HC Deb 28 April 1948 vol 450 cc464-5
The Lord Advocate

I beg to move, in page 14, line 24, after "(3)," to insert "or paragraph (b) of subsection (6)."

This Amendment is consequential on the Government Amendments made in Committee to paragraph (2, d) of the Ninth Schedule to the Bill, which relates to Section 3 of the 1923 Act. The new paragraph (6, b), added to Section 3 of the 1923 Act, povides that where the parties so far disagree as to the execution of an improvement that they have to refer the matter to the Secretary of State for determination, and the Secretary of State grants his approval to the execution of the improvement, the landlord may himself undertake to carry out the improvement. Reference to the new paragraph added to Section 3 of the 1923 Act is necessary in Subsection (4) of the Clause to cover undertakings given after the Bill comes into operation. Undertakings previous to that date are covered by Section 3 (3) of the 1923 Act.

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. T. Fraser

I beg to move, in page 15, line 15, after "where," to insert: before the commencement of this Part of this Act either the landlord and the tenant have agreed on the payment of interest or rent or. This Amendment can be taken together with the Amendment, in line 16, to leave out from "improvement," to the end of line 17.

A promise was given during the Committee stage that we would have another look at this Clause. Some Members feared the effect of the Clause would be that where a landlord and tenant had already agreed that the cost of improvements carried out by the landlord should be paid for by the tenant by way of an interest payment, it would be wrong to require that an adjustment of rent should be made. It was pointed out that this is all right for the future, namely, that improvements carried out by the landlord shall attract a higher rent, but in connection with other enactments, such as the Hill Farming Act, in connection with which many schemes have been put forward and the tenants are willing to pay interest on the capital outlay of the landlord, it would be wrong to require that an adjustment of rent should be made.

We have put down this Amendment in order to secure that where an agreement has been entered into, before the corn- mencement of operation of this part of the Bill, that interest may be paid by the tenant on the capital outlay of the landlord in carrying out improvements, there need be no adjustment of rent, and the intentions of this Clause will not apply. During the Committee stage, Members called our attention to a number of schemes made under the Hill Farming Act, which, they said, had been approved by the Department. The fact that there has been approval by the Department does not render the reimbursement of the landlords' capital outlay necessarily to be recouped by way of an interest charge on the tenant. It is only where agreement has been reached between the two parties before this part of the Bill comes into operation that this Clause will not have effect.

Mr. Snadden

We on this side appreciate what the Government have done in this matter, although this Amendment does not go quite as far as we should have liked. We were apprehensive because we felt that agreements made under another Statute were being wiped out by this Bill. I take it the Amendment means that where schemes have been submitted to the Department and agreement has been reached between the landlord and tenant, those schemes will stand. This Amendment is a very good thing from the point of view of tidying up this Bill and creating confidence generally.

7.15 p.m.

Mr. Scott-Elliot (Accrington)

As Chairman of the Advisory Committee on hill sheep farming in Scotland, may I welcome what my hon. Friend has said? I was one of those who expressed doubts about some of the earlier schemes being vitiated by the provisions laid down in the Bill. My hon. Friend then gave an undertaking that he would have another look at the matter. On behalf of the hill sheep farmers of Scotland, I welcome this Amendment. Although I do not pretend to have expert legal knowledge, I think I can say that these words cover the point admirably, and will make for a greater degree of confidence in the industry.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: In page 15, line 16, leave out from "improvement," to end of line 17.—[Mr. T. Fraser.]