before 1st January, 1954, has a notice to treat served in respect of the property which he occupies, will be paid for his property, whether it is his house or his business or his farm, very much less than it will cost him to re-accommodate himself at present day prices. We say that that is a great hardship and a great injustice which ought to be remedied.

The Secretary of State poured scorn on the statement in the Amendment that the development of Scotland is subject to the veto of the President of the Board of Trade. He said that nothing of the kind was the case. I "would refer him to Clause 12 (4) of the Bill. It is there laid down that any man who wants to undertake any kind of industrial development in Scotland has to get a certificate from the Board of Trade that that development can be carried out in accordance with the proper distribution of industry. He cannot even get planning permission until he supplies that certificate from the Board of Trade.

Mr. Scollan (Renfrew, Western)

Is it not the case that in Scotland we have had a continual cry about the drift of industries to the South because there was no planning?

Mr. Thornton-Kemsley

I would say to the hon. Member in the words of Proverbs, 18: He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him. If the hon. Member will allow me to pursue my argument a little further, he will see exactly what I mean. By these provisions we give the President of the Board of Trade the powers of a dictator, and a dictator against whom there is no appeal. He is empowered to decide not only whether to allow a firm to establish itself where it pleases, but he may prevent a business from expanding on its own land. We say that this is high-handed treatment. Not only that, it is most unwise treatment on the part of the Government of a country which depends, in large part at all events, for its survival, upon the enterprise and initiative of private individuals, in whose hands at least 80 per cent, of the conduct of industry is still to remain.

I pass to the nationalisation—for it is that—of mineral royalties other than coal. I regret that this should have been put in the Bill, and I will give briefly three reasons why I think it should not have been. The Uthwatt Report recommended against it. The Coalition White Paper, in the drawing up of which Members of His Majesty's Government had some part, stated that special considerations arise in this case, and they did not include this type of development in their proposals. Thirdly, the party to which the right hon. Gentleman belongs made no kind of announcement in their now famous Election manifesto "Let us face the future" that they intended to nationalise any kind of mineral royalties other than coal. Moreover, we say that by this action they will take up an unjustifiably large proportion of the compensation fund. Iron, limestone, sand and gravel, clay and shale, tin and lead, igneous rocks, salt, gypsum, china clay, granite, slate and sandstone, fuller's earth and peat are worth well over £50 million at 1938 figures, figures which, adjusted to present-day values, would account for more than a quarter of the £300 million, and probably for as much as a third.

We say that the object of this Bill is to provide for the proper planning of town and countryside, and that so long as there is proper control of the overground workings and adequate provisions, which I believe there are not in this Bill, for the restoration of the surface after such work, the question of the value or the ownership of mineral deposits ought to find no place in a planning Bill. In conclusion, I greatly fear that the desirable development of Scotland will be discouraged by the too narrow interpretation of the word "development" in the Bill, and that the housing of the people will be seriously delayed by the development charge machinery. On these six counts alone, the Bill stands condemned.

11.49 a.m.

Mr. Snadden (Perth and Kinross, Western)

I beg to second the Amendment.

The Secretary of State reminded us that this was a very complex Measure. In the eight and a half years I have been in this House, I cannot recall a Bill that was more complex in character, or more difficult for the ordinary layman like myself to grasp, digest and expatiate upon, than this Measure. If ever there was a lawyer's Bill, this is it. We on this side of the House have been fortunate in having at our disposal the unrivalled skill and knowledge of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Hill-head (Mr. J. S. C. Reid). I would say also, having watched a good part of the Standing Committee proceedings, that we have been fortunate in having on our side the learned surveyor, if I may so call him, the hon. Member for West Aber-been (Mr. Thornton-Kemsley). He has worked extremely hard on this Bill and I wish to pay my personal tribute to him. I also wish to thank the Secretary of State for Scotland for the way in which he met us, so far as he was able, in Committee.

However, I disagree with him when he says that the Bill has been greatly improved. I am bound to say that when I look at it, if I understand it aright, I do not find it substantially changed from its original form. Here and there, of course, the Government have gone some way towards meeting us, and I am pleased that they have seen fit to remove the 1939 values. On Second Reading I endeavoured to draw attention to the injustice which would be imposed upon owner-occupiers who happened to have dairy farms on the fringe of large towns, such as we find in Ayrshire. I welcome that alteration, but I cannot get away from the fact that in structure and principle this Measure remains in almost precisely the same form as it was when originally presented to the House. A further point is that I do not believe that the implications of this extraordinarily complex Measure are, as yet, understood in the country or even by Members of the House. As time goes on and the implications are fully understood, particularly in the agricultural areas, I think they will have a boomerang effect on the people in the country. This is a far-reaching, fundamental and revolutionary Measure. I can only apply what knowledge I possess, which perhaps is not very much, to this Bill.

I speak from the point of view of the great industry of agriculture and rural industries. I have tried to look at the interests of the agricultural industry and to separate, if I could, any particular sectional view. I am apprehensive of the effects which this Bill will have upon the agricultural industry, not only from the point of view of proper land utilisation, but also from the very important point of view of maximum food production. I believe that this Bill will go a considerable way—I will not exaggerate and say a long way—to shake the confidence of the agriculturalists in the Agriculture Bill which is now in another place. In this Measure there is no guarantee that the voice of agriculture will be given a proper hearing. What is to happen, for example, if there is a conflict of opinion between the planning authority and agricultural interests in regard to the designation of land for compulsory acquisition? We know that in the past rural interests have been apt to be submerged. I think the officials of the Department of Agriculture for Scotland would support me if I said that nine times out of ten they lose the battle, and good land goes away for other purposes.

The Minister has said that if he specified that one particular interest, such as agriculture, should be put into the Bill for purposes of consultation, that would not be right, because he would be excluding others. Surely, the vast majority of the land to be affected under this Bill is agricultural land taken from the farmer. Therefore, the agricultural industry has a right, because of that, to have placed on the Statute Book some obligation upon the planning authority that that industry should be consulted. The Minister also said that many large cities and burghs, such as Glasgow and Kirkcaldy, have their executive committees. I must say that, coming from the Minister of Agriculture,, I thought that was rather a strange assertion. Of course, these cities have not their own agricultural executive committees. All agricultural land in Scotland—indeed, in the whole of Great Britain—comes under the purview of some agricultural committee. Not a square inch of cultivated land is left out of the net. I consider that that is a grave defect in this Bill, and that agricultural executive committees should be named in the Statute.

There is no such thing now as security of tenure, which we were told that farmers would get through the Agriculture Bill. If a tenant farmer finds himself within an area of designation today, he says, "I have no future here; I am going" and I do not blame him. If he goes, the landlord cannot find another tenant to farm the land because the land is under designation. That means that designated land on yearly tenancy will go out of agricultural use, and who can blame the tenant farmer? Also, a definite penalty is placed upon the owner who is anxious to play his part in the housing of his agricultural workers, because he is charged a development charge for the building of new cottages. Yet we know that today, the keynote to increased food production, which is becoming a critical matter, is labour. The supply of labour depends, in turn, upon the housing of the workers. Yet the Government put in this Bill a definite penalty upon the owner. I am one of them. To house my workers to produce more food, I must put up more houses, which the Government are unable to build. That point has been argued repeatedly, and I do not intend to labour it. I suggest, however, that it is an absurdity to have a case like that.

Again, if a farmer wants to add to food production by taking in land that is not under cultivation—it may be waste land which has never been used for agricultural purposes—he is fined by way of a betterment charge. Take the Carse of Stirling where there is a vast boggy area which people are constantly trying to find a way to bring to food production. It is no use for agricultural purposes or for forestry, but if I wanted to reclaim it in order to produce more food for the nation, I should be fined by way of having to pay a betterment charge. That seems to be another absurd thing.

Finally, when an owner-occupier of, say, an attested dairy herd finds himself in the net of designation, he cannot say, "Take my place now and let me go elsewhere to start up a new herd and build up a competence for myself and family." I drew attention on Second Reading to the great county of Ayr where we have a hundred thousand attested dairy cattle, the greatest number in the whole of Britain. Around these towns we have owner-occupiers who have spent their lives in building up an attested dairy herd. If Prestwick or Troon or somewhere else in Ayrshire is put within this designation, then owner-occupiers will not be allowed to do anything until eight years have elapsed. They will not be able to start afresh. They will have to wait patiently to see what is going to happen. During that time, it is obvious that the farm unit will deteriorate because it is unsaleable. The farmer will not spend money on new buildings when he knows that he may be required by the Government to give up the land. Nor can the Government serve directions upon him, so that the result will be that the land will deteriorate.

I suggest to the Secretary of State that there is still time to put this right. It seems to me that there will be great personal hardship on anyone who is going to come into the net of designation in the rural areas. If the Secretary of State would say that he will refuse to sanction designation by a planning authority unless that land is going to be acquired within five years, he will go a very long way to remove in the industry the fears which will be created by this Bill. He would do two things. He would prevent the local planning authorities exaggerating the area of designation, and he would also let the unfortunate owner know what his fate was to be.

I think this Bill contains serious defects. I am surprised that the Secretary of State, who is also our Minister of Agriculture, has not gone out of his way, especially at this time when so much depends upon the agricultural industry, and when so little criticism comes from it—they do not strike, nor do they work a five-day week— to make quite certain that there was no danger, especially in view of the introduction of the important Agriculture Bill, of shaking the confidence of the agricultural community as a result of this Measure.

12.3 p.m.

Mr. Willis (Edinburgh, North)

The hon. Member for West Aberdeen (Mr. Thornton-Kemsley) prefaced his speech with a generalisation which I think is very true. The real clash about this Bill has not been, and is not, over the planning provisions, but over the provisions dealing with compensation and the charging of development values. About those provisions there has been a lot of disagreement, and, for my own part, I cannot see where this disagreement can be reconciled, because there are fundamental differences of opinion, as the Secretary of State pointed out, over these matters.

The hon. Gentleman, however, raised one or two other points which appear in the Amendment on the Order Paper. The first was that this Bill is a betrayal of Scotland. I think that remark was rather meant for the Press and not as a serious contribution, but the hon. Member repeated twice that this Bill did not advantage Scotland. I fail to understand what he meant by "advantage Scotland." Does the hon. Member want Scotland to get something that England is not getting? Are we appealing for preferential treatment, because that is what appears to me to be the case from the speeches to which I have listened? What we in Scotland want is justice. We do not want to be treated preferentially. We are not subordinate hangers-on cringing for favours from the Government. We are equal partners in the United Kingdom, and I think hon. Members opposite would do well to treat Scotland as such.

If that is so, and if we want justice and equal treatment, it seems to me that the best way in which we can get it is through a central organisation like the Central Land Board. I agree that there are peculiarities affecting Scotland in the matter of land which will require special consideration, but I suggest that the provisions made in the Bill allow for that special consideration being given. I also agree that what we want in Scotland is to see that the administration is effective, and once again, I think the provisions in this Bill secure that. So far as I have been able to understand the arguments of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Hillhead (Mr. J. S. C. Reid), he usually stresses that what we want is administrative machinery in Scotland, and he usually chooses his words fairly carefully. While I suggest that this Bill provides administrative machinery, I would ask, as I did on Second Reading, and as I think the right hon. and learned Gentleman also did in the Second Reading Debate, that this machinery should not be allowed to become of such a character that it holds up development in Scotland. We have, in this Bill, created a huge administrative machine, and an administrative machine, whether it be under private enterprise or Government control, does tend to delay. I ask the Minister to take all measures necessary to see that this machine that has been created, in the discharge of its functions, whether in the assessment and collection of development charges or the granting of permission, does act speedily and effectively. If it does that, I think the machinery created will perform a useful job.

The next point made by the hon. Member for West Aberdeen was on the question of the Board of Trade having a right to determine where industry shall be located, and he used the phrase that this Government will depend upon the incentives of private enterprise in order to bring prosperity to the country, and I presume that he meant in order to increase production. What are the facts? It would be out of Order to go too far into this, but I cannot help suggesting that the fact is that, without any interference by the Board of Trade, industry did not stay in Scotland. Private enterprise came down here, and we found that, over the four years 1932–36, of the factories started in Great Britain, only 4 per cent. were in Scotland, and that, out of the employment so created, only 3 per cent, was provided in Scotland. That was under private enterprise, without any regulations. We are now trying, by offering incentives and inducements, to encourage firms to go to Scotland in order that we may provide jobs for our people in Scotland. I agree that this is a wise provision, and, if Scotland is to prosper, a very necessary provision.

The last point I want to make concerns compensation for minerals. The point has been made that minerals should not have been included in this Bill, the reason being that, if we take compensation for minerals away from the global sum, we do not leave so much to be distributed among the others. We on this side of the House think that the landowners are already getting a fairly generous, in fact, more than generous, deal out of this Bill. This Bill does not nationalise mineral rights. What it does, of course, is to pay compensation in respect of minerals that can be proved, which is rather different from nationalising mineral rights. I am glad we are taking that step because, after all, the minerals were not put there by the landowner. The landowner does not even know they are there until somebody else discovers them, and just because the minerals happen to be in the soil, there is no reason why the nation should be made to pay money to the person who happens to be in possession of the land at the time I do not think that we on this side of the House would accept that.

Therefore, I cannot agree with the suggestion which has been made by hon. Members opposite that this Bill should be rejected on those grounds. This Bill, dealing as it does with two major problems of today, firstly, development values, and, secondly, planning, is in my view an exceedingly necessary Bill. At the present time, we in Edinburgh are trying to plan very large portions of our town We are trying to add to the beauty of the town and to preserve it for the future. This Bill will assist us in that work. It will assist other large towns; it will assist the people of this country to preserve their heritage, and to see that their land, their holdings, and their raw materials are used in the best interests of the nation. For those reasons, I shall have very much pleasure in going into the Lobby in support of this Bill.

12.13 p.m.

Lord William Scott (Roxburgh and Selkirk)

We on this side of the House recognise that a Town and Country Planning Bill was necessary, but we do not accept the suggestion that this is the best Bill that could have been produced. As, undoubtedly, there has to be a separate Scottish Bill, we realise that it should be along roughly the same lines as the earlier English Bill. We do not expect differential treatment on the main principles, but where we quarrel with the Government on this particular Bill as it affects Scotland is on the question of the representation of Scotland on the Central Land Board, which is on quite a different footing from the suggestion that we wanted a different Measure from that which deals with England. I am firmly convinced that we deserve more Scottish representation on the secondary stage of planning for the future development of Scotland. I believe that, in the years to come, we shall probably get it. We shall find that it is necessary, and that it is not practical that so much of Scottish business should be determined by England.

I speak in full support of the Amendment. I do not wish to go over the ground which my hon. Friends have already covered so adequately, but there are certain points which I believe should be stressed. During the Committee stage, we realised that a very great deal more work was being placed on whoever holds the office of Secretary of State for Scotland. We know that the Secretary of State is already overworked, and does not have the necessary time to carry out the functions which are already part of that office. We believe that this Measure puts a great deal of additional work on to the Secretary of State, which was neither necessary nor desirable. He is being faced not only with many decisions that should have been arranged for in this Bill, but he is also being loaded, or it appears that he is to be loaded, with a considerable measure of patronage of one variety or another.

There are two or more points on which we on this side of the House hold views which are completely divergent from those held by the Government. On the question of compensation, the Secretary of State put the case very plainly. He said that he and his hon. Friends had never admitted or recognised the legal or moral right of landowners to development values or development rights. We on this side of the House take the opposite view. I suggest that it is not so much a question of whether his side of the House recognise or admit that right, or whether we on this side do; it is a question of whether the State does. The fact remains that whether hon. Members opposite like or dislike it, or whether we like or dislike it, the State, which we collectively serve, has, for a long period, certainly recognised the legal right. The State, being impersonal, is not bothered over the question of moral right, but, as I say, the State has recognised for a long period the legal, right, more particularly through its agent, the Treasury.

For a long time past, the Treasury has exacted taxation by way of Estate Duties on these definitely recognised legal development values. It is just as well that we should remember that Estate Duties of recent years have become very-onerous. Where the State has recognised the legality of these development values, and where it has demanded up to 60 per cent. of what it believed to be their value—in some cases on more than one occasion—it is rather difficult for this House to say that it does not recognise the legal right of landowners to possess development values. I can well understand that hon. Members opposite do not admit the moral right; that is a question of opinion. But to say that they do not admit the legal right, when, for years, that right has been admitted by the State, and when the State has demanded taxation on such existence, does not seem to be very sound sense.

However, I will pass from that to another point, which, I think wc must recognise, will be one of the results of this particular Measure. For years past in Scotland when any enterprising smallholder, tenant fanner or crofter improved his land or holding, in many cases it was only a brief while before the factor or agent came round, and, in view of the improvement in the value of the holding, put up the rent. That sort of thing, although it was not nearly so widespread as it is generally held to be, did undoubtedly take place in the past. Let us realise clearly that under this Bill we are perpetuating it for the future. The only difference is that in the future, instead of the landowner's factor or agent demanding a development penalty in the form of increased rent, it will be the Government agent who will penalise this enterprise and industry by demanding a development charge. It may be said," But he will not necessarily do it." There is no reason why, in the past, the landowner's factor or agent should have done it. In most cases he did not do it, and I can well believe that in most cases in the future the Government's agent will not do it, but. at the same time, we in this House are today perpetuating that state of affairs which I believe all decent Scotsmen have, for many years, regretted very much.

The other most distressing aspect of this Bill is the fact that it is a very unfinished Measure. Many of the most important parts of it are left for future work by this House or by the Ministry, in the shape of statutory orders or regulations—important business which, undoubtedly, should have been settled by the representatives in Scotland in committee—and we shall have no opportunity of measuring the value of this tail part of the machinery when it comes out in statutory orders and regulations. The result of the unfinished state of this Bill will be endless delay at a time when we need to get ahead with our plans. I realise full well that at the moment in Scotland, with the great shortage of labour and materials, we are not at present particularly affected by the delay which is already in process, but the time will come when labour and materials are available, and then we shall realise the delayed effect of this unfinished Measure.

12.22 p.m.

Mr. Scollan (Renfrew, Western)

I do not want to speak very long, as my hon. Friend the Member for North Edinburgh (Mr. Willis) has dealt with a large number of the points to which I had intended to refer. In view of some of the statements which have come from the opposite side of the House in opposing the Bill, I do not know whether it is a case of simply not wanting to understand the Bill or of wanting to misrepresent it. The Amendment states: That this House declines to give a Third Reading to a Bill which subjects the development of Scotland to the control of a Land Board located in London.… Anyone who has read the Bill knows that that is not true. To make such a claim is sheer political dishonesty. If one reads the Bill, one finds that instead of the Central Land Board in London dealing with the question of Scottish development, the whole question depends on the decision of the Secretary of State for Scotland. The Amendment continues: …and to the veto of the President of the Board of Trade. That is the point on which I interrupted the hon. Member for West Aberdeen (Mr. Thornton-Kemsley) regarding the trend of industry from North to South. During the last 40 years, everybody in Scotland has deplored the fact that many industries which started in Scotland ultimately found their way down to the South of England. The forerunners of the motor car industry started in Scotland.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Buchanan)

In the East End of Glasgow.

Mr. Scollan

Yes. The other day it was with dismay that I heard hon. Members talking about the highly skilled engineers who would be affected by a certain tax. Hon. Members were totally unaware that these industries had their birth in Scotland, and that that skill originated in Scotland among Scottish workmen and was brought South not by the Government of the day, but because there was no planning at all in this island, and because the only incentive in industry was to go to the place where the costs would be least and the profits highest.

This Bill sets out, although not entirely to my satisfaction, to remedy that state of affairs to a very large extent. In the first place, it has this feature, that if we had had it 40 years ago we would have saved many of the industries for Scotland. That feature puts the onus of planning on the local Scottish people. I was amazed by the effrontery of the hon. Member for West Aberdeen in talking of Scotland's interest, when, actually, he meant the Scottish landowners' interests. He spoke of Scotland as if the people of Scotland were to play second fiddle to the landowners of Scotland. The conflict of interest in the whole of this Bill is between the peoples' representatives on the burgh or county councils and the landowners in negotiating for the land. When the county or burgh councils say, "We want a plan; we will draw up a plan which will embrace so much land," who are the people who will be affected?—the landowners. The only point of difference is, how much will the landowners get out of it?

Immediately any Bill is introduced which adversely affects agriculture, I am against it. It has been brought home very forcibly to the people of this country that agriculture is far more important than they ever thought it was. We should do our utmost to save every square yard of agricultural land which can be saved. Had there been a Town and Country Planning Bill 50 or 60 years ago, there would not have been this monstrosity which we call the great City of London sprawled over a fertile valley, wasting land and lacking everything that people desire. We do not want that sort of thing in Scotland. This conflict between the planning authority and the landowner is now being reconciled by the sum of £300 million which is to be used for compensation. The man in the street, reading about the Debate, would be under the impression that the £300 million was to be used to buy the land. That is not so; it is to be used in compensation. For what sort of compensation is it to be used? Every time the industrious artisan class started a little industry which developed into a large industry, the land surrounding that industry became more valuable. The landowner did nothing to encourage that development, with very rare exceptions. He took no interest in it, and all he had to do was to sit tight while the value of his land increased. Then, when another portion of the land was required for the development of the industry, the landowner wanted a cut out of the prosperity which had been gained by the industry, and the price of the land was increased. In my opinion, this £300 million could be properly described as £300 million ransom money. This is a ransom. To give £300 million to the people who have been taking money they have had no right to take, and to say to them, "For goodness sake be content with it, and do not come back," is to pay a pretty tall price for that.

The last point I want to make is with reference to the words in the Amendment which say the Bill: by the removal of incentives to development …will hinder any policy for the full employment of the Scottish people. This Bill will remove incentives to development. I ask anyone how he can possibly imagine that there was any incentive to development when a landowner was sitting on the land someone else wanted to develop, and when the landowner could put his own price on it. Obviously, the removal of that dead hand is an incentive to development; it is not anything which is going to stop incentive. I do not know any single thing that can be said in favour of this Amendment. The last words of it are the worst of all: will hinder any policy for the full employment of the Scottish people. Of all the brazen effrontery, to put those words down there. Fancy putting in those words, after the history of Scotland in the Industrial Revolution, when the first steamship—the first metal ship—was built by the craftsmanship of the people of the Valley of the Clyde, when shipbuilding craftsmanship was born there, and when, in spite of that fact, and after we had developed all those industries, they were taken away, down to the south of England, and from there across to the Continent, and from there to America. Those industries developed Africa and India. All the locomotives of the Indian State Railways were made in Springburn, though the industry was removed from there to Crewe.

This Bill tries to remedy the stupidity of the capitalist system, its stupidity and greed, that made the capitalists leave Scotland to go to the South, and from there to India, Africa, Asia, Australia, America. This Bill is the first attempt to deal with the reasons why these industries were driven out of Scotland. I think that my hon. Friends on the opposite Benches might for once have had the decency to attend quietly the funeral of one of their rights claimed by the landlords—a right to which they had no real claim at all. I welcome the Bill.

12.33 p.m

Mr. Niall Macpherson (Dumfries)

I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman the Member for West Renfrew (Mr. Scollan) thinks this Bill is going to prevent industries which turn out in future to be unprofitable from moving down from Scotland, whether to England or elsewhere. I do not see how he is going to prevent that, short of nationalisation, which, as we know, runs everything at a loss.

Mr. Rankin (Glasgow, Tradeston)

What about the Post Office?

Mr. Macpherson

I should like to start by asking the Secretary of State one question. While there is a considerable amount of agreement on the principles of this Bill, the first thing this House must see to is that its application to the individual is not burdensome. In the Third Reading Debate on the English Bill an undertaking was given by the Minister of Town and Country Planning, that he would attempt, at any rate, to ensure that one single application by the individual would suffice for him to obtain a decision on his by- law application, on his ribbon development application, on his planning application, and on the development charge. I should like to ask whether one single application will do all that in Scotland?

The hon. Gentleman the Member for West Renfrew has just said that this is a Bill with which he is not entirely satisfied. We on this side agree with him. There is one reason why we are not entirely satisfied, and it is because we are not certain that hon. Gentlemen on the other side have got in their minds clearly what it is they are trying to do They have in their minds two objects The first is that, in the future, we should ensure that land required by the community can be purchased at the price of its existing use. I do not think that we on this side disagree with that. The second thing is that the values created by the community shall belong to the community. Very well, then. The trouble is to assess how much of the values are created by the community and how much are created by the individuals who own the land and who themselves have developed it.

One of the astonishing things in the Bill is, that while owners of developed land may sit tight and reap the benefit of any increase in the value of their property so long as they do nothing to improve it, owners of undeveloped land are deprived of their existing rights to do what they like with their property. We have to distinguish two things in connection with the owners of undeveloped land. The first is the right to appreciation in the value of their land through development elsewhere to which they have not contributed. Secondly, there is the right to change the use of their own land. It is that second use, that second right, of which they are being deprived. If a man is prepared to develop his own property; so far from the community contributing to the value of that land, he is contributing to the prosperity of the community.

The Bill puts many restrictions on owners of property that, to my mind, are quite unnecessary. It is ridiculous enough that a farmer who wishes to build a cottage for his farm workers has to obtain planning permission at a time when the powers that be are making the countryside hideous with "prefabs." and queer non-traditional houses. It is nothing short of an absurdity that he should have to pay for the right to do what hon. Members on the opposite side are blaming him for not having done in those uncertain days for agriculture before the war.

Again, this Bill enables a local planning authority to put a man and his family out of the house that he owns on payment of a notional price—a price that has no relation whatever to the market price of the property; and to add insult to injury, the Government say, "We shall not pay you the current value of your house which you would get if you sold it in the open market; we shall pay you a price less what we think is the premium for vacant possession. But, of course, we are insisting on vacant possession, though we shall not pay you for it, and, what is more, we call the price the market price, and we say we are doing justice. We hope that the local authority will offer you alternative accommodation of a sort, but that is not our business." What a travesty of justice all that it. We dare to be poor, but in our public life we should be honest.

Why should an owner of a house be limited to this development of a tenth only? What justification can possibly be given for that? Certainly, there is some from the point of view of planning permission—from the amenity point of view. Nobody objects more than I do to those excrescences of dormer windows that spoil so many of our streets in Edinburgh and elsewhere, certainly, from the planning point of view. But from the point of view of development charges, what on earth is the reason for charging a man for bettering himself, for improving his own property? I can see no justification whatever for it. This Bill entrusts the making of development plans to local authorities, but it still does not leave them to get on with the job. The Secretary of State has quite unlimited powers of interference. In Clause 7, the Bill says that he may give directions to any local authority individually for regulating the performance of their functions. It actually refers to: any local planning authority or to local planning authorities generally. Many of us may doubt whether the local planning authority is the best body to be chosen as the arbiters of taste in general, for the architecture and layout of the area. But we would much rather that they got on with the job than that they should be subject to the dictates of St. Andrew's House.

In my view it is wrong to take away so substantial a right as development value without compensation; and it is wrong to pick and choose those who are to receive payments, and the proportion of full compensation which each is to receive. It is wrong to single out one class, as it appears the Government are going to choose that sadly downtrodden race the big building contractors, for preference. It is wrong also to fly in the face of Scottish opinion, as the right hon. Gentleman is doing in setting his face completely against a separate board for Scotland, to which England is prepared to agree. He is doing this on his own opinion, and he is simply saying that if there were a separate board, then, necessarily, there would be a separate policy. Of course, that is not true. What we say is that there may be, in certain cases, that a separate policy is desirable, and for that reason we want a separate board. I fully agree that this Bill puts shackles on enterprise. Finally, there is no incentive to a man to sell his land for development, and there is no incentive for a man to buy land for development. The difficulties in this Bill are immense and quite unnecessary.

12.43 P.m.

Miss Herbison (Lanark, North)

After listening to this Debate today, and having listened all through the Second Reading and to a great part of the Committee stage, it seems to me perfectly clear that the main opposition to this Bill arises from the view that the £300 million is much too small a sum for compensation. Indeed, in listening to this Debate one begins to wonder whether this is a planning Bill for Scotland or is merely a Bill to decide what compensation we are to pay to certain people in Scotland. The hon. Member for West Aberdeen (Mr. Thornton-Kemsley) spoke—as we so often hear from the Opposition nowadays—about the individual who bought a piece of land, but had paid more than its face value because he hoped that after a time he would get extra money from it through development. According to the hon. Member, that man will lose as a result of this Bill. But, surely, the Opposition, who are such ardent believers in and supporters of private enterprise, must also subscribe to the view that if a man is a speculator he must take risks. There cannot be any objection to that, because the Opposition believe so seriously in it.

Perhaps I ought not to say I was surprised, but I did think it queer that such objection should be taken by the Opposition to the inclusion of payment for mineral royalties in this global sum of £300 million. If ever there was a case for confiscation as against compensation, it is, surely, in the matter of mineral royalties. No landowner did one jot of work in putting those minerals there, and I think they will be jolly lucky if they get anything at all out of this £300 million I remember only too well the feeling among our mining communities against the huge sum of money that was paid for mineral royalties throughout the whole of Great Britain.

The last part of this Opposition Amendment amazes me. Today we have 70,000 unemployed in Scotland. Between the wars we had a very great number of unemployed, and how the Opposition can possibly say that anything in this Bill will make the position for Scotland worse than it has always been is a source of great amazement to me. I do not want to go into the history of why, even today, we have 70,000 unemployed. The main reason is that between the wars, when we were not the Government, but when hon Members opposite were sitting in out places, there was no planning at all for Scotland. There was not then any of this shouting from Scottish Conservatives in this House, that Scotland was not getting a square deal. I know that if the President of the Board of Trade had not the right for the planning of industries or the location of industries we could not have obtained a factory for the women of a mining district in which I am interested; women who under Conservative rule had no work except domestic service. Under the President of the Board of Trade that mining district is getting, for the first time, work for our women; they will be able to work in the factory and enjoy a home life which hitherto those women and girls have never been able to have.

I say to our Secretary of State, and to those responsible for this Bill in Scotland, that we on this side of the House welcome it, thinking, of course, that the £300 million part of it is too much, but knowing full well that our mining districts—and I could take many hon. Members to the pits and show them the result of private enterprise and lack of planning—will benefit greatly from the Bill, Scotland as a whole will welcome this Bill, knowing that her needs will be met.

12.47 p.m.

Mr. J. S. C. Reid (Glasgow, Hillhead)

I regret that I am unable to share the optimism of the hon. Lady the Member for North Lanark (Miss Herbison) about the prospects for Scotland, with or without this Bill, under this Government. The main impression that has been borne in on my mind as I have sat through the prolonged proceedings on this Bill has been that it is not primarily a planning Bill at all. Considerable claims were made, following on claims which had been made for the English Bill, that it did great things of planning. I could understand the Minister in charge of the English Bill making those claims because, after all, he does have an enormous staff of some 1,300 people in his Department, and no doubt he has to put up some claim to justify them. But the Secretary of State for Scotland takes a much more realistic and, if I may say so, much better view of his functions as a planning Minister. He has, I think, only 33 members in his Town Planning Department, compared with 1,300 in the Ministry in England. Accordingly, it would not be right for him to press—and I do not think he does press—that this Bill greatly increases national as against local planning.

The function of the central Department ought to be supervision of the local planning authorities, but not interference with them. That has always been the view, and it ought to be the position in future; and the size of the right hon. Gentleman's staff makes it clear that he agrees with that view. I would say that on the planning side this Bill does some good—not much; it does some harm—not much; and it does not really advance matters very much. I do not share the views, which have been held by both sides of the House, that there was very much wrong before. I agree that a new planning Measure was necessary, but I do not agree that the old Measures were as bad as all that. I agree, they had not been worked, owing to the war and other reasons, as energetically as they might have been. I welcome the planning provisions for what they are worth.

I turn now to the real purpose of this Bill, which is the purpose with which I and my hon. Friends entirely disagree. The main purpose is confined to trying to develop Scotland and give employment to the Scottish people; but the Government must really make up their mind on their policy in regard to incentives. The parent of this Bill is hatred of profit, and nothing else.

Mr. Rankin

Is the Opposition's Amendment founded on love of profit?

Mr. Reid

The Opposition's Amendment is founded on what I believe to be the realistic view, that if we want to get prosperity in this country without the use of compulsion, we must provide incentives. I prefer incentives to compulsion, and we must have one or the other. In so far as this Bill takes away incentives, which it does to a large extent, it is prejudicing the future prosperity of Scotland. That is my answer to the hon. Member. The Government agree that it cannot tackle nationalisation of the land on a large scale, for many reasons. They agree that they must rely on the initiative of individual developers of the land of Scotland. The Government must really make up their mind whether they want to encourage, or hinder and hamper, the invidual. This Bill will hinder and hamper him, because it sets out to do so. The development charges machinery depends on the view that one can calculate in advance what profit is likely to be made by the developer, who is then charged anything up to 100 per cent. of that sum. Is that not going to hamper and hinder? So long as the industrialists of Scotland sit back and do not try to do anything, they are not touched. If there is any unearned increment in those circumstances, they get it without its being taxed, but as soon as they try to increase the size of their undertaking and provide more jobs, for the people, anything up to 100 per cent. of the prospective profit is to be taken away from them. It is bad enough to tax profit after it has been realised, and we know from P.A.Y.E. up to Surtax how hampering excessive taxation is; but it is far worse to tax people in anticipation of profit, and it is equally bad to tax people on no intelligible principle.

The right hon. Gentleman, in introducing the Bill, said that matters of com- parative detail were to be left to regulations. Is it a matter of comparative detail how the taxation framework on this point is to be adjusted? What sort of conditions are to apply when someone who wants to develop the land of Scotland comes up to be fined? Surely, that goes far beyond any point of detail? We have spent a good deal of time on this, and on how far the working of the development charges machinery will cause injustice, preventing and hampering the development of Scottish industry and the housing of the Scottish people. We can only state in general terms that we believe the effect will be very serious. We cannot go on to argue the details, because we do not yet know how the Government propose to work it, and I do not believe they know themselves. I really cannot see why, if they do know, we should not be told. I cannot see what there is to hide, if they know what they want to do and believe it to be just. If they do not believe their ideas to be just, there is good reason for concealment. Therefore, we are entering into a scheme, and no one yet knows what are its essential parts. That does not seem a good way to legislate on a matter which concerns the whole future of our country.

I attach great importance to the subject of compensation. This is the first Bill in which the Government have specifically denied the right of people to be compensated if their property is taken away. In all other cases, although the compensation may have been extremely inadequate, and may have been worth less than half the value of the property taken away, the right to compensation has been admitted. The right to compensation is here, for the first time, denied, and it is excused by mixing up two bad arguments to try to produce a good one. The two bad arguments are these. Firstly, that the value of land belongs, in some way, to the community, in the way that the value of other property does not. There really is no sense in that. The market value is reached in precisely the same way, whether it be land or any other property. The only difference is that in certain types of land there is a big element of monopoly value, whereas in certain types of other property the element of monopoly value is smaller. There are many other properties which have monopoly value, and many others which do not. Therefore, there is no distinction between the two. I know that Socialist pamphlets have stressed for generations this difference, and here we have the hangover of two generations of false economics.

Mr. Rankin

Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman suggest that where there is compulsory acquisition it will not be on the current market value?

Mr. Reid

I have not come to that, I am saying that it is wrong for the Government to take away any man's property and deny him compensation. It came out quite clearly in the proceedings on Report stage that it was proposed, by the operation of some kind of means test as yet undetermined, to take away from some people the valuable rights of property and deny them any kind of compensation. That seems to me to be a new principle, even for this Government, which we must mark and oppose.

The second of the bad arguments is the attempt to pray in aid the Uthwatt Committee, and to say that because it has not been usual for Parliament to pay an owner when the use of his property has been restricted in some way in the public interest, he should not therefore be compensated when his valuable rights are taken away from him for the purpose of exploiting them. That is what this Bill does. It takes away property from the owner, not for the purpose of preventing anyone from using it, but for the purpose of exploiting it on a commercial scale, making profit out of it. To say that rights are being taken away from people for the express purpose of making profits out of them, and paying no compensation, is poles apart from anything the Uthwatt Committee has said, and is wholly unjust and out of line with what even this Government have done in the past.

I pass to another topic. The right hon. Gentleman presented his argument as if all the Amendments that had been made since the Bill was introduced had been favourable to the points of view expressed from this side of the House, and were improvements from our point of view. I venture to point out that a number of Amendments, for the discussion of which we did not have adequate opportunity despite the length of the proceedings, made the Bill a great deal worse. One has to bear that in mind when one is acknowledging that other Amendments made the Bill better. I would mention the whittling away of dead ripe land by enabling the Secretary of State to cut down the category of dead ripe land without any reason being given, or any appeal. That is substituting for the rule of law the whim of the Minister. He may not use the power, but that is the power which the Bill now proposes to give him.

I should have thought that by this time the Government would realise that there is something to be said for the rule of law, for Parliament settling the rules, those rules being published, and everybody abiding by them. In the Bill, no rule is stated, or is even to be stated in regulations. The Minister has complete discretion to do as he chooses. There is no appeal. He need not tell us any reason. The whole thing rests with him and with him alone. It is that kind of thing to which we object and which is a growing trend in legislation. I stress it here. It is not by any means the first time that I have made these remarks, and I suspect that it will not be the last. I have always hoped that one day hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite will see the light, if we put it to them often enough. I will not take time to deal with other dangerous Amendments introduced on the Report stage. There were several. If anybody cares to look through the proceedings—I hardly think anyone will—of the late sitting we had the other night they will find that my remarks are justified.

Let me say, in conclusion, that the Government are setting up here something which might well be a despotic system. We are setting up a Secretary of State and a Central Land Board uncontrolled by rules laid down by Parliament. If that kind of system is to work, it is essential that the Central Land Board, or any land board, shall be in the closest touch with Scottish conditions, Scottish needs and Scottish feelings. I do not believe that it is possible for a board, composed and located as the Central Land Board is to be, to fulfil these needs. It is true that the Secretary of State has retained power of direction, but he has stated today that he thinks that there would have to be to a very large extent the same principles applying to both countries. I hope that does not mean that he will con- sider his power of direction is to be limited to mere detail.

I can assure him that if the affairs of this board turn out to be going as badly as I fear they will, we shall have to call the Secretary of State to account for failing to exercise his power of direction under the Bill. Let him not think that this power of direction is something to be held in reserve for a remote emergency. If the needs of Scotland are to be met to any extent at all, the right hon. Gentleman will have to exercise that power of direction pretty stringently. He may find himself at loggerheads with some of his Cabinet colleagues in the attempt to do so. One reason I should have liked to see a Scottish Board is to avoid conflicts which are inevitable if the right hon. Gentleman is to do his duty to his country.

Finally, one word about the Board of Trade. Some exception has been taken to the terms of our Amendment on this matter. I hope the point between us is clear. I have no objection at all to—in fact I welcome, as did the Coalition Government—the Board of Trade using their good influences upon industry in the right direction. I think we all do. The present proposal is not influencing industry in the right direction. It is preventing industry from going where it wants. Nobody is allowed even to extend an existing factory, let alone put up a new one, unless he gets permission from the Board of Trade; that is to say, a veto is given to the Board of Trade. A veto may be necessary in certain circumstances, but the veto here may be used as follows. I would like the Minister to tell me if I am wrong. Upstairs, he undertook to reexamine the matter. We have not had an opportunity to discuss it since then. Perhaps he will tell me now.

Suppose a Scottish industrialist wishes to start in Scotland an industry not yet represented in Scotland at all, and thereby to give employment to Scottish people. Under the Bill as it stands the President of the Board of Trade will be entitled-to say, and it may be his duty to say, "There is plenty of that industry already in England; you cannot start that industry in Scotland," although it is not represented in Scotland at all. In order to prevent that sort of situation arising, we wanted to introduce an Amendment to the Bill. I hope the Minister will be able to tell us that that is not a line which the President of the Board of Trade will take. One of our main troubles was to get a proper balance of industry in Scotland, but I cannot think that what I have just indicated would be a good way to achieve that balance.

1.7 p.m.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Buchanan)

We have come to the final stages of what is a great and in many ways a remarkable Bill, in the sense that it is technical, is fairly long, and deals with a subject which has never been tackled during my political experience, not even by the right hon. and gallant Member for the Scottish Universities (Lieut.-Colonel Elliot). An added responsibility was, therefore, thrown upon those in charge of government, and especially in government for the first time, in taking on a Measure of this kind. Much has been said for and against the Bill, but there is common ground in regard to the fact that, during the long Committee proceedings, we tried with fairness and courtesy, to examine the views of the Opposition. The right hon. and learned Member for Hillhead (Mr. J. S. C. Reid) has done himself less than justice. I have learned to respect him, although it has often been the case that he and I were on opposite sides of the argument. He has said that Amendments which we put down on Report not only made concessions to the Opposition point of view, but covered also points with which they disagreed. I can only think of two which might be referred to. The one was in regard to dead ripe land. We do not take the view that is taken by the right hon. and learned Gentleman. The second might be the comparatively minor matter that aroused his ire, relating to what we may call the labouring classes.

Mr. J. S. C. Reid

I can tell the hon. Gentleman at least two more. There was the concurrent acquisition of land along with the proceedings where an order was going to be made to apply to the land, and the re-framing of the Clauses from the 1945 Act greatly stiffened the position against present tenants and occupiers.

Mr. Buchanan

We took the opposite view, because there were concessions, I have not looked at that in the same light. If it had not been raised in Committee, we might not have altered it. I will now turn to some of the issues which have been raised. I want to single out the hon. Member for West Perth (Mr. Snadden) for answer. Hon. Gentlemen must not think that is discourtesy. I do so because I want to say a word or two on the issue he raised—agriculture and agricultural land. He raised the question of consultation with the agricultural executives. On Report stage the Secretary of State gave an undoubted assurance—and I repeat it now—that when the regulations were made steps would be taken to see that the agricultural executives were consulted. That statement stands. With regard to cottages which may be erected and may be part and parcel of the agricultural community, as long as those cottages remain agricultural cottages, we shall exempt them from the development charge. A cottage may be put up as an agricultural cottage, but it may not necessarily always remain one. When I sat on the Rent Control Committee, we found that one of the curses was the large number of agricultural cottages which were becoming week-end cottages for townspeople. We do not propose to exempt them.

The hon. Member for Dumfries (Mr. N. Macpherson) raised the question of unified forms. He made some remarks about our honesty, but he will be a very long time in politics and see a lot worse than he has seen so far. So far as unified forms are concerned, there are one or two difficulties, particularly in Scotland. We have what we call the Dean of Guild Court which is partly a legal instrument, and it is not right that in this Bill we should interfere with the powers of the Dean of Guild Court. I hope hon. Members will agree. We cannot have a form to cover that, but we are taking steps, in consultation with the local authorities, to see if we cannot get a uniform form or, if not a uniform form, forms to be issued at the same time in order to stop any kind of overlapping.

I hope I do not create a cleavage in the party opposite, but the hon. Member for West Aberdeen (Mr. Thornton-Kemsley) has always deviated slightly from the rest of the hon. Members opposite. J have always thought that he wanted this Bill in the main, and that he was a decent soul, and that he was like the sinner who tried to repent but was unfortunately not allowed to do so. I, therefore, make allowances for him. He welcomed the Measure on the planning side. Nobody else has ever said that so openly. All the others did it in a half-hearted, grudging manner, true to Scottish Toryism. With one or two notable exceptions, on this matter Scottish Tories have always been much more diehard than their friends across the Border. The hon. Member has differentiated himself. He has knowledge of the work on both sides of the Border. The only thing I will say about planning is that, whatever I think of my native country, the one thing of which I am certain is that planning is long overdue. The town of Greenock, with its hills behind it and the sea in front, should have been the most beautiful town in Britain. There is also the neighbouring town of Port Glasgow. Those two towns should have been the finest towns and monuments in Western Scotland, and they are waste, derelict and a shame. The charge against us is not that we are moving this Bill now, but that we are moving it years and years too late. From the planning angle I make no apology for the Bill.

Where do we come to the real cleavage? The real cleavage is over the development charge. The hon. Member said that one developer may have to pay and another may get away free. I agree that there may be some element of that sort, but I hope one day—though I may not be at this Box—to be a supporter of a Government which will remedy that by taking over land as a whole on behalf of the community. But that is not yet. In this Bill we leave the private ownership of land.

Let us take this charge about land development. On this there is a cleavage. I should like to say a word to the National Liberals. They constantly chide us almost with dishonest practices. Of all the parties, I should have thought that they would have retained a remnant of Liberalism. As a young messenger boy I listened to Alec Muir on development charges and the right to keep them for the community. I listened to the hon. Member for Dumfries throwing that over for the sake of a few Tory votes, and I wondered how far the old Liberal politics had gone-. We take the view that value is the thing which should go back to the community. It is created by the community. It is brought about not only by the present people, but by the people who have gone before us, and because of that we provide for the development charges to go to the State. The hon. Member asked a question about the Board of Trade, which was raised on Committee. I made it perfectly clear in Committee that I gave no undertaking to make any change. The Secretary of State was not present on that day. I did not assume that I was in charge of the Bill. If I had been, I should have refused anything.

What is the position? The hon. Gentleman says that a Scottish industrialist might want to extend a factory, and he asked whether it could be stopped. My answer is that under this Bill we are going to stop not only the Scottish industrialists but the English industrialists, and we say the balance, because of the stopping, will 'come to Scotland. What has been the practice in the past? There is the case of Stewarts & Lloyds, who made a decision to move certain of their factories from Lanarkshire to the Midlands. Nobody was consulted. Under this Bill, however, a Board of Trade and Government decision will be taken before anything like that is done to harm the community in the West of Scotland. When we are saying that to the English, when we are insisting on that, I say we have no right to exempt Scotland from the same provisions. I wish this had been done many years ago. The hon. Member for West Renfrew (Mr. Scollan) said, quite rightly, that the great motor industry had its origins in the East-end of Glasgow. Part of that development took place in Dumfriesshire when I was a lad, but it shut down almost over-night without any thought of the local community. The hon. Member for Dumfries thinks that is a good thing, that it means free enterprise and free work, and that no action should be taken by the community to stop it.

This Bill represents to us a struggle by the Labour and Socialist movement over many years. It represents to us not merely the planning of land, but the planning of industry. It represents to us, for the first time, an attempt to take that which belongs to the community and hand it back to where it belongs. These are things we have wanted to do. As regards the point made by the hon. Member for West Aberdeen about minerals we say that in the case of these minerals —with the exception of coal, which is now a national asset, so we leave it alone—which are worked and used, but whose origin is in the land, it is right and necessary that the community now, when we are tackling this Bill, should take the development charges and not wait, as has been done in the past, until legal rights are built up for which in the future the community might have to pay excessively.

The general principles of this Bill I defend, development charges I defend, land designation I defend. Its work in connection with agriculture, far from giving us any less, will make it better. Its Central Land Board will see that Scotland is fairly and reasonably treated. When I look at the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Scottish Universities (Lieut.-Colonel Elliot) on the Front Bench opposite, I wish I could depart from the rules of procedure and recount the past when the Scottish Office had not even a decent Scottish civil servant left. When I remember that, I say that our approach in this Bill is much better, and, on its general principles, I can defend it.

There is one thing which is worrying me, and I shall mention it at this Box so that the officials of my Department and of the Secretary of State's Department will see it placed on record. It is that a great deal of this Bill is machinery, dependent on a human approach,' dependent on flexibility and on knowledge. The outlines of this Bill are good, its principles are sound, and I say to those who will have to work it that, knowing the spirit in which the House of Commons will pass it, remember your country, remember the people in it, apply the Measure flexibly and intelligently. If you do that, it will be a landmark in the development charges coming to the nation, and in the proper planning of industry and commerce in Scotland; and it will help to make this Scotland of all of us a better country than it has been hitherto.

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

The House divided: Ayes, 162; Noes, 69.

Division No. 308.] AYES. 1.27 p.m
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Edwards, John (Blackburn) Lipton, Lt.-Col M
Attewell, H. C. Edwards, N. (Caerphilly) Longden, F
Awbery, S. S. Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel) McAdam, W.
Ayles, W. H Evans, E. (Lowestoft) McEntee, V. La [...]
Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B. Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury) McGovern, J.
Baird, J Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.) Maclean, N (Govan)
Balfour, A. Freeman, Maj. J. (Watford) McNeil, Rt. Hon. H.
Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J. Gallacher, W. Mann, Mrs. J.
Bechervaise, A. E. Ganley, Mrs. C. S Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)
Belcher, J. W Granville, E. (Eye) Mathers, G.
Berry, H. Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Wakefield) Mayhew, C. P.
Beswick, F. Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood) Mellish, R. J
Bevan, Rt Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale) Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly) Moyle, A.
Bing, G H C. Griffiths, W. D. (Moss Side) Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)
Blenkinsop, A Gunter, R. J. Nicholls, H R (Stratford)
Bowles, F. G (Nuneaton) Hale, Leslie Oliver, G. H.
Braddock, T. (Mitcham) Hastings, Dr. Somerville Orbach, M.
Bruce, Maj. D. W. T. Henderson, A. (Kingswinford) Parker, J.
Buchanan, G. Herbison, Miss M Parkin, B. T
Burden, T W. Hicks, G. Pearson, A.
Burke, W. A. Holman, P Peart, T. F.
Champion, A. J. Hay, J. Piratin, P.
Chetwynd, G. R. Hubbard, T. Porter, G. (Leeds)
Cocks, F. S. Hudson, J H. (Ealing, W.) Ranger, J
Collick, P. Hutchinson, H. L. (Rusholme) Rankin, J
Collindridge, F. Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.) Rees-Williams, D. K
Colman, Miss G. M Irving, W. J Reeves, J.
Corvedale, Viscount Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A Reid, T. (Swindon)
Crawley, A Janner, B. Robens, A.
Daines, P Jay, D. P T Robertson, J. J (Berwick)
Davies, Clement (Montgomery) Jeger, G (Winchester) Rogers, G. H. R.
Davies, Edward (Burslem) Jones, Rt. Hon A. C. (Shipley) Ross, William (Kilmarnock)
Davies, Hadyn (St. Paneras, S.W) Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools) Scollan, T.
Deer, G. Jones, Elwyn (Plaistow) Segal, Dr. S.
de Freitas, Geoffrey Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin) Shackleton, E A. A
Delargy, H. J. Keenan, W. Shawcross, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (St Helens)
Dodds, N. N. Kenyon, C. Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)
Driberg, T. E. N. Key, C. W Simmons, C. J.
Dugdale, J (W. Bromwich) Kirby, B. V. Skeffington, A. M.
Dumpleton, C. W. Leonard, W. Skeffington.Lodge, T. C.
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C Leslie, J. R. Skinnard, F. W.
Edelman, M. Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton) Smith, C. (Colchester)
Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.) Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare) Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W
Smith, S. H. (Hull, S.W) Thomas, Ivor (Keighley) Wilcock, Group-Capt C. A. B.
Snow, Capt. J. W Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Ed'b'gh. E.) Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)
Solley, L. J. Turner-Samuels, M. Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)
Sorensen, R. W Viant, S. P. Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Sparks, J. A Wadsworth, G Williams, W. R. (Heston)
Steele, T. Walkden, E Willis, E.
Stephen, C. Walker, G. H. Woodburn, A.
Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.) Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst) Wyatt, W.
Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.) Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.) Zilliaous, K.
Summerskill, Dr. Edith Wells, P. L. (Faversham)
Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth) Wells, W. T. (Walsall) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet) Westwood, Rt. Hon. J. Mr. Hannan and Mr. Popplewell.
Agnew, Cmdr. P. G. Gomme-Duncan, Col. A. Neven-Spence, Sir B
Amory, D. Heathcoat Grimston, R. V. Nicholson, G.
Beamish, Maj. T. V. H Hannon, Sir P. (Moseley) Nield, B. (Chester)
Beechman, N. A. Hare, Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge) Noble, Comdr. A. H. P
Bower, N. Harvey, Air-Comdre. A. V. Nutting, Anthony
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A. Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Osborne, C.
Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr J. A Hogg, Hon. Q. Peake, Rt. Hon. O
Challen, C. Jeffreys, General Sir G. Pickthorn, K.
Channon, H. Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W Ponsonby, Col. C. E
Clifton-Browne, Lt.-Col. G Kerr, Sir J. Graham Reid, Rt. Hon. J, S. C. (Hilihead)
Cooper-Key, E. M. Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H Robinson, Wing-Comdr. Roland
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon H. F. C. Lennox-Boyd, A. T. Sanderson, Sir F.
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Lloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew. E.) Scott, Lord W.
Crowder, Capt. John E Low, Brig. A. R. W. Smith, E. P. (Ashford)
Dodds-Parker, A. D McCallum, Maj. D. Snadden, W. M.
Drayson, G B. Macdonald, Sir P. (I of Wight) Spearman, A. C. M
Drewe, C. Mackeson, Brig. H. R. Studholme, H G
Dugdale, Maj. Sir T. (Richmond) McKie, J. H. (Galloway) Thornton-Kemsley, C. N
Elliot Rt. Hon. Walter Maclay, Hon. J. S. Touche, G. C.
Fletcher, W. (Bury) Macpherson, N. (Dumfries) Walker-Smith, D.
Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale) Manningham-Buller, R. E. Wheatley, Colonel M. J.
Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir D. P. M Marples, A. E.
Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D Marsden, Capt. A. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Gammans, L. D. Moore, Lt.-Col. Sir T. Major Conant and Major Ramsay

Question put, and agreed to.