§ Colonel Clarke
I beg to move, in page 15, line 6, after "show," to insert "reasonably."
I believe it will be found very difficult to find a really adequate definition for measuring the failure or success of an owner or farmer under supervision. This Amendment is put down to improve the drafting, and from the point of view of what I feel that the Minister's real intentions are. In moving the Amendment I want to put myself in the position of a county executive committee or a tribunal which has got to make a decision on dispossession. In reading the terms of the Clause, I see that the Minister has to be satisfied. As one of his servants or officers, I know the Minister has a very high standard and that he is not easily satisfied. At the same time I know he is a reasonable man who appreciates that, particularly with work done out of doors, it is very difficult to get the high standard that one wants. I think that anybody 318 who has to do with out-of-door work, either agriculture or soldiering, knows there are two characteristics of which note has to be taken: first, such work always takes longer than one expected, and, secondly, one seldom gets exactly the standard that is wanted and very very often it turns out differently from what is wanted. I believe that the Minister appreciates the difficulty of getting real perfection and when he is dissatisfied he would take reasonable notice of the many circumstances that stop him getting perfection. If these words were added to the Bill it would make it possible for his officers to interpret the Bill as I believe he would wish it to be interpreted.
§ The Solicitor-General
I am afraid that I have rather a short reply to the argument that has been advanced, and that is that I cannot for the life of me see why the words "reasonably satisfactory" are more satisfactory than the word "satisfactory" itself. "Satisfactory" is an ordinary, intelligible English term, and if people were asked to consider satisfactory improvements they would know exactly what it was they were asked to consider. On the other hand, I think they would have some difficulty in doing so when we get the word "reasonably" qualifying the word "satisfactory." It could lead to interminable tangles and instead of improving the Clause the word "reasonably" would make the position much worse, because people would really begin to wonder what it was they were asked to decide. It would lead to confusion and in my view the word "satisfactory" is perfectly satisfactory as it is.
§ Colonel Clarke
I regret that I failed to convince the hon. and learned Gentleman of what I was trying to say. "Satisfactory" in the eyes of the Minister must be perfect, but it is almost impossible to get perfection in anything of this sort within a short time, and, therefore, he might have to be content with second best. I do not want a provision inserted in the Bill which it is really impossible to implement truthfully. The Minister may obtain reasonable satisfaction, but if he has the standards which I believe him to have, he will never obtain satisfaction in the legal sense of the term.
§ Sir William Darling (Edinburgh, South)
I intervene in this matter only because of the somewhat plausible and unsatisfactory explanation given by the hon. and learned Gentleman. He wants to tell the House that the word "satisfactory" and the words "reasonably satisfactory" mean one and the same thing. I suggest to him that if I drink a glass of water it is satisfactory in so far as it quenches my thirst, but if I dilute it with my national beverage—a little Scotch whisky—it is reasonably satisfactory. I agree with my hon. Friend that the interpretation of this word, far from obscuring or confusing the Clause, gives it a clarity which the ordinary man, at any rate, will appreciate. I speak with some knowledge of agriculture because, I am proud to boast, I manage and farm some 300 acres on the borders of Scotland. If my speech has no other justification it has that of inducing the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, who is somewhat too modest and timid in this House, to come to his feet and speak on behalf of this Bill. I am confining myself now most strictly to the Clause whatever my temptations may be, and I address myself to the Clause—
§ Sir W. Darling
I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, I should have said that I address myself to this Amendment in support of the contention of my, hon. Friend that the addition of the word "reasonably" does elucidate and strengthen the Clause. I should be sorry if the hon. and learned Gentleman dethroned reason in association with such a word as "satisfactory." I hope that he will reconsider his view on this matter and make the Clause more acceptable to those who, like myself, believe in elucidation and modification. We have a hymn in Scotland which has a direct bearing upon this Amendment, Mr. Speaker, and I will quote only two lines:Thus to perfection's sacred height.We nearer still may rise.By the use and interpolation of the word "reasonably" we shall rise nearer to perfection's sacred height, and I commend that to the right hon. Gentleman
§ Sir G. Jeffreys rose—
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. and gallant Gentleman has already exhausted his 320 right to speak by seconding the Amendment.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ 9.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Hurd
I beg to move, in page 15, line 8, to leave out from "to," to the end of line 10, and to insert:order the sale thereof within three months from the date of so certifying and in the event of a sale not being effected by the owner within the said period the Minister shall have power to sell the same on behalf of the owner and shall account to the owner for the proceeds of such sale.The effect of this Amendment is to deprive the Minister of power automatically to purchase land compulsorily where an owner is being dispossessed on grounds of bad husbandry, and to insert instead a requirement that the Minister shall order the sale of the land within three months. If the owner who is being dispossessed on grounds of bad estate management fails to sell the land within three months then the Minister shall have power to sell it, and shall account to the owner for the proceeds of the sale. We feel that it will not really be helpful to the smooth working of this Bill or, indeed, to economy in public affairs, if the Minister, through the Land Commission, is to own odd patches of land all over the country which he has acquired under this Bill because they were being badly managed by their owners.
On this side of the House, we do not find any particular magic in the public ownership of land—even by a Land Commission as proposed under this Bill. Ownership of land by the Minister and its management by the Land Commission may prove a very great embarrassment to the proper working of the Bill. We fear that it will slur over what we hope may be good features of the Bill by some of its very bad features. Moreover, Parliament will want to know year by year, the results of these activities of acquiring land and managing it under the Clause. Rather than cumbering himself with the ownership of patches of unsatisfactorily managed land it would be better if the Minister required the owner who had fallen down on the job, to sell his land within three months. If the owner did not do so, if he were a difficult man, the Minister should then have power to sell the land in the open market, so that somebody else could take it on and manage it properly. There are many people who 321 would be only too ready to put their money and their skill into the ownership of land. We believe that that is for the good of the country. We do not believe in the State putting its dead hand on patches of land throughout the country.
§ Mr. York
I beg to second the Amendment.
I do so on three grounds. The first is that, as the Clause stands there is no option for the Minister to do anything but to purchase the land. The test which we should apply in deciding where land should go and how it should be managed is the efficiency with which that land can be managed. In a large number of cases where an owner-occupier is dispossessed, and the management is taken away from him, that small plot of land will be like an island, and will probably be a long way from other pieces of land of a similar sort. In order to manage those pieces of land in the proper way, the agent will have to make long journeys. There will be no possibility of carrying out the duties of ownership, repair and maintenance properly. In general, those pieces of land will be divorced from the main activities of the Land Commission. Surely, the efficient management of these odd pieces of land would be far more easily attained if the land was sold to an owner occupier approved by the Minister. A landowner might be at an Oxford college and might not be able to carry out the maintenance and repair jobs.
It would be far better, instead of giving the Minister no latitude at all if the owner who is not carrying out the job properly could sell the land to a purchaser who would be a better and keener owner. The Minister will know that the land will be under supervision and therefore subject to the ordinary provisions of Part II. It is far better that it should go to a man like that, than that it should pass into the hands of a commission which, at best, could only give it, a cursory inspection from time to time if it is an isolated site, and in any case will not of itself necessarily, or even probably, increase the efficiency with which that land is managed. Quite apart from the fact that we see no great advantage, to put it very mildly, in the State owning this land, reasons of good management and efficiency in the running of the land demand that it should be sold to another 322 private owner, be it a corporate body or a private neighbouring land owner or owner-occupier. Without a great deal of hope, I admit, we recommend this to the Committee as a far better alternative to ownership by a Land Commission.
§ Mr. T. Williams
The purpose of the Amendment is to provide that where an owner is being dispossessed on the grounds of bad estate management the Minister should not have power to buy the land compulsorily. He would have to order the landlord to sell within three months, and if the landlord failed to do so, then the Amendment turns the Minister into an estate agent. The Minister would have to sell the land and account to the landowner for the proceeds. The hon. Member for Newbury (Mr. Hurd) and the hon. Member for Ripon (Mr. York) never even suggested that the Minister should get a commission out of the sale. I am rather amused at the solicitude for the State of those two hon. Members. They think it would be intolerable for the State to have to buy little bits of land here and there and that it would impose an intolerable burden on the poor wretched Land Commission. I quite appreciate the Opposition's objection to State acquisition of land. It is a good old Tory prejudice. It dies very hard indeed.
§ Mr. Williams
It is true that the Tories die hard too, but long before that they do on occasions become utterly ineffective and this appears to be one of those moments. There seems to be no need for this Amendment. The owner can sell his land at any moment during the course of the supervision order. If he is placed under supervision, which must run 12 months before the Minister can do anything about dispossession, down to the 29th day of the eleventh month he has power to sell if he wishes to. There is, therefore, no necessity for the Minister to give him three months more, in which to sell land which he could have sold at any time during the previous 12 months. If at a later stage, however, after being given an opportunity to sell, he fails to improve his management, then it is right and proper that the State should have the right to purchase that property. If he were allowed to sell at that stage, after the expiry of 12 months during which he had been under supervision, the State 323 would have absolutely no guarantee that the estate would be better managed in future than it had been in the past. It could be sold to anybody with or without cash or capital, and to that extent we should have no power. The Bill is designed to produce agricultural efficiency, and agricultural efficiency carries with it good estate management.
Therefore, it seems to me that in a case such as we have in mind, once the State has had a person under supervision for 12 months, once it has prevailed upon the estate owner to improve his management and he has failed to do so, the State is at least entitled, from that moment onwards, to say that the estate in future is to be better managed than it has been in the past. In any case, the estate must prima facie have been badly managed or the estate owner would not have been dispossessed. That implies, therefore, that probably a good deal of money will require to be spent to bring the farm back to a decent state of management. I submit that, despite the fact that there is a genuinely prosperous agriculture, due to this Bill, during the period of this Government, and that there are plenty of would-be buyers of agricultural land, that is no reason why the State should not take possession and exercise control over the future management. This Amendment seems to me to have no merit—not even political merit—and I hope the House will reject it.
§ Mr. Joynson-Hicks
The logical outcome of the right hon. Gentleman's argument would be to put a stop to all sales of all agricultural property, because he said that if one puts up property for sale, one does not know who will buy it, whether it will be a bad farmer or a person who has insufficient capital. That applies to anybody who sells a farm on the open market. Wiley should it apply any more when a farm is put on to the open market because of a compulsory order for possession. I do not think there is anything that can be accepted in the Minister's argument. Everybody will know, when he goes into the market to buy a farm in respect of which an order has been made, that it is likely to require a substantial amount of capital to be put into it to bring it up to a standard of efficiency, and a person will buy it with that knowledge in view, and the 324 further knowledge that if he does not bring the farm up to a proper standard of efficiency he, too, in turn, will first of all have a supervision order made against him, and subsequently, if he fails to comply therewith, he will be subject to a compulsory order for acquisition. I cannot see that there is any merit in the right hon. Gentleman's argument.
Perhaps I may again refer to a statement on somewhat similar lines that was made by the Joint Parliamentary Secretary in the Standing Committee. First of all, the Parliamentary Secretary said that it was common ground that estate owners were trustees for the nation. I am not sure what he meant by that, but the phrase was again used by him very shortly afterwards, when he said that he did not think that it would be contended that the State was less able to put an estate in good condition in conformity with the minimum standards of good estate management than a private owner. I would not dissent from that view, but even the Government spokesman on that occasion did not claim that the State would be able to put an estate into a better condition or into better conformity with the rules of good estate management than a private owner, and when not even the Government claim that, it is difficult to see why they should now be arguing that it is right and proper, in the interests of good estate management and good agriculture, that, rather than give the opportunity to another individual to enter into the agricultural world, as an estate owner or an estate manager, the State itself should take over the property by compulsory acquisition.
May I refer again to the point made by the right hon. Gentleman. I think it is a most specious point. For once, that deep fund of psychology from which the right hon. Gentleman is generally able to advise the House is wanting. He pointed out that for II months and 29 days, the owner of the property will have the opportunity of selling it himself. I quite agree with him, but not even the right hon. Gentleman can claim to have all his arguments both ways. We have just been hearing from him that a supervision order which in certain circumstances leads up to a dispossession order, is a happy state of affairs which will be welcomed by the majority of farmers throughout the country. If that be so, then no farmer 325 or estate manager or owner will, during that happy time, say, "The outlook is so black that I have to sell." He will hang on to his farm or to his estate, working in co-operation with the friendly advisers who are all out to help him, in the belief for 11 months and 29 days that he will be able to pull the farm round and bring it into a satisfactory condition. Two days later the right hon. Gentleman changes his mind and says, "Ah, that is all wrong. You have been under a supervision order which was a warning that unless you mended your ways, unless you brought your estate into good and proper repair, a penalty would be inflicted and your estate or farm would be acquired compulsorily."
I maintain that the right hon. Gentleman cannot have it both ways. Even if he argues, as I do not think he is entitled to do, that compulsory acquisition is a proper penalty upon a farmer or an estate owner for having failed, with the assistance of the county committee, to bring the farm or estate into a satisfactory condition—even then I put it to him that it is not in the interests of the agricultural industry as a whole. It is arguable, as the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher) would argue frequently, that it is best in the interests of the industry for the whole of the agricultural community to be nationalised and managed by the State. It is equally arguable that it is in the best interests of the industry for it to be under private enterprise, but one thing which is not arguable is that it is in the best interests of the industry to go half and half. We cannot possibly have a free system such as the Government are conceding generally, and to inject into that system a partial percentage of State ownership and State management of farms without killing the initiative and efficiency of the industry.
I ask the right hon. Gentleman to look at it from this point of view. If you stultify the free market in farms; if you prevent people coming into the industry from buying land for agricultural purposes, from taking up farms and bringing new blood and new money into the industry, by this system of compulsory purchase and the handing over of the property to a Land Commission, you will do far more harm to the agricultural community and industry than you ever would by the one chance in 10,000 of getting into the ownership of the property, a 326 person who is not able to carry out the business of farming or estate management as well as the Agricultural Land Commission. Therefore I ask the House to support this Amendment so as to give an opportunity to the owner or the farmer to effect a sale in the open market on the orders of the Ministry of Agriculture. It is no more than that, and I cannot see why the Minister should not give the person who is under the supervision order, an opportunity to dispose of his own property.
Mr. Scott-Elliot (Accrington)
Speaking as one who did not take part in proceedings upstairs, I will be very brief. I was very disappointed with the speech of the hon. Member for Newbury (Mr. Hurd), who I thought would make a substantial case. I suggest that we should look a little deeper into this matter. Is this going to be a fair deal for the State and for the owner? I think that what is proposed in the Bill is fair to both. As the Minister has pointed out, there is nothing whatever to prevent the owner selling up to the last moment. If it is a decent property, it will be in his interest to sell, and he will sell. But, if it is badly neglected—and very likely it will be seeing that it is badly farmed—he might not be able to sell. The Amendment requires the Minister to make a forced sale of that property to an unwilling buyer. The owner, in other words, would get a miserable price. It is in the public interest that the property should come into the hands of the State, because the State would be more likely to be willing to put up capital to put the place in order, and to have it properly farmed. I imagine, and no doubt my right hon. Friend will correct me if I am wrong, that instead of getting the 1939 price, as the owner would have obtained some time ago, he would get the up-to-date price, and at the same time would be putting the land into the hands of the State.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Corbett (Ludlow)
I take very strong objection to compulsory purchase, and I think the Minister has put up a very poor case in rejecting the Amendment. He gave no indication as to how he could economically administer a great number of widely dispersed units. He told us nothing about the price at which the proposed purchase would be computed, and how owners are to judge 327 whether they will get a better price from the Minister than in the open market.
§ Mr. T. Williams
The hon. and gallant Member must be aware that if the landowner feels disposed to sell his farm in the period in which he is under supervision he gets the open market value.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Corbett
I am coming to that, and it is another great weakness about compulsory purchase. The Minister should say how he proposes to reckon the value of the land. The hon. Member for Accrington (Mr. Scott-Elliot) said that if the property were put for sale the owner would get a miserable price because it was in poor shape. But in actual fact the value of agricultural land does not depend very greatly on the condition of the buildings. It depends on the district in which it is situated, and on the value of the soil. Any good farmer or landowner is prepared to buy land at a fair price, provided the land is basically sound, and in a good district. The Minister has not told us whether there is any alternative to compulsory purchase, and I think he should have told us something about that. In an interjection, he said that an owner had an opportunity of selling during the time in which he was under supervision. That is one of the worst features of this compulsory purchase. Every landowner under supervision will have to gamble as to whether it is going to pay him to try to improve his land while under supervision or to sell in the open market and to get the best price he can while he still has the power to sell. That is a very bad feature.
The whole object of the Bill as the Minister frequently tells us is to create confidence and to help people who are not doing well to improve their land and to give them an opportunity of putting it into good shape. The position as it stands means, as I have already stated, that the owner has to make up his mind whether it will pay him best to sell and get out, or to try to improve the estate. I hope that under these circumstances the Minister will consider accepting this Amendment. Another point to be considered is that if the Minister is to take compulsorily all this land which has come under supervision he will tend to drive up the prices of that amount of land which remains for sale in the open market. Will the Minister follow the rise in prices in his compulsory purchases of land from which he has dis- 328 possessed the owner? I hope that he will answer some of these points, and accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. Hugh Fraser (Stone)
We on this side of the House see two evils, that of the forced sale and that of the forced purchaser, which must be the State. The State will be forced to purchase these estates or plots of ground which, through inefficient management, are compulsorily sold. If these estates are in a poor condition the ideal person to manage them is some individual who is prepared to buy them out and make a really good job of putting them on a paying basis, not some large body like the Land Commission. It is certain that some of the estates will be in poor condition, and that the labyrinthine working of the Land Commission will not prove anything like as effective as the drive of someone who puts up the money himself with the intention of making a good show of the venture.
The second point is the question of resale. Supposing there is the compulsory sale of an estate which is not suitable for the Land Commission to run; it well may be the type of estate which the Land Commission is not prepared to manage. Whose duty is it to make a decision? The Minister will have to decide then whether there is to be a re-sale of such estates. To turn to the point of the forced sale, it is manifest that the effect which the Minister has pointed out through all the stages of the Bill, the beneficial effect of supervision, will be reduced, to nil. As my right hon. Friend has said, any owner, once under supervision, will be forced to become a gambler—to decide whether to push on with the help of the Agricultural Committee, which has been promised, to make a going concern of the estate and pull himself out of the rut of supervision, or to gamble for a forced sale, and depart from the spirit of the Measure by letting the land decline. That is what this unpleasant Clause does. It is a Clause which, I agree, must exist in some form, but I suggest that it is here in a bad form in that it compels not only the forced sale but also a forced purchaser, which is the State.
§ 10.15 p.m.
§ Brigadier Peto (Barnstaple)
Two matters of principle occur to me. The first is the question of whether it is better to farm land under State ownership or under 329 private ownership. These are the fundamental differences between this side of the House and hon. Members on the Government benches. The Minister of Agriculture said that this Bill is designed to improve the efficiency of agriculture. I am afraid that it may be designed as a first stepping stone to the nationalisation of the land.
§ Mr. Speaker
This Amendment merely deals with ordering the sale within three months. Already this discussion is getting very wide.
§ Brigadier Peto
The Amendment raises two questions of principle. The hon. Member for Accrington (Mr. Scott-Elliot) has said that the State is more likely to pay a fair price and put up proper buildings, and so on, when they have acquired the land, than a private individual. That brings up the question of the spending of public money which an ordinary private individual cannot—
§ Mr. Speaker
That again is quite outside the scope of this Amendment. The hon. and gallant Member really must confine himself to the Amendment.
§ Brigadier Peto
I ask the Minister to reconsider this matter which is one upon which everybody in the farming community feels very keenly. It has caused quite a stir in my part of the country. I resent the State being allowed to purchase land compulsorily.
I want to address a few remarks from the point of view of the owner-occupier. I think the Minister is well aware that more owner-occupiers were dispossessed during the war than any other class of owner. The Minister is not being hard on the owners of the large estates The hardship will fall on the smallholder. The smallholder occupier is an optimist, or he would never be a farmer. During the 11 months and 29 days while he is under supervision, he will be optimistic enough to think that he will be allowed to carry on at the end of the 30th day. It will be somewhat of a shock to him when he wakes up to find that the State have decided that he is not to carry on and that they are to take his farm from him.
I ask the Minister to consider the arguments. If he does not agree with the Amendment as it is worded, can he not 330 think of some other method by which he can give the owner under supervision a fair crack of the whip? If he thinks three months is too much, I suggest that two months would be sufficient for the owner to dispose of his farm. If the Minister is not prepared to go as far as that, I suggest that before the 12 months is up—at the end of 10 months—the Minister should intimate to the owner under supervision whether or not he will be able to carry on. That would give him an opportunity of selling the farm within two months. If the man is stupid enough not to take the opportunity of selling, then he will not get much sympathy. If the Minister cannot agree to the Amendment, I ask him to consider whether he can find a way in which to give fair play to the smallholder occupier who will be the man most likely to be dispossessed.
When the hon. Member for Accrington (Mr. Scott-Elliot) was examining this Amendment, he did so from the point of view of the owner and of the State. He forgot someone who is very important. I refer to the new owner who wants to come into the industry. This country alone, of all the countries of Western Europe, has for years had a free market in land. Land is very much cheaper and more easy to buy in this country than in any other country in Western Europe. I should be surprised if any hon. Member could suggest any country where the market in good land is wider or cheaper. Since, under this Bill, the Minister's powers over land are so restrictive, it is likely that, in the near future, that particular privilege of the natives of this country will be taken away from them. The market in land will be restricted, and the prices of land will rise enormously. I think that, perhaps, the Minister's reputation in years to come will rest, not so much upon having stabilised prices as on having removed the free market in land.
§ Captain Crookshank
I am glad we have had some discussion on this question, but I am rather surprised that no one has spoken from the Liberal Benches, because hon. Members there were interested in this matter at an earlier stage. It was worth having this Debate, if for no other reason than that of calling the attention of hon. Members here, and the public outside who are interested in our proceedings, to the speeches of the Minis- 331 ter to be found in columns 319 and 320, and those of his Parliamentary Secretary in columns 316 and 317, in the OFFICIAL REPORT of the Committee's proceedings on a similar Amendment. They will find it laid down there as a pure doctrine of Socialist procedure, that if a case has been expounded by one speech from the Government, and one from the Opposition, there is no point in having any further Debate. It is a most astonishing theory, and it is only the fact of our having this Amendment discussed which enables me to call attention to it.
Of course, there is a difference of opinion between the two sides of the House on this issue, but I do not Understand why the right hon. Gentleman should end his speech by saying that this is a poor Amendment and that it has no political merit. We do not look for political—reasons—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] We realise, from the applause which that remark occasioned from hon. Members opposite, that they put forward everything on purely political grounds, but we do not. We have been trying all through the progress of this Bill, to help the right hon. Gentleman, and he has been good enough on many occasions to acknowledge the help we have given.
On this Amendment, it scans to me that there is really one test, the test which the Minister himself wants to apply all through this Bill, the test of efficiency. Which is going to be the most efficient way of handling this problem in the long run? The right hon. Gentleman did lead us astray—I do not think he meant to do this with those of us who are not very expert in the finer points of this Bill, but he did rather lead us astray when he said that there was nothing to prevent the owner, during the 11 months and 29 days in which he was under supervision, from selling out. Of course there is not, but that is not the point. The point is what happens, when is the Minister going to say that there is to be a certificate of dispossession? How is the man to know that there is going to be a certificate of dispossession? Then, what becomes of the argument advanced by the hon. Lady and others earlier? The, whole point of supervision was to clear the ground nicely and help people to carry on with good husbandry and good manage- 332 ment. We are now told that we knew all along what was to be the case. That is the conclusion to which we are driven—that dispossession will automatically follow, and I do not think the right hon. Gentleman really means that—
§ Mr. T. Williams
I do not think the right hon. and gallant Gentleman can take it that I meant that at all. He knows that I meant that the State will know in the case of the supervision order whether the owner is trying to improve or not.
§ Capt. Crookshank
But that is not the test. The test which the Minister has to apply when he gives the certificate is not whether the owner is trying, but whether or not certain fairly satisfactory improvements are being made—quite a different thing. After that rather unfortunate interjection of the Minister's may I come back to the point which I was trying to make. His argument is that under this Bill we have to try to see how we are going to get the greatest efficiency. Very well. We say that the greatest efficiency does not automatically follow the Minister purchasing compulsorily. He claims that it does. We say—and several of my hon. Friends have said it with greater strength than I can—that somebody coming in and buying this property, which the Minister under this Amendment will have to sell, will be just as likely to put it in good order as is the Minister through his Commission, but with the difference that the private purchaser will be doing it at his own risk and with his own money, and the Commission will be doing it with the money of the taxpayers. [An HON. MEMBER: "That will be much better."] I do not know that taxpayers will agree about that. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman is in such a high grade of Surtax that the little 6d., one way or the other, does not matter.
As I say, on the point of efficiency, that is the difference of opinion between us. I dare say we may never agree on that point. The Minister thinks it will be more efficient for the State to do it at public expense. We say that that is not proven, and that it would be much better to do it in the way we suggest, and that there should be a compulsory sale in the open market when the private purchaser could 333 come into play and the place could be put in good order. There is no reason in the world why it should not.
I wish to end on this point of efficiency. The Minister, of course, knows, although some hon. Members do not, that Clause 13 is still there, and that any dispossession of land will not affect the position. Therefore, he will be able to keep up all his ordinary efficiency, in spite of the fact, as the result of accepting this Amendment, that a private person has bought the
§ property. We are quite convinced of the rightness of our point of view. I have no doubt that the Minister, who has repeated the line he adopted on the Committee stage, is also convinced of the rightness of his point of view. For our part we would like to put our view on record by going into the Division Lobby.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 247; Noes, 98.335
|Division No. 235.]||AYES.||[10.30 p.m.|
|Adams, Richard (Balham)||Durbin, E. F. M.||Mack, J. D|
|Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South)||Dye, S.||McKay, J. (Wallsend)|
|Alien, A. C. (Bosworth)||Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Mackay, R. W. G. (Hull, N.W.)|
|Alpass, J. H.||Edwards, N. (Caerphilly)||McKinlay, A. S.|
|Anderson, A. (Motherwell)||Evans, John (Ogmore)||McLeavy, F.|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)||MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)|
|Attewell, H. C.||Ewart, R.||Mann, Mrs. J.|
|Ayles, W. H.||Fairhurst, F.||Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)|
|Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B||Farthing, W. J.||Marquand, H. A.|
|Bacon, Miss A.||Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.)||Mathers, G.|
|Baird J.||Foot, M. M||Medland, H. M.|
|Balfour, A.||Forman, J. C.||Mellish, R. J.|
|Barstow, P. G.||Fraser, T. (Hamilton)||Middleton, Mrs. L.|
|Barton, C.||Freeman, Peter (Newport)||Millington, Wing-Comdr. E R|
|Battley, J. R||Gaitskell, H. V. N.||Mitchison, G. R.|
|Bechervaise, A. E||Gallacher, W.||Monslow, W.|
|Benson, G.||Ganley, Mrs. C. S.||Moody, A. S.|
|Berry, H.||George, Lady M. Lloyd (Anglesey)||Morgan, Dr. H. B|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Gibbins, J.||Morley, R.|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Gibson, C. W.||Morris, Lt.-Col. H. (Sheffield, C.)|
|Blyton, W. R.||Gilzean, A.||Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)|
|Boardman, H.||Glanville, J. E.(Consett)||Mort, D. L.|
|Bowden, Flg.-Offr. H. W.||Gooch, E. G.||Moyle, A.|
|Bowen, R.||Gordon-Walker, P. C.||Murray, J. D|
|Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton)||Greenwood, A. W. J (Heywood)||Nally, W|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl, Exch'ge)||Grenfell, D. R.||Neal, H. (Claycross)|
|Braddock, T. (Mitcham)||Grey, C. F.||Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)|
|Brook, D. (Halifax)||Grierson, E.||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P J (Derby)|
|Brooks, T. J (Rothwell)||Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)||Oldfield, W. H|
|Brown, George (Belper)||Guy, W. H.||Oliver, G. H.|
|Brown, T J (Ince)||Hall, W. G.||Paget, R. T.|
|Buchanan, G.||Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)|
|Burden, T. W.||Hannan, W. (Maryhill)||Palmer, A M F.|
|Burke, W. A.||Hardy, E. A.||Pargiter, G. A|
|Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.)||Hastings, Dr. Somerville||Parker, J.|
|Byers, Frank||Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)||Paton, J. (Norwich)|
|Carmichael, James||Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)||Peart, Capt. T. F.|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Herbison, Miss M.||Piratin, P.|
|Champion, A. J.||Hewitson, Capt. M||Poole, Major Cecil (Lichfield)|
|Cobb, F. A.||House, G.||Porter, G. (Leeds)|
|Cocks, F. S||Hoy, J.||Price, M. Philips|
|Coldrick, W.||Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.)||Proctor, W. T.|
|Collindridge, F.||Irving, W. J.||Pryde, D. J.|
|Collins, V. J.||Janner, B.||Pursey, Cmdr. H.|
|Colman, Miss G. M||Jeger, G. (Winchester)||Randall, H. E.|
|Comyns, Dr. L.||John, W.||Ranger, J.|
|Cook, T. F.||Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools)||Rankin, J.|
|Cooper, Wing-Comdr. G||Jones, Elwyn (Plaistow)||Rees-Williams, D. R|
|Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camberwell, N. W.)||Jones, J. H. (Bolton)||Reid, T. (Swindon)|
|Corlett, Dr. J.||Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)||Rhodes, H.|
|Corvedale, Viscount||Kendall, W. D||Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth)|
|Crawley, A.||Kenyon, C||Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N)|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Kinley, J.||Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)|
|Daggar, G.||Lang, G.||Rogers, G H. R.|
|Davies, Clement (Montgomery)||Lee, F. (Hulme)||Ross, William (Kilmarnock)|
|Davies, Edward (Burslem)||Leonard, W.||Royle, C.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Leslie, J. R||Sargood, R.|
|Deer, G.||Levy, B. W.||Shackleton, E. A A|
|Delargy, H. J.||Lewis, T. (Southampton)||Sharp, Granville|
|Diamond, J||Lindgren, G. S.||Shawcross, C N. (Widnes)|
|Dobbie, W||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M||Shawcross, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (St [...]|
|Donovan, T.||Lyne, A. W.||Shurmer, P|
|Driberg, T. E. N||McAdam, W.||Silverman, J. (Erdington)|
|Dumpleton, C. W.||McGhee, H. G||Simmons. C J|
|Skeffington, A. M.||Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)||Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)|
|Skinnard, F. W.||Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)||Williams, D. J. (Neath)|
|Smith, C (Colchester)||Thomas, George (Cardiff)||Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)|
|Smith, Ellis (Stoke)||Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)|
|Smith, S. H. (Hull, S.W.)||Timmons, J||Williamson, T.|
|Snow, Capt. J. W.||Titterington, M. F||Willis, E.|
|Solley, L. J.||Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G.||Wills, Mrs. E. A.|
|Sorensen, R. W.||Ungoed-Thomas, L.||Wilmot, Rt. Hon. J|
|Soskice, Maj. Sir F.||Usborne, Henry||Wise, Major F. J.|
|Sparks, J. A.||Vernon, Maj. W. F.||Woodburn, A.|
|Stamford, W.||Viant, S. P.||Woods, G. S.|
|Steele, T.||Wadsworth, G.||Yates, V. F.|
|Stross, Dr. B.||Warbey, W. N.||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Stubbs, A. E.||Watkins, T. E.||Younger, Hon. Kenneth|
|Swingler, S.||Watson, W. M.||Zilliacus, K.|
|Sylvester, G. O.||Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)||Weitzman, D.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.||Mr. Pearson and|
|Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)||Wigg, Col. G. E.||Mr. Michael Stewart.|
|Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Amory, D. Heathcoat||Grant, Lady||Nicholson, G.|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Hannon, Sir P. (Moseley)||Noble, Comdr. A. H. P|
|Barlow, Sir J.||Hare, Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge)||Osborne, C.|
|Beamish, Maj. T. V. H.||Harvey, Air-Comdre. A. V.||Peto, Brig. C. H. M.|
|Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. (Wells)||Haughton, S. G.||Ponsonby, Col. C. E.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir C||Poole, O. B. S. (Oswestry)|
|Bower, N.||Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Prescott, Stanley|
|Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G.||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Raikes, H. V.|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W.||Hollis, M. C.||Ramsay, Maj. S|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Hope, Lord J.||Renton, D.|
|Butcher, H. W.||Hudson, Rt. Hon R. S. (Southport)||Roberts, Maj. P. G. (Ecclesall)|
|Carson, E.||Hurd, A.||Ropner, Col. L.|
|Challen, C.||Hutchison, Lt,-Cm. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)||Shepherd, W. S. (Bucklow)|
|Clarke, Col. R. S.||Hutchison, Col. J. R. (Glasgow, C.)||Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir W|
|Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G.||Jeffreys, General Sir G.||Smithers, Sir W.|
|Cooper-Key, E. M.||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow)||Kerr, Sir J. Graham||Spence, H. R.|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Lambert, Hon. G.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Strauss, H. G. (English Universities)|
|Crowder, Capt. John E||Langford-Holt, J.||Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray)|
|Cuthbert, W. N.||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Darling, Sir W. Y.||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Thorp, Lt.-Col. R. A. F.|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Mackeson, Brig. H. R.||Touche, G. C.|
|Digby, S. W.||McKie, J. H. (Galloway)||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Macpherson, Maj. N. (Dumfries)||Ward, Hon. G. R.|
|Donner, Sqn.-Ldr. P. W.||Marples, A. E.||Wheatley, Colonel M. J.|
|Drewe, C.||Marshall, D. (Bodmin)||White, Sir D. (Fareham)|
|Dugdale, Maj. Sir T. (Richmond)||Maude, J. C.||White, J. B. (Canterbury)|
|Fraser, H. C. P. (Stone)||Molson, A. H. E.||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir D. P. M.||Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury)||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Gage, C||Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)||York, C.|
|Glyn, Sir R.||Mott-Radclyffe, Maj. C. E.|
|Gomme-Duncan, Col. A||Neven-Spence, Sir B.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Mr. Studholme and Major Conant.|