HC Deb 04 February 1952 vol 495 cc622-4
27. Mr. Hale

asked the Attorney-General what steps it is proposed to take to provide security of tenure for occupants of shops and business premises; and when the appropriate legislation will be introduced.

The Attorney-General (Sir Lionel Heald)

I cannot usefully add anything to the answer my hon. and learned Friend gave on 3rd December to the hon. Member for Leicester, North-West (Mr. Janner), of which I am sending the hon. Member a copy.

Mr. Hale

Does the hon. and learned Gentleman appreciate that the situation is getting much more serious from the point of view of the shopkeeper; that diminishing stocks and increasing prices are adding very greatly to their burdens while the obvious determination of the community to have a change of Government as early as possible, as evidenced by the Gallup poll, means that the demand for shops is still at a high rate and, therefore, there is necessity for an early reform?

The Attorney-General

As was pointed out on the previous occasion, we are now considering carefully how legislation introduced by the last Government can be improved.

Mr. E. Shinwell

Can we have an assurance from the hon. and learned Gentleman that the legislation contemplated will be introduced at an early date?

The Attorney-General

I am not in a position to give an undertaking.

Mr. Shinwell

As the Leader of the House interjected while I was asking that Question and said, "Certainly not"—

The Minister of Health (Mr. Harry Crookshank)

I did not speak.

Mr. Shinwell

I beg the right hon. Gentleman's pardon. Somebody said, "Certainly not." Do we understand the position to be that the Government cannot definitely say when this legislation will be introduced?

The Attorney-General

I am not in a position to give any undertaking.

Brigadier R. Medlicott

Can we at least have an assurance that the new legislation will be introduced sufficiently soon to allow more time to discuss all the difficult issues involved before the Leasehold Property (Temporary Provisions) Act expires?

The Attorney-General

I can certainly give the hon. and gallant Member the assurance that we fully appreciate that provision must be made before the expiry of that Act.