HC Deb 17 June 1954 vol 528 cc2307-39

5.0 p.m.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Sir Hugh Lucas-Tooth)

I beg to move, in page 1, line 13, to leave out from "tenancy," to "the," in line 3, on page 2, and to insert: as respects which for the time being the following condition (hereinafter referred to as 'the qualifying condition') is fulfilled, that is to say that. There are two Amendments which are consequential on this Amendment—that in page 2, line 5, to leave out "or were" and that in page 2, line 7, to leave out "or have been." With your permission. Mr. Speaker, it may be convenient if the three Amendments are taken together. They are, in fact, nothing more than drafting Amendments to meet a point raised in Committee.

At present the definition of a Clause 1 tenancy is contained in Clause 2(2). Subsection (1) is merely introductory. This arrangement, and especially the reference to the tenant's family in subsection (1) was criticised in Committee as misleading. I think that the hon. and learned Member for Leicester, North-East (Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas) in particular emphasised that point. This Amendment runs the two subsections together and makes it clear that the scope of the protection offered by Part I of the Bill is the same as the scope afforded by the Rent Acts.

It might be convenient for the House if I also mention that it has been suggested that it would be simpler for all who have to interpret Part I if, instead of defining a Clause 1 tenancy by reference to the Rent Acts, the qualifications were set out in full. I can assure the House that the Government have considered that. To do that, however, would produce the opposite of simplification and would add enormously to the complexity of Part I. Hon. Members who are familiar with the case law on this subject will be aware of the great complexity of that case law. To attempt to reduce it to some simple propositions which would have to be incorporated in the Clause would be impossible. That is why the Amendment does not go to the length suggested by hon. Members.

Sir F. Soskice

I must confess that I feel very deeply disappointed at the way in which the Government have sought to deal with this point, which arose on Clause 2 of the Bill. They do not seem to have begun to understand the points made from our side of the Committee during our discussions upstairs. We were anxious, and sought to provide for the point in Amendments we put down to Clause 2 (1), that there might be the case of a tenant going away to another part of the country, leaving, for example, his old father, or his parents, or some one in that sort of relationship to him, or even a friend or someone to look after his house in his absence, and in consequence of his so doing the premises in question would no longer be within the scope of Part I of the Bill.

The Government stated that the Measure can only apply to houses within the limits of the Rent Acts, and this Amendment is designed to emphasise that. Here again, a question of principle arises between those of us on this side of the House and those on the Government side. The Government say that the Rent Acts' limits should be the only limits applicable. We say that that is quite wrong, that the whole Bill is really founded upon the understanding that in the case of these long leases the right of the tenant is to be preferred to the right of the landlord.

We say that because morally the tenants of these houses occupied on long leases are entitled to consider themselves the owners of the houses. These are houses which have been occupied for many years by the tenant, his predecessors or previous tenants, not predecessors in the sense of family relationship, at a ground rent. The basis of our complaints that there were no enfranchisement provisions in the Bill as it stood rested upon the view that these tenants on long leases, paying £2, £3, £5 or £10 a year ground rent, and having paid that for generations past, were morally entitled to consider the house their own, and, in fact, do so.

Therefore, we say, as a matter of principle, that it is quite wrong simply to limit the scope of the Bill to the Rent Acts limits in its practical application. In cases such as that which I have just indicated, the tenant on a long lease which has come to an end, who thinks that under this Bill he is getting security of tenure, may find the following sort of thing happening. I instanced in the Committee stage a tenant going elsewhere to get a temporary job or going to visit his parents in the North of England and leaving someone in the house for a considerable period. We thought that that tenant would lose the security which he thought he was going to get. The Government Amendment makes it more certain that he will lose that security. We think that that is absolutely wrong.

Therefore, the fundamental difference of principle between the two sides of the House is that we say that the security of the tenant should be founded on the principle that he is entitled to go on living in the premises, or continue to have the advantage or enjoyment of the premises, and, if he wishes, to go elsewhere, be absent for a period of months or go next door and let his father live in the house, and that that house should be his. We sought to enlarge the phrase "his family" by including the words" or a member of "his family, and that argument was put forward.

In this Amendment, I understand that not only have the Government in no way moved in the direction of meeting that point of view but have actually gone backwards. They have said that the Rent Acts limits are to apply, and they have put a blue pencil mark under that provision; they have underlined and emphasised it as strongly as they can. I must confess that, disappointed as I was with this aspect of the Bill previously, I think it is now worse than before. I should certainly give the advice to my hon. Friends not to assent to the change now proposed. I think that we ought not to agree to it. The Bill, bad as it was before, was better in that regard than it is now proposed it shall be.

This is a device to make the ring round the protection of the landlord stronger than before. I hope that we shall divide upon this Amendment if the Government persist in seeking to make this change.

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

With the leave of the House, perhaps I might reply to what the right hon. and learned Member for Neepsend (Sir F. Soskice) has said. He referred to what he said in Committee upstairs. He drew attention to the case in which the tenant has gone away, and he suggested that the tenancy should be protected by Part II if the tenant has gone away without any intention of returning and has left, say, his parents in occupation. The answer to the right hon. and learned Gentleman is that it is the object of Part I of the Bill to remove the anomaly whereby the occupying lessee is outside the Rent Acts. That has always been made perfectly plain on behalf of the Government.

Therefore, Clause 2 provides that the tenant is protected by Part I if, apart from the fact that the rent is less than two-thirds of the rateable value, he would he protected by the Rent Acts. If the right hon. and learned Gentleman really believes that we should deal with the kind of case to which he has referred it will be necessary to deal with it in the Rent Acts as a whole. As a matter of fact the kind of case to which he has referred is very unlikely to arise—

Sir F. Soskice

If I may say so—it must have been my fault—I apparently did not make my position clear. I said that the point of principle between the Government and this side of the House about this matter is that we feel that the security here should be wider in its application than the present Rent Acts security. It is because the Amendment limits and underlines the limitation to the Rent Acts security that we object to it.

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

The right hon. and learned Gentleman has, I think, underlined the point I am making, that he is trying to extend these two Clauses outside the limits of the Rent Acts. The purpose of the Government is to deal with this type of tenancy on all fours with the Rents Acts. Perhaps I should say that the case to which the right hon. and learned Gentleman has referred is a very unlikely one. If a tenant has left his premises without any intention of returning, leaving a relative in occupation of them, it is very probable indeed that the occupant will, in fact, be a sub-tenant.

Mr. W. T. Williams (Hammersmith, South)

The hon. Gentleman is now doing precisely the opposite to what the Home Secretary promised to do when he said that he would look at this Clause. The hon. Gentleman is now saying, "What we are trying to do is to restrict this to the Rent Acts, because that is all that we promised to do." That is precisely what the Home Secretary did not promise to do.

If the Joint Under-Secretary will refer to column 84 of the OFFICIAL REPORT of the Committee proceedings he will see that my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Leicester, North-East (Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas) raised with him the question of bringing back into this Bill the provisions contained in the Leasehold Property (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1951, and asked that consideration should then be given to an Amendment which had been moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Falmouth and Camborne (Mr. Hayman) to include the words: or a member of his family resides. In reply the Home Secretary said: I will certainly consider the point. I was aware of the drafting of the Leasehold Property (Temporary Provisions) Act, but if hon. Members opposite feel that attracting the Rent Act is not sufficient I will be pleased to discuss the matter.

The Solicitor-General (Sir Reginald Manningham-Buller)

Will the hon. Gentleman read the passage just before that which made it clear that my right hon. and learned Friend was merely dealing with the attraction and use of the words: or a member of his family resides."?

Mr. Williams

Certainly, but the point 1 am making is that on that occasion we on this side were of the opinion that at that point the Home Secretary was giving an undertaking to look at the matter again with the intention of extending it. At this point he is not extending it, but limiting it still further.

Mr. Speaker

Does the Joint Under-Secretary wish to conclude his remarks? The remarks of the hon. Member may have been intended as an interjection, but they seemed like a speech.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

Before the Joint Under-Secretary finishes his speech, will he reply to the following point? It appeared to me that he forgot the fundamental underlying the whole of this Bill, and certainly underlying what we desired to do when this matter was dealt with in Committee upstairs. We surely have to remember—and perhaps the hon. Member will address his mind to this point—that the premises referred to here really amount to the ancestral homes of many poor people. I use that phrase advisedly. They have lived in these leasehold premises for some time, as have their progenitors before them. Now, when the lease is falling in, it is surely only right that they should receive all the security that we can give them, Rent Acts or no Rent Acts.

5.15 p.m.

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

If I may conclude what I was saying with the leave of the House, I would point out that the hon. Gentleman is not correct in saying that my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary in any way suggested to the Committee that he was proposing to enlarge this Clause beyond the Rent Acts. All that he said he would do was to consider the wording of the Clause so as to see that, in fact, it carried out the intention of the Government which was to give the same protection to these tenants as is given by the Rent Acts, and to make such changes as were necessary having regard to the different circumstances.

I thought that I had explained why it has not been possible to deal with this matter otherwise than by direct reference to the Rent Acts, which was the point raised by the hon. and learned Gentleman and the one with which my right hon. and learned Friend was dealing. The Amendment, in fact, makes no difference to the effect of the Clause. All that my right hon. and learned Friend said that he would do was to look at the drafting to see that it gave effect to what was desired. It certainly is not the case, as the right hon. and learned Member for Neepsend (Sir F. Soskice) has said, that the Government have gone back on it. I can assure the House that this is a purely drafting Amendment. It is, I believe, an improvement on the words originally in the Clause, and for that reason I recommend its acceptance to the House.

Mr. Granville West (Pontypool)

Surely the Joint Under-Secretary is not right in the statement which he has just made to the House. It is quite obvious from what the Home Secretary said in Committee upstairs that he was prepared to consider the very point mentioned by my right hon. and learned Friend this afternoon. As my hon. Friend the Member for Hammersmith, South (Mr. W. T. Williams) drew attention to in column 84 of the OFFICIAL REPORT of the proceedings in Committee upstairs, the Home Secretary said, dealing with the question of the—

The Solicitor-General

If the hon. Gentleman will begin at the bottom of column 83 he will get his context right.

Mr. West

If it would be of any assistance to the House, I should be prepared to read the whole debate. Surely, what is being discussed here is the effect of this Clause, and the Committee upstairs was not satisfied that it was wide enough to include the members of the family. That was the subject which was discussed at great length, and about which the Home Secretary stated: I will certainly consider the point."— that is, extending the Clause to cover the members of the family— I was aware of the drafting of the Leasehold Property (Temporary Provisions) Act, but if hon. Members opposite feel that attracting the Rent Act is not sufficient"— again, that emphasises the point of the discussion— I will be pleased to discuss the matter. That is clearly an undertaking by the Home Secretary to give the matter further consideration, but, instead of doing that, he has, in fact, limited the operation of the Clause. Indeed, my hon. Friend the Member for Falmouth and Camborne (Mr. Hayman), in column 85 of the same Report, said: In view of the undertaking given by the Home Secretary, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment. Today the Home Secretary has not come forward in fulfilment of the undertaking which he gave upstairs, but, instead, has limited the scope of the Clause.

The Solicitor-General

I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman did not respond to my invitation to read the introductory observations of the hon. and learned Gentleman's speech which preceded the statement made by my right hon. and learned Friend, because it is important to bear those words in mind. It is a very short passage, and I will remind the House of it. The hon. and learned Member for Leicester, North-East (Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas) said: I felt sure that the Home Secretary would appreciate that this is really a drafting point and that there is nothing on party lines between us on this issue. At the end of his speech, he said: The drafting as it stands invites confusion, and I hope that the right hon. and learned Gentleman will consider clearing it up with a view to meeting the point of substance which is contained in the Amendment. My right hon. and learned Friend said that he would consider the point.

These are drafting Amendments, intended to clarify the drafting. At no time was it ever suggested by my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary that it was the Government's intention to increase the protection beyond the Rent Acts.

Mr. West

My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Leicester, North-East (Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas) said: The drafting as it stands invites confusion, and I hope that the right hon. and learned Gentleman will consider clearing it up with a view to meeting the point of substance which is contained in the Amendment. He was referring to the Amendment which was before the Committee. The Home Secretary said in reply: I will certainly consider the point"— meaning, surely, the point of the Amendment.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

May I refresh the right hon. and learned Gentleman's. memory by asking him to look at column 83 of the Report, towards the end of his right hon. and learned Friend's intervention, where he said, again replying to the debate that had gone before: If the hon. Member and his right hon. and learned Friend think that there could be an improvement here on Rent Acts case law, I should be pleased to consider the point.

This is not drafting; it is something more. Perhaps they will have a word with me before the Report stage.

If he was going to do nothing why should we consult him?

"At the moment, our intention is to make the Rent Acts case law apply, and in that sense the Amendment would not help."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee D, 9Th March, 1954; c. 83, 84 and 85.]

It is quite obvious that he had every intention of going further than the present Amendment does.

Mr. Barnett Janner (Leicester, North- West)

I do not want to deal with the point about what undertakings were given. I want to deal with the fundamental point that is at issue here, and that is that the Government have decided that people who hold tenancies for a considerable period and whose families are dependent upon retaining those tenancies and who were led to believe that something would be done to enable them to retain those tenancies, are now to be thrown upon the mercy of the Rent Act which is being whittled down in respect of every kind of holding and tenancy that exists at present.

Apart from the question of quibbling, it is quite obvious what my hon. Friends

meant during the Committee stage. They meant that they wanted the removal of the injustice by which there is being pushed into the Rent Acts a series of tenancies which ought never to be near them in consequence of the fact that those tenancies have lasted for the period of 49 or 99 years as the case may be.

It is a grave and gross injustice that a family should have to leave their house because a member of that family who happens to be the leaseholder—the person in whose name the lease is held by assignment or whatever it may be—has to leave the house. Even the most rapacious of landlords has appreciated that fact in the past, and whilst they have made offers of a nature not acceptable in many instances, they have at least tried to appear to be decent and to give the tenant the option of purchasing the lease. But here we are going further. We are saying that not only will we not do that, but that we are going to throw the tenant out. It is an abominable thing that any Government should have in mind that kind of action.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes, 203 Noes, 230.

Division No. 151.] AYES [5.25 p.m
Albu, A. H. Cellick, P. H. Hayman, F. H.
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Cove, W. G. Healy, Cahir (Fermanagh)
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis)
Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven) Daines, P. Holman, P.
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R. Dalton, Rt. Hon. H. Hoy, J. H.
Bacon, Miss Alice Darling, George (Hillsborough) Hubbard, T. F.
Baird, J. Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.) Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)
Bartley, P. Davies, Stephen (Merthyr) Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J Deer, G. Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)
Bence, C. R. Dodds, N. N. Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)
Benn, Hon. Wedgwood Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich) Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)
Benson, G. Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.
Beswick, F. Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. Janner, B.
Blackburn, F. Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.) Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.
Blenkinsop, A. Evans, Edward (Lowestoft) Jeger, George (Goole)
Blyton, W. R. Follick, M. Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)
Boardman, H. Foot, M. M. Johnson, James (Rugby)
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Forman, J. C. Jones, David (Hartlepool)
Bowden, H. W. Freeman, Peter (Newport) Janes, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)
Bowles, F. G. Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N Jones, Jack (Rotherham)
Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Gibson, C. W. Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)
Brook, Dryden (Halifax) Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C Kennan, W.
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Greenwood, Anthony Kenyon, C.
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Grey, C. F. Key, Rt. Hon. C. W
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) King, Dr. H. M
Burton, Miss F. E. Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Lawson, G. M.
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.) Hale, Leslie Lee, Frederick (Newton)
Callaghan, L. J. Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)
Castle, Mrs. B. A. Hamilton, W. W. Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)
Champion, A. J Hannan, W. Lewis, Arthur
Chetwynd, G. R. Hargreaves, A. Lindgren, G. S.
Clunie, J. Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.) Lipton, Lt.-Col. M
Coldrick, W. Hastings, S. Logan, D. G
MacColl, J. E. Pearson, A. Sylvester, G. O.
McKay, John (Wallsend) Plummer, Sir Leslie Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
McLeavy, F. Popplewell, E. Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)
MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles) Porter, G. Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Mainwaring, W. H. Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.) Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)
Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.) Proctor, W. T. Thornton, E.
Manuel, A. C. Pursey, Cmdr. H Turner-Samuels, M.
Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A Rankin, John Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
Mason, Roy Reeves, J. Viant, S. P.
Mayhew, C. P. Reid, Thomas (Swindon) Wallace, H. W.
Messer, Sir F. Rhodes, H. Warbey, W. N.
Mikardo, Ian Robens, Rt. Hon. A. Weitzman, D.
Mitchison, G. R Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Monslow, W. Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.) Wells, William (Walsall)
Moody, A. S. Rogers, George (Kensington, N.) West, D. G.
Morgan, Dr. H. B. W. Ross, William Wheeldon, W. E.
Morley, R. Royle, C. White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)
Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.) Shackleton. E. A. A. White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.) Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Mort, D. L. Short, E. W. Wilkins, W. A.
Moyle, A. Shurmer, P. L. E. Willey, F. T.
Mulley, F. W. Silverman, Julius (Erdington) Williams, David (Neath)
Nally, W. Silverman, Sydney (Nelson) Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)
Neal, Harold (Bolsover) Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill) Williams, Ronald(Wigan)
Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J. Skeffington, A. M. Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Don V'll'y)
Oldfield, W. H. Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent) Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)
Oliver, G. H. Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgefield) Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)
Oswald, T. Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.) Willis, E. G.
Padley, W. E. Snow, J. W. Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley) Sorensen, R. W. Wyatt, W. L.
Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury) Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank Yates, V. F.
Pannell, Charles Sparks, J. A.
Parker, J. Strachey, Rt. Hon. J. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Parkin, B. T. Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall) Mr. Holmes and Mr. John Taylor.
Paton, J. Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.
Aitken, W. T. Crowder, Sir John (Finchley) Hinchingbrooke, Viscount
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.) Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.) Hirst, Geoffrey
Alport, C. J. M. Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery) Holland-Martin, C. J.
Amery, Julian (Preston, N.) Deedes, W. F. Hollis, M. C.
Amory, Rt. Hon. Heathcoat (Tiverton) Dodds-Parker, A. D. Holt, A. F.
Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J. Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E McA Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.
Arbuthnot, John Doughty, C. J. A. Horobin, I. M.
Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.) Drayson, G. B. Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)
Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M. Drewe, Sir C. Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)
Baldwin, A. E. Duncan, Capt. J. A. L Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J.
Barlow, Sir John Duthie, W. S. Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'rgh,W.)
Baxter, Sir Beverley Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir D. M. Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.
Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West) Iremonger, T. L.
Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.) Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)
Bishop, F. P. Finlay, Graeme Johnson, Eric (Blackley)
Black, C. W. Fisher, Nigel Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)
Boothby, Sir R. J. G. Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F Jones, A. (Hall Green)
Bowen, E. R. Fletcher-Cooke, C. Kerby, Capt. H. B.
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A Ford, Mrs. Patricia Kerr, H. W.
Boyle, Sir Edward Fort, R. Lambert, Hon. G.
Brain, B. R. Foster, John Leather, E. H. C.
Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.) Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale) Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.
Braithwaite, Sir Gurney Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead) Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.
Brooke, Henry (Hampstead) Garner-Evans, E. H Lindsay, Martin
Browne, Jack (Govan) Glover, D. Linstead, Sir H. N.
Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G T Godber, J. B. Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (King's Norton)
Bullard, D. G. Gough, C. F. H. Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)
Bullus, Wing Commander E. E. Gower, H. R. Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.
Burden, F. F. A. Graham, Sir Fergus Longden, Gilbert
Butcher, Sir Herbert Grimond, J. Low, A. R. W.
Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A. (Saffron Walden) Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)
Campbell, Sir David Hall, John (Wycombe) Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)
Cary, Sir Robert Hare, Hon. J. H. Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh
Channon, H. Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.) Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.
Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead) Harris, Reader (Heston) McCallum, Major D.
Cole, Norman Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S
Colegate, W. A. Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield) Macdonald, Sir Peter
Conant, Maj. Sir Roger Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.) McKibbin, A. J.
Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert Harvie-Watt, Sir George Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)
Cooper-Key, E. M. Hay, John Maclay, Rt. Hon. John
Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Maclean, Fitzroy
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C. Heath, Edward Macleod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.)
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Higgs, J. M. C. MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)
Crouch, R. F. Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton) Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)
Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries) Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.) Summers, G. S.
Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W (Horneastle) Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L. Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Maitland, Patrick (Lanark) Profumo, J. D. Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hon. Sir R. Raikes, Sir Victor Teeling, W.
Markham, Major Sir Frank Redmayne, M. Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Marples, A. E. Rees-Davies, W. R. Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)
Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin) Remnant, Hon. P. Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Maude, Angus Renton, D. L. M. Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)
Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C. Ridsdale, J. E. Tilney, John
Medlicott, Brig. F. Roberts, Peter (Heeley) Touche, Sir Gordon
Mellor, Sir John Robson Brown, W. Turner, H. F. L.
Molson, A. H. E. Roper, Sir Harold Turton, R. H.
Morrison, John (Salisbury) Russell, R. S. Vane, W M. F.
Nabarro, G. D. N. Sandys, Rt. Hon. D. Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.
Neave, Airey Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Nicholls, Harmar Schofield, Lt.-Col. W. Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. Marylebone)
Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham) Scott, R. Donald Walker-Smith, D. C.
Nield, Basil (Chester) Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R. Wall, Major Patrick
Noble, Comdr. A. H. P. Shepherd, William Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)
Nugent, G. R. H. Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W) Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)
Nutting, Anthony Smithers, Peter (Winchester) Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C
Oakshott, H. D. Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington) Watkinson, H. A.
O'Neill, Hon. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.) Snadden, W. McN. Wellwood, W.
Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D. Soames, Capt. C. Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)
Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Spearman, A. C. M Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.) Speir, R. M. Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)
Osborne, C. Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.) Wills, G.
Page, R. G. Spans, Rt. Hon. Sir P. (Kensington, S.) Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Perkins, Sir Robert Stevens, Geoffrey Wood, Hon. R.
Peyton, J. W. W. Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)
Pitman, I. J. Stoddart-Scott, Col. M. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Pitt, Miss E. M. Storey, S. Mr. Vosper and Mr. Kaberry
Powell, J. Enoch Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)

Proposed words there inserted in the Bill.

Mr. W. Wells

I beg to move, in page 2, line 5, after "matters," to insert: other than the limits of the Rent Acts. This Amendment is really new presbyter—I do not know whether to say writ large or writ small. It has the same purpose as the Amendment which has not been selected and which precedes this one on the Order Paper, in that its intention is to extend the security of tenure granted by this Bill to all tenants who otherwise come within the framework of its provisions, irrespective of whether the houses which they occupy come within the financial limits of the Rent Acts or not.

If I may refer to the debate that took place substantially on this point in Committee, in introducing this Amendment there, I referred to the history of the proposal, reported in column 88 of the OFFICIAL REPORT, which says: This proposal has a history. It was proposed by five members of the Leasehold Committee, including hon. Members not on this side of the Committee, and was rejected in paragraph 38 of the White Paper, in which it is stated: 'The Government do not favour the proposal in the Supplementary Report signed by five members of the Leasehold Committee for a special security of tenure scheme for tenant-occupiers of houses outside the rateable value limits of the Rent Restriction Acts. As stated above, the vast majority of houses are within those limits and, as regards the remainder, the Government are not aware that the absence of protection is causing such a degree of hardship as would justify the enactment of a new and necessarily somewhat elaborate system of control'. —[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee D. 9th March, 1954; c. 88.] It is our purpose in raising this Amendment today to suggest that the line of reasoning put forward by the Government as a basis for their rejection of this proposal is really not an adequate one. The kind of hardship which occurs in cases outside the limit of the Rent Acts is not the same as the kind of hardship within the limits of the Rent Acts.

Our proposition is that it is fundamentally not just, in all the circumstances of today, that the protection of this Measure should be denied to people who have over a long period lived in houses and whose occupation of their house is part of the economic structure on which their family life is based. We say that it is right and proper that people living in houses which are the subject of long leases should have the opportunity when the leases expire of deciding whether they wish to continue living in the same house as before.

It is a matter of common knowledge—I should have thought that right hon. and hon. Members opposite would have been the last to deny this or even to question it—that the economic changes which have occurred in the last few years, the difficulties that have been caused by the war and the shortage of houses, which even the famous 300,000 houses a year of the Minister of Housing have not yet removed, affect all classes of the community.

In the Committee stage I perhaps made the psychological error of quoting some remarks of the late W. S. Gilbert, that Hearts just as pure and fair May beat in Belgrave Square As in the lowly air Of Seven Dials. The Home Secretary, rather too blithely and too readily, accepted that somewhat flippant quotation as an invitation to treat the whole Amendment as one that was not put forward seriously. The right hon. and learned Gentleman made his own contribution to the quotations from W. S. Gilbert and said that he expected that I, having made my quotation, would make an appeal for what he called the specious poverty usually associated with indigent peers who occupy large houses on long leases."—{OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee D, 11th March, 1954; c. 96.] I should have thought that it would ill become Members of this House at this time to reflect on the financial difficulties of Members of the other House who are performing their duties under circumstances of difficulty.

Mr. Hale

Did my hon. Friend say "indigent" or "indolent"?

Mr. Wells

The Home Secretary said "indigent." Whether there are such indigent peers I, occupying the humble walk of life that I do, will not know.

The point that we are making is put forward in all seriousness. I do not think that the Government in putting forward, as they did, their rejection of this proposal in the White Paper on the grounds that there were not a great many houses and that the degee of hardship was not really very severe, were addressing their minds to the real problem or to the question of principle that was involved.

5.45 p.m.

The question of principle, as we see it, is that the landlord of properties of this kind is, generally speaking, a person who is getting a return on somebody else's investment. He did not build the houses, his predecessor in title did not build them—there is no reason why he should not get just treatment himself because of that; but it is a factor to be taken into account.

We believe it is a serious point that five members of the Leasehold Committee, having heard all the evidence that they did and having given their attention to all the aspects concerned, came to the conclusion that the right solution to this problem was to extend the security of tenure offered by this Bill to all occupants of houses of this kind.

The Amendment offers a logical and just approach to the problem. It is based not on whether one tenant is rich or another is poor, but is based on the consideration that the house in which people live is the foundation of the family unit and that in the circumstances of the present time, with which all in the House are well familiar, it is right to take measures to preserve for all people who live in this class of house the protection that the Bill offers to only a limited number. I hope that the Government will address themselves with rather more seriousness than they did during the Committee stage to the arguments that will be put forward by my hon. Friends.

Mr. Janner

I beg to second the Amendment.

The arguments which have been produced by my hon. Friend the Member for Walsall (Mr. W. Wells) are very cogent indeed, and I want to add only one or two others. One might underline once again the difference between the legislation that we are dealing with and that relating to houses which were rented on a weekly tenancy, which is quite a different matter.

Tenants who had unprotected weekly tenancies quite certainly had to be protected against being turned out; but we Are dealing here with long tenancies, which have been held for considerable periods of years. One cannot lightly turn out on to the street, in this age anyhow, on grounds which perhaps were understandable 100 years ago and which appealed to people in those days, men and women without any protection at all and particularly those who have cared for their homes and who have seen to it that their families were brought up within the confines of a house.

This is not a question of rich or poor or anything of that sort. It is a question of principle as to whether a person who, or whose predecessors, had built a house shall be entitled to keep himself and his family in that house. That is a quite different proposition.

What will happen to a house the rateable value of which is higher than the limits imposed by the Rent Acts if, say, one person is the actual lessee—the assignee of the lease—and he and his family and his brothers and sisters, perhaps with their families, are living in the house? Unless this Amendment is accepted they can all be turned out, and, what is more, not only can the landlord have a benefit to which he obviously has no right at all, in getting possession of a house, but he can sell it if he wants to, because it is no way controlled, and he can convert the place into flats within the limit of the Rent Acts so that the premises will be unprotected.

Under the Housing Repairs and Rents Bill, it is intended that if there is any conversion of tenancies, the portions of those converted premises which are ultimately left are no longer to be within the provisions of the Rent Acts. I do not know whether the House appreciates what this means. It means, in fact, that not only are we taking away from hundreds of thousands of houses in the country the protection given by the Rent Acts and gradually, as the tenants die, reducing more and more the limits within which there is protection, but now, when leasehold tenants are expecting something of a protective nature in respect of leaseholds, the Government are saying to them, "We are not going to give you any protection at all."

That may sound very well to the Government, but it does not sound well to us and it will not appeal to the people. It is a deliberate attempt to take protection away from people in their dwelling-houses, and it will throw into confusion many families who have hitherto led a family life under the same roof. We have always commended that kind of family life. We want it to continue. It is the sort of thing that magistrates in our courts today are commending. They want that kind of life to be rebuilt. Unless this Amendment is accepted, the Government will be taking a step which will destroy the kind of family life which social workers regard as so desirable.

There is one other point. What about the person who is the lessee living in the house and whose livelihood consists of letting rooms in the house to boarders and lodgers? There are quite a number of houses of that nature which have had protection afforded to them. The rateable value in many cases may not be within the limits which are at present referred to in the Rent Acts. But what happens to them when this Bill becomes law?

The Government ought to reconsider this point. Instead of dealing with it in the way they propose, we suggest that they should make up their mind that it just will not do at this time to have ideas which are contrary to those held by all right-thinking persons. If they look at it from that point of view, they will see that what is being asked for by my hon. Friends and by those who have the interests of the people at heart is the proper step to take.

Mr. George Thomas (Cardiff, West)

Like most hon. Members, I tend to look at the proposed legislation from a constituency point of view. I remind myself that there are 30,000 houses under the leasehold system in the City of Cardiff. I cannot say how many of them will have a rateable value above that included in the Rent Acts, but I am quite sure that a considerable proportion will have. In the ancient City of Llandaff and in the districts of Penylan and of Cyncoed, which are not distinguished for their radicalism, there is property which will fall within the terms of the Amendment.

I recall that it was not so long ago that the party opposite were talking about a property-owning democracy. This Bill does not give us that, but what it does offer is a risky security of tenure, and if that is taken away there is absolutely nothing left of leasehold reform. I should have thought that when we were taking even security of tenure from these people we would have heard the voice of the Conservative Party in South Wales—I see one lone representative of North Wales present here by accident—because there is nothing that will cause more anger amongst our people than the realisation that the Government have introduced a Measure in which steps have been taken to see that the landlord has the right to evict people from property which might be, of greater rateable value than the general mass of property in our areas.

Mr. Iorwerth Thomas

One question which I should like to put to the Minister is why the Government make a discrimination as between one tenant and another? It surprised me because, to strike a political note, I thought that both parties were waging a battle for the votes of the middle classes. One can clearly assess the effect of this Bill on those who are the occupants of houses of the nature covered by this Clause. They might be defined as people in the middle-class strata of society.

6.0 p.m.

I hope the electorate will be made fully conscious of the fact that a Government concerned with a property-owning democracy are prepared in this Bill to introduce a certain amount of discrimination. There are residential parts of Cardiff and also of the coastlines of South Wales and North Wales which will be affected by this policy of discrimination. As my hon. Friend has said, the people living in those houses, who theoretically own the property in which they live, will not be owner-occupiers. although they call themselves that. Why should they suffer this discrimination?

The Government offer protection for other types of property below these levels. They offer protection under the Housing Repairs and Rents Bill, which is now going through this House, to millions of people who are ordinary tenants. Yet they discriminate against people who, through their energy and self-denial and life work, have become the owners of their own houses. Surely these people, who are the backbone of our social life, should be entitled to the same protection as the others?

Whilst I anticipate that if we divide on this Amendment we shall be defeated in the Lobbies, I trust that the people outside this House will be made conscious of the act of which the Government are guilty.

Mr. Turner-Samuels

We are discussing a crucial Amendment and I should like the Home Secretary, even at this late hour, to bring his benevolent and analytical mind to bear on the serious defect which the Amendment exposes. Clause 2 (2) dedicates the Bill to sheer dispossession. There seems to be a desire on the part of the Government to get the tenant out, and the Bill succeeds in that doctrine just as it succeeds in connection with business premises. The Government are determined that the landlords shall get into their hands easily, gradually and definitely all the property in this country without distinguishing whether it consists of dwelling-houses or business premises. This Clause, on the threshold of the Bill, sets out to do what subsequently the entire Bill ensures is done, and that is to achieve dispossession of the tenant.

Formerly the working-classes were mostly affected by the question of premises and as they had to be protected it was necessary to introduce the Rent Acts. Property was scarce in those days, and in order to avoid the exploitation of such homes as there were, and to prevent tenants from being thrown out on to the streets, that legislation was introduced. What the Government had better wake up to is the fact that the middle-classes are coming into the same position. With the scarcity of houses they are now faced with the same problem, and it is no case to make out that houses outside the limit of the Rent Acts are not apt and proper to be brought into the protective provisions of this Bill.

This is what will happen. On Second Reading the Home Secretary said that the one thing a tenant needs most at the end of his lease is security of tenure, to be able to continue living in his house. I should like to refresh the memory of the right hon. and learned Gentleman and, in the glow of that refreshment, to see whether he cannot do something to put into practice what his words indicated, that the tenant at the end of his lease should be able to feel that he could continue to live in the home in which he has been living.

What this Bill does at the end of the lease is to say that the tenant will go out. Unless he has either a long tenancy within the definition of this Clause or unless he pays a rent within the Rent Acts, the tenant has "had it"—to use a familiar current expression. Why is the Minister depriving the tenant of his security of tenure in favour of the landlord getting the property? Nine times out of 10 the landlord does not want the property to live in; he wants vacant possession in order to sell it and make a good profit.

I ask the Home Secretary to put into one side of the scales the claim of people to be allowed to stay in their homes, which they have had for 21 years or more and where they have brought up their families, and to put into the other side of the scales the fact that the landlord only wants the property to exploit it. It is only honest and decent and reasonable that this House, which is reputably here to protect the interests of people, should be asked to protect the interests of these people and not to exploit them in this way.

I cannot understand the reason for discriminating between houses of one category and houses of another when it is a question of security of tenure. The whole concept of security of tenure is a roof, not in the sense of value but of shelter. Therefore, I ask the Home Secretary with his analytical and searching mind, briefed as undoubtedly he must be, to point out to the House how he justifies that refinement of discrimination between a house worth §X and a house worth £X + Y. Where there is a shortage of houses and where there have to be hardships to tenants, who will be put out because the landlord is only out to get a profit from the property, I cannot see how we can advocate with any sense of justice or rhyme or reason this difference between the rent of different houses. It is an absolute mockery. It is putting an affront upon the conscience of the country.

That being the case, I should like to feel that the Home Secretary has been roused out of that calmness with which he receives the observations which pass from this side of the House in an attempt to improve not only his Bill but the reputation of the Government. This is not a political matter at all. This is a matter in which, in common fairness, almost in some cases as an act of charity, I ask the Home Secretary whether he is prepared to come down on the side of the man who is to be given this house merely for the business of profit or whether he is going to protect the individual and his family who may even have built the house and let them remain there to have the shelter which they previously enjoyed. I do not think that there is a decent person in the country who could deny that proposition. I do not believe that the Home Secretary in his heart of hearts—and he must have several hearts, hard and soft—believes that he can accept the proposition that is embodied in the Clause. I ask him to let his soft heart prevail for once over the hard one.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

Perhaps it would have been better if the Joint Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department had spoken first. I realise that the hon. Gentleman was on the point of rising, but I think that as Mr. Deputy-Speaker has called me it would perhaps be convenient if I now made such observations as I have to offer.

The Clause limits the protection of the Bill to premises within the rateable values of the Rent Acts. The marginal note to the Clause indicates that it sets out to give Protection to residential tenants on termination of long tenancies at low rents. The question arises whether the Clause lives up to that phrasing.

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

The right hon. Gentleman is reading the rubric to Clause 1. This, of course, is Clause 2.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

I stand corrected. That is quite true. The rubric to this Clause refers simply to the fact that it deals with certain types of tenancy, but what I have said still holds good—the Bill and this part of it in particular extends to certain classes of tenants of residential property protection, including in the case of some of them the protection of the Rent Acts. As has been said by my hon. Friend the Member for Walsall (Mr. W. Wells), by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Gloucester (Mr. Turner-Samuels) and by others from this side of the House, we desire to see this portection extended to premises which are above the limits set by the Rent Acts. For the life of us, we cannot understand why the Home Secretary resists this appeal. It seems to us so reasonable and proper that we cannot understand why he continues to say no.

Upstairs in Committee the right hon. and learned Gentleman, day after day, turned down every suggestion, however reasonable, made from our side of the Committee. In the end some of us began to wonder whether Molotov had not strayed into our proceedings. We became so used to hearing the word, "No." It looks as if on the Report stage we are to have the same answer, either from the right hon. and learned Gentleman or from the Joint Under-Secretary. Why not make a break. Let the Home Secretary accede to the request of my hon. Friends. I realise that this proposal was not a recommendation of the full Leasehold Committee, but five very responsible and respected members of that Committee did make a recommendation to this effect.

6.15 p.m.

The reasons they put forward for it appear to us to be admirable and such that the Government should now accept it. Is it true, as the right hon. and learned Gentleman said upstairs, that the people who are now outside the protection of the Bill do not need such protection because they as a class can well look after themselves? It is quite obvious from the speeches of my hon. Friends this afternoon that there must be very many people in such a financial position as to warrant such protection and who should have the protection of the Bill. I agree that peers of the realm, or at any rate some of them, can stand on their own feet.

Mr. Hale

I ask my right hon. Friend to let me interpose for a moment. This really is an issue of principle and we must deal with it as such. It does not matter whether they are peers or peeresses or paragons, or barristers or doctors or widows or anything else. This is part of a great historic process, of the battle against an incubus. We must not say that because some have a bob in their pockets we do not want to give them protection. We want to do this because it is right.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

I agree, of course, with my hon. Friend. I assume that all of us desire when dealing with Bills of this kind to do what is right and to act justly towards all sections of the community. All that I am doing at the moment is to advance an argument to the right hon. and learned Gentleman to show that the reasons he used in the Committee stage were not as strong as he appeared then to believe them to be. I listened at the time very carefully to what he said and he appeared to be saying that although very large sections of the community needed protection and must be given the protection of the Rent Acts it was not necessary to extend that protection to all classes because the upper classes so-called were well able to take care of themselves.

I would point out to him that the rateable values laid down in the Rent Acts are not all that high. They are £75 in the country and £100 in London. There are today, for example, ladies whose parents have died and who are settled in large family houses of relatively high rateable value. Such often have difficulty in moving because of the housing shortage. Many of them live in leasehold property bought many years ago. In our view they should have been given the protection which the Rent Acts give to other sections of the community. Why not?

I hope that even now the right hon. and learned Gentleman can see his way to bring in these people within the provisions of the Bill. As my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale) says, there is no reason why they should not be brought in, not only because they are living in poor financial circumstances so that it is right on the ground of need but also because it is right in itself that this protection should be extended to them. I hope, therefore, that when the Joint Under-Secretary replies he will not give us the answer which the Home Secretary gave us in Committee. We hope that this habit of saying "No" to every suggestion from this side may be broken and that, for once in a way, the Joint Under-Secretary will say "Yes."

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

I think I should begin by reminding the House that this Amendment would extend the scope of Part I of the Bill to ground lease houses outside the Rent Acts with rateable values of £100 a year in London and £75 elsewhere. We are dealing here with a fairly substantial type of property. The hon. Member for Leicester, North-West (Mr. Janner) was almost humming Noël Coward's tune, "Poor Little Rich Girl" in his speech. I accept that these houses are not all great houses, but we are dealing with substantial property.

In recommending the scheme implemented in Part I of the Bill, the majority of the Leasehold Committee pointed out that as recently as 1945 the Ridley Committee had reported against any extension of the rateable value limits of the Rent Acts and the Leasehold Committee observed that revaluation for rating might well take an increased number of dwellings outside those limits. Nevertheless, it went on to express the view that in the absence of any evidence of widespread or serious hardship among tenants of these larger properties it was undesirable to recommend the extension of control on Rent Act lines. Let me say quite candidly that the Committee acknowledged that its evidence on the existence of such hardship was limited in scope. I do not want to mislead the House on that—

Mr. Turner-Samuels

That was nine years ago.

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

Five out of 10 members of the Committee, as has been mentioned this afternoon, signed a supplementary report recommending that such tenants should be given, not the protection of the Rent Acts, but a prima facie right to a renewal of their tenancy—

Sir Lynn Ungoed-Thomas (Leicester. North-East)

And much better.

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

That is not quite what the Amendment proposes. The hon. and learned Member may take the view that it is better, but it is quite different from the Amendment.

Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas

I cannot allow this to go on. The whole trouble is, of course, that in the proposal of the Government on this question protection is utterly illusory because the rent which is charged is market rent and the Ridley Report was directed to genuine Rent Restrictions Acts cases and rack rent cases and had nothing to do with ground leases. The whole analogy is misleading.

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

Of course I agree with the hon. and learned Member that what was proposed by the Leasehold Committee was something entirely different from what is now proposed by this Amendment. To suggest that there is a parallel between the two is misleading.

Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas


Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

That is the difficulty in which the House finds itself this afternoon. Under the scheme advocated in the supplementary report, not only would the grounds on which the landlord could claim possession be wider than they are now under the Rent Acts, but also the rent would be on a temporary market basis and capable of revision as each succeeding new tenancy was granted.

In seeking a means of giving security of tenure to occupying ground lessees, the Government, of course, have examined the position of tenants of other types. Immediately we do this we find, first, that rack rent tenants generally have the protection of the Rent Acts where those Acts apply, and secondly, that it has never been considered necessary in the field of rack rent tenants to extend such protection to tenants of houses above certain limits of rateable value.

The line taken by the Bill in making the distinction between the two classes of house is a reasonable one because it follows a principle which has already been accepted. The basis of it is that ground lessees of large houses are in no different case from rack rent tenants of smaller property, for whom protection has never been considered necessary unless it could be shown that the hardship devolved specially upon ground lessees rather than upon the tenants of larger properties generally. No hon. Member this afternoon has attempted seriously to make a case to that effect. We would have to do that if we were to justify the proposal now before the House. It would be inappropriate to give protection to ground lessees alone whilst denying it to other tenants of larger properties.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

The whole essence of this discussion is that ground lessees are in a class apart. We are legislating specially and particularly for them. Our case is, why leave some out?

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

The case that has been put is that it is wrong to distinguish between the ground lessees of the larger houses and the ground lessees of the smaller houses, and the answer I am giving is that in fact we find that precisely the same distinction is made in the other class of property, namely, the house let at a rack rent.

Mr. Hale

By the Government in 1952.

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

By all Governments up to this present date. There is no difference between the rack rent tenants and the non-rack rent tenants—

Mr. Turner-Samuels

The question is whether it is a bad distinction which ought to be done away with now.

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

I do not want to embark on the subject, but there were a considerable number of years in which it lay in the power of the party opposite to abolish the distinction. I do not want to go into that.

Mr. Janner

Is not any distinction at all to be drawn between the requirements in the case of a weekly or monthly

tenancy and requirements in regard to a leasehold for 99 years?

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

I entirely accept that there is a difference between rackrent tenancies and long-lease tenancies. The case that has been put is that it is wrong to distinguish between larger and smaller houses and the answer is that we have already made that distinction. I believe the argument is a sound one. The Government regard it as a sound argument, and in those circumstances I regret that we cannot see our way to accept the Amendment.

Question put. "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes, 205; Noes, 223.

Division No. 152.] AYES [6.30 p.m.
Albu, A. H. Freeman, Peter (Newpert) Mallalieu, J. P. W (Huddersfield, E.)
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N. Manuel, A. C
Allen, Schefielde (Crewe) Gibson, C. W. Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A
Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven) Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon P. C Mason, Roy
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R Greenwood, Anthony Mellish, R. J.
Bacon, Miss Alice Grey, C. F. Messer, Sir F.
Baird, J. Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Mikardo, Ian
Bartley, P. Hale, Leslie Mitchison, G. R.
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Monslow, W.
Bence, C. R. Hamilton, W W. Moody, A. S.
Bonn, Hon. Wedgwood Hannan, W. Morgan, Dr. H. B. W.
Benson, G. Hargreaves, A. Morley, R.
Beswick, F. Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.) Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)
Blackburn, F. Hastings, S. Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.)
Blenkinsop, A. Hayman, F. H. Mort, D. L.
Blyton, W. R. Healy, Cahir (Fermanagh) Moyle, A.
Boardman, H. Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis) Mulley, F. W.
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G Holman, P. Nally, W.
Bowden, H. W. Holmes, Horace Neal, Harold (Bolsover)
Bowles, F. G. Hoy, J. H. Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P J
Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Hubbard, T. F. Oldfield, W. H.
Brockway, A. F. Hudson, James (Ealing, N.) Oliver, G. H.
Brook, Dryden (Halifax) Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Oswald, T.
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Padley, W. E.
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Paling, Rt. Hon. W.(Dearne Valley).
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Irving, W. J. (Wood Green) Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)
Burton, Miss F. E. Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A. Pannell, Charles
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.) Janner, B. Pargiter, G. A
Callaghan, L. J. Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T. Parker, J.
Carmichael, J. Jager, George (Goole) Parkin, B. T.
Castle, Mrs. B. A. Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford) Paton, J.
Champion, A. J. Johnson, James (Rugby) Pearson, A.
Chetwynd, G. R. Jones, David (Hartlepool) Plummer, Sir Leslie
Clunie, J. Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.) Popplewell, E.
Coldrick, W. Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Porter, G.
Collick, P. H. Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)
Cove, W. G. Keenan, W. Procter, W. T.
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Kenyon, C. Pursey, Cmdr. H
Daines, P. Key, Rt. Hon. C. W Rankin, John
Dalton, Rt. Hon. H. King, Dr. H. M. Reeves, J.
Darling, George (Hillsborough) Lawson, G. M. Reid, Thomas (Swindon)
Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.) Lee, Frederick (Newton) Rhodes, H.
Davies, Stephen (Merthyr) Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Deer, G. Lever, Leslie (Ardwick) Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Dodds, N. N. Lewis, Arthur Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)
Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich) Lindgren, G. S. Ross, William
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Lipton, Lt.-Col. M. Royle, C.
Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.) Logan, D. G. Shackleton, E. A. A.
Evans, Edward (Lowestoft) MacColl, J. E. Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E
Fienburgh, W. McKay, John (Wallsend) Short, E. W.
Follick, M. McLeavy, F. Silverman, Julius (Erdington)
Foot, M. M. MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles) Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Forman, J. C. Mainwaring, W. H. Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)
Freeman, John (Watford) Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Skeffington, A. M.
Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent) Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.) Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.
Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgefield) Thomson, George (Dundee, E.) Wilkins, W. A.
Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.) Thornton, E. Willey, F. T.
Snow, J. W. Turner-Samuels, M. Williams, David (Neath)
Sorensen, R. W. Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn Williams, Rev. Llywely(Abertillery)
Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank Viant, S. P. Williams, Ronald (Wigan)
Sparks, J. A. Warbey, W. N. Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Don V'll'y)
Strachey, Rt. Hon. J. Weitzman, D. Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)
Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall) Wells, Percy (Faversham) Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)
Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E. Wells, William (Walsall) Willis, E. G.
Sylvester, G. O. West, D. G. Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield) Wheelden, W. E. Wyatt, W. L.
Taylor, John (West Lothian) White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint) Yates, V. F.
Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth) White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Thomas, George (Cardiff) Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Mr. Wallace and Mr. J. T. Price.
Aitken, W. T. Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lansdale) Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.) Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)
Alport, C. J. M. Galbraith, T. C. D. (Hillhead) Martland, Comdr, J. F. W. (Horncastle)
Amery, Julian (Preston, N.) Garner-Evans, E. H. Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)
Amory, Rt. Hon. Heathcoat (Tiverton) Glover, D. Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir Reginald
Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J. Godber, J. B. Markham, Major Sir Frank
Arbuthnot, John Gough, C. F. H. Marlowe, A. A. H.
Assheton, Rt. Hon. A. (Blackburn, W.) Gower, H. R. Marples, A. E.
Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M. Graham, Sir Fergus Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)
Baldwin, A. E. Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans) Maude, Angus
Barlow, Sir John Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury) Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C
Baxter, Sir Beverley Hall, John (Wycombe) Medlicott, Brig. F.
Beach, Maj. Hicks Hare, Hon. J. H. Mellor, Sir John
Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.) Molson, A. H. E.
Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.) Harris, Reader (Heston) Morrison, John(Salisbury)
Birch, Nigel Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) Nabarro, G. D. N.
Bishop, F. P. Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield) Neave, Airey
Black, C. W. Harvie-Watt, Sir George Nicholls, Harmar
Boothby, Sir R. J. G. Hay, John Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)
Bowen, E. R. Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Nield, Basil (Chester)
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A. Heath, Edward Noble, Comdr. A. H. P
Boyle, Sir Edward Higgs, J. M. C. Nugent, G. R. H.
Braine, B. R. Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton) Oakshott, H. D.
Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.) Hirst, Geoffrey O'Neill, Hon. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)
Braithwaite, Sir Gurney Holland-Martin, C. J Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H. Hollis, M. C. Orr, Capt. L. P. S.
Brooke, Henry (Hampstead) Hopkinson, Rt. Hon. Henry Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)
Browne, Jack (Govan) Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P. Osborne, C.
Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T Horobin, I. M. Page, R. G.
Bullard, D. G. Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives) Perkins, Sir Robert
Bullus, Wing Commander E. E Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.) Pitt, Miss E. M.
Burden, F. F. A. Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J. Powell, J. Enoch
Butcher, Sir Herbert Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'rgh, W) Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)
Campbell, Sir David Hylton-Foster, H. B. H. Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L
Cary, Sir Robert Iremonger, T. L. Profumo, J. D.
Channon, H. Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Raikes, Sir Victor
Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead) Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Redmayne, M.
Cole, Norman Johnson, Howard (Kemptown) Rees-Davies, W. R.
Colegate, W. A. Jones, A. (Hall Green) Remnant, Hon. P.
Conant, Maj. Sir Roger Kaberry, D. Renton, D. L. M.
Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert Kerby, Capt. H. B Ridsdale, J. E.
Cooper-Key, E. M. Kerr, H. W. Roberts, Peter (Heeley)
Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Lambert, Hon. G Robson-Brown, W.
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C Leather, E. H. C. Roper, Sir Harold
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Russell, R. S.
Crouch, R. F. Legh, Hon. Peter (Petessfield) Sandys, Rt. Hon. D
Crowder, Sir John (Finchley) Lindsay, Martin Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas
Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood) Linstead, Sir H N. Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.
Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.) Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (King's Norton) Scott, R. Donald
Deedes, W. F. Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral) Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.
Dodds-Parker, A. D. Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C Shepherd, William
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA Longden, Gilbert Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)
Doughty, C. J. A. Low, A. R. W. Smithers, Peter (Winchester)
Drayson, G. B. Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.) Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)
Drewe, Sir C. Lucas, P. B. (Brentford) Snadden, W. McN.
Duncan, Capt. J. A. L Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Soames, Capt. C.
Duthie, W. S. McCallum, Major D. Spearman, A. C. M.
Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir D. M. McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.)
Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West) Macdonald, Sir Peter Spens, Rt. Hon. Sir P. (Kensington, S.)
Finlay, Graeme McKibbin, A. J. Stevens, Geoffrey
Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F. Mackie, J. H. (Galloway) Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)
Fletcher-Cooke, C. Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Stoddart-Scott, Col. M
Ford, Mrs. Patricia Maclean, Fitzroy Storey, S.
Fort, R. Macleod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.) Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)
Foster, John MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty) Summers, G. S
Sutcliffe, Sir Harold Vane, W. M. F. Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)
Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne) Vaughan-Morgan, J. K. Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Taylor, William (Bradford, N.) Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.) Williams, Sir Herbert (Cloydon, E.)
Teeling, W. Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. Marylebone) Wills, G.
Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury) Walker-Smith, D. C. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway) Wall, Major Patrick Wood, Hon. R.
Thompson, Kenneth (Walton) Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)
Tilney, John Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Touche, Sir Gordon Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C. Mr. Vesper and Mr. Richard Thompson.
Turner, H. F. L. Watkinson, H. A.
Turton, R. H. Wellwood, W.

Amendments made: In page 2, line 5, leave out "or were."

In line 7, leave out "or have been."

In line 13 leave out: which comprises such premises as aforesaid.

and insert: as respects which the qualifying condition is fulfilled."—[Sir H. Lucas-Tooth.]

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

I beg to move, in page 2, line 18, to leave out: not satisfied that the tenancy is, and to insert: satisfied that the tenancy is not. This Amendment is designed to meet the views expressed by hon. Members in Committee, particularly the hon. Member for Edge Hill (Mr. A. J. Irvine) who raised this question in an Amendment, and my right hon. and learned Friend undertook to consider the position.

As Clause 2 (3) is drafted, when a landlord during the last 12 months of the tenancy wishes to find out whether on the term date the tenancy will be one to which Part I applies, he can apply to the court for an appropriate declaration. The onus rests upon the tenant to satisfy the court that at the term date the circumstances are likely to be such that Part I will apply. If the tenant cannot do this the court must make an order that Part I will not apply, the effect of which is to remove the tenancy for ever from the scope of Part I.

As amended, the subsection will mean that when the landlord applies to the court for a declaration the onus will be upon him to satisfy the court that at the term date the circumstances are not likely to be such that Part I will apply. Shifting the onus in this way will make it difficult for the landlord who can get no response from communications sent to the tenant, but the Government feel that, in view of the strength of the arguments pressed against the provision as originally drafted, that is a change which should be made.

Sir F. Soskice

I wish to thank the hon. Gentleman for the change which he has proposed. As he said, it shifts the onus from the tenant to the landlord. We have always thought that that was obviously where it should rest. I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman thinks that this will make it difficult for landlords. We have no objection to it being made difficult for landlords to throw people out of their houses, and that is really what the subsection is designed to do. The change will make it more difficult for landlords to achieve that purpose. I thank the Government for having introduced the Amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: In page 2, line 31, leave out from "done," to end of line 32, and insert: the qualifying condition was not fulfilled as respects the tenancy."—{Sir H. Lucas-Tooth.]

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

I beg to move, in page 2, line 35, at the end, to insert: by act of the parties or by any enactment. The Amendment is designed to meet a point raised in Committee by the hon. Member for Anglesey (Mr. C. Hughes). The purpose is to make it clear that a long tenancy includes a tenancy extended by the Leasehold Property (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1951.

Amendment agreed to.

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

I beg to move, in page 2, line 40, to leave out from "and," to the end of line 5, on page 3, and to insert: (a) if that property is a dwelling-house to which the Act of 1920 applies apart from the Act of 1939, the expression "rateable value" has in relation to it the same meaning in this subsection as it has in the Act of 1920 in relation to such a dwelling-house;

(b) if that property is not such a dwelling-house, the said expression has in relation to it the same meaning in this subsection as it has in the Act of 1920 in relation to a dwelling-house to which that Act applies by virtue of the Act of 1939.

The Amendment appears formidable, but in fact it is purely drafting. It gives effect to an undertaking given by my right hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General. I think that the House will agree that, though still difficult. the wording is an improvement on the original drafting.

6.45 p.m.

Sir F. Soskice

I am sure that this is an improvement but how on earth we are to know whether or not it is an improvement unless the hon. Gentleman explains, I do not know. I think that we might ask the hon. Gentleman to tell us how this complicated formula changes the Bill and what improvement it makes.

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

It does not change the Bill at all. It is purely a matter of drafting on a very difficult subject. Perhaps the best way to explain this somewhat technical matter is to say that we are dealing here with three classes of house. We have the so-called old control house; that is to say, those houses which have been subject to the control of the 1920 Act at some time. We have the new control houses; that is to say, the houses which have been subject to the 1939 Act at some time. Thirdly, we have those houses which have not been controlled at all.

Under the original drafting they were grouped in two paragraphs and the line was drawn to include the old control and the new control in one paragraph and the non-controlled houses in the second one. The line has now been drawn between the first and the second, so that we have the old control in the first paragraph and the new control and the not-yet-controlled in the second paragraph. I do not know whether the right hon. and learned Gentleman follows, but that is the explanation.

Amendment agreed to.