HC Deb 22 May 1950 vol 475 cc1622-4
3. Mr. Donnelly

asked the Attorney-General if he has yet received the Report of the Committee investigating the problem of leaseholds; and when he will publish it.

4. Mr. Hamilton

asked the Attorney-General if he is aware that there is considerable concern in the country on the question of leaseholds; and if he will now indicate when the Report of the Committee will be made available.

5. Mr. Eric Fletcher

asked the Attorney-General whether he has now received the Final Report of the Committee on Leasehold Reform.

6. Mr. Janner

asked the Attorney-General whether he is aware of the grave results which are being experienced in greater measure each day by lessees whose leases of dwelling houses are running out, and of the daily increase in the numbers of occupiers of shops and offices who are being deprived of their livelihood by being compelled to leave their premises, where they have acquired their livelihood for years, owing to the termination of their tenancies; and whether he has yet received the Final Report of the Leasehold Committee.

The Attorney-General

I am assured that the Final Report of the Leasehold Committee is nearly completed and that it will be presented very shortly. It will, of course, receive immediate consideration. I must ask hon. Members to exercise patience for a little longer. The Committee, the members of which of course have to do the work in their spare time, has had a most arduous task in investigating this very difficult subject and it must not be rushed in coming to its conclusions. Hon. Members will realise only too well the difficulty which those members of the Committee who are Members of this House have been experiencing recently in attending meetings of the Committee. They are pressing on, however, as fast as they can, with the completion of the Report and although I cannot give any firm date it will, as I have said, be presented very shortly.

Mr. Donnelly

Will my right hon. and learned Friend give consideration to the suggestion put forward for an interim freezing Measure which would protect the position of people whose leases are falling in now? Will he also appreciate the extreme urgency of this problem to thousands of people, and can he hold out any hope of action before the Summer Recess?

The Attorney-General

The position is so difficult and complicated that I do not think it would be possible to consider an interim freezing Measure of the kind which my hon. Friend has in mind, and I take that view particularly as we hope that the Report will be presented very shortly indeed. I cannot promise legislation in regard to the matter before the Summer Recess, but we certainly appreciate the great urgency of the problem to many occupants of business and residential premises, and when we get the Report we shall give it immediate consideration.

Brigadier Medlicott

In view of the undoubted difficulty to which the Attorney-General has referred will he consider conferring with his colleague the Leader of the House with a view to affording the House an opportunity for a Debate on this subject at a fairly early date, which might enable us to help in solving the problem?

The Attorney-General

An opportunity for consideration of this matter will arise as soon as the Report has been made public.

Mr. E. Fletcher

May we take it that in view of the large number of people affected and the general expectation of a change in the law, as soon as the Report is available, the Government will make their views known?

The Attorney-General

We shall consider the Report as soon as we receive it, and I have no doubt that we shall make our policy about this matter clear as soon as we are able.

Mr. Thurtle

Will my right hon. and learned Friend bear in mind that he gave an undertaking to the House some time ago that he would put the leasehold law of England on the same advantageous basis as the leasehold law of Scotland?

The Attorney-General

I confess that I do not recall an undertaking of that kind, and I should not care to pass comment upon the condition, advantageous or otherwise, of the leasehold law of Scotland.

Mr. Thurtle

In case I have expressed myself incorrectly, may I ask my right hon. and learned Friend if, when he created security for the shopkeeper tenants of Scotland, he did not undertake that he would do the same thing for the shopkeeper tenants of England?

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman say how he came to ensure the safety of the tenants in Scotland?

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