HC Deb 03 February 1956 vol 548 cc1302-3

Order for Second Reading read.

3.55 p.m.

Captain F. V. Corfield (Gloucestershire, South)

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

The purpose of the Bill is to substitute a fair market value as the basis of compensation where land is acquired by compulsory purchase. In Clause 4, we have tried to go a little further in the case of slum property than the Minister of Housing and Local Government did in his declaration of 13th December. Not only does the owner-occupier deserve a higher rate of compensation, but a member of the owner's family in certain cases. The factors are almost exactly the same as in the case of an owner-occupier.

Mr. G. R. Mitchison (Kettering)

I wonder whether the hon. and gallant Member——

Captain Corfield

I am sorry, but I cannot give way to the hon. and learned Member.

The Bill does not favour any particular class of the community. It results from our feeling that the present method of compensation works unfairly. After a great deal of consideration, we have come to the conclusion that the fair market value is a very much better basis than the present system, which is based on land values in 1947. Up to two years ago there was an addition to this basis of an amount agreed under the 1947 Act. Since the introduction of what is generally known as the "Pilgrim" Clause, in 1954, we have to add the amount which would have been agreed in cases where there was no agreement.

The whole basis of valuation is getting more and more guesswork rather than scientific, as 1947 recedes. Apart from the fact that we cannot possibly foresee what changes there will be in land values, it is obvious that pressure on our economy will create greater scarcity for a limited quantity of land, and that, in the end, there is bound to be an arbitary valuation which causes injustice when applied.

Mr. Frederick Willey (Sunderland, North)

I do not think that the hon. and gallant Gentleman has explained the purposes of his Bill sufficiently to enable the House to decide whether or not to give it a Second Reading.

Captain Corfield

The hon. Member is as aware of the rules of this House as I am, and of the necessity to watch the clock.

Mr. Mitchison

Cannot the hon. and gallant Gentleman say what he means——

It being Four o'clock, Mr. SPEAKER interrupted the business.

Bill to be read a Second time upon Friday, 17th February.