§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government (Mr. Ernest Marples)
I beg to move, in page 3, line 1, to leave out "For the purposes of."
The two following Amendments in lines 6 and 7 might be considered with this Amendment.
The object of subsection (2) of the Clause is to amend subsection (1, b) of Section 23 of the Housing Act, 1949, so as to permit the payment of grant to a person other than the local authority for the improvement of a house which is or may later be occupied by a member of the agricultural population under a contract of service. The wording is faulty as it stands because, if the purchaser of the house from the applicant for the grant were to put an agricultural employee under a contract of service into occupation, it would be a breach of the conditions as the Clause stands.
1107 It might for the convenience of the House if I read what the Clause will be if the three Amendments are accepted. It would read:Paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of section twenty-three of the Housing Act, 1949 (which requires that a dwelling in respect of which an improvement grant has been made under section twenty of that Act must be let or kept available for letting except when occupied as mentioned therein) shall not apply to a dwelling which is for the time being occupied by a member of the agricultural population in pursuance of a contract of service.The words which we now have in the subsection would penalise a purchaser of the house which had been improved if it were subsequently let to an agricultural employee under a contract of service. This is a drafting Amendment putting right the rather inaccurate wording, especially of the last line of the subsection.
§ 4.15 p.m.
§ Mr. J. A. Sparks (Acton)
The Parliamentary Secretary was not very clear on this matter. I think it was rather difficult for the House clearly to follow what is intended. Superficially, the words would seem to indicate that he is excluding a tied cottage from the benefits of an improvement grant under the 1949 Act. In any case, I see no reason why a tied cottage cannot be included within the conditions of subsection (1, b) of Section 23 of the 1949 Act.
In the negotiations between farmers and farm workers for assessing the basis of wages, an allowance is always made which is more or less an equivalent value of rent which the farm worker would enjoy through living in a tied cottage. Although we are talking about tied cottages, we must remember that the rent value of the cottage to the farm worker is a factor which is always taken into consideration when negotiating wage standards. I cannot see why the Minister wants to take the tied cottage out of the conditions of subsection (1, b) of Section 23 of the 1949 Act.
Is it that the Minister does not desire the improvement grant under the 1949 Act to be made available to a tied cottage? Superficially, the words seem to indicate that, but I think that would be quite wrong. The right hon. Gentleman ought to make a clearer exposition of what he is trying to do in regard to these words, because they seem to be unsatisfactory.
§ Mr. Albert Evans (Islington, South-West)
Like my hon. Friend the Member for Acton (Mr. Sparks), I find myself not very enlightened by what the Parliamentary Secretary said in regard to these three Amendments. As I understand it, a grant having been made under the 1949 Act, the Minister proposes by this provision to relieve the person who has received that grant from some of the conditions laid down in the 1949 Act. He proposes to relieve the person receiving the improvement grant from the conditions laid down in subsection (1, b) of Section 23 of that Act.
If that is the intention, it seems to follow that if paragraph (b) is to be waived where the occupant is an agricultural worker, consequently paragraph (c), which deals with the amount of rent which can be charged, likewise must be waived. As I understand the Section of the 1949 Act, paragraph (c) is consequential upon paragraph (b) and does not operate if paragraph (b) is waived. I should be glad if the Parliamentary Secretary would make it clear exactly what are his intentions in the three Amendments with which we are now dealing.
§ Mr. E. G. Gooch (Norfolk, North)
To me the intention of the Minister is quite plain. He says that if something is not done here, the farmer will be penalised, but in order to prevent the farmer from being penalised he proposes to penalise the farmworker who goes into the house. That is quite clearly the intention of these Amendments which the Minister has tabled.
I cannot understand why we should not leave the position as it was under the earlier Act. What the previous Government said in that Act was that the improvement grant should be made payable on condition that a tenancy was created. The Minister now wants to take away that protection and to subject every farm worker who occupies a cottage improved under this Bill either to summary eviction or eviction in a very short time. I wish to be quite blunt about this matter. That is the intention of the series of Amendments which we are now discussing.
§ Mr. Derek Walker-Smith (Hertford)
It has been interesting to hear the three contributions made by hon. Members 1109 opposite, because none of them seems to have been in complete harmony with one another. Lack of understanding on the part of hon. Members opposite is a common denominator that runs through their contributions to most debates.
The hon. Member for Acton (Mr. Sparks), who normally speaks with such lucidity on these subjects, deprecated the Minister's intention, if I understood him aright, because he thought that the effect of the Amendment was that a house occupied under a contract of service would not be eligible for grant if this Amendment were agreed to. I am glad to see that he indicates that my understanding of what he said is correct. The hon. Member for Norfolk, North (Mr. Gooch) also expressed disapprobation of the Minister, but on a precisely contrary interpretation of the effect of the Amendment.
§ Mr. Sparks
May I clear up that point? Perhaps I was not sufficiently clear in what I said. I was referring to an existing tied cottage the owner of which makes an application for an improvement grant and as a result of that has to abide by certain conditions, for 20 years, that the house will be available for letting purposes. My hon. Friend the Member for Norfolk, North referred to a different case in which an improvement grant has been given in respect of a house but after that the tenancy is changed and the house becomes a tied cottage. There are many points involved in this question.
§ Mr. Walker-Smith
There cannot be a change of tenancy in regard to a service occupancy as the term is used in Section 23 of the 1949 Act. Hon. Members are making the mistake of confusing an agricultural tenancy with a service occupancy. Section 23 deals with the question of a service occupancy, and the Amendment now before the House also deals with a service occupancy. Where there is no tenancy there can be no change in tenancy. With great respect, I think that both hon. Members are guilty of some degree of misapprehension in regard to the effect of the Amendment.
§ Mr. Walker-Smith
The hon. Member—[An HON. MEMBER: "The Front 1110 Bench opposite do not agree."] This may be geographically the Front Bench, but not in the Parliamentary sense of that term. I am merely dealing with the speeches that have been made. Quite clearly the Parliamentary Secretary did not direct himself to those three speeches because they had not been made at the time when he spoke.
The hon. Member for Islington, South-West (Mr. A. Evans) made the point, as I understood it, that the Amendment ought to deal not only with subsection (1, b) but also with subsection (1, c).
§ Mr. A. Evans
I asked whether, if paragraph (b) was waived in the case of agricultural employees, paragraph (c) must not also be waived, because paragraph (c) is a consequence of the operation of paragraph (b).
§ Mr. Walker-Smith
I was coming to that point. With respect, I do not think paragraph (c) is so because it is concerned with cases where rent is payable for agricultural tenancy in the approved sense of the term. Here we are concerned with service occupancy where there is no relationship of landlord and tenant and no rent is paid. That is why no Amendment is required to paragraph (c) in consequence of this Amendment.
§ Mr. C. W. Gibson (Clapham)
If there is any doubt on these benches or the benches opposite, it is surely due to the fact that the Parliamentary Secretary moved this Amendment in such a short speech and in such language as made it impossible to be clear exactly what was meant.
Having re-read the Amendments as this debate was proceeding, I think it is fairly clear what they do. They are taking away the protection which under the earlier Act the agricultural worker received if he lived in a house in respect of which an improvement grant had been paid. If a farmer improved a cottage under the earlier Act and received an improvement grant to help him with the cost, that cottage became one which was un-tied, to use a phrase familiar in agricultural districts.
This alteration will, in language much more involved and difficult to understand than that of the original provision, remove that protection. It is as well that 1111 the country, and particularly the agricultural districts of the country, should realise that that is what is really happening. We are removing the protection against all the indignities of eviction which our agricultural workers who live in tied cottages have so often suffered. By this Bill we are removing that protection not only in the case of newly-built houses but in those cases where an improvement grant has been given in respect of a house because the farmer has done something to improve it.
That may satisfy the Minister, but I am sure that it will not satisfy anyone in the agricultural industry, particularly the workers, who feel very strongly about this question. I hope, and I am pretty sure, that the people in our villages and rural districts will remember this as well as the other things which this Government have done in order to help their friends among the farming interests.
§ Mr. G. Lindgren (Wellingborough)
The words on the Order Paper undoubtedly make clearer and define the intention of Her Majesty's Government in respect of this Clause. During the Committee stage we had a very long discussion, and it would be unfair to prolong the discussion on these Amendments or take advantage of them to repeat the extensive discussion which took place during that stage of the Bill.
I wish, however, to reinforce the argument which has been put forward by my hon. Friend the Member for Clapham (Mr. Gibson). Let no one be under any misapprehension: this Clause and these Amendments take away the protection which was given under the 1949 Act to agricultural workers who lived in houses in respect of which a grant for reconditioning was received.
Let me make it perfectly clear that we are desirous that any and every agricultural house that is worthy of improvement and which it is necessary to improve should be improved. We have no objection to the finances of the Government or the resources of the Government being made available to the owner of a house to enable those facilities to be granted. We think the agricultural worker is as much entitled to a bathroom and to other 1112 amenities in his house as any other worker in any urban district.
What we object to, and why we have objected to this Clause, is the principle of the Clause. We shall not divide on these Amendments, because they merely give effect to the principle already decided, but what we object to is the principle that public money should be used to improve private property, and that then that private property should be made into a service cottage, in which the tenant is at the mercy of the employer if he loses his employment. It is that principle to which we objected and which we debated in Committee. We are still against it, and we are very disappointed indeed that the Government should have taken away the protection given to the farm workers in the provisions of Section 23 of the 1949 Act.
§ Mr. Marples
I am obliged to the hon. Gentleman the Member for Welling borough (Mr. Lindgren). He has put the case very fairly. We on these benches have always recognised that the Opposition do not like the principle of this particular Clause. The Amendments we are now discussing do not affect that principle in any way. They are purely re-drafting. We should incur your displeasure, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, if we had a wide debate on what, after all, are narrow drafting points.
The 1949 Act prevents an applicant for an improvement grant from putting in a service occupier; he must put in a tenant; if he puts in a service occupier, and he is receiving a grant, he will lose it. That is the position under the 1949 Act. The Bill is to change that, and that is what this subsection does. It has always been admitted that it does. It has not been denied in the discussions between the two parties. However, this subsection was defective in drafting, because it failed to do one thing—to allow the purchaser of a house on which a grant was being paid to put in a service occupier without jeopardising the grant.
If an agricultural employee under a contract of service is in occupation of the house at present and the grant be paid, when a purchaser of that house comes along—and a purchaser may come along because of the death of the original owner, for instance—there will be a breach of condition, as the subsection now stands, and a proportionate part of the 1113 grant will become repayable to the local authority. These three Amendments, taken together, are simply to clear up that drafting error, and they make no alteration in any way of the policy which the Government have set out clearly.
§ Amendment agreed to.
Further Amendments made: In page 3, line 6, leave out from the beginning, to "by," and insert:
shall not apply to a dwelling which is for the time being occupied.
§ In line 7, leave out from "service," to the end of line 8.—[Mr. Marples.]
§ Mr. H. Macmillan
I beg to move, in page 3, line 8, at the end, to insert:(3) No contribution shall be payable under section three of the Housing (Financial Provisions) Act, 1938, in respect of a house completed after the seventeenth day of April, nineteen hundred and forty-six, for any year during which the house is at any time occupied in pursuance of a contract of service by a member of the agricultural population unless the condition set out in subsection (4) of this section, so far as applicable to the house at any time during that year, is complied with: and in relation to any dwelling in respect of which an improvement grant has been made, whether before or after the passing of this Act, under section twenty of the Housing Act, 1949, being a dwelling which is for the time being occupied as aforesaid, section twenty-three of the said Act of 1949 shall have effect as if that condition were included among the conditions specified in subsection (1) of that section.(4) The condition referred to in subsection (3) of this section is that if the contract is determined—
the employer or his personal representative will permit the employee (or, in the case of his death, any person residing with him at his death) to continue to occupy the house or dwelling free of charge from the determination of the contract until the expiration of a period of four weeks beginning with the date on which the notice is given or, if the contract is determined otherwise than by notice, with the date on which it is determined.
- (a) by less than four weeks' notice given by the employer;
- (b) by dismissal of the employee without notice; or
- (c) by the death of either party;(5) In this section "occupied" means occupied otherwise than by a tenant; and "occupy" shall be construed accordingly.This Amendment arises from the very considerable discussion which we had in Committee, when I undertook to see whether some of the points raised by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Norfolk, Central (Brigadier Medlicott) and by other hon. Members could be met. 1114 As the hon. Gentleman the Member for Wellingborough (Mr. Lindgren), who has just spoken on another series of Amendments, has said perfectly frankly and correctly, there has been considerable debate in Committee on the whole principle of this Clause. What this Clause does is to extend the power to give improvement grants to a type of cottage which is occupied upon a contract of service. In the public mind I think there is a good deal of confusion as to the precise meaning of "tied cottage."
§ Mr. Macmillan
But the hon. Gentleman represents a comparatively small part of the public. I have often heard, and I am sure that hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House must often have heard, tied cottages and houses generally described as cottages which are held under restricted tenancies. I venture to say that, although hon. Gentlemen opposite are very learned about these matters, they, too, must often have heard people talking of tied cottages in the broad sense, without a clear distinction between a cottage let upon a restricted tenancy and a cottage let upon a contract of service.
Of course, a very wide number are let upon a restricted tenancy. The railways, the mines, a very large number of similar industrial undertakings, have houses let on a restricted tenancy; and in the Act which we are now in this Clause amending a former Government allowed grants to be paid in respect of cottages let under restricted tenancies. What we are now doing is to extend them to the second sort of—and, perhaps, more correctly termed tied—cottages, let under service contracts. That is what we do—extend grants to cottages let under a service agreement, a contract of service.
What was the argument which was developed and strongly urged in Committee? It was that it was a terrible thing that public money should be given to improve or to build cottages from which the occupier could, on the termination of his service, in law, although seldom in fact—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—be evicted at a week's notice. That was the argument.
I think there was general agreement—I am trying to put this fairly—in the debate that, in fact, farmers had been 1115 urged by their associates to follow a line of good conduct, a code of good conduct, that had been built up; that, in point of fact, very few evictions of this type took place; that the farmers had been asked to follow and had operated in practice a system of going to the court, of giving notice of at least a month as a minimum; in fact, operating as if this type of tied cottage were a type of cottage let upon a restricted tenancy, and acting as the National Coal Board or the nationalised railways or others would do, if it were necessary in order to work and operate their businesses, to get hold of a cottage. That was the argument, and an appeal was made to me to see whether we could do something to bring the position of these two more closely together.
I claim that that is the purpose of the Amendment, and although we do not alter the law—for this, after all, is a housing subsidy Bill, and we cannot alter the law as to the service cottages—I do say that if public money is to be granted, if applicants for grants are to build or if they are to improve, the general code of conduct accepted and operated over a vast number of these cases shall be one of the legal conditions which must be observed if the grant is to be given.
That is what this Amendment does. It at any rate tries to meet what I think was the spirit of our discussions, and I am grateful to my hon. and gallant Friend and to other hon. Members on both sides. It does try to meet the spirit of the problem by saying that the owner farmer or landlord who wishes to get the benefit of an improvement grant or a capital grant for this type of property must observe parallel conditions to those observed where the property is on a contract of service.
I claim that this Amendment is a fair and honest attempt to bridge this gulf between the two sides of the House, and I hope that it will receive general approval, because I think it goes a long way to bring the practice, the facts and the law into general relation. If this Amendment is agreed to, I believe that any kind of grievance will be removed, and we shall have the great advantage that those who live in these cottages will get from this Bill the advantage of having their cottages improved and their conditions bettered.
1116 I have always said, as I ventured to say in Committee, that if we were to ask Mrs. Jones or Mrs. Brown, who live in one of these cottages, whether she felt so bitterly about living there, or whether she would rather have a new stove and the roof mended, she would choose what this Bill gives her in the way of improvement. At the same time, if the conditions are brought up to what would be the legal and enforceable conditions of the great range of cottages let upon restricted tenancies, I should have thought the House might have felt that it was a good piece of work and a pretty reasonable settlement of a long-standing problem.
§ Mr. G. R. Mitchison (Kettering)
I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, in paragraph (4, a), to leave out "four weeks" and to insert "three months."
I agree with the Minister that we are not trying to amend the general law about tied cottages, contracts of service, restricted tenancies and the rest of it, but I take this opportunity of saying that I am no part of the Government but he is, and the general law needs badly amending on this, a far more urgent matter than many of those brought forward by the Government at present.
At the moment we are engaged solely with the question of the conditions upon which public funds shall be used for the benefit of certain houses—if I may put it in that way—and therefore for the benefit, not only of Mrs. Jones, of whom we have just heard, but also of the landlord and owner of the house. The Minister has said, if I understood him rightly, that he is disposed to agree—I hope he will not mind my adding "at long last"—that public funds should not be used in this way unless it can be shown that the owner of the house has not merely conformed to the law but has conformed to the standards of decent behaviour which alone entitle him to this contribution from his fellow men.
I do not think this Amendment goes nearly far enough, and I will tell the House why. I begin, not by any re-statement at length of the differences which we heard just now, but simply by saying that, not quite in all cases, but in most cases decent behaviour is not to turn a man out of a tied cottage at all but to treat him as though he were in a controlled cottage and entitled to the protection of the Rent Restriction Acts, apart 1117 from the question of agricultural executive committee certificates, with which I am not now dealing.
That is, I believe, the real standard of decent behaviour, but for the moment we are debarred from that and are now considering what is to happen on the assumption that, in respect of some tied cottages—to use a loose word—there shall be some measure of protection for the tenant or, to put it more accurately, some standard of decent behaviour before the landlord gets assistance from public funds, and as a condition of that assistance.
What is suggested in this case is, broadly speaking, that the man in occupation shall be allowed to stay there for four weeks. That seems to me to be wholly insufficient. Let me say why. First of all, I think we have got to realise that one of the main faults in the law of this country is that there is a moral right to have more than the legal notice after long service. It is quite true that it does not affect the legal notice, but there are men who have been working for, say, an industrial firm for 10 or 20 years who can, so far as the law goes, be dismissed at a week's notice today.
The laws of this country are good so far as they recognise, and continue to recognise, what everybody in the country would accept as a moral right, that a man of that sort ought to be entitled to keep his job if possible, and if he is going to be sacked to have a great deal more than the week's notice that may be all he is entitled to at law. Since we are now discussing not, on the Minister's own suggestion, the strict legal rights but the moral code that is to be conformed with if a man is to get assistance from public funds, I cannot regard four weeks as very much better than one week or than no notice at all.
The history of this matter is that, though the voice is the voice of the right hon. Gentleman and the Amendment is the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman, three years ago now the National Farmers' Union recognised that there was something very wrong about the whole business of tied cottages to the extent that a man could be turned out the moment he lost his job, whatever the cause of his losing it, without any notice at all. It was in recognition of that pretty obvious proposition, which most 1118 people other than farmers had recognised a long time ago, that they proposed to make some arrangement with their members with a view to getting four weeks' notice. That is where this period of four weeks comes from.
Let me say at once that neither I nor my hon. Friend the Member for Norfolk, North (Mr. Gooch) would say for a moment that farmers are a particularly wicked or malevolent class of the community. We do not say anything of the sort. I have the greatest respect for most of the farmers I have met, and I think that most farmers I have met will do their best to be fair.
§ Mr. Mitchison
I am glad to hear that my hon. Friend agrees with me, but that is not the point in this case. When a man is being turned out of a tied agricultural cottage there is bound to be a conflict of two perfectly reasonable interests, and there may be a very unreasonable solution. The farmer wants to get on with the work of his farm, and he thinks it would either be necessary or convenient to have the cottage at the very earliest moment for what is, after all, a perfectly reasonable purpose. That is his interest.
But the interest of the man in the cottage is even more vital, and one which must appeal even more to this House than that of the farmer. For what faces him—and we must recognise it—is that he may be turned out at short notice, or with no notice, and may find himself literally without anywhere at all to go. It is not merely a question of the Mr. and Mrs. Jones whom the Minister mentioned just now. The problem of the tied cottage goes well beyond that. These cottages may be, and often are, sub-let. That perhaps is not the right word—sublicensed if the House wishes. There may be some other family living there who are turned out because of nothing whatever that they have done and for nothing which has any connection with their affairs; but simply because of some difference of opinion, or some other reason, for which the occupant of the cottage is turned out.
I can assure the Minister, and I do not believe he would deny it, that these cases of eviction from tied cottages sometimes mean grievous hardship. It does not 1119 really matter very much whether there are 100 cases or 1,000 cases or even 5,000 cases. In this House we ought, when considering as we are now considering, the employment of public funds, not to sanction their employment in any case where the cottage in question will be the subject over which a case of grievous hardship may arise.
The question is whether four weeks is long enough for the purpose, and I would put it in two ways. First of all, does any hon. Member really think that, with all the rural communities in this country, if a person is turned out of a cottage and has four weeks' notice only to make other arrangements, he can get another house? I cannot help feeling that the only honest answer to that would be, "We know perfectly well that in most rural communities they would want a great deal more than four weeks' notice to do it." An hon. Member opposite made some observation which I failed to hear. Perhaps he would be good enough to stand up and repeat it.
§ Commander J. W. Maitland (Horncastle)
I beg pardon of the hon. and learned Member. The observation I made was that that also was the same during the past seven years.
§ Mr. Mitchison
I am not going into that kind of question now. It would take us well outside the limits of this debate. I would simply say that we have had a housing problem in this country for a very long time indeed, and we have only recently begun to recognise and face it—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]—yes, recently, since the last war—[HON. MEMBERS: "Since October."] and I do not believe that the right hon. Friend of the hon. and gallant Member for Horncastle (Commander Maitland), or any other responsible Minister, would expect to solve, at any rate the rural side of the problem, to the satisfaction of everyone within a short time, or within any time in the future that we can reasonably foresee.
What we are concerned with for the moment is what is the decent thing to do with people turned out of tied cottages. We are concerned with what is decent, because the use of public funds is involved, and in that matter I will accept the criterion of the Minister. But I repeat that four weeks is not long 1120 enough, if we take as the standard the time a man would reasonably require to re-house himself.
I would take one other test, that of the county courts up and down the country. The present position is that a service occupant whose service has ended and who is not a tenant has no legal leg to stand on. He is a trespasser, and the court cannot refuse to turn him out. It is only by that elastic stretching of the administration of justice, which is in many ways a great credit to this country, that in fact time is given in almost every case.
But I would ask the legal Members of this House, as well as other hon. Members, if it is quite fair to say that it is very rare indeed for that time to be as short as four weeks? Even if we could find a hard boiled county court judge—if I may say so with respect to them—who is prepared to turn people out at less than that time, the problem again is that where the administration of public funds is concerned, where we propose to give public money for the purpose, then surely it is not sufficient to consider the number of cases. We are entitled to say, where we are giving public money, that we will not have any cases of grievous hardship.
It is not a question of balancing the majority one way or the other. It is a question of whether public money is to be given at all in cases where grievous hardship may arise. I suggest therefore that the limit ought to be set high. I am not sure that we have gone far enough. I do not come on to the question of principle, because we have passed from that. We object just as strongly to the whole of this business now as we did half an hour ago, and 10 years ago. But if we are on this narrow question of the amount of notice to be given, then I think that three months is a very moderate, perhaps too moderate, substitution for four weeks.
I do not wish to take up too much time, but there is one other matter I will indicate to the Minister. It is true that one can draw some rather subtle legal distinctions between people who are in possession of a house by leave or licence and people who are tenants on some terms or other. But I suggest to the Minister that the meaning of "tied cottage" is perfectly clear to the ordinary 1121 person, and corresponds to a tolerably clear legal conception; that is to say, it means a cottage from which a man can be turned out without notice when he loses his job. That would apply just as much to cottages occupied by railwaymen or iron and steel workers or miners as to cottages occupied by agricultural workers. We cannot however go into that on this Amendment, and I should be out of order if I tried to do so, for we are dealing with what is called the agricultural population.
However, I suggest to the right hon. Gentleman most strongly that we must not only consider, as we are today considering, the agricultural population. There are other cases that require calm and careful consideration and which may cause just as much hardship. Speaking for myself, I have never said but that there were some cases where a tied cottage in that sense was necessary, such as some schoolmaster's houses, and so on; and I agree that there might be, and very probably are, some agricultural cases.
We ought not to leave it to the farmer to judge what is and what is not necessary. Something may be highly convenient to him, but it may not be necessary. It will require some independent investigation, perhaps a tribunal for the purpose, with instructions to decide, not which cases are highly convenient, but which cases are really necessary before we come to a solution of this question of tied cottages.
Just as on that sort of matter we should not think it fair or right to accept merely the opinion of one side—the farmer—so on this question of four weeks' or three months' notice I suggest to the House that again we ought not merely to accept the opinion of the National Farmers' Union, however highly we may think of them. The odds are, to put the matter quite bluntly, that if the National Farmers' Union says that the time should be four weeks, then it ought to be a bit longer. They have not bought and sold pigs for nothing in that community.
§ Mr. Charles Pannell (Leeds, West)
I beg to second the Amendment to the proposed Amendment.
We had a lot to say on this matter during the Committee stage. I speak entirely as townsman. What we were 1122 concerned about then, and what we are concerned about now, is that there shall appear to be something like equality of treatment between the townsman and the countryman when either is dispossessed of a house.
In my experience most county court judges, on the first application, usually grant about three months' notice before eviction. I can quote at least two county courts where that is the case. When I was mayor of a borough and cases of dispossession were brought to my notice, it was the general experience to find that three months' notice of eviction was given. The local authority even in a crowded town has a difficult enough problem. Anybody who knows the mounting housing lists in our town will realise that when someone is suddenly given three months' notice it is extremely difficult to find a house for him.
How much more difficult is it in remote and scattered country districts? We have often argued here about the necessity to keep men on the land and not to drive people from the countryside. We have argued that the urban drift should not attract them and that, generally speaking, we should make conditions such that men will not lightly turn away from agricultural occupations. It has been said that the agricultural labourer is possibly our best dollar saver.
I suggest that as a matter of equity the countryman should not be disadvantaged compared with the man who lives in a town. It is usually purely an accident whether one goes into an occupation like my own, where a service tenancy is never entered into, or whether one goes to work in the countryside where a service tenancy may be necessary. In either case, people marry and bring up families. Eviction under any conditions at all, even if it be due to the man's own fault, is a matter of great hardship to the family.
One can argue that these sort of things take place through dereliction of duty by the man concerned. Even if that were so, the man would still receive three months' notice from any county court. It seems to me that most of our difficulties arise when various classes of the community are treated differently. It is the indication of the success of any administration that it should appear to treat people fairly one with the other.
1123 We pressed this matter during the Committee stage because we thought that there ought to be one general code of eviction for town and country. As there has been no contradiction of the fact that it is the general practice in urban communities to give three months' notice, it seems reasonable to us that a similar time should be given to the agricultural labourer.
I do not want to go too far or I shall be ruled out of order, but I should like to say that I pointed out during the Committee stage that agriculture is becoming more and more mechanised and that a different type of labour is being attracted. Numerous engineering products are used and a man may work in a garage or be employed as the driver of a tractor. Some agricultural workers might almost be described as members of the engineering community.
It seems to us that in this matter of dispossession we should attempt to ensure that the length of the notice is reasonable and humane. If it is humane to give a man three months in which to regulate his affairs if he is dispossessed in a town, I have yet to hear any argument why a lesser time should be allowed if he lives in the country.
§ Brigadier F. Medlicott (Norfolk, Central)
I am glad to have this opportunity of welcoming the Amendment moved by my right hon. Friend because I had the privilege of moving in Committee a similar Amendment, the effect of which is fully carried out by the Minister's proposal. For the purpose of the record I make it clear that that Amendment was moved in Committee by the hon. and gallant Member for Norfolk, Central and not by the hon. Member for Norfolk, North (Mr. Gooch) and I am sure that he will be happy to have that point made plain.
Although clearly all the discussions of the general principle of the tied cottage have been within the rules of order, both here and in Committee, most of the merits of the arguments put forward by hon. Members opposite have been out of place. We have had all sorts of speeches attacking the whole principle of the tied cottage. We are therefore entitled to point out in answer to the question addressed to the House a few 1124 moments ago by the hon. and learned Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison), who asked whether anyone thought that one month's notice was sufficient for the occupant of a tied cottage, that hon. Members opposite thought that for six years. They permitted the existence of the law of the tied cottage without making any attempt whatever to alter or to qualify it. That is the answer to the hon. and learned Gentleman.
§ Mr. Mitchison
I am much indebted to the hon. and gallant Member, but the point is quite different. We did not allow public funds to be used for tied cottages. What we are now considering is whether, when public funds are allowed by this Government to be used for tied cottages, there should be a period of four weeks or three months for notice to the occupant.
§ Brigadier Medlicott
The reference to public funds may have been useful as a device from a debating point of view, but the argument submitted has been directed against the whole existence of the tied cottage as such. If the objections to the existence of that form of occupation are so profound and far-reaching as these arguments now lead us to suppose, then something ought to have been done by the previous Government, which was supported by the hon. and learned Member, during the six years when they had the opportunity but did not make use of it.
I should like to return to the question of reasonable notice, and to take up another point made by the hon. and learned Gentleman when he referred to the occasion when an agricultural worker leaves his cottage. He seemed to suggest that the only people interested in that event are the farmer and the outgoing occupier, but there is another person who is vitally interested, and he is the incoming occupier. This is one of the reasons why this whole question of the tied cottage is one upon which very diverse views are held amongst agricultural workers themselves.
When an agricultural worker obtains a fresh job, one of the attractions to him is that he will have a service cottage near to the place where he will be called upon to do his work. No examination or the question of the tied cottage is therefore complete without bearing in mind 1125 the fact that these cottages circulate among agricultural workers themselves as a community. There may be cases of hardship when one man goes out, but we must not forget that another worker comes in to take his place and has the advantage of the accommodation that is provided.
The hon. and learned Gentleman also referred to the views of the National Farmers' Union on this question of notice, but those of us who put down our Amendment in Committee did so of our own volition, and, as far as I was concerned. I had not even seen the reference made to the matter by the National Farmers' Union. It seemed to me and to some of my hon. Friends that there was a case for some increase in the period of notice, as we were very conscious of the fact that, when the time comes when a man loses his occupation and also loses his house, that is clearly a very serious matter for him.
We gave a great deal of thought to the question of the length of notice that was needed. As the Minister himself pointed out in Committee, this is not a Bill in which it would be appropriate to make any general alteration in the law of landlord and tenant or of service occupation generally. I think that the most that could be done was to take this step, which is a step in the right direction. It may be a modest step, but, at least, it goes further than anything that has been done for many years past.
I have no doubt at all that, having regard to the way in which the Minister welcomed the proposals that we put to him, and the very sympathetic way in which he has discussed the alternatives, he has also in mind the possibility that, given time, he will be able to bring about an alteration in the general law of landlord and tenant which will take into account some of the very proper arguments which have been adduced in the course of this debate.
To increase the period of notice from no notice at all, which has been the case hitherto—it was not merely a question of a week, but of no notice at all—to four weeks, is very definitely a step in the right direction. We know, in spite of the cases which have been quoted, which have been extraordinarily few in number, that it is nearly always the practice of landlords and farmers to go to the court in order 1126 to have the assurance of judicial examination of the position and official authorisation before the final step is taken and the occupier has to go.
I regard the Minister's amendment as a complete and ample fulfilment of the undertaking which the Minister gave during the Committee stage, and I hope that it will commend itself to the House.
§ 5.15 p.m.
§ Dr. Barnett Stross (Stoke-on-Trent, Central)
This is a very narrow point, and I shall not detain the House more than a few moments, but I wish to appeal to the Minister to realise that possibly three months is not a long time.
The background of this matter, which makes it easier to understand why it is possible for hon. Members like the hon. and gallant Member for Norfolk, Central (Brigadier Medlicott) to feel that four weeks is a step forward, as compared with the fact that no time at all was allocated at one time, is that we have been accustomed, where the land is concerned, to realise that, though it is long ago, the farm worker was a chattel who was bound to his land. Indeed, there was a time when he could not move from a particular place, and was bought and sold with the land.
We know, also, how he came to his freedom, and that, too, was a long time ago. At any rate, after the Black Death and the time of the Wars of the Roses, the farm labourer began to manifest his desire for freedom, but, while this was occurring—I know that hon. Members opposite will know their history quite as well as I do, and will appreciate the point of what I am saying—their brothers who had escaped to the towns, and were living in the walled cities or hamlets, were free men and did not have to buy their freedom by different charters.
None the less, the fact is that we are still accustomed to feeling that men who earn their living by the use of their hands as skilled agricultural workers still may not have the same kind of freedom as have my constituents, who are miners and pottery workers. We think this is wrong, and that there is no justification for it whatever. These men are landless men, and, because they are landless men, they have not had any specific right to these same conditions. If they lose their particular jobs and have to go, whether through sickness or from the fact that 1127 they can no longer continue that particular job, three months is not very much time.
We know that, ultimately, the answer will be to build enough houses for everyone in the country, including the countryside. From a long-term point of view, no one can possibly gainsay that, but we shall have difficulties right up to the time when we reach that position. Until we do, and if we have not recognised the position of the landless man, and we still have the ill-feeling that exists between masters and men, such as is illustrated by this period of four weeks, there will be a further flight of agricultural workers from the land into the towns. That is not good for the greatest industry which we have in the country, and, for that reason alone, I hope that the Minister will give way and agree that three months is not too long.
§ Mr. Walker-Smith
I hope that the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central (Dr. Stross), who gave us his very interesting historical survey, will acquit me of any apparent disrespect for what he said in registering my surprise at his effort to concertina the Black Death and the Wars of the Roses into the same period, in which he seemed to be emulating the mental processes of his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison).
I understand that the view of the hon. and learned Member for Kettering, according to what he said in answer to the very effective intervention of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Norfolk, Central (Brigadier Medlicott) was that during the six years of the Socialist Government he and his hon. Friends were quite prepared to condemn service occupancies, but were not prepared to do anything to end the system; that what they were going to insist upon at all costs was that, if service occupancies were continued, conditions should not be made better for agricultural occupants.
§ Mr. Lindgren
The hon. Gentleman is usually most fair. Surely there is a distinct difference between a property owned by a person and let by him to an employee working for him in connection with his industry, and a property requiring the use of public funds. No public funds are required for that. Under the 1128 1949 Act it was laid down that a tenancy should be created. Previous to that it was the person's own property, and we did not interfere with private property rights. Is the hon. Gentleman now inciting us, when we get on the benches opposite in one, two, or three months' time, or in three years' time, to interfere with private property rights in the manner he suggests?
§ Mr. Walker-Smith
The length of the hon. Gentleman's intervention is in inverse ratio to its effectiveness. What he is now saying is that hon. Members opposite, when they were in power, did nothing in the matter because of their tenderness towards private property rights. But there were private property rights in the coal industry and in the railways, and all the other nationalisation Measures. The hon. Gentleman really cannot ride off that point as easily as that.
Either the system was necessary or it was not. If it was, then hon. Members opposite had six years—and a vast majority—in which to do something, and if I remember rightly the opportunity was not wanting. The matter was actually brought up at the annual Whitsuntide Conference of the Labour Party in 1947 or 1948. Whose voice was it then which said that the service occupancy system must go on? Does the hon. Gentleman remember? He ought to because it was the voice of the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan). And what did the hon. Gentleman say in those days? Did he announce any disagreement on this matter? Not at all; he was a muted Minister.
§ Mr. Sparks
Did the hon. Member for Hertford (Mr. Walker-Smith) and his hon. Friends offer any opposition to this at that time?
§ Mr. Walker-Smith
I am coming to that. We had reached the position where the system was either wrong in the view of hon. Members opposite, in which case they could have altered it, or where is was necessary to continue it as the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale and the hon. Gentleman who served under him in those days thought right. Now hon. Members opposite, and the hon. and learned Member for Kettering among them, are saying that although they did not mind continuing the system at that 1129 time they will now reject measures to improve it.
§ Mr. Mitchison
May I point out to the hon. Gentleman that I said nothing of the sort. What we are supposed to be discussing at the moment is whether public funds shall be used for the improvement of tied cottages, and, if so, under what conditions. I carefully refrained from going into a general debate on the tied cottage question, but I did suggest to the Minister that the time has come for a proper study and improvement of that matter. It seems to me to he no answer whatever to say that because under different conditions, and immediately after the war, the matter was not righted by the Labour Government, the Tory Party is freed for ever from the duty of doing the right thing.
§ Mr. Walker-Smith
The fact remains that between 1949 and 1951 hon. Members opposite refused public money and continued the system. That is my point.
§ Mr. M. Turner-Samuels (Gloucester) rose—
§ Mr. Turner-Samuels
I merely want to follow the hon. Gentleman's argument because I think there is some force in it. But what I would like to hear from him is whether, in making his criticism, he is saying that the Labour Government were wrong in not doing something about it.
§ Mr. Walker-Smith
What the hon. and learned Gentleman is inviting me to do is to pass judgment on the issue which arose in 1947 between the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale, on the one hand, and no doubt the hon. Member for Norfolk, North (Mr. Gooch) on the other.
§ Mr. Turner-Samuels
What the hon. Gentleman is doing is to excuse himself by accusing the Labour Government.
§ Mr. Walker-Smith
I am speaking in support of the Government Amendment, which proposes to improve the position now existing, and, therefore, should commend itself to all moderate and reasonable opinion from whatever quarter of the House it may come.
1130 The Amendment has been defined as putting into legislative form the code of conduct which is to be found among the best elements operating this system, which hon. Members opposite agreed during six years of office should continue. Had I served on this Standing Committee, I should certainly have warmly supported the Amendment of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Norfolk, Central, and I now heartily commend my right hon. Friend for adopting the suggestion so constructively put forward by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Norfolk, Central on that occasion.
The hon. and learned Member for Kettering says that four weeks is not a very long time. He asked what was the advantage between four weeks and one week. The answer, of course, is three weeks, or four times as much, if he prefers it in that form. But what hon. Members should also realise is that four weeks is the minimum period written into this Amendment. To it has to be added in most cases in which possession is sought and where there is a reluctance to be dispossessed—and they are the cases with which we are concerned—the length of the court proceedings.
Nearly every case which the hon. Member for Norfolk, North cited in Standing Committee involved court proceedings, as was pointed out at the time in the very effective speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Peterborough (Mr. H. Nicholls). That the courts are concerned was conceded with unanimity this afternoon by the hon. and learned Member for Kettering and by the hon. Member for Leeds, West (Mr. Pannell). They both referred to the periods given by the courts in these matters. Therefore, if we are to discuss the matter in a practical way we have to take this minimum period of four weeks and then add to it the time taken to get the matter into the list for hearing in the appropriate county court, which may be anything up to six weeks according to when the court is sitting.
There is then the possibility of an adjournment, and there are the possibilities to which the hon. and learned Member for Kettering referred regarding the county court judges, and then, again, there is the time very often given as the hon. Member for Leeds, West pointed out this afternoon. In practice, therefore, 1131 we have to add to the minimum period those other periods, or an average of them, to strike the probable average period which will elapse between the giving of the notice and the recovery of possession. That gives the matter a completely different look, especially as we have to have regard to the point made by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Norfolk, Central, that while it is a respite for one agricultural worker it is a waiting period for another.
§ Mr. Pannell
The hon. Gentleman is wandering a bit. When all is said and done the person about whom we are talking does not get the protection of the court in this matter. He does not get any notice added to the 28 days.
§ Mr. Walker-Smith
The hon. Gentleman is on a bad point. The person in question does not, of course, get the protection of the Rent Restrictions Acts because there is no tenancy. We all appreciate that. But it is a fact that in the service occupancy the farmer normally goes to the court for possession. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Yes, he normally goes.
§ Mr. Turner-Samuels rose—
§ 5.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Walker-Smith
No. I will not give way again.
That, of course, is why all the cases but one that were produced to the Committee involved court proceedings. That is the point made by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Norfolk, Central—that though not in law required to go to the courts, in fact farmers go to the courts because it is much better from their own point of view, apart from any other reason, to have a court order for possession rather than to rely upon ejectments by themselves.
§ Mr. Walker-Smith
I know because it is public knowledge, and I am not altogether uninformed on these matters. Even if I did not know from those sources, it could be inferred from the speeches made by hon. Members opposite both upstairs in Committee and here today. In the normal cases one has to add to this minimum prescribed period certain periods made up as I have just described.
1132 As my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Norfolk, Central said, we have to have regard to the waiting worker as well as to the retiring worker, because it is only the needs of agriculture and of food production which make this system one the continuance of which has been allowed by or has commended itself to all parties. It is that difficult problem, to which the hon. and learned Member for Kettering has referred of balancing the needs of the farmer against the accommodation difficulties of the retiring worker.
In my view the long-term answer to that can only be what the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central (Dr. Stross) has suggested—that if we have sufficient houses then people who have quitted agricultural employment will not want to remain in a service occupancy house or cottage because, no doubt, it is inconveniently situated for the life they intend to follow. Pending that time, this Amendment is a clear improvement upon the situation which we had before. Though it may not be the last word, as my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Norfolk, Central has said, it is certainly a step in the right direction for those of us who want to reconcile, so far as we can, the agricultural needs of food production and the right of people to have accommodation. Those of us who try to reconcile these difficulties objectively will regard this proposal as a step forward in the right direction and will congratulate my right hon. Friend on accepting the suggestion of my hon. and gallant Friend.
§ Mr. Gooch
I want, first, to make an observation on the speech of the hon. Member for Hertford (Mr. Walker-Smith). I think we should get our history right. The hon. Member has referred to words that he considered were used by my right hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) on the subject of tied cottages. The words my right hon. Friend used on that occasion at an annual conference of the Labour Party were:The tied cottage is repugnant to farm workers and it is repugnant to me.I regret exceedingly that the Labour Government did not tackle this question, but I am certain that when we come back, as we shall come back after the next Election, one of the first things the next Labour Government will do will be 1133 to alter the law radically and give protection to the farm worker.
§ Mr. J. Enoch Powell (Wolverhampton, South)
Would the hon. Member say then why it was that in their manifesto for the last two General Elections, the party opposite did not undertake to do that?
§ Mr. Gooch
In our last manifesto we said, first, that we would abolish the cottage certificate system. We definitely undertook to take away from the agricultural executive committees the power to grant certificates for tied cottages when we came back to office. Unfortunately, we did not come back but we shall next time and when we do we shall not only abolish the cottage certificate system but the tied cottage as well.
I am in a difficulty because none of the proposals before the House today on the question of tied cottages goes far enough for me. As hon. Members are aware, I sought to have Clause 2 (1) expunged from the Bill in the Committee stage because it nullifies the decision of the Labour Government to the effect that grants for reconditioning, or loans for building new farm houses should be made available only where a tenancy was created.
I appreciate that I should incur the displeasure of the Chair if I advanced arguments in favour of eliminating Clause 2, but I want to make plain that I am still opposed to the whole procedure. Tied cottages are socially and morally wrong. They tie a man hand and foot. Many farms are run efficiently today without the use of tied cottages, and the Government will be doing great disservice to thousands of farm workers in passing this Bill if it leads to the creation of many more tied cottages from which families can be evicted at the whim of employers.
It has been made very plain that our condemnation of the system does not extend to condemning all farmers for harsh treatment. I do not condemn all farmers. The majority play the game by their men and they have never sought to evict families, but some farmers would seek to do so and I am concerned about them. The great point I am making, quite apart from any other argument, is to ask why there should be always fear of eviction hanging over the heads of so many farm workers.
1134 Many of these cottages which it is proposed to recondition at the public expense are really not worth spending money on at all. They are rural slums and the farm worker is entitled to something more than a patched-up hovel. If I may digress, I am not opposed to the principle of an assured market and guaranteed prices for farmers—the owners of these cottages—or to security of tenure for the efficient farmer. Indeed, I voted for all three; but to pour out public money to enable farmers to strengthen the stranglehold they have on their own workmen is not only bad economics but unjust and inhuman to the farm worker and his family.
We are discussing these two suggestions of a period of four weeks' notice or a period of three months. The suggestion of a four weeks' period comes from hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite. The gymnastic performances of hon. Members opposite are really wonderful. When this Bill was before the House on 22nd April and I essayed to quote a few cases of evictions, hon. and right hon. Members opposite said that my case against the Bill was not impressive. In fact, they had some doubt as to whether what I described really took place. Reference has been made to the fact that in the Committee stage I supplied hon. Members opposite with a selection of cases out of some hundreds handled by the National Union of Agricultural Workers every year.
I want to tell the hon. Member for Hertford that some of the cases were of summary evictions and others were taken to court. The right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Housing and Local Government said this about the cases which were taken to court:… The time between the giving of the notice and the family leaving their house was greater than the normal time which is given in any form of restricted tenancy. …"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee A, 13th May, 1952; c. 113.]The time was longer than it would normally have been for the simple reason that the cases that I quoted, and upon which the Minister commented, were cases that had been handled in the courts by lawyers instructed by the National Union of Agricultural Workers. Otherwise, there would not have been that very long period.
1135 The Parliamentary Secretary was looking at the list just now, and he will have seen that all those cases were defended in the courts by lawyers, and the tenants were able to occupy those cottages longer than would normally have been the case because the National Union of Agricultural Workers spent money on instructing lawyers to do the best they could for the occupants of those cottages.
The party opposite want to perpetuate the tied cottage system, but I made a remarkable discovery during the debates on the Housing Bill, and that is that even Tory Members of Parliament have consciences, and even some National Liberals have consciences. Their consciences must have smote them on this occasion and made them wonder whether they should allow the law to continue or whether they should give four weeks' grace to an occupant of a tied cottage before he is turned out. The working of the consciences of hon. Members opposite has resulted in this Amendment being put on the Order Paper. I welcome the change of heart on the part of hon. Members, but I do not welcome the Amendment; I am opposed to it.
It is really magnanimous of them that they should come forward today with an Amendment which says that a farm-worker and his wife and family should be allowed to remain in a cottage for at least four weeks. Although hon. Members opposite have said that I have not made out a case against this business of eviction, there was evidently something in my case or hon. Members opposite would not have taken the trouble to put this Amendment on the Order Paper. If I vote for the period of three months' grace it must not be assumed that I think that justice is being done. Tied cottages, in my opinion, should be brought within the Rent Restriction Acts. The farm worker should be offered alternative accommodation before he can be taken out of his cottage. What we are trying to do is to play fair by all engaged in industry.
The champions of the farmers are asking for the same concessions that I am asking for farm workers, to be extended to farmers when they are placed in a similar position. This is what Mr. A. G. Street says in the "Farmers' Weekly":If, for national reasons, any farmer, old or young, should be compelled to give up his 1136 farm and his house, then alternative accommodation should be provided for him before this is done.I agree with the suggestion made by Mr. Street, but, of course, I want the concessions not only for the farmer but also for the farm worker.
It is mistakenly assumed in some quarters that if a tied cottage tenant is granted four weeks' grace or even three months' grace it marks the end of the tied cottage controversy. Reference has been made to the fact that the tied cottage problem will be solved by the building of thousands of new cottages. But it will not. It will help because there will be alternative accommodation, but what we say is that no man and no family living in any type of cottage should he subject to summary eviction. Unless the law is altered in that respect we shall not be giving these people what they have been asking for for a long time.
If the House agrees to giving three months' grace it will not mark the end of the tied cottage controversy and, so far as I am concerned, the controversy will not end until the system is entirely abolished. There is no occupation or industry in which the tied cottage system presses with such severity as in farming, and there has been persistent agitation on the part of the majority of farm workers for many years for its abolition. The system is disturbing not only to a young couple but often to the old agricultural worker who hesitates to leave his job because he knows very well that when he ceases to work for his employer he is subject to eviction and has got nowhere to go, so he keeps on working when he ought to retire. There are plenty of cases of that description which I have come across.
§ Brigadier Medlicott
Will the hon. Gentleman concede that in the overwhelming majority of cases where a farm worker has to be found other accommodation, the local authorities use their utmost endeavours with great success to see that these men are given priority for housing accommodation?
§ 5.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Gooch
I do not deny that there are cases of that description; there is no opposition from the rural district councils to regarding these men as priority cases. They do so regard them now and again, 1137 in bad cases. The trouble is that even the rural district councils have not sufficient alternative accommodation to provide for all the cases that occur from time to time. I pay my tribute to the employers of the old workers who do not leave their work because they do not want to leave their homes, for allowing them to remain in their properties undisturbed—cottages which have been their homes for many years; but the fact is that they remain in those cottages on sufferance, and the fear that they may be taken to court remains with them, which does not make for a happy and peaceful retirement.
If the farm worker were given four weeks' notice to quit his cottage it would merely prevent a few summary evictions. It would not give the majority of farm workers living in tied cottages any more security. Such a concession, in my opinion, makes no contribution to the solution of this vexed problem. Public money should not be used to bolster up a system which hon. Members opposite know to be wrong, and their support for the Government Amendment is an admission that they know it is wrong and that what I have been saying is right.
§ Mr. C. E. Mott-Radclyffe (Windsor)
I am surprised that the hon. Member for Norfolk, North (Mr. Gooch), with his long experience of local government, should think that the grant which we are discussing at this moment could be used to perpetuate what he called rural slums. He ought to know that the grant is made by the local authorities, the rural district councils, that it is subject to their discretion, that the property in question is open to their inspection and that in no conceivable circumstances would any application for a grant be approved if the property itself was not worth reconditioning.
I thought that the hon. and learned Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison), in his opening remarks, expressed his views in a moderate way with which nearly all of us would agree, but I thought that he was arguing on a slightly false premise. I think he was arguing against the whole principle of eviction. None of us likes eviction. It is extremely unpleasant to everybody concerned, and if it were possible to conceive of a state of society in which under no circumstances was eviction from a house necessary, we should all be delighted.
1138 But that, unfortunately, is not the case. If a policeman, a school master or a stationmaster is found to be unsatisfactory and loses his job, or even if he is moved from one place to another, he has to get out of his house by a particular date and if, in very rare cases, he refuses to move in the physical sense, the authorities—be they the railway authorities, the Coal Board, the education authorities or anybody else—apply to the court for an order and eviction takes place. There are evictions in all types of tenancies.
Just as the schoolmaster or the stationmaster has to live near his work so, also, for the needs of food production, does the agricultural labourer. If hon. Members opposite do not think that it is necessary, let them experiment by advertising for a cowman and add, "A cottage is available, five miles away." Let them see how many replies they get.
The hon. Member for Norfolk, North (Mr. Gooch) has made great play with the fact that there have been widespread cases of eviction from tied cottages, in the restricted and technical sense of the phrase. I have been through the speech which he made in the Committee upstairs and I have also looked through his brief, which he was kind enough to leave about afterwards. I am surprised that he put forward the case at all, because to try to prove this widespread eviction of agricultural labourers by wicked, unkind and cruel farmers, he had to go right back to 1946. Of the 16 or 17 cases he quoted all but four were obtained by court orders, and he was careful to omit, in each of those four cases, any mention of how long the farm worker or his family had continued to occupy the cottage after they had first been given notice to quit.
The hon. Gentleman gave to the Committee upstairs further details of a case which he mentioned in the Second Reading the Bill, that concerning an eviction which had occurred near my home, where a family spent the night in a church in a heavy rainstorm, under frightful circumstances. I have been into that case. It occurred in 1948, about 10 miles from my home; but the hon. Gentleman did not quite tell the whole story. The family in question were first given notice in July. A court order was 1139 obtained on 30th August, with effect from 11th October, and certainly there was an eviction. Following the eviction the family were housed straight away in an institute and they were found a council house in February, 1949. I do not condone the way in which that eviction was carried out, but I must observe that three months elapsed between the time when the farm worker first received his notice to quit and the time when he was physically put out of his house. In many cases three months is a longer period than would have been obtained by a court order in regard to many of the restricted tenancies of houses belonging to authorities controlled by the Government.
§ Mr. Mott-Radclyffe
I certainly never said that it was a faked case. I am pointing out that when the hon. Gentleman produced the details of the case he told only half the story. I do not condone the way in which the man was evicted.
§ Mr. Mott-Radclyffe
That fact is that one cannot discount the human element in these matters. In every single industry, in agriculture or any other, one occasionally finds an employer or an employee, or both, who are explosive types, and that is where the trouble begins.
I support the Amendment put forward by my right hon. Friend because it gives legislative effect to what, in 99 cases out of 100, has always been the practice.
§ Mr. George Brown (Belper)
I am trying to follow the hon. Gentleman's argument with as much sympathy as I can command. The case he has just quoted was referred to by my hon. Friend the Member for Norfolk, North (Mr. Gooch). The hon. Gentleman tells us that he agrees that the eviction was carried out in a bad way; nevertheless. 1140 the occupier of the cottage did, in fact, get three months' notice before he was evicted, as a result of the employer choosing to go to court. He now says that he supports the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman to his own Bill, the effect of which is to lay down a period of four weeks. Will he tell us how that is an improvement in a case such as that which he has already told us he did not like?
§ Mr. Mott-Radclyffe
I very much doubt whether the right hon. Gentleman has really misunderstood my argument to that extent. What I was saying when I was interrupted by the right hon. Gentleman was that the Amendment of my right hon. Friend gives legislative effect to what is the practice in 99 cases out of 100, and for that reason I think it should be inserted in the Bill.
I now come to the alternative Amendment, dealing with the period of three months. As the right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well—because he was formerly Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture—three months is quite impractical. The right hon. Gentleman can easily conceive circumstances in which, owing to the farmer and the farm worker being explosive types who do not get on with each other, or where the farm worker is no good, the latter would leave his employer at the most inconvenient time, for instance, in the middle of the harvest, or when the farmer was experiencing great difficulty with a dairy herd. The right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well the possible effect on food or milk production.
The suggestion of his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison) is completely unpractical. I do not propose to say anything more about that particular Amendment to my right hon. Friend's Amendment. I do not quite understand why, except on grounds of sheer prejudice, hon. Members opposite should object to public money being spent on the reconditioning of tied cottages, because by their opposition to the grant they are, in fact, seeking to deprive the farm workers whose interests they claim to represent of improved amenities in the cottages which they occupy. The whole benefit and advantage of the rant goes to the farm worker who, after the grant has been given, occupies a cottage with better amenities than before.
1141 Those who say that public money ought not to be spent on any cottage where an eviction can take place without alternative accommodation being provided had better look at the law again, because evictions can take place in many restricted tenancies, both in relation to coal mines and railways, without either the Coal Board or the Railway Executive having to provide alternative accommodation. That argument just does not hold good.
I beg the hon. Member for Norfolk, North to remember that he is doing a disservice to the agricultural industry by whipping up what I believe to be largely synthetic feeling on the question of the tied cottage. If there is so much feeling on this question perhaps he can explain why it is so difficult to persuade any occupant of a tied cottage to move into a council house, even where the employer offers to pay the difference between the old rent and the new.
The truth is that farmers and farm workers are as fine a body of men as can be found in the length and breadth of this island. And in spite of the attempts of the hon. Member for Norfolk, North to sow ill-feeling the relations between the employer and the employee in the agricultural industry might well be taken as an example for many other industries.
§ 6.0 p.m.
§ Mr. G. Brown
I had not intended to speak in the debate at all until I heard the hon. Member for Windsor (Mr. Mott-Radclyffe). I interrupted him on what I thought was a point which he was making and, instead of answering me, he chose to make an attack upon me which could not have been more out of place. My position on the question of tied cottages and of having houses in agriculture on restricted tenancies or even service tenancies is fairly well known and quite clear, and it is very much that of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison).
To attack me, therefore, as he did, instead of answering the point I made, is a very good example, if I may say so to him, of the problems which face those of us who want to get this very thorny, human problem settled in a reasonable way. There is such a lack of willingness on the part of those whose interests come mostly from farming or owning land to 1142 see the problem which exists. They believe that everybody who makes a criticism or suggests that there should be some way out of the problem is trying to stir up trouble and to create synthetic indignation. That is not so; it is far from the truth. I think that the hon. Member for Windsor would have done much better to have addressed himself to what the Amendment seeks to do and what it will achieve.
I believe the Amendment to be a bad one because it will spoil the position which already exists. I have said in the House before that deliberately to seek to revive all the feelings in this controversy by providing public money for service cottages is a very great disservice at this moment, for it is bound to arouse feelings and to cause extravagant statements. For that reason it is a great pity that the Government should embark upon this step.
The position which previously existed was that a cottage could be on a restricted tenancy and could have the advantages of Schedule G under the Rent Restriction Acts, which was a considerable advantage to those who wanted to get possession of the cottage. So long as that was so, the cottage qualified for public money for this purpose. On the other hand, if a farmer or owner deliberately chose for his own convenience, or whatever the reason, not to have a restricted tenancy, and thereby avoided putting himself to the trouble and the public duty of satisfying a tribunal of three people—one farmer, one worker and one independent—that possession of the cottage without alternative accommodation was a great deal more than a matter of convenience but was, in fact, a matter of necessity; if he chose not to subject himself to that requirement, and not to put himself in the position of having to get a court order, then he ought not to have public money for this purpose. That was the position.
I have sat for a long time as a member of one of these tribunals deciding whether applications were on grounds of necessity or not. My hon. Friend the Member for Norfolk, North (Mr. Gooch) would go rather further than I would, but I would certainly say that, in my experience, no farmer who could put a case to show that he had real need of possession of the cottage, for food production 1143 purposes, ever tailed in his application. I believe there are many service cottages still retained for service occupation which could become restricted tenancies without any hardship or trouble to the farmer or any loss of food production.
By weakening the position, as the Minister is doing, and even more by his new Amendment, the right hon. Gentleman is discouraging farmers from doing what they ought to do—make many of these houses into restricted tenancies instead of tenancies on service occupation. I believe we ought to oppose the Amendment because it will have this effect.
With the exception of a very limited number of cases—and the hon. Member for Windsor made this point fairly, and my hon. Friend the Member for Norfolk, North would not dissent from it—where the farmer is of such an explosive type that he puts the tenant out straight away, in the main, even with service cottages, the farmer has, for his own protection, chosen to go to court and get an order, as the hon. Member for Windsor says happened in the case which he quoted. The time taken to get an order and the general attitude of the county court judge has been such that in the majority of cases where evictions have occurred, even in unpleasant circumstances, a longer period than four weeks has elapsed.
This Amendment is bad from the point of view of the Conservative Party and of farmers themselves, as well as from our point of view, because it will establish by law that the period shall be four weeks. The right hon. Gentleman and his Parliamentary Secretary both jumped in to comment, when I interrupted the hon. Member for Windsor, that it was only a minimum, but with my more limited experience than that of the right hon. Gentleman, I am perfectly certain that four weeks will, in fact, become the test, and if the tenant has had four weeks, that will be the end of the matter. Thus, what has been taking rather a longer period will soon happen after four weeks.
I am surprised at the hon. Member for Windsor, with his great understanding of this problem and his very sympathetic approach to it—and I know there is not much difference here between my position and his; I am surprised that he did not see the position even when I drew 1144 attention to it and that he chose to think I was creating synthetic indignation. I am surprised he did not see that whatever the Minister sought to do, in fact this Amendment will worsen the existing position in the majority even of service occupied cottages. Most hon. Members opposite know that this is so.
§ Brigadier Medlicott
In the past, the great majority of farmers have always behaved even more generously than the law enjoined. Is there any reason to assume that they will not go on doing so?
§ Mr. Brown
Yes, with great respect there is. Because the law was obviously harsh, a great many friends of the industry, aware of its problems, have been at great pains to persuade everybody to be as generous and sensible about this as possible. In some cases they have succeeded, in some they have failed. Now the attitude will be that which was shown in one of the farming journals a week or two ago in which it was said, in the editor's comments, "Now this thing is going to be settled." As a matter of fact, they wrongly attributed to me any part in choosing the period of four weeks, but they said this matter was going to be settled because it was now to be laid down that the period should be four weeks. That will be the attitude of all.
I hope right hon. Gentlemen opposite will think again. Whatever they intended to do, they are doing something altogether different. The Amendment will be no help; it will not prevent a single harsh case arising, but it will assist them to arise quicker than otherwise would have been the case. The Minister may ask, "What would you do about it?" In his own speech he said that what he was seeking to do was to ensure that what is already happening with restricted tenancies shall happen in these cases, too—in what he chose to describe as the "real tied cottage." If the Minister wants to do that, then the right approach is to draft something which will cause the owner of the service occupied cottage to go through the same hoops as in the case of the restricted tenancy cottage.
All he has to do is to say, "If you want public money, you must be prepared to apply to the tribunal of three people, one on each side and with an independent chairman; and you must satisfy them that there is a need, and you must get 1145 a court order." Then these owners will be in the same position as the right hon. Gentleman is deluding himself will exist under the Amendment. The right hon. Gentleman is not deluding us or hon. Members opposite, because we have been concerned in this matter for a long time and know all about it.
I apologise again for intervening in the debate, and I urge upon hon. Gentlemen opposite to realise that what they are doing here is not what the Minister sought to do and to realise, after the speech of the hon. Member for one of the Norfolk constituencies—
§ Mr. Anthony Fell (Yarmouth)
I intervene for a moment or two at the risk of incurring the displeasure of the Minister in order to support his Amendment, because I am in a quandary about the attitude of the Opposition. If we do something to help in a case like this, we are told that we are going to harm the position; if we do nothing, we are told that by doing nothing we are also holding out no hope to the agricultural workers. I think that it is quite clear that whatever Amendment is put forward, and whatever has been suggested in this matter, it would not be acceptable to hon. Members opposite and certainly not to the hon. Gentleman the Member for Norfolk, North (Mr. Gooch).
I intervened because I want to say a word about what the hon. Member for Norfolk, North has said. It is almost a standing joke that he is the tied cottage Member, and that he is sent to this House on the tied cottage vote, but it is a pity, I think, that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) cannot use his influence to encourage the hon. Member for Norfolk, North to tell the agricultural workers what is the true feeling of the party opposite on this matter.
The hon. Member for Norfolk, North in his speech this afternoon used the word "we" and said, in effect, "We may not have done anything during the last six 1146 years, but next time we are going to do the whole job and go the whole hog." He said "we"; so what? Can he say that he is speaking for the party opposite? That is certainly what he will tell the agricultural workers in Norfolk and the agricultural workers wherever he goes in the country to speak, and what I am asking him is this: Is this a taste of things to come? Is this the beginning of his next Election pledges, and if so—
§ Mr. Speaker
I do not think that this Amendment covers or renders relevant a debate on the whole issue of what has been called the tied cottage or service tenancy.
§ Mr. Fell
I bow most humbly to your Ruling, Mr. Speaker. I was merely trying to point out—and I must not go any further—the attitude which the hon. Member for Norfolk, North has adopted to this whole question of the tied cottage, which is relevant to this Amendment, in that he has in effect told the farm workers that next time he is going to go the whole hog. The only reason that I intervene is that I feel that if he cannot tell the House the true feeling of the party opposite on an important matter like this, he should, when he goes to the country, at least tell the farm workers.
§ 6.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Turner-Samuels
The whole point about this debate and the Amendment we are dealing with is whether the Minister's Amendment really serves any useful purpose. That is the matter which the House has to face, and it is the responsibility of the Minister to look at and to answer that question. The whole case has been given away, so far as the Government are concerned, by two of its hon. Friends who took part in this discussion.
In the first place, I refer to the hon. Member for Hertford (Mr. Walker-Smith). He is, of course, a very shrewd debater—words come very easily to him and ideas spring up in his mind in a most fertile way as he goes along—but he is always shrewd enough not to face the point that matters if it is against him. The point that matters here is whether—I see that the Minister is laughing but we will see if he is still laughing in a moment—the Minister, in introducing this Amendment, had any genuine purpose 1147 whatsoever. In my submission he did not have, and he knows that there is no genuine objective or purpose in the Amendment.
The hon. Member for Hertford said that usually these cases go to court and in the process weeks and often months elapse. I do not agree with him, as I will explain in a moment, but if that is right, then the miserable useless period of four weeks which is embalmed in this Amendment is absolutely without any point whatever.
§ Mr. Turner-Samuels
The second point on which the case was given away was that made by the hon. Member for Windsor (Mr. Mott-Radclyffe).
§ Mr. Walker-Smith
The four weeks has to be added to the other period and proceedings cannot be started until the end of the four weeks.
§ Mr. Turner-Samuels
That may be clear to the hon. Member, but it is not clear to anyone else. With regard to what the hon. Member for Windsor said, he did not go quite as far as the hon. Member for Hertford, but he went far enough, because he said, "Why should we on this side of the House be opposing this Amendment because, in any case, in all these matters, farmers were invariably good enough not to eject their tenant until at least a period of four weeks had passed." If that is correct, one wonders then what is the purpose of this Amendment. There is no doubt about it in my mind. I do not know where the inspiration came from to the Minister to introduce this miserable Amendment, but I think that my view will be shared by most hon. Members on this side of the House, namely that this Amendment was merely and designedly put up as a blind to pretend that something was being done.
What makes the matter worse is the repetition from the Government benches of the charge that we on this side, when we were the Government, did nothing about the tied cottage occupant. I put a point to the hon. Member for Hertford during the course of his speech but, unfortunately, he was quick enough to see what I was after, and did not answer it. I put to him the point that if he complained that the Labour Government did 1148 not do anything about this matter, did he think that the Labour Government in not so doing was wrong. Of course, he very quickly saw that if he said "Yes, the Labour Government was wrong" it would then follow that the Conservative Government must also be wrong in not doing anything about it. It really is a very bad thing for anyone to stand up and blame someone else for something which he will not himself remedy. The point is whether, in the light of this Amendment, what is being done by it can be justified or whether something more should be done.
It is suggested by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison) that the period should be three months instead of four weeks. Whether the period is three months or four weeks, it would have no legal effect by virtue of any provision in this Amendment. All the Minister's Amendment does is to say that any contribution the farmer might be entitled to in respect of his house shall not be paid to him if he does not observe the conditions specified in subsection (4) of the Amendment. It does not lay down that in law the farmer-landlord is bound to give four weeks' notice to an outgoing tenant. It merely uses the word "permit." Who is to say that some farmer who is living on his losses, as most farmers do, feeling nevertheless that he is well enough off, will not say to the Treasury, "I don't care two straws about your contribution. I want this house and I am going to get it"? Although that may be an argument reductio ad absurdum, it has to be met, because under this Amendment the farmer could do that. In other words, the Minister's Amendment is not worth the paper it is written on.
I beg the Minister not to play with the House of Commons in this way. He has submitted this Amendment, which has already occupied the House quite a long time today. He cannot intend that we should do that and then go through the Division Lobby in order to decide whether this useless, meaningless and completely otiose Amendment ought to become law. Even if it gets onto the Statute Book it will amount to nothing; it adds nothing to the law. Indeed, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) said, it will create confusion in what is already a difficult position. Instead of their being 1149 an application by the occupant to the court, or instead of being allowed a reasonable time as is usually the case now, four weeks will become regarded as the limit after which the tenant will have to get out or be put out.
The Minister ought to reconsider this matter. The hon. Member for Hertford is well-informed in these matters and much practised in them too, but it really is not correct for him to say that these tenants invariably go to the courts. They do not. What is more, it is a useless journey if they do go to the courts. He knows very well that it has been decided several times, and re-affirmed recently not only in the court of first instance, but also in a higher court, that a tenant in these circumstances under a contract of service has no right to any notice, not even an hour's notice, and he can be subjected to eviction without more. He can as of right bring no proceedings against his landlord or against the owner of the property for compensation or other redress.
This is a pathetic Amendment which pretends to protect people who badly need protection. Indeed, there could be no point in the Minister coming here with any Amendment unless he thought some protection was necessary. What I ask him is the point of this Amendment if it does nothing? I assume the reason the Minister put it on the Order Paper was because he felt that there was a case for doing something. What was it that he felt ought to be done? How does he suggest this Amendment will succeed in doing anything towards solving this problem? Does he not surely realise on reflection that be will do more harm than good by this most wretched Amendment?
§ Mr. Lindgren
After the Minister's clear opening statement, drawing a distinction between the restricted tenancy and what is more commonly known as the tied cottage, it is surprising that we should have had this debate extending over such a long time. I would point out to the hon. and gallant Member for Norfolk, Central (Brigadier Medlicott) and the hon. Members for Yarmouth (Mr. Fell), Hertford (Mr. Walker-Smith) and Windsor (Mr. Mott-Radclyffe) that we are not now discussing whether or not the tied cottage is required. We admit that in certain circumstances a tied cottage is an essential part of the job. What 1150 matters is the ability of the man who loses his job to find alternative accommodation to a tied cottage. What we are discussing is, not whether tied cottages are right or wrong, but whether certain properties should have the benefit of public funds.
Hon. Members opposite have quoted the Coal Board, the railways, the police and school-teachers as occupying tied cottages. They are not tied cottages in this sense: they are restricted tenancies.
§ Mr. Mott-Radclyffe
I quite agree. I endeavoured to explain that they were restricted tenancies of the sort where the landlord—in most cases a public authority —does not have to provide alternative accommodation before getting an eviction.
§ Mr. Lindgren
But with those restricted tenancies, whether the landlord be the Coal Board, the railways or anybody else, he has to go to the court to get a court order. With the properties we are considering there is no requirement to go to the court. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) pointed out, under this Clause we should have the procedure of the restricted tenancy or the alternative procedure, and our main objection is that the Clause and the Minister's Amendment make the position worse for the agricultural worker than we provided in the 1949 Act, in which we said that these cottages should be improved. If they are improved, public money is used and a tenancy should be created.
On Second Reading I used a phrase which might be misunderstood, when I said that the tied cottage was used more viciously in the agriculture industry than in any other. That is true in a sense, but I did not mean that the farmer was more vicious. Before coming to this House I was a railway man, and on the railways one serves a lifetime, maybe at a number of different stations. In agriculture a man changes his job a number of times, going from one employer to another, for varying reasons. In the police and in the school-teaching profession there is, in the main, continuity of employment from entering the service until leaving. While there may be continuity of employment in the agriculture industry, a man may still have a number of different employers.
My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison) made 1151 the point that under the Minister's Amendment there shall be a month's notice, and that is a month more than at present because at the moment there is no notice at all. In a rural area a month is no use in which to obtain alternative accommodation. Even in three months it is difficult. The hon. and gallant Member for Norfolk, Central said that rural district councils do their best, but given the best will in the world the average rural district council cannot provide alternative accommodation for the agricultural worker who has to get out of a tied cottage within three months. It would be wrong if they did.
There are very many rural district councils who have persons on their lists for three, four and five years. Hon. Members opposite twitted some of my hon. Friends on this side that we did nothing during the period of the Labour Government, but on the fundamental job of providing additional houses in rural areas more new dwellings for agricultural workers were provided between 1945 and 1951 than in the whole of the period between the two wars.
Under hon. Gentlemen opposite the countryside was declining while they were in power and cottages were no longer used for agricultural workers. In Hertfordshire, which I know, and in Northamptonshire, part of which I represent, cottage after cottage was not required by the farmers because they did not want workers on the land. They became weekend cottages for the gentlemen from London in the case of Hertfordshire and from Kettering and Northampton in the case of Northamptonshire. Housing was not required in the rural areas for agricultural workers in the inter-war years because of the decline of agriculture and the lack of employment in the industry.
I do not want to protract the discussion because, in fact, the real point is whether or not we should use public money for these improvements. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will accept this Amendment, which is for three months rather than one month, or, alternatively, that he will accept the suggestion of my right hon. Friend the Member for Belper and withdraw it and look at the whole matter again in the light of the suggestions made, inserting something in another 1152 place. I feel that one month is too short and three months is reasonable, and I ask the right hon. Gentleman to accept either the Amendment to the proposed Amendment or the suggestion made by my right hon. Friend.
§ Mr. Marples
The hon. Member for Wellingborough (Mr. Lindgren) has stated his case with moderation and has got to the point at issue, which is whether these cottages should be improved or not. It must never be forgotten that my right hon. Friend is a housing Minister. He is not here to amend the law about service tenancies in any way. This Bill solely deals with the question of public money being spent on the improvement of cottages in the rural areas. The law as it stands, and as it was left by the party opposite, is that a service tenancy is legal. The hon. Member for Wellingborough said it was necessary to have it in certain industries, but they did not abolish it when they were in office, nor did they amend it to secure an improved code of conduct.
What does my right hon. Friend propose to do? He proposes to do two things, both of which improve the existing state of affairs. The first is to make facilities available to improve the cottages, and the second is to extend the time of the notice which an occupant of these cottages is given under a service tenancy. Those are two improvements. They must be improvements on the situation as we found it. As the hon. Member for Wellingborough admitted, these service cottages are necessary and, that being the case, surely he will agree that it is a good thing to put them in a proper state of repair. It follows automatically that it is no use saying that a service tenancy of a cottage in a rural area is legal, and that it then should be in a bad condition. That is not the way to attract labour to the land.
§ Mr. Marples
We say that we must encourage the reconditioning of these cottages and these grants must be made available in the case of service tenancies. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison), who kept his Amendment to the narrow point and did not range over the field of the tied cottage, put his points very moderately. I think the House will agree 1153 with me, especially those who were members of the Committee upstairs, that we have had extended debates upon the tied cottage system both in Committee and down here on what were quite narrow points. At the present moment the law is that a man can be evicted at once, but in the majority of cases the farmer goes to court.
The hon. Member for Norfolk, North (Mr. Gooch) was kind enough to send me a list of cases of service tenancies where the owner went to court and where there were summary evictions. Twelve of the cases he quoted were court order cases, and only four of them were summary evictions. It was quite clear from the paper which he inadvertently left upstairs in Committee, but which was rather convenient for my right hon. Friend and myself, that most of the cases were court order cases. I think we can, broadly speaking over the field of service tenancies as a whole, say that actually the farmer takes his tenant to court.
The hon. Member for Norfolk, North said that he was concerned with the bad farmer. There were only a few of them, but it was the bad farmer who was worrying him. But if a farmer is a bad farmer it surely follows that he will not improve his cottage, because if a bad farmer is responsible for his cottage he can evict at a moment's notice. If he takes advantage of the characteristic generosity of my right hon. Friend, which is given for proper and laudable purposes, he will have to give a month's notice as a minimum and in most cases will go to court.
I do not think it is necessary for me to say much more in reply to the arguments put forward because the subject has been ventilated on both sides of the Committee. I should, however, like to say this. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) sought to prove by ingenious argument that one month's notice was too much and it should be nothing at all, but his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kettering said that one month's notice was too little and it should be more He argued that one month would virtually become the minimum, but the cases given by the hon. Member for Norfolk, North prove that that is not really so, and that most of the farmers will take them to court anyway.
§ Mr. G. Brown
Since the hon. Gentleman has chosen to refer to me and has 1154 misrepresented what I have said, we must get it quite clear. What I said was the objection to putting one month in this Amendment was that it was going to mean that one month would become the maximum. Therefore, it will be far too little and will be no improvement on the existing situation.
§ Mr. Marples
If that is the right hon. Gentleman's view we shall see whether he will vote against the one month when it is put to the House, but if the right hon. Gentleman really means what he says he will vote for the law remaining as it is.
§ Mr. Gooch
The hon. Member says, from the cases I quoted to him, that the tenants actually remain in the cottages for considerable periods. To be fair to the House it should be borne in mind what I said earlier, that the reason why they remain for several months in these cottages is that my union spend a lot of money instructing lawyers to keep them in the cottages.
§ Mr. Marples
The reason why they remain there is because the farmers take them to court and do not apply summary eviction. Admittedly the legal representatives employed by the hon. Gentleman's union assist the process, but if the farmer were not a decent farmer and did not take the tenants to court but evicted them summarily, they would not be there so long. That is a point which must be borne in mind.
My right hon. Friend is not prepared to accept this Amendment to the proposed Amendment and provide for a period of three months. He asks the House to accept the period of one month because it is an improvement on existing conditions. I ask the House to bear this question in mind. The question at issue is, "Shall we improve?" and not "Shall we alter?" the existing law.
§ Mr. Edward Heath (Lord Commissioner of the Treasury) rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."
§ Question put accordingly, "That 'four weeks' stand part of the proposed Amendment."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 234; Noes, 203.1097
|Division No. 192.]||AYES||[3.30 p.m.|
|Aitken, W. T.||George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd||Monckton, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Glyn, Sir Ralph||Morrison, John (Salisbury)|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Godber, J. B.||Mott-Radclyffe, C E|
|Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.||Nabarro, G. D. N.|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J.||Gower, H. R.||Nicholls, Harmar|
|Arbuthnot, John||Graham, Sir Fergus||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)||Gridley, Sir Arnold||Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr J. M||Grimond, J.||Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)||Oakshott, H. D|
|Banks, Col. C.||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||O'Neill, Rt. Hon Sir H. (Antrim, N.)|
|Barlow, Sir John||Harden, J. R. E.||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Baxter, A. B.||Hare, Hon. J. H.||Orr-Ewing, Ian L. (Weston-super-Mare)|
|Beach, Maj. Hicks||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N)||Osborne, C.|
|Beamish, Maj. Tufton||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Partridge, E.|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield)||Peake, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)||Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Perkins, W. R. D.|
|Bennett, Sir Peter (Edgbaston)||Heath, Edward||Pete, Brig. C. H. M|
|Bennett, William (Woodside)||Henderson, John (Catheart)||Peyton, J. W. W.|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Birch, Nigel||Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Pilkington, Capt. R. A|
|Bishop, F. P.||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Powell, J. Enoch|
|Black, C. W.||Holland-Martin, C. J.||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Hollis, M. C.||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Holmes, Sir Stanley (Harwich)||Profumo, J. D.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Holt, A. F.||Raikes, H. V.|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Hope, Lord John||Redmayne, M.|
|Braine, B. R.||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Remnant, Hon. P.|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Howard, Greville (St. Ives)||Renton, D. L. M.|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)||Roberts, Peter (Heeley)|
|Browne, Jack (Govan)||Hurd, A. R.||Robson-Brown, W.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T||Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Bullard, D. G.||Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Bullock, Capt. M.||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Russell, R. S.|
|Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Jennings, R.||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D|
|Burden, F. F. A.||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Butcher, H. W.||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.||Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Kaberry, D.||Schofield, Lt.-Col. W. (Rochdale)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. W. S||Keeling, Sir Edward||Scott, R. Donald|
|Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Kerr, H. W. (Cambridge)||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.)||Lambert, Hon. G.||Shepherd, William|
|Clyde, Rt Hon. J. L.||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter|
|Cole, Norman||Langford-Holt, J. A.||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Colegate, W. A.||Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.||Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)|
|Cooper, Son Ldr. Albert||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)|
|Cooper-Key, E. M.||Legh, P. R. (Petersfield)||Snaddon, W. McN.|
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.||Soames, Capt. C.|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Linstead, H. N.||Spearman, A. C. M|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Lloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Speir, R. M.|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)||Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.)|
|Crouch, R. F.||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.||Spens, Sir Patrick (Kensington, S.)|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Longden, Gilbert (Herts, S. W.)||Stevens, G. P.|
|Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Low, A. R. W.||Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)|
|Cuthbert, W. N.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)||McAdden, S. J.||Storey, S.|
|Deedes, W. F.||McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Mackeson, Brig. H. R.||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.||McKibbin, A. J.||Studholme, H. G.|
|Donner, P. W.||McKie, J. H. (Galloway)||Summers, C. S.|
|Doughty, C. J. A.||Maclay, Hon. John||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Drayson, G. B.||Maclean, Fitzroy||Teeling, W.|
|Drewe, G.||Macleod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Duncan, Capt. J. A. L||MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Duthie, W. S.||Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Elliot, Rt Hon. W. E||Macpherson, Maj Niall (Dumfries)||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)|
|Erroll, F. J.||Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hn. Peter (Monmouth)|
|Fell, A.||Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)||Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N|
|Finlay, Graeme||Manninghnam Buller, Sir R. E||Tilney, John|
|Fisher, Nigel||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|Fleetwood-Hesketh, R F.||Marples, A. E.||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Fletcher-Cooke, C.||Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)||Turton. R. H.|
|Foster, John||Maude, Angus||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale)||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Galbraith, Cmdr. T D. (Pollok)||Medlicott, Brig. F.||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K|
|Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)||Mellor, Sir John||Wade, D. W.|
|Gammans, L. D.||Molson, A. H. E.||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W)|
|Walker-Smith, D. C.||Wellwood, W.||Wills, G.|
|Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)||Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)|
|Watkinson, H. A.||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Major Conant and Mr. Vosper.|
|Acland, Sir Richard||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Parker, J.|
|Adams, Richard||Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale)||Paton, J.|
|Albu, A. H.||Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Wakefield)||Pearson, A.|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Plummer, Sir Leslie|
|Anderson, Alexander (Motherwell)||Grey, C. F.||Popplewell, E.|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Porter, G.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)||Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton)|
|Balfour, A.||Hall, John (Gateshead, W.)||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)|
|Bartley, P.||Hamilton, W. W.||Rankin, John|
|Beattie, J.||Hargreaves, A.||Reid, Thomas (Swindon)|
|Bence, C. R.||Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)||Reid, William (Camlachie)|
|Benn, Wedgwood||Hayman, F. H.||Rhodes, H.|
|Benson, G.||Healy, Cahir (Fermanagh)||Richards, R.|
|Beswick, F.||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis)||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Herbison, Miss M.||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Hewitson, Capt. M.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)|
|Blackburn, F.||Hobson, C. R.||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Paneras, N.)|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Holmes, Horace (Hemsworth)||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Blyton, W. R.||Houghton, Douglas||Ross, William|
|Boardman, W.||Hoy, J. H.||Royle, C.|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A G||Hubbard, T. F.||Schofield, S. (Barnsley)|
|Bowles, F. G.||Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Short, E. W|
|Brockway, A. F.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Shurmer, P. L. E.|
|Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Jeger, George (Goole)||Slater, J.|
|Burke, W. A.||Jeger, Dr. Santo (St. Pancras, S.)||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)||Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)||Snow, J. W.|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Johnson, James (Rugby)||Sorenson, R. W|
|Champion, A. J.||Jones, David (Hartlepool)||Sparks, J. A.|
|Chapman, W. D.||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Steele, T.|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Keenan, W.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)|
|Clunie, J.||Kenyon, C.||Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R.|
|Cocks, F. S.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J|
|Coldrick, W.||King, Dr. H. M.||Stross, Dr. Barnett|
|Collick, P. H||Kinley, J.||Swingler, S. T.|
|Cove, W. G||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Crosland, C. A. R||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||Lewis, Arthur||Thomas, David (Aberdare)|
|Daines, P.||Lindgren, G. S.||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)|
|Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Logan, D. G.||Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)|
|Davies, A. Edward (Stoke, N.)||MacColl, J. E.||Timmons, J.|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||McGhee, H. G.||Tomney, F.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||McInnes, J||Usborne, H C.|
|Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||McLeavy, F.||Viant, S. P.|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||MacMillan, M. K (Western Isles)||Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Deer, G.||McNeil, Rt. Hon. H.||West, D. G.|
|Donnelly, D. L,||Mainwaring, W. H.||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Mann, Mrs. Jean||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N. E.)|
|Edelman, M.||Manuel, A. C.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Edwards, John (Brighouse)||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||Wigg, George|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon Ness (Caerphilly)||Mellish, R. J.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Mikardo, Ian||Willey, Octavius (Cleveland)|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S. W.)||Mitchison, G. R.||Williams, Rev. LIywelyn (Abertillery)|
|Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||Monslow, W.||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Ewart, R.||Morley, R.||Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Don V'll'y)|
|Fernyhough, E.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.)||Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)|
|Fienburgh, W||Mort, D. L.||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Follick, M.||Moyle, A.||Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)|
|Foot, M M.||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Woodburn, Rt, Hon. A|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Oldfield, W. H.||Yales, V. F.|
|Freeman, John (Watford)||Oliver, G. H.||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||Oswald, T.|
|Gibson, C. W.||Padley, W. E.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Glanville, James||Pannell, Charles||Mr. Hannan and Mr Wallace.|
|Gooch, E. G.||Pargiter, G. A.|
Question, "That the Question be now put," put, and agreed to.
|Division No. 193.]||AYES||[6.42 p.m.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S)||Gough, C. F. H.||Orr-Ewing, Ian L. (Weston super-Mare)|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Gower, H. R.||Partridge, E.|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J||Graham, Sir Fergus||Peake, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Arbuthnot, John||Gridley, Sir Arnold||Perkins, W. R. D.|
|Ashton, H. (Chelmsford)||Grimond, J.||Peto, Brig. C. H. M.|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)||Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)||Peyton, J. W. W.|
|Astor, Hon. W. W. (Bucks, Wycombe)||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Pickthorn, K. W M.|
|Baker, P. A. D.||Harden, J. R. E.||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Hare, Hon. J. H.||Pitman, I. J|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)||Powell, J. Enoch|
|Banks, Col. C.||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)|
|Barlow, Sir John||Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield)||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.|
|Baxter, A. B.||Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Profumo, J. D.|
|Beach, Maj. Hicks||Harvie-Watt, Sir George||Raikes, H. V.|
|Beamish, Maj. Tufton||Heath, Edward||Rayner, Brig. R.|
|Belt, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Redmayne, M.|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)||Remnant, Hon. P.|
|Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)||Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Renton, D. L. M.|
|Bennett, Sir Peter (Edgbaston)||Hinchkigbrooke, Viscount||Roberts, Peter (Heeley)|
|Bennett, William (Woodside)||Holland-Martin, C. J.||Robertson, Sir David|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Holmes, Sir Stanley (Harwich)||Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Birch, Nigel||Holt, A. F.||Robson-Brown, W.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Hope, Lord John||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Black, C W.||Howard, Greville (St. Ives)||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Bossom, A. C.||Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)||Russell, R. S.|
|Bowen, E. R.||Hurd, A. R.||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Hutchinson, Sir Geoffrey (Ilford, N.)||Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)||Scott, R. Donald|
|Braine, B. R.||Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Shepherd, William|
|Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Jennings, R.||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)|
|Browne, Jack (Govan)||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter|
|Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Bullard, D. G.||Kaberry, D.||Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)|
|Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Kerr, H. W. (Cambridge)||Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)|
|Burden, F. F. A.||Lambert, Hon. G.||Snadden, W. McN.|
|Butcher, H. W.||Langford-Holt, J. A.||Soames, Capt. C|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Speir, R. M|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.)||Legh, P. R. (Petersfield)||Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.)|
|Clyde, Rt. Hon. J. L.||Linstead, H. N.||Stevens, G. P.|
|Cole, Norman||Lloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)|
|Colegate, W. A.||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Cooper-Key, E. M.||Longden, Gilbert (Herts, S.W.)||Storey, S.|
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Low, A. R. W.||Studholme, H. G|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Sulcliffe, H.|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||McAdden, S. J.||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.||Teeling, W.|
|Crouch, R. F.||Macdonald, Sir Peter (I. of Wight)||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Mackeson, Brig. H. R.||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||McKibbin, A. J.||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)|
|Cuthbert, W. N.||McKie, J. H. (Galloway)||Thorneycroft,'Rt. Hn. Peter (Monmouth)|
|Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)||Maclay, Hon. John||Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Macleod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Tilney, John|
|De la Bère, Sir Rupert||MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|Deedes, W. F.||Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Macpherson, Maj. Niall (Dumfries)||Turton, R. H.|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.||Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Donner, P. W.||Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K|
|Drayson, G. B.||Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E.||Vosper, D. F.|
|Drewe, G||Markham, Major S. F.||Wade, D. W.|
|Dugdale, Maj. Rt. Hn.'Sir T. (Richmond)||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Dunoan, Capt. J. A. L.||Marples, A. E.||Walker-Smith, D. C.|
|Duthie, W. S.||Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Fell, A.||Maude, Angus||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)|
|Finlay, Graeme||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.||Waterhouse, Capt Rt. Hon. C.|
|Fisher, Nigel||Medlicott, Brig. F.||Watkinson, H. A.|
|Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.||Mellor, Sir John||Wellwood, W.|
|Foster, John||Morrison, John (Salisbury)||Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)|
|Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale)||Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Gage, C. H.||Nabarro, G. D. N||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. (Pollek)||Nicholls, Harmar||Wills, G.|
|Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)||Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Gammans, L. D.||Nield, Basil (Chester)||Wood, Hon R.|
|George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd||Noble, Cmdr. A. H. P.|
|Glyn, Sir Ralph||Nugent, G. R. H.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Godber, J. B.||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Antrim, N.)||Major Conant and Mr. Oaksbott.|
|Adams, Richard||Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Wakefield)||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)|
|Albu, A. H.||Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Pannell, Charles|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Grey, C. F.||Pargiter, G. A.|
|Anderson, Alexander (Motherwell)||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Paton, J.|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)||Pearson, A.|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Plummer, Sir Leslie|
|Balfour, A||Hall, John (Gateshead, W.)||Popplewell, E.|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J.||Hamilton, W. W.||Porter, G.|
|Bartley, P.||Hannan, W.||Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton)|
|Beattie, J.||Hargreaves, A.||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W)|
|Bence, C. R.||Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)||Proctor, W. T.|
|Bonn, Wedgwood||Hastings, S.||Rankin, John|
|Benson, G.||Hayman, F. H.||Reid, Thomas (Swindon)|
|Beswick, F.||Healey, Denis (Leeds, S.E.)||Reid, William (Camlachie)|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Healy, Cahir (Fermanagh)||Rhodes, H.|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis)||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Blackburn, F.||Herbison, Miss M.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Hobson, C. R.||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Blyton, W. R.||Holmes, Horace (Hemsworth)||Ross, William|
|Boardman, H.||Houghton, Douglas||Royle, C.|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Hoy, J. H.||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E|
|Bowles, F. G.||Hubbard, T. F.||Short, E. W.|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)||Shurmer, P. L. E|
|Brockway, A. F.||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Slater, J.|
|Burke, W. A.||Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)||Jeger, George (Goole)||Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)|
|Carmichael, J.||Jeger, Dr. Santo (St. Pancras, S.)||Snow, J. W.|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A||Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Champion, A. J.||Johnson, James (Rugby)||Soskice, Rt. Hon Sir Frank|
|Chapman. W. D.||Jones, David (Hartlepool)||Sparks, J. A.|
|Chetwynd G. R||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Steele, T.|
|Ciunie, J.||Keenan, W.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E)|
|Cocks, F. S.||Kenyon, C.||Stross, Dr. Barnett|
|Coldrick, W.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Collick, P. H.||King, Dr. H. M||Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Thomas, David (Aberdare)|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||Lewis, Arthur||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)|
|Dairies, P.||Lindgren, G. S.||Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Lipton, Lt.-Col. J. C.||Timmons, J.|
|Davies, A. Edward (Stoke, N.)||Logan, D. G.||Tomney, F.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||MacColl, J. E.||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||McGhee, H. G.||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|do Freitas, Geoffrey||McInnes, J.||Usborne, H. C.|
|Deer, G.||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Viant, S. P|
|Dodds, N. N.||McLeavy, F.||Weitzman, D.|
|Donnelly, D. L.||MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Driberg, T. E. N.||Mainwaring, W. H.||Wells, William (Walsall)|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Mann, Mrs. Jean||West, D. G.|
|Edelman, M.||Manuel, A. C.||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Mellish, R. J.||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Mikardo, Ian||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||Mitchison, G. R.||Willey, Octavius (Cleveland)|
|Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)||Moody, A. S.||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)|
|Ewart, R.||Morgan, Dr. H. B. W.||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Fernyhough, E.||Morley, R.||Williams, Rt. Hon Thomas (Don V'll'y)|
|Fienburgh, W.||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)|
|Foot, M. M.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.)||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Forman, J. C.||Mort, D. L.||Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Moyle, A.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A|
|Freeman, John (Watford)||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Yates, V. F.|
|Gibson, C. W.||Oldfield, W. H.|
|Gooch, E. G.||Oliver, G. H.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Oswald, T.||Mr. Wigg and Mr. Wilkins.|
|Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale)||Padley, W. E.|
§ Proposed words there inserted in the Bill.