In page 2, line 23, at the end, insert:(e) any question on which, but for this provision, an appeal or reference to the county court would or might be made by virtue of sections forty-nine, sixty-two or eighty-seven of the Local Government Act, 1948.
§ 3.44 p.m.
§ Mr. Speaker
This Amendment affects a matter of Privilege, and I direct that the necessary entry be made in the Journal.
§ The Attorney-General (Sir Hartley Shawcross)
I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."
This was a Government Amendment providing that rating appeals should in future go to the Lands Tribunal established under this Bill instead of going, as they do now and have done recently, though not for long, to the county court. The hon. and learned Member for Wirral (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd) moved an Amendment to this effect, I think, on Report in this House, and he was kind enough to withdraw it on my undertaking that we would give the matter careful consideration. We have done that. We thought that the suggestion which he made was a meritorious one, and consequently we moved it into the Bill in another place.
The Lands Tribunal will be an expert body specialising in the somewhat technical and difficult matters of valuation, and whilst I need hardly say that we have the highest regard for the county courts—indeed, we regard them as most important and competent tribunals—there will be great advantage to be obtained, both as regards uniformity of decision—all rating appeals going to the same tribunals—and the technical knowledge which the Lands Tribunal will possess. We think, therefore, that the Amendment will effect an improvement in the law relating to rating.
§ Mr. W. S. Morrison (Cirencester and Tewkesbury)
I merely rise to express the gratitude of the Opposition for the con- 1274 sideration given to this point which was first raised in the House by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Wirral (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd). The Attorney-General has concisely stated the reasons for the Amendment. I need add nothing to commend them to the House, but again I say that we on this side are grateful for the way in which the matter has been dealt with.
§ Colonel Dower (Penrith and Cockermouth)
While appreciating that the Land Tribunals will be far more knowledgeable and will unquestionably have more uniformity in their actions, has the right hon. and learned Gentleman considered the desirability of having local knowledge which will be so essential where people are either appealing to have their rates decreased, or where the rates have been increased? Can the right hon. and learned Gentleman say whether such appeals will be heard by people who have actual knowledge of the particular area?
§ The Attorney-General
Of course, I cannot undertake that members of the Tribunal as constituted to hear a particular appeal will have special knowledge of the locality from which the appeal arises. That would be quite impossible in a tribunal which is a central tribunal of this kind, but the expert members of it, the surveyors, will be men of very wide experience, and, of course, they will be entitled to hear the evidence of other professional gentlemen with the necessary local knowledge.
Lords Amendment: In page 3, line 21, at end, insert new Clause A:
Any person aggrieved by the determination of a development charge by the Central Land Board under section seventy of the Town and Country Planning Act, 1947, may within twenty-eight days of the receipt by him of the notification of the development charge, appeal against such determination to the Lands Tribunal and the Lands Tribunal shall have jurisdiction to hear any such appeal and shall make such determination as it may think fit and section three of this Act shall apply to an appeal under this section.
§ The Attorney-General
I beg to move, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."
This Amendment gives a right of appeal to the Lands Tribunal to be 1275 established under the Bill in the case of development charges assessed by the Central Land Board under Section 70 of the Town and Country Planning Act, 1947. This is a matter which, on its merits, has already been considered and, if I may say so, very fully considered more than once in this House. It may or may not be the case—I shall say something about it later on—that there is some merit in the proposal in itself, but the Amendment providing for these appeals to this Tribunal seems to have been moved into this Bill in another place under a complete misapprehension in that other place both as to what the Town and Country Planning Act, 1947, did and as to what the present Bill is intended to do and what it does.
I venture to think that whatever the merits of the proposal that there should be an appeal from the Central Land Board's assessment of development value may be, this Amendment seeks to deal with the matter in a way which is wholly unworkable and inappropriate. It appears to have been thought in another place that this really very simple little Bill did something quite different from what it does. It appears to have been thought, and, indeed, it was stated—I think that in another place they proceeded on this basis—that this Bill created a new right of appeal under the Town and Country Planning Act which had not existed before, and so it was said that as a new right of appeal was being created under that Act in one case, it ought also to be created in another case. That argument, if it is true, is always an attractive one, although it is not always a quite valid one, but, of course, if it is not true, it hardly amounts to an argument at all.
The position under the Town and Country Planning Act is this, and it appears not to have been understood by the noble Lords at all; under the Act as it exists at present—and it is not amended in this respect by the Bill; or, at any rate, it was not amended until this Amendment was moved in another place—development valuations arise in two quite distinct and separate connections. Under Section 60 of the Act an assessment has to be made of the lost development rights in connection with claims to compensation against the £300 million 1276 which is set aside for this purpose. That is the first occasion in this connection in which an assessment has to be made of development rights.
Under Section 70, an assessment is made of the amount of the development charge which has to be paid by the owner of land when he is developing his land under a development permission. These are the two cases in which the question of development value arises and, under the Act, the assessment in the first place, under Section 60, is made in the first instance by the Central Land Board and is appealable from that Board to the official arbitrator. That was the position as laid down in the Act at the time when it was passed in 1947. Under Section 70, on the other hand, no appeal from the decision of the Central Land Board was provided for and what seems to have happened in another place, as far as we can judge—or at any rate as far as I am entitled to say in this House—was that the noble Lords appear to have been misled by the fact that in this Bill we are proposing to transfer the functions of the official arbitrators to the Lands Tribunal into thinking that we were creating a new right of appeal in the cases arising under Section 60, where no such right of appeal had existed before, so they say, "If you do that, if you create a new right of appeal from the Lands Tribunal under Section 60, why do you not do it under Section 70?"
As I said, that would be a very proper and a very attractive argument, if it were true; but it is not true. Under Section 60 the appeal to the official arbitrator, previously, and under this Bill the appeal to the Lands Tribunal, was created by the Act itself and Parliament, for reasons which no doubt satisfied it at the time, decided that there ought to be a right of appeal in the case of the assessment under Section 60 but that there ought not to be a right of appeal in the case of the assessment under Section 70; and this Bill in no way touched what had been done by Parliament in the Town and Country Planning Act, 1947.
All that this Bill pretended to do, all that it seeks to do by its long title, is to transfer the existing rights of appeal away from the official arbitrators to this new tribunal which is established in their place. It does not, I think, appear to have been sufficiently realised that this 1277 Bill is purely a machinery Bill, designed to improve the administration and the procedure of the existing law, but not in any way to alter the substantive law itself. I am bound to say—and the hon. and learned Member for Daventry (Mr. Manningham-Buller) will have in mind very much what I mean—that if in procedural Bills of this kind, where we are seeking to improve the machinery of the law, attempts are made to introduce matters of principle and to bring about changes in the substantive law itself, it will be very much more difficult for those of us who, like the hon. and learned Member for Daventry, want at least to reform the procedural and machinery part of our law. The fact is that the present Bill is a Bill designed and intended simply to do that—not to effect any change at all in the substantive part of the law but to improve the machinery and the procedure by which the law as it exists today can be operated.
That is the main ground on which I must resist this Amendment. There are a number of other grounds. For instance, the Amendment apparently does not apply to Scotland. I see my right hon. and learned Friend the Lord Advocate beside me, and he may have some views about that, but I should have thought it would be quite inappropriate, and it might have occurred to another place to have been quite inappropriate, to have a system of appeal from the Central Land Board in England under this provision and not to have a like system in operation under the corresponding provisions for Scotland.
But, more important than that point, which no doubt could be dealt with, is perhaps this: that if we are to have an appeal from the decision of the Central Land Board under Section 70—and the arguments for that and against it were fully deployed in 1947 when the Bill was debated—we must have some kind of code of assessment of development value on which the appeal can be founded. That is, in fact, the position in connection with appeals under Section 60, in connection with claims against the £300 million. In that case there is an elaborate code of assessment laid down and the question which the official arbitrator has to consider when a matter on appeal conies to him is whether or not the Central Land Board have applied the code correctly in the circumstances of the particular case. 1278 Of course, where there is a code setting out the rules and principles on which the compensation is to be assessed, that may be very apt matter for appeal, but in respect of the development charge to be levied by the Central Land Board under Section 70 of the Act no precise code has been provided.
The House will remember that the matter is governed in part by the Act and in part by regulations under the Act, and the Act and the regulations taken together leave the Central Land Board a very wide discretion as to the amount of the development charge which should be levied. The regulations were approved by Parliament and it was no doubt the intention of this House, both in passing the Bill and in assenting to the regulations, that the Central Land Board should have that discretion. The governing principle on which the charge is levied is that the charge shall be such… as to secure as far as is practicable that land can be freely bought and sold at a price neither greater nor less than its value for its existing use value.But then the regulations go on to say that the chargeshall not be more than the amount which, to the satisfaction of the Central Land Board"—and these are the words which I emphasise, because these are the operative words, giving a discretion to the Central Land Board and not to anybody else—represents the additional value due to planning permission.Then, again, the regulations go on to say that it shall not be less than that amount unless in the opinion of the Central Land Board there are special reasons why it should, in fact, be less. That is the general position under the Act and under the regulations, and in quite a wide variety of cases the Central Land Board is given power to apply the general governing principle which I have mentioned, subject to such modifications as, in their opinion, are appropriate to the particular case.
We are not unfamiliar in this House with statutes or regulations which provide that something may be done by a Minister, by some tribunal, by some Government Department, "if it is satisfied," "if it considers it expedient," "if he regards it as being in the public interest." Where matters are fairly and squarely vested in the discretion or opinion of one 1279 Minister or tribunal or Department in that way we cannot have an appeal on those matters to another tribunal unless we transfer the same discretion to that other tribunal. This Amendment which has been moved into the Bill in another place does not attempt to do this, and no doubt very wisely; but if the Bill went through in its present form with this Amendment in it, and appeals took place to the Lands Tribunal, the Tribunal would have to say—as over and over again the courts say when appeals are sought to be made to the courts in cases where something has to be decided by a Minister or Department, "if he considers it expedient," "if he is satisfied," "if in his opinion," and so on—"This is an attempt to substitute for the opinion of the board and the discretion of the board the opinion of the Lands Tribunal, but we are not entitled under this statute to have an opinion in the matter at all."
The statute—the 1947 Act, I mean—fairly and squarely places the responsibility for being satisfied, for forming an opinion about those matters, on the Central Land Board, and if the Central Land Board says it is satisfied that the charge should be so and so, or that it is satisfied that, for particular reasons, it should be more or should be less, then, "We have no authority," the Tribunal would have to say, "to interfere with its decision and to substitute our decision and our discretion for that of the Central Land Board, which is vested with responsibility in the matter."
It may be—I do not know—that on the merits, after there has been experience of the working of the Town and Country Planning Act, there may be something to be said for providing a system of appeals under Section 70. I do not know; I am expressing no opinion on it; but I can quite understand that there is an arguable case, on the merits of the matter, that there may be something to be said for that. I am not conceding it, and not debating it; it would not be my province so to do; but if there were such a case on the merits for having a system of appeal, then—and I think that the right hon. Gentleman will agree with me on this—it would be essential to work out a more precise code to guide the Central Land Board and the Lands Tribunal in dealing with the matter. We should have to have a code binding the Central Land Board, 1280 and we should have to have the possibility of the Land Tribunal's considering whether, in a particular case, the Central Land Board had departed from that code or not. Until we laid down a code of that kind any system of appeal such as is envisaged in this Amendment would be, in my submission, completely abortive.
I have said that I am not dealing with the merits of the question whether or not there should be an appeal. It is enough to say that the present Clause is wholly inapt, and the merits of the proposal would require much greater consideration than has been given to it, or than it would be proper to give to it in a machinery Bill of this kind. It is quite clear, I think, that if an appeal were provided under Section 70 it would be necessary to amend the Town and Country Planning Act itself, because that Act was drafted on the basis that there would be no appeal from the decisions under Section 70.
I am quite sure and must so advise the House, that the present Clause would have had to be drafted in an entirely different way, and embodied in the Town and Country Planning Act itself, if it had been intended to provide such an appeal. I am quite sure that in another place this Amendment would never have been moved into this Bill at all, and it would have been appreciated that wholly different considerations applied to the matter, if it had not been thought mistakenly that we were creating a new right of appeal under Section 60, and that therefore there was no reason why we should not create it under Section 70, too. But that, in fact, was not what we were doing. All we seek to do here is to transfer existing rights of appeal to what we think would be a more effective tribunal.
§ Mr. W. S. Morrison
I regret that the right hon. and learned Gentleman has given to the House the advice we have just heard, because I find myself in complete disagreement with him, and I propose to advise in the contrary sense, namely, that we should agree with the Lords in this Amendment. The right hon. and learned Gentleman seemed happier, if I may say so, when dealing with the technicalities with his usual skill, than he was in dealing with the merits of this proposal. I detected, I thought in his speech a desire—to put it at its lowest—not to pledge himself to the theory that it is an 1281 inequitable or a wrong thing to give one of His Majesty's subjects a right of appeal against a decision made against him.
To clear up one preliminary matter, I do not agree with his interpretation of the course that was taken in another place, or of the arguments on which this Amendment was urged in another place. It is true that there was sought a right of appeal, based upon the fact that appeal is transferred to this Tribunal under Section 60 of the Town and Country Planning Act; but I do not think the argument was that because it was allowed in Section 60 it ought to be allowed in Section 70. I think the contrast of the two sections was to show that the matters which are to be decided by the Tribunal under Section 60 are precisely matters of the same kind as fall for decision under Section 70, and that, therefore, the Tribunal which we are now setting up for the first time, is a fit and proper body to hear these appeals, the right to which should be given.
Contrary to the right hon. and learned Gentleman's method of dealing with this matter, I propose to base my argument in favour of agreement with the Amendment upon the merits rather than upon the technicalities of the case. I realise, of course, that on the narrow ground of a Lords Amendment I cannot develop a very wide front of discussion and that I must confine myself very strictly to those defects in the present system which, I think, would be much mitigated or ameliorated by the acceptance of this Amendment. As the right hon. and learned Gentleman has said, at present there is no right of appeal from the determination of a development charge by the Central Land Board. This determination, in fact, as the system now works, is a determination by the district valuer in the district. This was a point of acute controversy between us during the passage of the Town and Country Planning Act, and we on this side argued that there should be such a right of appeal; but we were overborne by numbers and the Guillotine.
The argument put against us, and the argument which has been repeated again in another place on this matter of the merits apart from the technicalities, was that this power to fix development charges must be elastic, so that it could be used, in short, as an instrument of planking policy to encourage development in one place and to discourage it in 1282 another, so that where we wanted to encourage development we could fix a low charge and where we wanted to discourage it we could fix the charge at the maximum. It was said, therefore, from that—and the right hon. and learned Gentleman's argument today had echoes of that argument—that this determination took into account matters of planning policy, and that it was more a matter of administration than a subject fitted for judicial decision. Therefore it was not a matter which could be properly dealt with by way of an appeal to a tribunal.
We are wiser now than we were when the Town and Country Planning Act was going through, in that we have had nearly a year's experience of its operation. I think that it is incontrovertible that events have shown that this argument based on the administrative and elastic character of the determination is quite baseless when one appeals to the facts as they exist today. Is it asserted in any way that district valuers are instruments of planning policy? They have had no instructions to modify the charge according to whether or not the development is more or less desirable; of course not. Whatever may have been in the mind of the Government when they proposed this particular passage of the Town and Country Planning Act, it is quite clear that there has been a change in the policy since then, and that argument no longer holds water.
I have to rely on cases reported either in the Press or by my numerous correspondents on this subject, but I tell the House that there is no doubt in my mind that matters of planning policy enter not at all into the determination of the development charge. The "Liverpool Echo" on 9th February described the case of a Mr. Crook who is a chemist and sub-postmaster at Park Gate, near Liverpool. Being anxious for his customers' convenience, he wanted to move to premises next door and set up a post office there so that he might have more counter space. The Central Land Board demanded a development charge of £100. The General Post Office took the matter up on behalf of their sub-postmaster, and they told the Central Land Board that in the interests of the public service it was considered imperative to have the post office transferred to more suitable accommodation. They asked that the £100 charge be either 1283 waived altogether or reduced, as this was a matter of public interest.
I believe that my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Wirral (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd) took the matter up with the Central Land Board; at least the newspaper so reports, and it says that Sir Malcolm Trustram Eve, the distinguished Chairman of the Central Land Board, wrote back and said, among other things:There are no provisions whereby Mr. Crook can be granted exemption from payment, even though the post office authorities consider the development desirable.There is a clear case of public interest on which there is no dispute by the Post Office itself, which is a very good judge of the convenience of its customers. Another Government Department accepts that in the public interest the post office should be enlarged, and yet the Central Land Board have no power—and I take Sir Malcolm's word for it because he operates the Act—to modify the charge according to the public interest.
If that be the case, the determination of a development charge becomes a matter of simple survey and valuation and, as such, it immediately comes into the category of disputes, as to which there should be a right of appeal. It is a question for decision exactly on all fours with the question under Clause 60, and exactly on all fours with the rating appeals on which we have today accepted an Amendment to bring before this very Tribunal. There seems to be no argument that can be founded on the practice that exists at the moment to justify refusing this right of appeal to this admirable body constituted for the purpose. The fact is that the Central Land Board and the district valuers, who, in fact, do the work, are tied hand and foot by extremely vague regulations which are precise only in one particular, namely, that they must extort in every case the full difference between the value of the land with permission and without permission to change its use. I repeat that I think that it is quite idle to argue that these charges are determined or even affected by planning considerations, or that they are not a fit subject for submission to this tribunal.
I would, therefore, say that in fact the way the thing has worked, and what we 1284 seek to remedy by urging the House to accept this Amendment, is that the whole scheme of development charges has become degraded into a mere haggle between two parties. On the one hand, we have been told by Government spokesmen that the Central Land Board, which is, in fact, the district valuer, has something to sell, and they proceed to sell it for the best price they can; we have the Central Land Board as the Duke of Omnium with complete monopoly. On the other side of the haggle, we have the bewildered and disjointed army of would-be developers. The whole thing seems to savour more of the Eastern bazaar than a system of taxation under Western democracy. The seller always asks more than he thinks he will get. If the buyer pays up without demur the more fool he. If the buyer makes a protest against the price it depends entirely on how much trouble he makes as to how far the price will be abated.
The case has been cited of the Union Club who were ejected from Carlton House Terrace because their premises were required by a Government Department. They found alternative premises in two houses in Grosvenor Square, Nos. 33 and 34. No planning consideration was involved because there was no question of the appearance of the houses in the Square being altered. It was merely that instead of two houses being separately occupied, they were to be occupied by a private and residential club. The Square looked just the same whether the houses were occupied by a club or by two householders, yet the development charge was £60,000. Agents for the club went to the Central Land Board and argued the matter, and almost at once, so I am told the £60,000 was reduced to £35,000. That is to say, £25,000 was knocked off the original payment. Here the same body—the Central Land Board make the determination of the development charge in respect of the same change in identical premises and there is £25,000 difference between the two figures. My argument is briefly this: Both these determinations cannot possibly be right. Who can be confident that either of the determinations is right? How can it be argued that there should not be a right of appeal to an independent tribunal in such a case?
As I see it, there are three sources of injustice in the present system of leaving it to the haggle between the Central Land 1285 Board and the would-be developer without a right of appeal—sources of injustice which I say, the right of appeal to this independent highly-skilled body would do a great deal to mitigate. I have mentioned the first of these sources of injustices already, namely, that the Central Land Board is a monopoly. One cannot have a fair haggle with a monopoly which in fact dictates the price. There must be a competition between sellers before the buyer has a chance in a haggle. This Lords Amendment would, if accepted, at least give people aggrieved by the price charged by the monopoly, the right of appeal.
The second source of injustice is that the developer has to some extent always committed himself before applying for the development charge to be determined. He has spent money, it may be in buying in the land; he has gone to a lot of trouble in obtaining planning permission, bye-law permission, and licences to build. When he is faced with a demand for a development charge he has either to submit to the charge or to lose the fruits of his- past expense and his labour. The other party to the so-called haggle, the Central Land Board, is in no such case; it can sit back and let things take their course, a very different position from that of the other party to the haggle.
For example, on a man who is anxious to build a house for his family, time presses with an urgent insistence; every day that passes without his getting nearer to his objective is a day of frustration. As between the Central Land Board and the developer it is a question of "Your money or your time," and in such an urgent matter as the provision of a home for a family, time is almost as important, or seems as important, as life itself.
The third source of injustice in having these charges determined without any right of appeal arises out of the facts I have already stated. It is true that the Union Club can deploy against the Central Land Board an imposing force of skilled advisers. I do not know what it cost the club by way of professional fees, but certainly not as much as the £25,000 by which the development charge was reduced. But the small man has not got those resources; the ex-soldier who is trying to build himself a house with his gratuity and the small shopkeeper 1286 who desires to improve his premises, cannot be expected to be so pugnacious; the demand for a development charge comes to him in a letter written on official paper, curtly phrased in the language which it is customary for His Majesty's servants to adopt when addressing His Majesty's subjects. That man finds that he has no right of appeal; he is up against the Government. In these circumstances what can a man do but suffer in silence, with perhaps what Shakespeare calls:curses not loud, but deep.When I hear of cases where on protest development charges have been reduced or waived I am worried to think of the many cases where small men have suffered, it may be, wrong assessments, and no one has heard about them.
§ Mr. Morrison
Not all. We may hear of some; but when we hear of some we know that there are many about which we never hear. The figures are indeed small in comparison with those I have quoted about the Union Club, but they are sometimes very large compared with the resources of the man affected.
Acceptance of this Lords Amendment would, in my judgment, have the following beneficial results on what is rapidly becoming a deplorable situation. The institution of a central appeal body would remove the sense of unfairness arising from the arbitrary determination of these matters by a body which is judge in its own case. In the second place, it would tend to make much more uniform the wide variation in the assessment of these charges in different parts of the country. At present these variations are so wide that they give the whole process a capricious look which tends to bring it into disrespect.
The learned Attorney-General put before us the argument that there would need to be a code developed. What better way of developing a code is there than to have a series of appeals to a central body? In the matter of rating appeals we thoroughly agree with the wise course the Government took in letting them come to this body, because it is desirable to have a code which is applicable over the whole country. If we adopted this course it would result, in time, long or short— 1287 and with assistance a short time—in a code of a uniform and just character being developed. This has invariably been the result of setting up a central independent authority which can pass in review a number of cases brought before it. It has, after all, to work out a code for its own guidance, and in time that code becomes recognised and binding throughout the country on those who administer that branch of the law.
Lastly, I think that the mere fact that a decision by a man called on to make a decision in a matter which can be reviewed by a superior body has a good effect upon the man making the decision. I make no charges against district valuers; they are a very worthy body of men; but they have too much to do, besides having this great load of assessing development charges thrust upon them. They would, I think, welcome the right of an appeal in the open against their decisions.
There can be no doubt that this Tribunal is the right body for this purpose. It was not in existence when we argued this matter at the earlier stages, but now that it has been composed of men specially qualified to deal with precisely this sort of valuation matter, now that practice has disclosed that the development charge is determined without any regard to policy or public interest but simply on the basis of valuation, there can be no real argument for not accepting this suggestion and letting this specially constituted body act as an appeal tribunal against assessments of development charges.
I really do not understand why the Government do not accept this Lords Amendment. I do not see what they would lose by accepting it. It would go a very long way towards removing a widespread complaint and a sense of injustice and uncertainty which is hampering all development at the present time, including the provision of houses. I regret that these development charges have got into such ill-repute with the public, and that they are invariably associated with the statute out of which they spring, the Town and Country Planning Act, because I have the uneasy feeling that the resentment which is felt against the method of assessment and enforcement today reacts against the whole case of planning and makes people think that all town and 1288 country planning is nonsense, and consequently produces in them an unco-operative attitude towards it. I am sure that if this Lords Amendment were accepted, if the public could be assured that it is the desire of the Government and of all who are interested in town and country planning to make the justice of the procedure abundantly and manifestly clear, it would be a very great service, not only in the narrow field we are now discussing but to the cause of town and country planning itself.
§ 4.30 p.m.
§ Mr. A. J. Irvine (Liverpool, Edge Hill)
The question of giving the Lands Tribunal jurisdiction to hear appeals arising out of the assessment of a development charge is extremely important. Under Section 70 of the Town and Country Planning Act, the Central Land Board has to have regard to the amount by which the value of the land with the benefit of planning permission, exceeds the value of the land without the benefit of planning permission. The wording of that section suggested to a great many people that there would be a considerable degree of discretion left to the Central Land Board in the determination of the development charge. I take the view that the more judicial discretion is left to the Central Land Board in the assessment of the development charge the more reason there is for thinking that appeal from the Board should be possible.
The effect of the regulations, however, subsequent to the passing of the Act, is to reduce the element of discretion and to that extent to reduce the need for appeal—I do not say "eliminate it," because I think there is a strong argument for appeal. I do say, however, that the effect of the regulations is to reduce the strength of the argument. The right hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. W. S. Morrison) mentioned that at one time in the development of town and country planning policy, it might have been expected that considerations of planning policy would play a part in the determination of the development charge by the Central Land Board. On my understanding of the matter, the regulations which govern the assessment of the development charge positively exclude consideration of all questions of planning policy, and lay down that, as a general rule, the charge should be equal to the increment in value added by the 1289 grant of planning permission. The consequence of the regulations, therefore, is that this matter of the assessment of development charge becomes much less a matter of judicial discretion and much more a matter of strict valuation. Decisions are becoming less appropriate for reference to a quasi-judicial body like the Lands Tribunal.
§ Mr. Derek Walker-Smith (Hertford)
Would not exactly the same considerations apply in respect of compensation for the compulsory acquisition of land?
§ Mr. Irvine
I feel that rather different considerations would apply. The whole basis of my argument is that the wider the discretion of the Central Land Board, the more ground there is for an appeal to a quasi-judicial tribunal. In what was originally contemplated under the Act as considerations that were to play a part in effecting the assessment of development charge, there were wider considerations of discretion, like questions of planning policy, to be taken into account than would be taken into account in questions affecting the determination of value in the case of compulsory acquisition. According to my understanding of the matter, on a reading of the statute, the original intention was that the very widest discretion should be exercised, and that a very large number of facts should be taken into account in determining the development charge—a greater number than would be taken into account in determining the appropriate figure for compensation for compulsory purchase.
§ Mr. Molson (The High Peak)
But is it not exactly the opposite to what the hon. Gentleman has just said? If, in the original arrangement under the statute, it was intended that a large number of administrative considerations should be taken into account, that planning considerations should apply, then in that case it would not be appropriate perhaps if there was an appeal to a judicial tribunal. Under Statutory Instrument No. 1189, however, there is to be a precisely determinable assessment being 100 per cent. of the increase in the value. Surely that is a case where there ought to be an appeal to a quasi-judicial tribunal.
§ Mr. Irvine
It is a question for the House, and I agree that the point of view expressed by the hon. Member may 1290 be arguable; but the conclusion I have arrived at, without any doubt, is that the fewer the number of facts which are to be taken into account, the less the degree of discretion which is to be exercised by the Central Land Board in consideration of these various factors, the less important it is that there should be a right of appeal. I can understand another view being taken, but that is my view. As the matter becomes more one of strict valuation, it becomes less appropriate that there should be a right of appeal to a quasi-judicial body.
It is true that the charge may be less under the regulations than the value of planning permission, if that is necessary to ensure that the land passes into the open market at the existing use value. That is a qualification which exists in the regulations. If it were not for that, then the development charge would be simply the value of the planning permission. The consideration of that qualification invites the exercise of certain discretion, but it is extremely vague and on this particular aspect of the matter I should have thought that there was no answer to the proposition put forward by the Attorney-General—that it is quite hopeless to expect a quasi-judicial body like the Lands Tribunal to determine the development charge without having an express and precise code on which to base its decisions. It is all very well to suggest that a code may be built up in practice as decisions are made and as time passes, but in my view the first assessments by the Lands Tribunal would be made on such vague grounds that it would take an extremely long time for any satisfactory code to be arrived at and then very unsatisfactory results would ensue, in practice, in regard to the first appeals to the Tribunal.
§ Mr. Irvine
The regulations have done two things: first, they have reduced the scope of the discretion in the assessment of the development charge and have to that extent made the Central Land Board's decisions less appropriate for review by a body like the Lands Tribunal; second, where they have left discretion, they have left it so vague that I doubt whether it would be reasonable to expect a judicial body to deal with it in the 1291 absence of a precise code. Although for these reasons I would not support the Lords Amendment, I think it right to express on this side of the House some of the anxiety which is undoubtedly felt in all parts at the extremely arbitary powers which exist in the Central Land Board for the determination of the development charge. I think that is felt by everybody, and I have no doubt that the Land Board itself is extremely conscious of it.
I hope it may be possible for the Government to agree—I mentioned this in the course of the Second Reading Debate—under Clause 4, which deals with the power to add to the jurisdiction of the Lands Tribunal, to adopt a form of words by which, as time passes and as this great experiment develops, it will be possible to extend the jurisdiction of the Lands Tribunal to deal with the assessment of development charge in certain cases. I should like to have an assurance from the Government that they will, at least, explore the possibility of doing that. I am suggesting something quite different from an appeal, because what Clause 4 contemplates is Orders in Council, which will have the effect of giving jurisdiction in certain matters to the Lands Tribunal instead of to other bodies at present possessing jurisdiction. In other words, it is a transfer of jurisdiction on the question of appeal. I will only add that, for the reasons I have given and the considerations to which I have referred, I give my full support to the Government in recommending the House to disagree with the Lords Amendment.
§ Mr. Harold Roberts (Birmingham, Handsworth)
I have seen this afternoon what many of us have seen over the years, that is, a case coming to a certain point in the hands of solicitors and perhaps of junior counsel, and then, when it comes to the great man himself, the leader, one learns that all the argumentative merits which one had so keenly studied will not do. The leader says, "I cannot hope to run that case that way. This is the winning argument; this is the only argument we can make." The noble Lord who spoke for the Government in another place embarked on an argument on the merits of the Amendment and said that it would not do because of this or that. No doubt he 1292 had to do that because he had to convince the tribunal before which he was then appearing.
But the Attorney-General knows better than to venture to discuss the merits. Indeed, he admits there is something in the Amendment, but he takes the perfectly safe line that it will not do in a procedure Bill, and that it will be very awkward in future on procedure Bills if we insist on discussing on them what a noble Lord discussed in another place—the merits of the matter. Quite frankly, I am not impressed. There may be certain inconveniences if we muddle up the law with procedure Bills. The essential thing, however, is that we are not here as a High Court or anything of that kind, but as a legislative body trying to do the best we can for the country and to make Acts of Parliament work. If between 1947 and now, difficulties have appeared in the statute, our duty is to put them right, and this is our chance to do so. There undoubtedly has been some real difficulty about the position of the Land Board. Is it a judicial or quasi-judicial body? May it have regard to town planning considerations, and thereby let some man off with a charge lighter mathematically than he ought to pay, or is it a mere valuing body? Again, is it only a haggling body? The evidence is that that is what it is becoming.
The development value of land has been taken away by statute from the individual owners and is now vested in one great landowner, namely, the State. If I desire to develop my land, I go along to the landlord to buy the development rights for that patch of land. I have no real bargaining power, there is no competition; and if I do not like what the landlord says, all I can do is to refrain from development. It may be, of course, that I have bought my land, and I have been imprudent enough to go ahead with the development. In that case, I may have to pay and lose money over it. But as people become educated, such cases will become more rare, People will not develop.
Any pretence that the Board are acting judicially cannot be maintained in the face of the Union Club case or other cases which came before another place and which showed very wide disparities. 1293 I am not blaming the Central Land Board. It may be their duty to get the best bargain for the taxpayer and build up the fund as soon as possible, but if a man holds the Government up to ransom when they want land, he is very properly brought to book and made to sell at a proper figure. If the Government hold up land to secure a higher price when the taxpayers wants to use it for a proper purpose, then I should use words once used by an eminent statesman in the Gorringe case, and say that that is not business but blackmail. It is far more potent than the blackmail of the Duke of Leinster or the Marquis of Bute—I forget which. For the State to use blackmail, backed up by the whole power of the State, is wrong. This matter should go to an impartial tribunal for a proper assessment.
I was much impressed by the suggestions made from the Government side, particularly by one hon. Member who referred to the merits. He did it with such moderation and such submission to the Government point of view on this particular matter that I do not think the most censorious could accuse him of mutiny and have him castigated. He was well within the limits which may be allowed even within a properly-disciplined party. It may be that there will have to be new regulations, or it may be that a practice can be built up very rapidly by a series of law decisions. I am not at all certain that it is not the best way to do it, for sometimes the longest way round is the shortest way home in these matters. The final point I wish to make is that this is a measure of simple justice. The only arguments put against the Amendment are purely legalistic ones which we ought not to contemplate. For my part I refuse to accept a legalism instead of doing what is a common justice.
§ Mr. Molson
I regret that the Attorney-General in his speech confined himself so entirely to the purely technical aspect of this matter. I see the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Town and Country Planning is here. I was surprised to find the Lord Chancellor saying that he had received no complaints with regard to the development charge made by the Central Land Board. Perhaps the reason for that is that the more appropriate Member of the Government to whom these complaints might be 1294 brought would be the Minister of Town and Country Planning.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Town and Country Planning (Mr. King)
I gladly re-echo what the Lord Chancellor said. The amount of complaint that we have received about the development charge is negligible.
§ Mr. Molson
I can only say that I am astonished. Certainly, as I go about the country making political speeches, that is one of the many points on which I have been asked questions. People want to know what the attitude of the Opposition would be and whether we would continue to operate this Measure. Not once, but several times, I have had complaints about the way in which the development charge is preventing people from building houses or doing anything in the way of developing their houses or building garages.
It did appear as though this was an opportunity of reviewing the way that part of the Act of 1947 is actually operating. It was said by the Attorney-General that this matter had been discussed several times as the Bill was passing through its various stages, but at that time we were discussing only what we thought would be the consequences of the different Clauses of the Measure. That Measure has now been upon the Statute Book for a considerable time and we are now able to point to cases where the Central Land Board has sought to assess development charges that in many cases have been found to be so high that the would-be developer has refused to develop. As a result of that, the Central Land Board has reduced the charge which it proposed to make.
I am sure that we all listened with interest and attention to the speech of the hon. Member for Edge Hill (Mr. Irvine). The fact that he warned the Government that there was widespread concern throughout the country may induce the Parliamentary Secretary to make further inquiries about the matter. I speak not as one who has been hostile to the principles of that Measure. I am anxious that it shall work in a satisfactory way. I did warn the Government at the time when Statutory Instrument No. 1189 was being discussed that I was afraid that making the development charge 100 per cent. of the increment in value would be to discourage development throughout 1295 the country. I believe that is what has happened. I find myself in complete disagreement with the hon. Member for Edge Hill when he says that he thinks there is now less ground for an appeal to a quasi-judicial authority than there was at an earlier stage when it appeared as though a greater measure of discretion would be left to the Central Land Board.
When a board has been set up which is to consist of expert and experienced administrators and where the board is told to take a large number of practical considerations into account, it is manifestly more difficult to go to a tribunal and ask the tribunal to overrule the Central Land Board on the ground that its decision was wrong because that decision was arrived at after taking a number of imponderable factors into account. The effect of Statutory Instrument 1189 was to provide that the maximum and minimum charge, except in special cases to which the Attorney-General referred, is the actual increment in the land value, due to the development permission being granted. That is a determinable figure, although it is not easily determined. At any rate it is a figure that can be determined according to the learning of the profession of valuers. I took down the words which the Attorney-General used in commending the first of the Lords Amendments. He spoke about this new Tribunal which is being set up as specializing in these difficult and technical matters of valuation.
§ The Attorney-General
I think I said rating valuation. I certainly was speaking in that context. I should like to make it clear that that was what I meant. There are few branches of the law more complicated than the law of rating, as the hon. Gentleman knows.
§ Mr. Molson
That is certainly true. I do not press the point now that the Attorney-General has given the explanation. I agree that there are few branches more difficult and technical than that dealing with rating. I will offer one suggestion as to what branch is more difficult and technical and that is to assess what is the increased value of land after planning permission is given.
§ Mr. Molson
Well, that may be so, and I will take the Attorney-General's 1296 point. In that case, how entirely unsatisfactory it must be for the subject when there are no precisely determinable principles that can be laid down, that the matter should be left entirely to the discretion of the Central Land Board. I understand that very little direction has been given by the Central Land Board to the district valuers who are required to arrive at those determinations. Writing to a firm of valuers in order to obtain some information about the actual practice of the Land Board in this respect, I found that that firm were entirely satisfied with the attitude of the district valuers. They went on to say:They have had no directions at all as to how the amount of the charge shall be arrived at and are quite prepared to listen to any suggestions.
§ Mr. Molson
That was from a firm of valuers to whom I wrote when I was asking for information upon this subject. What could be more unsatisfactory than that the subject should be completely at the mercy of the unguided district valuers, acting on behalf of the Central Land Board which has a compete monopoly of land development in the country? As my right hon. Friend has emphasised, there may be some large and wealthy concerns like the Union Club which are in a position to put up a fight and to insist that there shall be a reduction. It is the duty of this House to have regard to the interests of the small man who may have bought a piece of land with the intention of building a house there. Suddenly he finds that he is obliged to pay a very large additional sum of money.
There was just such a case in Bury St. Edmunds. Mr. James Leggett had purchased a bit of land 23½ feet by 160 feet, for £200 and was about to build upon it his future home. The authorities cited the provisions of the Town and Country Planning Act, by virtue of which the existing use value of his plot was only £6, and told him that he should not have paid £200 but only £6. On the principle presumably of caveat emptor, they proceeded to make a development charge of £194 for permission to build his future house upon the plot of land which he had bought for that purpose. That is a case in point, and I am willing to give the Government full particulars of it.
1297 5.0 p.m.
I do not wish to take up too much time, but these cases are so important and widespread that I venture to give another example. This was in Tunbridge Wells where two lots of accommodation land were put up for sale. The first, of approximately two acres, let at £4 per annum with an existing use value of £120. The second was five acres, let at £5, with an existing use value of about £150. Although the auctioneer had forewarned the bidders that the Act attacked the sale price of such land and that they must beware of liability for development charge, those two plots of land were sold for £400 and £1,300, respectively. What was of great interest was that the local authority were under-bidders at £1,200.
One cannot get away from the serious consequences which are arising all over the country merely by saying, as the Attorney-General has done, that this is only a machinery Measure. If it is the case that a new and expert tribunal is being set up for the purpose of dealing with these difficult matters of the valuation of land, then surely this is a good opportunity for giving a similar right of appeal in the case of development charge to the same tribunal.
§ Mr. Mitchison (Kettering)
Would the hon. Member allow me to interrupt? These cases are interesting. What does he suggest an appeal tribunal should do in such cases where apparently the purchases were made after the passing of the Town and Country Planning Act?
§ Mr. Molson
The point I am making is that in the case of these development charges the Central Land Board apparently does not even claim that this is a precise calculation of the increase in the value of the land which is due to the planning permission being granted. In fact, what they are trying to do—and they regard it as being their duty to do so—is to obtain the highest price they can for the development rights in the land. I am saying that this is having a serious consequence. It is resulting in great injustice to many individuals, especially to the smaller men who are not able to afford professional fees, that the Central Land Board is not issuing directions to the district valuers and that there is, therefore, great need for a tribunal to which an appeal can be made to secure uniformity.
1298 Finally, we were given an interesting piece of information by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in this House on 27th January with regard to the reliability of the estimates of the district valuers. The right hon. and learned Gentleman said that out of 1,380 cases the district valuer's precise figure was upheld in only 50 cases. If that is what the Chancellor of the Exchequer informs the House of Commons, then there is surely a strong case for a central tribunal to which an appeal can be made from the decisions of the district valuers.
§ Mr. Derek Walker-Smith (Hertford)
Perhaps the most significant thing about the proceedings this afternoon is that the opposition to the Amendment from another place has so far been defended only by two hon. Members—by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney-General and the hon. Member for Edge Hill (Mr. Irvine). It is also significant that neither of those two speeches contained anything like a robust defence of the principle with which they were associated. The Attorney-General, in the main, confined his argument to the inadvisability, if not the impropriety of trying to alter the Town and Country Planning Act by a procedural Bill such as the Lands Tribunal Bill. So far as the merits were concerned, he had not a great deal to say, and conspicuously less than his noble Friend the Lord Chancellor in another place.
So far as the hon. Member for Edge Hill was concerned, I think the House will agree that the most convincing parts of his speech were those in which he conceded the disquiet felt at the absence of an appeal and the necessity of doing something to meet that disquiet. Indeed, I formed the impression not only that that was the most convincing part of his speech, objectively speaking, so far as the House was concerned, but that that was the part of his speech of which he felt the most convinced. Indeed, he ended by recommending not an appeal but something which I should have thought was even a bolder step, the transference of the jurisdiction to fix development charges from the Central Land Board to the Lands Tribunal. I think the hon. Member will appreciate that that would not be possible under Clause 4 of the Bill because the Central Land Board is not a statutory tribunal. However, the spirit of his suggestion clearly indicated 1299 that, in his view, radical measures were required to meet the unsatisfactory situation existing at present.
Those being the only two defences put up so far in this House, it is clear that some onus rests upon the Government to show that an appeal from the decision of the Central Land Board is not a necessary, desirable and practicable thing. I thought the Attorney-General treated the proceedings of another place in a somewhat cavalier and contemptuous manner. I myself would hesitate long before dismissing the view with which three former Lord Chancellors associated themselves as being erroneous, and taken under a misapprehension of law.
§ The Attorney-General
It is unfortunate that I am not permitted by the Rules of Order to quote the speech of the noble Lord. In the main I was referring to the speech of the acting Leader of the Opposition in the House of Lords in commending to the noble Lords the Amendment he was proposing. My hon. Friend will find it in the last paragraph of column 362 of the Report. If, after reading that paragraph, he thinks I have done the noble Lord any injustice, he will no doubt say so, but I am quite confident that he will find that I put the matter in the most euphemistic way that it could be put.
§ Mr. Walker-Smith
Of course the right hon. and learned Gentleman does not there refer to the speech in which this Amendment was moved. There is the authority of the three former Lord Chancellors that this Amendment would be a beneficial addition to the Statute Book. I am sure he will agree with me that such authorities should not be lightly brushed aside.
§ The Attorney-General
I do not contest that they took the view, on the merits, that it would be a good thing to have an appeal. What I said was that they proceeded under a complete misapprehension, in that, if I may paraphrase their argument, they suggested that we were altering the whole structure of the Town and Country Planning Act by bringing in a new right of appeal under Section 60, and that as we were doing that under Section 60, it was appropriate to do it under Section 70 as well.
§ Mr. Walker-Smith
I am much obliged to the right hon. and learned Gentleman. I do not want to become unduly involved in this. I had not understood from the opening speech that the noble Lord in question was under that misapprehension. I am sure the Attorney-General will agree with me that that would be extremely unlikely in his case. The position surely is this: if it is right that this appeal should be incorporated into the Town and Country Planning Act the procedural answer is not, in my submission, a convincing answer against so doing. Of course, if the effect of this Bill was—which it is not—to create a right of appeal under Section 60, the argument from these benches would be by that much stronger, but, of course, it is not necessary, in order to substantiate the point which we on these benches wish to put forward, that that should have been the case.
The point is surely, as my right hon. Friend said this afternoon, that if the Section 60 and Section 70 cases are reasonably close, the fact that there is and always has been an appeal in the Section 60 cases makes it logical and desirable that there should be an appeal in the Section 70 cases. The fact that this tribunal is now to come into existence makes it the obvious tribunal equipped to hear such cases. I do not think that the argument on that score goes further than that. The main question as to the merits, whether or not there should be an appeal from the determination of development charge, goes right to the root of the question as to the way in which these development charges are to be collected and for what purpose.
The issue is really this: is the collection of development charge to be in all respects governed by the procedure best calculated to ensure the social purpose of a development charge—that is, that betterment by way of development value accrues to the State—or is it to be governed by unregulated bargaining between the parties on a sort of catch-as-catch-can basis? If it is to be the former, it can only be satisfactorily done if the appeal procedure is given. The absence of an appeal has never really been argued on its merits except on the basis that the collection of development charge should be on the commercial basis, or what has 1301 been called this afternoon the haggling basis. That was made quite clear by the Minister of Town and Country Planning when this Measure was originally discussed, and that point of view has again been put more recently in another place. It is quite true that the Attorney-General refrained from putting it this afternoon, but he refrained, I think, only because he preferred not to deal specifically with the merits.
I am sure that this House will agree that the commercial approach is not the right approach to the collection of development charges. As has been pointed out, if that is the right basis the collection of development charge simply becomes a contest between the Central Land Board and the would-be developer. It becomes a contest between monopoly on the one side and the intending developer on the other, the only weapon of the intending developer being that he can jettison his development if he does not care to accept the development charge. That is not a satisfactory situation. It is obviously an inequitable situation so far as the intending developer is concerned, because any commercial bargain in which one side has monopoly rights is obviously inequitable for the other side.
Quite apart from that, in my view it is undesirable from the point of view of the community as a whole; I think hon. Members will appreciate that the sort of development which would not be persevered with under such conditions may in many cases be the development that is socially most desirable, because the development which is socially most desirable is not necessarily the development that is economically most profitable. It is in that sort of development that the additional amount on the development charge is most likely to act as an absolute deterrent. If hon. Members really want to see development charges as an instrument of social progress, I think they must agree that the commercial or haggling method is wholly undesirable. If the development charge is to serve a social purpose there must be a just assessment of it in accordance with principles of law.
The only recognised method of resolving disputes between parties within the framework of the law is an appeal either to the judiciary or to a quasi-judicial tribunal. I suggested to the hon. Member 1302 for Edge Hill that there is in fact, a close parallel between this and the question of compensation in respect of compulsory acquisition of land. I believe the parallel to be very close indeed. In the case of the compulsory acquisition of land the State or the acquiring authority, whatever it may be, acquires the land and then, if the parties cannot agree on the compensation, it is referred to arbitration. Indeed it will in future be referred to the arbitration of this Tribunal.
So far as the development charges are concerned, if reference is made to the Practice Notes issued by the Central Land Board—and I am a little surprised that they have not been cited before in the course of this Debate—it will be seen at the bottom of page 12:A sale will be assumed. Value will take the form of a 'market value' and both the seller and the purchaser will be assumed to be 'willing.'That is precisely the formula which has been applied over a number of years in respect of compensation for compulsory acquisition of land. The market value from the point of view of the willing seller is the formula in the Acquisition of Land (Assessment of Compensation) Act 1919. It is on that formula that it has been found necessary to have arbitrations for 30 years. It is on that formula that the Land Tribunal will consider arbitrations in the future. Therefore, I suggest that the parallel is very close indeed, and that the parallel is supported by the Practice Notes of the Central Land Board themselves.
The Attorney-General sought to differentiate between the position under Part VI of the Act, which relates to the claims upon the central fund, and the position under Part VII of the Act which relates to the assessment of development charge. He sought to distinguish the position so as to justify the existence of an appeal in the case of the Part VI valuations, and the denial of appeal in the case of the assessment of development charge. I submit, with great respect to the right hon. and learned Gentleman, that the distinction which he sought to draw is not well founded.
He spoke of the code in regard to the Part VI valuations. I do not know precisely what he had in mind in regard to a code, because there is, of course, only a statement of principles on which such valuations are to be made, as there 1303 is a statement of principles in regard to valuations in respect of determination of development charges. The development charge, as the House is aware, is arrived at by subtracting the refusal value from the consent value. It is of course true that the refusal value under Part VII is not defined in the same words as the restricted value under Part VI. Nevertheless, these are nice distinctions which it, my submission can be pushed a good deal too far, and have been pushed a good deal too far by implication by the right hon. and learned Gentleman today.
I need hardly say that I do not rely wholly on my own authority. Once again I refer the right hon. and learned Gentleman to the Practice Notes of the Central Land Board. At paragraph 52, the Central Land Board say this:The Board are, however, responsible in the first instance for determining Restricted Values for the purposes of claims on the £300 million, and feel that there is much to be said in favour of attaining as far as possible a common basis of valuation for Restricted Values for claims for loss of development value (Part VI) and for Refusal Values development charge (Part VII).That is what they say—a common basis of valuation as between Parts VI and VII; whereas the whole of the right hon. and learned Gentleman's case is based on a distinction between these two forms of valuation. They go on:They are directed in Statutory Instrument 1189 to adopt 'normal processes of valuation,' and they propose therefore to adopt for Refusal Value of development charges the same main formula as is provided for Restricted Values for claims under Part VI.When the Central Land Board go on to refer to the consent value, it is of course quite right to say that they point out that there is no definition of the phrase "with the benefit of planning permission" in this Act or in any other. Having said that, they go on to say:Parliament has instructed the Board to determine the additional value measured by normal processes of valuation of the land due to planning permission for a particular development. The word is 'processes' in the plural.Having said that, they go on to define the five matters which are the basis of calculation in regard to a consent value. The right hon. and learned Gentleman says that there is no code under Part VII whereas there is an elaborate code under Part VI, which is not a distinction that 1304 can properly be maintained in practice. The Central Land Board emphasise in their Practice Notes that regard must be had to "processes of valuation." I too stress it is in the plural. That fact of itself is, of course, a very weighty consideration in regard to the question of the necessity of an appeal from a decision of the Central Land Board. There is no one process of valuation; there is no exact science of valuation at all. No surveyor or expert valuer would pretend for one moment that there is. Valuation is perhaps more of an art than a science. It is based to some extent on hypotheses, and the normal method of valuations is to check one form of valuation in respect of the same property by applying other sorts of valuations.
The only effective method in my experience, and I am sure it is the experience of other parties interested in these matters, to arrive at an appropriate valuation, if there is a difference between parties, is that the valuations are both put in evidence and that cross-examination and so on are allowed in regard to them. That is the normal method which has worked very well over a large number of years and is considered indispensable in other analogous matters. It is quite incomprehensible why that method should not be the correct method to apply in the interest of the parties in regard to determination of development charges.
I think that the case for an appeal from development charges is very well made out on its merits. It may be there is considerable force in the contention of the right hon. and learned Gentleman that this is not the best way in which to introduce a major addition to the Town and Country Planning Act. That is as it may be, and I concede that no doubt he is correct in that. But he must, I think, concede that the Town and Country Planning Act was formulated as it was because there was then a different contemplation of what was to be the process of determination of development charges. I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for The High Peak (Mr. Molson) in differing from the hon. Member for Edge Hill (Mr. Irvine) in his suggestion that the fact that planning considerations may not now be taken into account is a reason for not having an appeal. On the contrary, as my hon. Friend the Member for The High Peak has pointed out, the fact that this is now simply a question of 1305 valuation within the framework of the law makes it exactly analogous to other cases in which appeals for arbitration can be heard. Since matters of policy and administration are mixed up, it is much more difficult for a judicial or quasi-judicial tribunal to consider a matter of appeal.
We are entitled to assume that it may well have been for that reason that the House did not think it necessary to insert the provision for appeal when the Measure originally went through. It was only when the whole process of determination of development charges was changed by the publication of the Development Charge Regulations—when the Government had second thoughts and altered the principle—that the case for appeal to a quasi-judicial tribunal became cast-iron. Although this may not be the best method of introducing it, it is a justifiable method in view of the complete change of front brought about by these second thoughts on the part of the Government.
Finally, may I echo what has been said before on both sides? There is dissatisfaction in some individual cases in regard to the way in which determination of development charges works, and in particular there is dissatisfaction about the absence of a right of appeal. The absence of right of appeal is never popular in this country. In any democratic community it is necessary that institutions be operated on a basis of goodwill, and in a British democracy it is particularly necessary that they be worked with the knowledge that there is fair play for all. People have not at present got that impression in regard to development charges because of the absence of a right of appeal. The administration development charges, and with it the public attitude towards the business of town and country planning, can be sensibly improved by the provision of the right of appeal. From it will come increased confidence on the part of the public as a whole that this matter is being operated on traditional principles of equity and fair play.
§ 5.30 p.m.
§ Mr. McGhee
I hope that the Government will not accept the Lords Amendment. To follow for a moment what has been said by the hon. Member for Hertford (Mr. Walker-Smith), I am rather 1306 surprised to hear him state that socially desirable development may not be the most profitable.
§ Mr. McGhee
Yes, it may not always be. I thought that it was one of the cardinal doctrines of the Tory Party that the most profitable development was always the most socially desirable. I am also very surprised to see that they are shying away from the doctrine of haggling in the market. I thought that was another cardinal principle in which the Tory Party believed.
The hon. Member for The High Peak (Mr. Molson) gave one or two cases of hardship, one at an auction and one at a private sale of land. What he meant to say was that, through the stupidity of the people who bought the land, a private owner had already collected the development charge which should have gone to the landlord. No form of tribunal would have saved those people in that case. Therefore, the solution which we are asked to apply to these hard cases would be no solution at all. Unfortunately for those poor people, the money has gone and under this Act they will have to pay the development charge if they want to develop. If the Central Land Board or a tribunal of any kind were to forgo that development, they would be making the Act, so far as we are concerned, entirely useless.
There is no discretion on the part of district valuers if the regulation is properly carried out. It is their duty to collect the full difference between the present use value and the market value. The difficulty they are in now is that there is no comprehensive valuation of the whole country by which they can compare and judge valuations. They are doing it higgledy-piggledy, applying their minds to a little piece of land here and a little piece of land there, without having any means of making a proper comparison.
There is not much hardship yet, at any rate—I cannot resist mentioning this; I am sorry to see that no representative of the Ministry of Town and Country Planning is here—because the great Act which was going to collect £300 million in five years has at the moment, collected 1307 less than £750,000. Therefore, there cannot be very much hardship in the collection of development charge. [An HON. MEMBER: "There is not much development either."] That may be so, but not much hardship is being imposed on the people who are supposed to pay these heavy charges. I know the case of certain people who had the development charge levied against them by the Central Land Board; they actually handed the licences back to the city council because they could not afford to go on with the development. That is a hardship, but it is not the type of hardship about which we have heard this afternoon, except from the right hon. and learned Gentleman himself.
If there is to be a tribunal in connection with these cases, I suggest that this is not the proper tribunal. This is a form of special taxation, and the appeal ought to be to the Inland Revenue Commissioners if one wants an appeal of any kind. The truth of the matter is that the Government are resisting the Amendment simply because as the law now stands on development charge, compensation and betterment, they would get so many appeals that a scheme would break down altogether. The real trouble with the sections in the principal Act is that the Government should never have embarked upon this scheme until they really had a complete and comprehensive valuation of all the land in the country. If they had done that first, this scheme might have worked. I am one of those who believe that if they had done that and if the people of the country had understood the real market value of the land, they would have gone in, not for this method of dealing with the land question, but for the method of collecting these social values for the community either by way of rates or taxation.
§ Mr. Charles Williams (Torquay)
The speech of the hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. McGhee) interested me. It seemed to have a very nice old-fashioned ring about it. It reminded me immensely of the speeches made round about 1910. I shall not now follow his argument any further, although I might make a slight reference to it in a few minutes.
I listened to the speech of the Attorney-General, as I always listen to him, with very great interest. There was actually 1308 one part of that speech with which I agreed and there was one part of it in which he was accurate. There is no doubt that there is one weakness about this Amendment, and that is that the new Clause ought to have been fully and properly applied to Scotland. The Attorney-General convinced me of that entirely. The Attorney-General also said certain things about the inclusion of the Clause in another place. He said that apparently in another place there was complete misapprehension as to what this really meant. With great respect to the right hon. and learned Gentleman and without in any way depreciating his knowledge, I understand that there are in another place a number of very distinguished lawyers whom I was accustomed in the past to hear in the House of Commons. Also, I have been informed by a very large number of Ministers during the last four years that the other place has a perfectly marvellous capacity for improving things.
When we take those two things together—first, that those in another place are very highly skilled and, second, that they include very highly skilled lawyers—I hardly think that there is very great strength in the argument of the Attorney-General, whose experience in making laws can only be quite small compared with that of many of the great lawyers in another place. The House would be extremely ill-advised to turn down an Amendment simply on the grounds that the other place did not fully understand the Clause. I hope that in saying those things I have not in any way depreciated the position of the right hon. and learned Gentleman. I have, at any rate, done him one good turn by showing that Scotland certainly should not have been omitted, and I hope that Scotsmen will take note of that.
I should like to refer now to the very interesting speech of my hon. Friend the Member for The High Peak (Mr. Molson). I have had a considerable number of cases—I do not say in writing—about people who have, or might have had to pay development charges. I say "might have" because in one or two cases eventually they have not had to do so. I am not quoting that as a matter of hardship, for that is the law and people have to pay those charges; but there is at present a state of complete and utter muddle and con- 1309 fusion. There is a very great deal of ill-feeling on this matter, and the main reason why the new Clause must be supported is that the whole feeling in the country is that the Tribunal is an arbitrary body and that in ordinary common justice there should be some method of appeal. That provision should have been made throughout the principal Act and must be made here also.
The reason why the Government, throughout the whole of the present Parliament, always resist any form of appeal does not require much explanation. It is clear that the present Ministry of Town and Country Planning are completely incapable of dealing with these matters; they have been overworked and have lost control almost entirely of the machine of town and country planning. Only the other day illustrations of this came before the House.
§ Mr. Williams
I will not pursue that illustration, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, simple though it may have been, of the delays which are occurring. I was merely instancing those delays as a reason why people should be given the right of an appeal in defence of their own property; and the fact that a Department is overworked makes that all the more necessary. I will not develop that illustration any further, however, because everyone is fully aware of it and knows who are the culprits. I did not intend in any way to transgress the Rules of Order by strengthening my submission that the right of appeal should be allowed.
A further reason in support of my contention—it will not, of course, appeal to the Government—is that under the present charges they have built up an absolute monopoly as far as the development of land is concerned. They have built up the largest and most complete monopoly ever known in this country. There are, of course, other monopolies, although none of them is owned by hon. Members on this side; but the Government have built up this monopoly and, as a result, have under their power all sorts of people and all kinds of development. By imposing this charge they are holding up development, as is shown not only by my own experience but in many 1310 other areas. The problem could easily be overcome by the provision of some sort of appeal. The same thing happened earlier—I am reminded of it by the speech of the hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. McGhee)—when the very people who introduced things of this kind had to repeal them.
§ 5.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Williams
I have no doubt whatever that the Clause ought to be inserted. It may go against some of the principles of the earlier Act, but that does not really matter. That earlier Measure is so bad and hopeless that we should, at least, make it a little better.
I hope that the House will divide on the Amendment, because it is obvious that it is the deliberate intention of the Government—which explains their objections to the Amendment—to fight at every turn the right of any kind of appeal. They are fighting and endeavouring to set up a monopoly. When they begin monopolies they at once begin Socialism, and the only thing that emerges is complete monopoly with no possible source of appeal. It is precisely that state which the Government, by their own Socialist theories, are bringing about.
§ Mr. Henry Strauss (Combined English Universities)
I agree with the view which must, I think, be held generally in the House that in dealing with this Amendment of the Lords we are dealing with a very difficult topic. I am a little hampered—as, indeed, was the right hon. and learned Attorney-General—by the Rules which prohibit our quoting what was said in the House of Lords on this matter. Since I am supporting the Lords Amendment that there should be an appeal from the Central Land Board, I should like to make clear at the outset what is, I believe, the view of all hon. Members who have spoken and of the House generally, that that does not imply any sort of attack on the Central Land Board or its distinguished Chairman, who, in my opinion, is performing a public duty with great ability. I want to make it quite clear that in supporting this right of appeal from them I am not in any way attacking the Central Land Board.
The speech of the Attorney-General was divided between matters of form and 1311 procedure on the one hand, and some allusion to objections of substance on the other. So far as procedure is concerned, I at once agree with him that this Amendment involves an amendment of the Town and Country Planning Act, 1947. The right hon. and learned Gentleman is perfectly right in that. If it were necessarily wrong in any Measure which dealt with procedure to introduce any substantive amendment of the law, then, of course, he would possess a good point. I do not think, however, that he would himself put it as high as that. If this Amendment is, in fact, an improvement in substance, the fact that it is made in what is, in the main, a procedural Bill is not, I think, a sufficient objection.
On the question of substance, I am bound to say that I differ from the right hon. and learned Gentleman in his view that the House of Lords acted under any mistake of fact. In saying that I am not, of course in any way impugning the good faith of the Attorney-General in his description of the impression made upon him by the speeches in another place. Indeed, I agree that there are quotations, if we were allowed to make them, that would support him in thinking that one, at any rate, of their Lordships was under a slight misapprehension concerning Section 60. But I certainly believe that those who framed the Amendment we are now considering were acting under no mistake of fact whatsoever. That is borne out by the very different words in the new Clause we are now considering from the words in the Bill that deal with Section 60 of the 1947 Act. Those who framed the new Clause were quite clear on what had been done under Section 60 and on what they were doing in regard to Section 70. On the question of substance, it is interesting to note that the view of the Attorney-General was in direct conflict with the view of the hon. Member for Edge Hill (Mr. Irvine) who, paradoxically, at the end of his speech said he was supporting the Attorney-General. Anyone who watched the expression of the Attorney-General must have thought, as I did, that he was recollecting a celebrated line of Virgil:non tali auxilio nec defensoribus istis.The argument of the Attorney-General was that the Central Land Board under 1312 Section 70 had so much discretion that appeal from it would be useless. In fact if an appeal went to the Tribunal, as we suggest, the Tribunal would not be able to upset any decision at all because they could not say that, in the words of the regulation, a certain amount did not represent the additional value,to the satisfaction of the Boardand so on. The hon. Member for Edge Hill, on the other hand, thinks exactly the opposite. He thinks that the Board have no discretion at all. If the hon. Member is right and there is very little discretion, it follows directly that there is great possibility of error. That is generally thought to be a good reason for providing an appeal. I appreciate what the right hon. and learned Gentleman said on the wording of the regulations, but, I would refer him to the exact form of the proposed new Clause, the exact words of which are:Any person aggrieved by the determination of a development charge by the Central Land Board under section seventy of the Town and Country Planning Act, 1947, may … appeal.…and then the Lands Tribunalshall make such determination as it may think fit.…I should have thought, notwithstanding the words in the existing regulations, that the process of appeal would not be wholly futile and that the appeal tribunal would not be bound to uphold the determination of the Board. I take the view that it would only be likely to upset the determination in cases of obvious error. It would very much increase the confidence of the public if they knew there was an appeal in cases of obvious error. A greater sense of justice would be in the interests of town and country planning. All who have any experience of town and country planning know that nothing so much hinders the possibility of good planning as a widespread sense of injustice at the process. I believe that the actual number of decisions which would be called in question if this appeal were allowed would be few, and the reputation of the Central Land Board would be increased rather than diminished.
It would be out of Order to discuss what was very germane to the regulations and was the subject of an important Debate on 26th May, 1948, which those interested will no doubt look at. Those regulations are, of course, alterable, 1313 should the Government decide at any time to alter them.
It is quite clear, as was pointed out at that time and again this afternoon, that those regulations were certainly not the regulations contemplated by those who drafted the 1947 Act at the time that Act went through this House. The right hon. and learned Gentleman has mentioned the Lords as acting under a mistake of fact, but it is much truer that this House acted under a mistake of fact. While fully admitting that this is an amendment of the 1947 Act, in a sense in which what is being done in regard to Section 60 is not, I agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. W. S. Morrison) that the right hon. and learned Attorney-General did not consider the merits. Incidentally, on the merits it is impossible to reconcile the view of the Attorney-General that by reason of the words of the regulations, and the wide discretion they give, any appeal would be futile, with the very different grounds on which the Amendment was turned down by the Lord Chancellor. I am not at liberty to quote in detail, but the Lord Chancellor certainly did not think the effect of this Amendment, if embodied in the Bill, would be to create a futility. I hope the Government will reconsider their hostility to this Amendment. If carried, it would increase the public sense of the justice of the working of the Central Land Board, and thus aid the cause of town and country planning.
§ Mr. Manningham-Buller (Daventry)
We have had considerable discussion on this Amendment and, after all that has been said by my hon. Friends, it should be clear to the Attorney-General and hon. Members opposite that the case, for this Amendment on its merits, is very strong. Indeed, the case presented by us from this side of the House has not received any answer at all. The hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. McGhee), after revealing his lamentable ignorance of what the Conservative Party stand for, rather took the line that while there may be some land tribunal, it should not be this one, but that the matter should go to special commissioners. The hon. Member for Edge Hill (Mr. Irvine), while voicing support for the Attorney-General, did not add any weight to the argument advanced by the right hon. and learned Gentleman. The right hon. and learned 1314 Gentleman was very wise in not putting his main argument against this Amendment on the grounds of merit. I think he would find it extremely difficult to do so. He put the main ground for resistance on objection to the inclusion in what is a procedural Bill of a change in the substantive law. I feel sure he felt that objection would bear particular weight with me, having regard to threatened action in respect of another Bill dealing with procedural changes, which are very largely agreed.
While I sympathise with him to this degree, that it is always a little upsetting, as it must be for the bird which has a nest when the cuckoo comes along and lays an egg in that nest, at the same time there are cases—and I think this is one—where great weight should be placed on the merits. The strength of the case is such as to outweigh the advantage, if it be an advantage, of adhering solely to procedural law in a procedural Bill. In view of his argument that there was no appeal under Section 70 of the Town and Country Planning Act, 1947, whereas there was an appeal under Section 60, I would remind him, as I reminded him in the course of our Second Reading Debate on this Bill, of the reason for that. As I understand it, it was that under Section 70, in assessing development value, questions of policy should be taken into account; it was not to be an assessment of 100 per cent. of the development value all over the country; policy was to operate so as to deflect development into different parts of the country. That was a logical argument, as that Measure then stood, for giving a right of appeal only under Section 60 in regard to the claims against the £300 million fund.
That argument was completely destroyed when the regulations were made dealing with the assessment of development charge. It was then said—I remind the Attorney-General of this because he may perhaps attach great weight to the words of the Secretary of State for Scotland, who was the Member of the Government responsible for introducing these regulations, which were to be binding upon England and Wales—by the Secretary of State for Scotland:Therefore in framing these regulations we have laid down that a development charge will be 100 per cent. of the increased value and 1315 that that shall be in nearly all cases an invariable fixed basis on which the charge shall be made.That was the intention of those regulaations. That statement does not really accord with the Attorney-General's statement today that those regulations leave the Central Land Board with very wide discretion as to the amount to be levied.
The Secretary of State for Scotland was supported upon that point by the Minister of Town and Country Planning in the course of the same Debate, when he admitted that he had had to abandon what he had contemplated in the Act because it had been found to be unworkable. He said:In the course of the passage of the Bill it was contemplated that in some cases the charge might be less than 100 per cent. whereas in these regulations no such provision is made except in paragraph 3, and I agree with those Members opposite who have stated that the number of cases to which paragraph 3 will apply will be very small indeed.A little later, dealing with paragraph 3, he said:Even that does not necessarily permit of their making a charge of less than 100 per cent.… In other words, the flexibility which I had formerly thought the Central Land Board should be able to exercise, will arise in the process of valuation rather than in the percentage which they will be charging."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 26th May, 1948; Vol. 451, c. 261 and 302–3.]I scarcely think that those statements by the Minister of Town and Country Planning, supporting the Secretary of State for Scotland, tally with and support the right hon. and learned Gentleman's argument against giving this right of appeal on the ground that these regulations leave the Central Land Board very wide discretion as to the amount to be levied. There is to be flexibility in valuation but not in the assessment, and each case is, if possible, to be assessed at 100 per cent.
When this point was raised on the Second Reading of this Bill—I think I raised it—the line which the right hon. and learned Gentleman took in opposition to this point was somewhat different from that which he has taken today. One argument which he then advanced was that if we gave a right of appeal in regard to Section 70 it would be a statutory right whereas the 100 per cent. of assessment of development charge is in regulations, which may be altered. I suggest 1316 to him that as the Minister of Town and Country Planning has said that the scheme which he originally proposed of variable development charges on the grounds of policy had been found to be unworkable, there is no real prospect of the development charge regulations being materially altered.
We have been told this afternoon by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Town and Country Planning that they in the Ministry have really received no complaints as to the arbitrary and often punitive nature of the assessments of development charge which have been made by the Central Land Board.
§ Mr. Manningham-Buller
Perhaps I was a little inaccurate, but the hon. Member said that very few complaints indeed had been received, or words to that effect. I am astonished that that should be so. I hope that wide publicity will be given to the statement that the Ministry is receiving very few complaints. I am sure that plenty of people in this country will be only too willing to send complaints to the Ministry of Town and Country Planning if they think that the sending of them will serve any useful purpose. A great many of us are getting complaints. I received one two days ago from someone in my part of the country who, after a valuation by a valuer of a plot of land, bought it for a sum slightly in excess of £200, intending to build a house for his own occupation—not one for sale or anything of that kind. He finds himself assessed to pay more than £200 in development charge upon that plot of land before he can build that house. It may be that that is the right sum; I do not know, nor, I suggest, does anyone in the Ministry of Town and Country Planning.
It is only common fairness and justice that a man who has an assessment like that made upon him as being the difference between the existing use value and the value with development permission should, if he does not think that that is the right assessment, and does not think it has been correctly determined, have a right of appeal to an independent and impartial tribunal such as this will create. It is a tribunal which is designed 1317 to deal with questions of valuation and, I think, not only questions of rating valuations but of valuations of precisely the same character which will arise under Clause 70 with regard to the difference of existing use value and the value of the unrestricted use of that land and under Clause 60 in respect of claims upon the £300 million fund.
It is our belief that it is only right that people who are subject to determinations which appear to them to be completely wrong, unfair and unjustifiable, should have the right to put forward their case in public before an impartial tribunal. As that is our belief, and as the right hon. and learned Gentleman has not met, on the merits, the case which we have made in support of this Amendment, we shall have to carry this matter into the Division Lobby.
§ The Attorney-General
I can only speak again with the permission of the House. What strikes me most about the course of our Debate is how singularly hon. Members opposite have failed to establish a case in favour of this Amendment. It is, I venture to think, for hon. Members opposite, and not, as the hon. Member for Hertford (Mr. Walker-Smith) said, for the Government, to establish this case. The onus is not on the Government here. Parliament had ample opportunity of discussing these matters in 1947, or indeed in 1949, as the hon. and learned Gentleman has just reminded me when he himself raised the matter on this very Bill. It is for hon. Members opposite to take upon themselves and to discharge the onus of showing that Parliament was wrong in the decision it came to in 1947, and in 1949, that it was inappropriate, at all events in this Bill, to give a right of appeal under Section 70.
§ The Attorney-General
I am obliged to the hon. and learned Gentleman and I will deal with that point at once. It is a point made not only by the hon. and learned Gentleman, but also by the right hon. Member for Cirencester (Mr. W. S. Morrison)—I am always a bit nervous about the name of the right hon. Gentleman's constituency.
§ The Attorney-General
The right hon. and learned Gentleman said that the Lands Tribunal was not in existence in 1947, and that therefore the circumstances, when this matter was discussed by Parliament on the Town and Country Planning Bill, were different. Of course it is true that the Lands Tribunal was not then in existence, but that, at all events, was no reason for not providing the right of appeal under Section 70 to some appropriate tribunal. Official arbitrators were in existence at that time. It was contemplated by Section 60 that they would be the appropriate tribunal for appeals in Section 60 cases, and if the House had thought it appropriate that there should be appeals under Section 70 they were at that time the appropriate tribunal for such appeals.
§ The Attorney-General
Quite so. The whole question was discussed then, and it was not the absence of the Lands Tribunal which led to the rejection of the hon. and learned Gentleman's Amendment. It was that this House thought, rightly or wrongly on the merits, that it was not appropriate to have such appeals under Section 70, but it was appropriate to have such appeals under Section 60.
§ Mr. Manningham-Buller
Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman agree that the reason put forward by the Government then was that the development charge would be affected on questions of policy and would be variable having regard to policy?
§ The Attorney-General
I have no doubt that that may have influenced the view of some hon. Members in the conclusion they came to on this matter. But it was not, as the right hon. and learned Gentleman appeared at one time to suggest, that there was not at that time an appropriate appellant tribunal to deal with any such appeal, if such appeal there ought to have been.
I do not wish to pursue this matter. It is not perhaps of very great importance. But I do not think that hon. Members opposite have really sought to contest the fact, strange as it is—and I have the highest respect for Debates in another place—that the other place was under a complete misapprehension over this Bill. If the hon. Member for Hertford will look 1319 at the speech of the noble and learned Lord who moved the Amendment he will find—I must not quote the noble and learned Lord, I can only refer by paraphrase to what he said—that the noble and learned Lord did suggest to the House that the jurisdiction of the Central Land Board under Section 60 was being transferred to this new Lands Tribunal. That appears in somewhat similar language, I think the hon. Member will find, in column 345, in the last paragraph of that column. It is quite clear that both the noble and learned Lord and the acting Leader of the Opposition were putting the matter in that way. They were saying that here was a Bill which was going to create a right of appeal where none existed before under Section 60 in regard to development valuation, so why then not create a similar right of appeal under Section 70 in regard also to development valuations? There is no doubt about that, and that that misapprehension existed. I hope that it does not exist in this House and that we can deal with the matter quite independently of any such mistake.
The hon. and learned Member for Daventry (Mr. Manningham-Buller) put to me, as indeed the right hon. Gentleman had put earlier, the point about the view, taken during the passage of the Town and County Planning Bill in 1947, as to the probability that development values under Section 70 might be affected by questions of policy. It is perfectly true, and I concede at once, that it was then said that there ought to be elasticity in regard to the quantum of the development charge; and that in appropriate circumstances it might be right—as, for instance, by charging a lower amount, less than the actual development value—to promote development by adjustments in the actual development charge that was levied in particular cases. It is also true, and I can concede it at once, that under the existing regulations the charge is in general to be levied at 100 per cent. and therefore in general it is not now affected by planning considerations or questions of policy of that kind.
But the Act does in fact provide elastiticity, and as the hon. and learned Member for the Combined English Universities (Mr. H. Strauss) pointed out, these regulations can be amended. I do not 1320 suggest that they are going to be; I have no idea; but it may be that in the working of the Act, as time goes on, it will be found desirable to amend them in order to enable the charge to be effected in accordance with the desirability of development. Whatever may have been said about the matter by the Secretary of State for Scotland, it is quite clear that the regulations do themselves, in terms, provide that in a number of cases discretion is to be left to the Central Land Board. If hon. Members look at paragraphs 3 and 4 of the regulations, they will find that that is so. Moreover, in paragraph 4 it is stated in terms:Where in the special case of any land of a class referred to in Part VIII of the Act … the application of the foregoing principles would, in the opinion of the Board, be inappropriate, the Board shall apply the governing principle subject to such modification as is in their opinion appropriate to that special case.That gives the Board an absolute discretion subject to that governing principle in the consideration of a number of cases involved in Part VIII—
§ Mr. Manningham-Buller
Does not the Attorney-General agree that the governing principle very considerably limits the discretion?
§ The Attorney-General
Certainly, Sir. I would not attempt for a moment to suggest that it did not. But in spite of the governing principle these regulations themselves clearly contemplate that in particular cases a considerable discretion is left in the Board:… the Board shall apply the governing principle subject to such modification as in their opinion is appropriate to that special case.That is, in those special cases—and I agree they are a limited class of case—a provision which can clearly leave the Board with considerable discretion.
§ Mr. Molson
Does not that seem extraordinary in that, in the case which my right hon. Friend quoted, about Mr. Crook the chemist and sub-postmaster, when the matter was taken up about the desirability of moving the post office and was supported by the Postmaster-General, Sir Malcolm Trustram Eve said that there was no provision whereby Mr. Crook could be granted exception from payment, or at any rate, where there could have been a reduction of the development charge?
§ The Attorney-General
I dare say that in that case he was asked to deal with the question of exemption, and that is the question to which the reply was directed. It may well be that the particular case was not one in which the Central Land Board had discretion. I am not saying that they have discretion in every case. It is, in fact, only in a limited number of cases compared with the total that they have a discretion. But it is quite clear, under the regulations as at present drafted, that that discretion is vested in the Central Land Board in what is a not inconsiderable number of cases.
The right hon. Gentleman and other hon. Members referred to certain particular cases. I am not quite sure, but I think that the total number referred to in the whole course of our Debate was five particular cases, in which it was suggested that some sort of injustice had been done. The right hon. Gentleman referred in particular to one case with which, fortunately, I am able to deal, because it was referred to in another place. I wish that it were possible under our Rules of Order for me to deal with all the other cases—I think there were only four—referred to in another place, because I believe that I could give a convincing answer in regard to them. I cannot, of course, attempt to give an answer on the cases raised here without notice, but I can at least deal with one case. It concerned a club called the Union Club. The right hon. Gentleman said that there had been two determinations of development value, that one of them must have been wrong, and that therefore there should have been a right of appeal. That argument was, if I may respectfully say so, wholly misconceived.
What happened was that the district valuer was asked on the telephone for a rough informal assessment of the charge which would be payable if the club bought some premises in Grosvenor Square and adapted them for use as a club. The district valuer gave a figure of £60,000 over the telephone, without having the opportunity of making any formal valuation, but having regard to the purchase price the club told him they were proposing to pay. They were contemplating paying a sum of £100,000, which appeared to be an excessive amount. Relying on those figures given 1322 on the telephone, and being asked to give a rough informal assessment, the district valuer gave that figure. After that, in the ordinary course, the Union Club had to send in the necessary particulars and details of the premises they proposed to acquire. On making a proper valuation, with the full information before him, the district valuer reduced the figure to £35,000. On learning that the probable development charge that would be payable by them was £35,000—not £60,000 as at first thought—the club were able to indicate to the proposed vendors that they were not willing to pay a price anywhere near the £100,000 which they had at first been asked to pay.
The right hon. Gentleman seemed to draw from the circumstances of that case the curious conclusion that the district valuers or the Central Land Board never heard anyone's case, but decided the matter in an arbitrary way behind closed doors. The true moral of that case, and indeed of the other cases mentioned in another place, is that district valuers are very ready to revise the rough figures which they may give in the first instance, and are always ready to negotiate these matters with the applicants who are seeking to get development charges assessed.
I am sorry that I cannot deal equally with the other cases raised by hon. Members. Nor do I propose to deal now, at all events at any length, with the general merits of this matter. The position is that the Central Land Board is the owner, the landlord of the land, and like other owners and other landlords—and in some areas landowners have a complete monopoly of the available land—they fix the amount of the development charge in negotiation with the tenant or applicant who comes to them. The general experience in the working of this section has been that all over the country the charges have been agreed without any difficulty, and in the most amicable way. There are, of course—and this I cannot help thinking was the kind of case the hon. and learned Member for Daventry had in mind—many people, I dare say most landowners, who object to having to pay a development charge at all, who object to the policy of the Act in levying these charges, and who would rather not have to pay anything. But subject to that, and accepting the policy of the Act, that 1323 development charges have to be paid, the experience has been that very rarely has there been any difficulty or disagreement as to the actual amount of the charge, and there really is not the slightest justification for the sweeping generalisations which have been made, both here and in another place, that the Act was working unsatisfactorily or unjustly in regard to the actual assessment of charges. Indeed, hon. Members opposite, perhaps not for the first time, seek to have it both ways. If the charge is too high they say that is wrong, and if on further negotiation the district valuer reduces the charge they say that is wrong, too.
§ The Attorney-General
It is possible that both assessments may be right, but in the end the general experience is that—
§ The Attorney-General
I am sorry. I did not follow the point the hon. Gentleman was making. At all events, in the vast majority of cases the eventual assessments are agreed amicably with the owners and tenants of the land concerned, and it is quite untrue to suggest, as did the hon. Member for The High Peak, that there have been widespread complaints about this matter. The Ministry, as we have heard from the Parliamentary Secretary, have had comparatively few complaints. I personally—and I mention this because other hon. Members have mentioned complaints raised at meetings—either in my official capacity or in going about the country addressing meetings, have never once had a complaint that the assessment charges have been unjustly or inequitably assessed.
§ Colonel Dower
I think the right hon. and learned Gentleman would at any rate admit that the uncertainty has caused a great deal of projected work not to be proceeded with. I could myself give him several instances of that.
§ The Attorney-General
There need be no uncertainty about the matter. It is possible to obtain an assessment of a development charge quite quickly and quite certainly. I will say something 1324 about that in a moment. When the uncertainty is resolved and the development charge is assessed it may in particular cases discourage development. I will say something about that in a moment; I am not concealing that. But there is no reason for any uncertainty to exist. Indeed, if we provided a right of appeal to the Lands Tribunal a point of law might be taken right on to the House of Lords, and there would certainly be uncertainty and delay in fixing a development charge in particular cases. But there is no reason for any delay or uncertainty about the matter now.
The hon. Member for The High Peak said that no general instructions had been given to the district valuers—I think I am correct in attributing this point to him—but that is quite incorrect. The Central Land Board has published, as the hon. Member for Hertford pointed out, a very detailed and almost voluminous body of practice notes, setting out all sorts of principles and rules upon which the district valuers and the Central Land Board will act. I am told that these have been of very great assistance to the surveyors' profession and to the valuers in arriving at agreed valuations. The district valuers have been instructed, first, that they should notify applicants as quickly as they can of the provisional valuation, and that they should offer at all stages to discuss the matter with applicants and try to arrive at an agreed valuation in an amicable way.
In the vast majority of cases, that has in fact been done, and to bring up in this House five, and in the other House four, particular cases, and to argue from those particular cases, brought up without notice, that the scheme is working inequitably, is, I venture to think, a method which will not commend itself to the House. If indeed hon. Members opposite are getting numerous complaints about these methods, I hope they will pass them on to the Ministry of Town and Country Planning, which I am sure will be interested to consider them, and which, no doubt, if it feels that this scheme is working unsatisfactorily and giving rise to inequitable results, will consider the question of a possible appeal on its merits and in the light of such evidence as is made available to it.
The hon. Member for Hertford took the point that it was inequitable that the 1325 assessment of the charge should be left to negotiations between the tenant and the landlord, who had a monopoly, and it is very gratifying to hear the hon. Gentleman and other hon. Members opposite coming out in clear opposition to monopolies in these matters. But this particular monopoly, we ought perhaps to remember, is a public one conducted in the public interest, and subject to the control of the Minister and to the control of Parliament.
Now I come to the point raised by the hon. Member in regard to the possibly discouraging effect on development of charges which were too high. If, in fact, it turned out that development values were being charged at so high a rate that they were discouraging development, I would have thought that that would be the very thing, far more than any right of appeal to the Lands Tribunal or any other body, which would in itself result in the charges coming down, because of course the Central Land Board, unlike the Lands Tribunal, is vested with important responsibilities under the Act, and is subject to the control of the Minister and eventually to the control of this House. If indeed it did appear that the policy pursued by the Board in relation to development charges was discouraging development, that more than anything else would lead to the modification of the policy.
§ Mr. H. Strauss
May I ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman a question? He has made the rather important statement that the Central Land Board is subject to the control of the Minister. Which provision has he in mind?
§ The Attorney-General
I would not pledge myself to the particular Section, but if the hon. and learned Gentleman turns it up I think he will find that it is one of the early sections and that it does, in terms, provide that the Central Land Board is subject to directions of a general character by the Minister. I think that is so.
§ The Attorney-General
I am much obliged. I am told that it is either Section 2 or 3, and if the hon. and learned Gentleman will look at either of those Sections, he will find that they provide 1326 something to that effect. In fact, I am informed that it is Section 3 (1), which states:(1) The Central Land Board shall, in the performance of their functions under this Act, comply with such directions of a general character as may be given to them by the Minister.Then, there is the power of the Minister to make regulations in regard to the development charge, and if he find that high development charges under the present regulations are discouraging development, I should imagine that the first thing he would do would be to alter the regulations.
§ Mr. H. Strauss
May I put this question to the right hon. and learned Gentleman? The only point that I wish to make clear is this. If the right hon. and learned Gentleman had that Section in mind, is it not the case that it does not provide the Minister with any sort of remedy if an individual development charge is wrongly assessed?
§ The Attorney-General
I do not think anybody, even the hon. and learned Gentleman himself, will imagine that I have suggested anything to that effect. The Minister has general control over the Central Land Board, as Ministers have under various Acts passed by this Parliament establishing national boards.
The hon. Member for Hertford was followed by the hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. C. Williams), who spoke at some little length. If he will permit me to say so, he always succeeds in compressing the maximum number of words into the minimum number of ideas, and I must be careful not to follow him in that respect.
The hon. and learned Member for the Combined English Universities took the point that, under the Amendment, as drafted, the Lands Tribunal could make such decisions as they thought fit, and if that is so, and it may well be so, that would of course result in a transfer to the Lands Tribunal of the discretion now vested in the Central Land Board. As I have just pointed out, the Board is vested with important responsibilities in the code established by the 1947 Act and is subject to general control by the Minister and Parliament, and the position under this Amendment must be that either appeals to the Lands Tribunal will be futile, because the Lands Tribunal will be 1327 unable to interfere with the discretion of the Central Land Board, or the discretion now vested in that Board and under the general control of the Minister and this House will be transferred to the Lands Tribunal, which has no responsibility to any one in the matter and is not within the system for securing the planning and development of land, as the Central Land Board is.
§ Mr. H. Strauss
I am grateful to the right hon. and learned Gentleman for giving way again, but this is rather an important point. Does he say that, if the Central Land Board made an obvious mistake which took them quite outside paragraph 2 of the regulations, under this Amendment it could not be put right?
§ The Attorney-General
No, I am not saying that. I am dealing with the point of discretion, and I say that either the Lands Tribunal must exercise the discretion now vested in the Central Land Board, which is an organisation within the general code for the development and the planning of land under the 1947 Act, or it can do nothing where the Board has exercised its discretion. That is clearly the position, and, whichever the result, in my submission it is equally undesirable.
I am not the Minister responsible for the administration of the Town and Country Planning Act, but I am the Minister responsible in this House for dealing with matters of legal procedure and machinery. I think the hon. and learned Member for Daventry will agree with me that those who desire to improve the machinery of our law are often impeded by attempts to use machinery Bills as a vehicle for altering the principles and substance of the law itself. If on the merits there ought to be an appeal in this kind of case, it will have to be provided for by amendment to the Town and Country Planning Act, and that Act will have to lay down an appropriate code on which the Central Land Board will be required to act, and departures from which can be made the subject of appeal.
It is quite wrong to say that the position at present as between Sections 60 1328 and 70 is the same. For Section 60, a code is laid down by Sections 61 and 62 which attracts some of the rules—not all, but a good many—of the 1919 Act. For Section 70, there are, it is true, the practice notes, but they are administrative and can be changed at any time in the discretion of the Central Land Board. We have, on the one hand, a statutory code to which the Central Land Board must adhere; on the other hand, administrative rules are published for the information of the public which the Central Land Board use when guiding themselves in the exercise of their discretion.
§ Mr. Walker-Smith
Would not the right hon. and learned Gentleman agree that what he calls the statutory code under Section 61 or Section 62 is cast in wide terms, and would he not agree, from a study of the practice notes, that though the words are different in the two cases, the Land Board has clearly come to the conclusion that the more they apply them in practice, the closer they seem to be?
§ The Attorney-General
That may well be so; I am not arguing that point. What I am saying is that if we create a legal right of appeal from the Central Land Board, we must have a statutory code. It might be very similar to the administrative code set out in the practice notes, but we cannot have a workable appeal unless we have a statutory code and can go to the appellant Tribunal and say that the Central Land Board have departed in one particular or another from the code imposed upon them by statute. I ask the House to say that whatever case there might be for an appeal under Section 70 on the merits, this is not the occasion on which to provide that appeal. To pass this Bill with this Amendment would indeed bring very great grist, I venture to think, to the legal mill, but it would introduce complete muddle and confusion into the administration of the Town and Country Planning Act.
§ Question put, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 225; Noes, 129.1271
|Division No. 149.]||AYES||[3.35 p.m.|
|Adams, Richard (Balham)||Ewart, R.||Longden, F.|
|Albu, A. H.||Fairhurst, F.||Lyne, A. W.|
|Alexander, Rt. Han. A. V.||Farthing, W. J.||McAdam, W.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Fernyhough, E.||McGhee, H. G.|
|Anderson, A. (Motherwell)||Foot, M. M.||Mack, J. D.|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Forman, J. C.||McKay, J. (Wallsend)|
|Austin, H. Lewis||Fraser, T. (Hamilton)||Mackay, R. W. G. (Hull, N. W.)|
|Awbery, S. S.||Gallacher, W.||McLeavy, F.|
|Ayles, W. H.||Gibbins, J.||MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)|
|Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B.||Gibson, C. W.||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)|
|Bacon, Miss A.||Gilzean, A.||Macpherson, T. (Romford)|
|Barstow, P. G.||Glanville, J. E. (Consett)||Mainwaring, W. H.|
|Barton, C.||Goodrich, H. E.||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)|
|Battley J. R.||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Wakefield)||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield)|
|Bechervaise, A. E.||Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)||Mann, Mrs. J.|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Grenfell, D. R.||Mellish, R. J.|
|Benson, G.||Gruffydd, Prof. W. J.||Middleton, Mrs. L.|
|Berry, H.||Guest, Dr. L. Haden||Millington, Wing-Comdr E. R.|
|Beswick, F.||Guy, W. H.||Mitchison, G. R.|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Haire, John E. (Wycombe)||Monslow, W.|
|Binns, J.||Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil||Morley, R.|
|Blackburn, A. R.||Hamilton, Lieut.-Col R.||Morris, Hopkin (Carmarthen)|
|Blyton, W. R.||Harrison, J.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H (Lewisham, E.)|
|Boardman, H.||Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)||Mort, D. L.|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L' pl. Exch' ge)||Herbison, Miss M.||Moyle, A.|
|Bramall, E. A.||Hobson, C. R.||Nally, W.|
|Brook, D. (Halifax)||Holman, P.||Naylor, T. E.|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)||Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)|
|Brown, T. J. (Ince)||Hoy, J.||Oliver, G. H.|
|Bruce, Maj. D. W. T.||Hubbard, T.||Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth)|
|Carmichael, James||Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.)||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)|
|Champion, A. J.||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayr)||Parker, J.|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen N.)||Parkin, B. T.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Paton, Mrs. F. (Rushcliffe)|
|Cocks, F. S.||Irvine, A. J. (Liverpool, Edge Hill)||Paton, J. (Norwich)|
|Cooper, G.||Janner, B.||Pearson, A.|
|Corlett, Dr. J.||Jay, D. P. T.||Peart, T. F.|
|Cove, W. G.||Jeger, G. (Winchester)||Piratin, P.|
|Crawley, A.||Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S. E.)||Platts-Mills, J. F. F.|
|Daggar, G.||Jenkins, R. H.||Popplewell, E.|
|Daines, P.||Jones, J. H. (Bolton)||Porter, G. (Leeds)|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield)||Keenan, W.||Price, M. Philips|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Kendall, W. D.||Proctor, W. T.|
|Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S. W.)||King, E. M.||Pryde, D. J.|
|Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)||Kinley, J.||Pursey, Comdr. H.|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Kirby, B. V.||Ranger, J.|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||Kirkwood, Rt. Hon. D.||Rees-Williams, D. R.|
|Delargy, H. J.||Lang, G.||Reeves, J.|
|Dobbie, W.||Lawson, Rt. Hon. J. J.||Reid, T. (Swindon)|
|Dodds, N. N.||Lee, F. (Hulme)||Rhodes, H.|
|Ede, Rt Hon. J. C.||Leonard, W.||Ridealgh, Mrs. M.|
|Edelman, M.||Leslie, J. R.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)||Roberts, W (Cumberland, N.)|
|Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)||Lindgren, G. S.||Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, W.)||Lipton, Lt.-Col M.||Robinson, Kenneth (St Pancras, N.)|
|Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)||Logan, D. G.||Rogers, G. H. R.|
|Ross, William (Kilmarnock)||Stokes, R. R.||Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Royle, C.||Stross, Dr. B.||Weitzman, D.|
|Scollan, T.||Stubbs, A. E.||Wells, W. T. (Walsall)|
|Scott-Elliot, W.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. Edith||West, D. G.|
|Segal, Dr. S.||Sylvester, G. O.||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John (Edin' gh, E.)|
|Shackleton, E. A. A.||Symonds, A. L.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Sharp, Granville||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)||Wigg, George|
|Shawcross, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (St. Helens)||Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Shurmer, P.||Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)||Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)|
|Silverman, J. (Erdington)||Thomas, George (Cardiff)||Williams, D. J. (Neath)|
|Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)||Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)||Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)|
|Skeffington, A. M.||Thurtle, Ernest||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Skeffington-Lodge, T. C.||Tiffany, S.||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Skinnard, F. W.||Timmons, J.||Willis, E.|
|Smith, Ellis (Stoke)||Titterington, M. F.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)||Tolley, L.||Wyatt, W.|
|Smith, S. H. (Hull, S. W.)||Viant, S. P.||Yates, V. F.|
|Sorensen, R. W.||Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank||Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)|
|Sparks, J. A.||Watkins, T. E.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)||Watson, W. M.||Mr. Hannan and Mr. Bowden.|
|Agnew, Cmdr. P. G.||Harden, J. R. E.||Roberts, H. (Handsworth)|
|Amory, D. Heathcoat||Harris, F. W. (Croydon, N.)||Roberts, P. G. (Ecclesall)|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon, R.||Harvey, Air-Comdre. A. V.||Robertson, Sir D. (Streatham)|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Head, Brig. A. H.||Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Beamish, Maj. T. V. H.||Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Ropner, Col. L.|
|Birch, Nigel||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Ross, Sir R. D. (Londonderry)|
|Bossom, A. C.||Hollis, M. C.||Sanderson, Sir F.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Hope, Lord J.||Scott, Lord W.|
|Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr J. G.||Hutchison, Col. J. R. (Glasgow, C.)||Shephard, S. (Newark)|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Keeling, E. H.||Shepherd, W. S. (Bucklow)|
|Bullock, Capt. M.||Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.||Smithers, Sir W.|
|Butcher, H. W.||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Snadden, W. M.|
|Challen, C.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.||Spence, H. R.|
|Channon, H.||MacAndrew, Col. Sir C.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. W. S.||McCallum, Maj. D.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Clarke, Col. R. S.||Macdonald, Sir P. (I. of Wight)||Strauss, Henry (English Universities)|
|Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col G.||McFarlane, C. S.||Studholme, H. G.|
|Conant, Maj. R. J. E.||MoKie, J. H. (Galloway)||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Maclay, Hon J. S.||Teeling, William|
|Crowder, Capt, John E.||MacLeod, J.||Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)|
|Cuthbert, W. N.||Macpherson. N. (Dumfries)||Thorneycroft, G. E. P. (Monmouth)|
|De la Bère, R.||Maitland, Comdr. J. W.||Thorp, Brigadier R. A. F.|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Manningham-Buller, R. E.||Touche, G. C.|
|Dower, Col. A. V. G. (Penrith)||Marsden, Capt. A.||Turton, R. H.|
|Drayson, G. B.||Marshall, D. (Bodmin)||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Drewe, C.||Mellor, Sir J.||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Dugdale, Maj. Sir T. (Richmond)||Molson, A. H. E.||Wakefield, Sir W. W.|
|Eden, Rt. Hon A.||Moore, Lt.-Col. Sir T.||Walker-Smith, D.|
|Fleming, Sqn.-Ldr. E. L.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)||Ward, Hon. G. R.|
|Fletcher, W. (Bury)||Neven-Spence, Sir B.||Wheatley, Colonel M. J. (Dorset, E.)|
|Fraser, H. C. P. (Stone)||Nicholson, G.||Williams, C. (Torquay)|
|Gage, C.||Odey, G. W.||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. (Pollok)||Peto, Brig. C. H. M.||Young, Sir A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)||Pickthorn, K.|
|Glyn, Sir R.||Ponsonby, Col. C. E.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Gridley, Sir A.||Price-White, Lt.-Col. D.||Brigadier Mackeson and|
|Grimston, R. V.||Rayner, Brig. R.||Mr. Wingfield Digby.|
|Hannon, Sir P. (Moseley)||Reed, Sir S. (Aylesbury)|
Question put, and agreed to.
|Division No. 150.]||AYES||[6.42 p.m.|
|Adams, Richard (Balham)||Hale, Leslie||Pryde, D. J.|
|Albu, A. H.||Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil||Pursey, Comdr. H.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R.||Ranger, J.|
|Anderson, A. (Motherwell)||Harrison, J.||Rees-Williams, D. R.|
|Austin, H. Lewis||Hastings, Dr. Somerville||Raid, T. (Swindon)|
|Awbery, S. S.||Herbison, Miss M.||Rhodes, H.|
|Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B.||Hobson, C. R.||Ridealgh, Mrs. M.|
|Bacon, Miss A.||Holman, P.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)|
|Balfour, A.||Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)||Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)|
|Barstow, P. G.||Horabin, T. L.||Robinson, K. (St. Pancras)|
|Barton, C.||Hoy, J.||Rogers, G. H. R.|
|Battley, J. R.||Hubbard, T.||Ross, William (Kilmarnock)|
|Benson, G.||Hudson, J. H. (Eating, W.)||Royle, C.|
|Beswick, F.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Sargood, R.|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Hughes, H. D. (W' Iverh' pton, W.)||Scollan, T.|
|Binns, J.||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Scott-Elliot, W.|
|Blackburn, A. R.||Irvine, A. J. (Liverpool)||Segal, Dr. S.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Irving, W. J. (Tottenham, N.)||Shackleton, E. A. A.|
|Boardman, H.||Janner, B.||Sharp, Granville|
|Bowden, Fig. Offr. H. W.||Jeger, G. (Winchester)||Shawcross, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (St. Helens)|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L' pl. Exch' ge)||Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S. E.)||Shurmer, P.|
|Braddock, T. (Mitcham)||Jones, D. T. (Hartlepool)||Silkin, Rt. Hon. L.|
|Bramall, E. A.||Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)||Silverman, J. (Erdington)|
|Brock, D. (Halifax)||Keenan, W.||Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Kenyon, C.||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Brown, T. J. (Ince)||King, E. M.||Skeffington-Lodge, T. C.|
|Bruce, Maj. D. W. T.||Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E.||Skinnard, F. W.|
|Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.)||Kinley J.||Smith, Ellis (Stoke)|
|Carmichael, James||Kirby, B. V.||Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)|
|Champion, A. J.||Kirkwood, Rt. Hon. D.||Smith, S. H. (Hull, S. W.)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Lang, G.||Snow, J. W.|
|Cobb, F. A.||Lee, F. (Hulme)||Solley, L. J.|
|Cocks, F. S.||Leonard, W.||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Collick, P.||Leslie, J. R.||Sparks, J. A.|
|Collindrige, F.||Levy, B. W.||Stross, Dr. B.|
|Collins, V. J.||Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)||Stubbs, A. E.|
|Cooper, G.||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.||Swingler, S.|
|Corlett, Dr. J.||Logan, D. G.||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Cove, W. G.||Lyne, A. W.||Symonds, A. L.|
|Crawley, A.||McAdam, W.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||McGhee, H. G.||Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)|
|Daggar, G.||McKay, J. (Wallsend)||Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)|
|Daines, P.||Mackay, R. W. G. (Hull, N. W.)||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Maclean, N. (Govan)||Thomas, John R. (Dover)|
|Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S. W.)||McLeavy, F.||Tiffany, S.|
|Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)||MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)||Timmons, J.|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Titterington, M. F.|
|Diamond, J.||Macpherson, T. (Romford)||Tolley, L.|
|Dobbie, W.||Mainwaring, W. H.||Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G.|
|Dodds, N. N.||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Donovan, T.||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield)||Viant, S. P.|
|Driberg, T. E. N.||Mann, Mrs. J.||Walker, G. H.|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Marquand, Rt Hon. H. A.||Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. N. (Caerphilly)||Mellish, R. J.||Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)|
|Evans, E. (Lowestoft)||Messer, F.||Watkins, T. E.|
|Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)||Middleton, Mrs. L.||Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Ewart, R.||Milligton, Wing-Comdr. E. R.||Wells, W. T. (Walsall)|
|Fairhurst, F.||Mitchison, G. R.||West, D. G.|
|Fernyhough, E.||Morley, R.||Wheatley, Rt. Hn. J. T. (Edinb' gh, E.)|
|Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.)||Mort, D. L.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Follick, M.||Moyle, A.||Wilcock, Group-Capt. C. A. B.|
|Foot, M. M.||Nally, W.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Forman, J. C.||Naylor, T. E.||Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)|
|Fraser, T. (Hamilton)||Oldfield, W. H.||Williams, D. J. (Neath)|
|Gallagher, W.||Oliver, G. H.||Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)|
|Ganley, Mrs. C. S.||Parker, J.||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Gibbins, J.||Parkin, B. T.||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Gibson, C. W.||Paton, Mrs. F. (Rushcliffe)||Willis, E.|
|Gilzean, A.||Paton, J. (Norwich)||Wise, Major F. J.|
|Glanville, J. E. (Consett)||Pearson, A.||Wyatt, W.|
|Gooch, E. G.||Peart, T. F.||Yates, V. F.|
|Goodrich, H. E.||Piratin, P.||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)||Platts-Mills, J. F. F.||Younger, Hon. Kenneth|
|Guest, Dr. L. Haden||Popplewell, E.|
|Guy, W. H.||Porter, G. (Leeds)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Haire, John E. (Wycombe)||Proctor, W. T.||Mr. Joseph Henderson and Mr. Hannan.|
|Agnew, Cmdr. P. G.||Gridley, Sir A.||Neven-Spence, Sir B.|
|Amory, D. Heathcoat||Grimston, R. V.||Nield, B. (Chester)|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Hannon, Sir P. (Moseley)||Odey, G. W.|
|Barlow, Sir J.||Harden, J. R. E.||Orr-Ewing, I. L.|
|Beamish, Maj. T. V. H.||Hare, Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge)||Peaks, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Bennett, Sir P.||Harris, F. W. (Croydon, N.)||Peto, Brig, C. H. M.|
|Birch, Nigel||Harvey, Air-Comdre. A. V.||Pickthorn, K.|
|Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. (Wells)||Head, Brig. A. H.||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir C.||Renton, D.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Roberts, H. (Handsworth)|
|Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G.||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Robertson, Sir D. (Streatham)|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Hogg, Hon. Q.||Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Bullock Capt. M.||Hollis, M. C.||Ropner, Col. L.|
|Butcher, H. W.||Hope, Lord J.||Sanderson, Sir F.|
|Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A. (S' ffr'n W' ld' n)||Howard, Hon. A.||Scott, Lord W.|
|Challen, C.||Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)||Shephard, S. (Newark)|
|Channon, H.||Jeffreys, General Sir G.||Smithers, Sir W.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. W. S.||Jennings, R.||Snadden, W. M.|
|Clarke, Col. R. S.||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G.||Keeling, E. H.||Spence, H. R.|
|Conant, Maj. R. J. E.||Kendall, W. D.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Crowder, Capt. John E.||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Strauss, Henry (English Universities)|
|Cuthbert, W. N.||Lindsay, M. (Solihull)||Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray)|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Low, A. R. W.||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.||Teeling, William|
|Dower, Col. A. V. G. (Penrith)||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.||Thorneycroft, G. E. P. (Monmouth)|
|Drayson, G. B.||MacArdrew, Col. Sir C.||Thorp, Brigadier R. A. F.|
|Drewe, C.||McCallum, Maj. D.||Touche, G. C.|
|Dugdale, Maj. Sir T. (Richmond)||McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.||Turton, R. H.|
|Eeeles, D. M.||McFarlane, C. S.||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Eden, Rt. Hon. A.||Mackeson, Brig. H. R.||Wakefield, Sir W. W.|
|Elliot, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Walter||McKie, J. H. (Galloway)||Walker-Smith, D.|
|Fleming, Sqn.-Ldr. E. L.||Maclay, Hon. J. S.||Ward, Hon. G. R.|
|Fletcher, W. (Bury)||Maclean, F. H. R. (Lancaster)||Webbe, Sir H. (Abbey)|
|Foster, J. G. (Northwich)||Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)||Wheatley, Colonel M. J. (Dorset, E.)|
|Fraser, H. C. P. (Stone)||Macpherson, N. (Dumfries)||White, J. B. (Canterbury)|
|Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir D. P. M.||Maitland, Comdr. J. W.||Williams, C. (Torquay)|
|Gaga, C.||Manningham-Buller, R. E.||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. (Pollok)||Marshall, D. (Bodmin)||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)||Maude, J. C.||Young, Sir A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Gammans, L. D.||Medlicott, Brigadier F.|
|Glyn, Sir R.||Morris, Hopkin (Carmarthen)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.||Morrison, Rt. Hn. W. S. (Cirencester)||Mr. Studholme and Mr. Wingfield Digby.|