Amendment moved [26th March], In page 9, line 10, at the end, to insert:
or where an exchange of tenancy is created and registered in accordance with the Schedule (Exchange Tenancies) to this Act".—[Mr. Mitchison.]
§ 3.40 p.m.
§ Mr. G. R. Mitchison (Kettering)
When consideration of the Bill was adjourned last night, I was engaged in drawing the attention of hon. Members to the importance of exchanges of tenancies as a means of dealing with questions of under-occupation and I think I secured the complete assent of the Minister to the fact that under-occupation should be dealt with if possible.
I am not sure whether I secured his complete assent to one other proposition, that his own Bill as drafted would, particularly under subsection (2), operate to hinder the dealing with under-occupation by means of exchanges. There is, however, little doubt that it would have that effect, and I was engaged in taking as instances the really typical cases, on the one hand, of the old couple who were left in a house which was too large for them and, on the other, of the young couple who, with a growing family, wanted a larger house.
The object of both this Amendment and the next Amendment in line 10, at the end to insert:or where an exchange tenancy is created and registered in accordance with the Schedule (Exchange of Tenancies) to this Act.is to enable an agreement to be made, if possible, between the persons concerned in a desirable exchange of that character and to enable that agreement to be made without importing the element of insecurity into either of the two tenancies.
The present position is that if the old people, whom we will call the A tenants, agreed with the young people, whom we will call the B tenants, to exchange, both of them would be left in their new houses 1154 under decontrolled tenancies and, subject to the provisions of the Bill, by and large at the mercy of the landlords as to any agreement that might be made. With that in view, it is obvious that without some provision of the kind that we suggest, subsection (2) would hinder the carrying out of these exchanges.
I trust that I shall carry right hon. and hon. Members opposite with me in this further proposition. We are very anxious that old folk in this position should be induced to move into more suitable accommodation if they are willing to do so, and if that accommodation is available on similar or better terms and with similar security, but we have always taken the view that it is not right to force old people out of their homes simply because those homes are at the moment too large for them.
While, no doubt, right hon. and hon. Members opposite would agree with that, if it were a matter of forcing them out by some statutory provision, we go one further and we say without hesitation that whatever the landlord's rights and interests in this matter those tenants ought not to be forced out by some form of economic pressure, which ought not to be put upon them and which they are in most cases in no position effectively to resist. Of course, it would be a forcing out of that character if, in fact, they were unable to pay the increased rent under the Bill. It would equally be a forcing out if, in any circumstances, there was a question of decontrol.
We want to make it perfectly clear that what we are proposing here, in the first place, and subject to one point which I shall mention presently, is a matter of agreement as a rule between four parties—the landlord and the tenant of tenancy A and the landlord and the tenant of tenancy B. Of course, if it is the same landlord in each case, there will be only three parties, but that is immaterial for these purposes.
I want to go a little further before I come to the point of difference——
§ Mr. Graham Page (Crosby)
This is not an unhelpful intervention, because I have some sympathy for the points that the hon. and learned Member is making. He describes what he is proposing as a matter of agreement between the landlord 1155 and tenant of A tenancy and the landlord and tenant of B tenancy. If it is a matter of agreement, could not the security—at least a fairly substantial security—be given in the course of that agreement without imposing a statutory obligation?
§ Mr. Mitchison
No doubt one can agree to anything one wishes, but if there is a provision of this character one is far more likely to get a reasonable agreement between the four parties.
I was just about to develop this additional reason. There may, of course, be a landlord who is a private landlord or there might be a landlord who is a council or some other body in a similar position. For purposes of drafting, in the Amendments we have called the latter kind of case a public tenancy. Those are uncontrolled tenancies. They were taken out of control by the 1954 Act. In some cases, they were out of control earlier.
A housing authority, a council acting as such, has rather different considerations in view than a private landlord has when contemplating an exchange of this kind. That housing authority has to look at the matter in view of its general duties as a housing authority, sometimes as a sanitary authority, too. The initiative for this kind of exchange has often come from councils and there has been a continuous pressure on councils from the Government of the day to do their best to promote and carry out exchanges of this kind when the circumstances were suitable. I gave the details yesterday and I do not propose to repeat them, but let me pay the Minister the compliment of saying that he has taken a large part in trying to promote that kind of thing.
What has happened in the past is that in the case of an exchange between one council and another, of people moving geographically, there has been no difficulty, or comparatively little difficulty of the kind that we are now considering. There has, however, been considerable difficulty in councils getting the consent, not of the other tenants, but of the other landlord concerned. It appears to be the case that the last Government circular, in 1954, to which, again, I referred yesterday, broke down, in effect, because no useful discussions could be held between the councils and the landlords.
1156 I quite see the private landlord's point of view, although I do not agree with it. The matters with which he is concerned are not as broad nor as general as those which concern the council. The private landlord looks to his own interest as regards the particular house, and, perhaps, as regards others, but he, unlike the council, has no general housing responsibility and does not have to consider the general housing position. The result is that attempts to promote exchanges between councils with their tenants, and private landlords with their tenants, have not failed entirely, but have met with only modified success.
In discussing the 1954 Measure we had evidence—from Sheffield, for instance—showing that the housing authority had found that some landlords were willing to play and other landlords definitely were not. That was not a question of individual cases. It was a question of general attitude. There appear to be some landlords who, on principle, have objected to any sort of exchange because they have always hoped that if they left things a bit awkward they might finally get possession of the house.
§ Mr. John Hay (Henley)
With respect to the hon. and learned Gentleman, I do not think that is a perfectly accurate description of the Sheffield case. What happened was that the landlords were asked to agree to these exchanges, but were not given any chance of choosing the people who would be moving into their private houses. In other words, they were not being given any kind of choice as to the person to come into their houses, the sitting tenant going off to a council house. That is really what the problem was. There was no blanket refusal on the part of landlords in Sheffield to agree to exchanges.
§ Mr. John Hynd (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Before my hon. and learned Friend answers the point, may I explain what the position was in Sheffield? The local authority got an agreement with the organisation representing landlords that they would encourage their members to agree to exchanges in reasonable cases. Some landlords—a minority—did, in fact, carry out that agreement. The majority refused to carry it out irrespective of the individual cases. There was no provision in the agreement that the 1157 landlords should have to accept blindly any exchange at all. It was subject to suitability. But there was a blanket refusal to carry out the agreement irrespective of the individual cases.
§ Mr. Mitchison
I obtained my information from Sheffield, and what my hon. Friend the Member for Attercliffe (Mr. J. Hynd) has just said has accurately stated the substance of what I was told at the time.
Although I have never taken the view that all landlords are evil, I have equally never taken the view that all landlords are saints. They are not. It is highly probable, given human nature as it is, that there will be some landlords who will simply refuse to play in matters of this kind, and one sees the motive for this. I am not asking the House to approve or disapprove of the motives. I am simply saying that, as a fact, some landlords naturally refuse to consent to anything of this sort because they think they will get a greater advantage by leaving matters in a rather awkward position, and ultimately perhaps, under the existing law, getting possession of the houses themselves.
That is to apply equally if this Clause goes through unamended, for the possibility then is that if an exchange is persistently refused the landlord may be able to get decontrol, whereas if an agreement is put through—for instance, a purely voluntary agreement on the lines suggested by the hon. Member for Crosby (Mr. Page)—the effect might—I do not say it would—amount to the same as continued control. Under our proposed Amendment there is something more than that, because what we are suggesting is that on an exchange of this sort control should continue.
Now I come to the difference between the two Amendments, and it is really a difference between the two proposed new Schedules which appear later on the Notice Paper, one entitled "Exchange of Tenancies" and the other entitled "Exchange Tenancies". We are dealing entirely with controlled tenancies, because this is to be an exception to Clause 10 (2). The question that we are considering all the time is whether, on an exchange, there is to be decontrol.
The present position, as I understand, is this. A controlled tenancy may be 1158 either a statutory tenancy or a contractual tenancy. In the case of a contractual tenancy, if there is no provision one way or the other in the contract, the consent of the landlord is required, for otherwise the landlord can get possession under paragraph (d) of the Schedule to the 1933 Act and corresponding provisions in the case of new control.
It comes, therefore, to this, that whatever the provision in the contract, there is no effective means of enforcing an assignment without the landlord's consent. I am talking about contractual tenancies. The question whether the landlord's consent is unreasonably withheld can arise only by virtue of an express provision in the contract. That express provision may either be that it shall not be unreasonably withheld or it may simply be that his consent is required, for in the latter case the provisions of the Landlord and Tenant Act will import the condition that it should not be unreasonably withheld.
Therefore, in some cases—probably not the majority, but some—the question of unreasonably withholding can arise, but in the majority of cases it is simply a question of consent or no consent, and the tenant cannot really move without the landlord's consent, for otherwise he can be evicted and, be it remembered, evicted without proof of alternative accommodation. That is the substantial difficulty at present.
Statutory tenancies which are equally controlled tenancies under this Bill simply cannot be assigned. They are not really tenancies at all. They amount to a right to remain in the house, and a personal right; they are not capable of assignment. Therefore, without some express provision of this kind, no assignment will be possible in most of these cases.
That leads me to the question of the landlord's consent. The provision that the landlord's consent "shall not be unreasonably withheld"—and there is really very little difference between that and the alternative form of wording that unreasonable conditions shall not be imposed—is no new thing and it is not peculiar to the Amendment which we are proposing. In fact, it ensures that the landlord's interests, where they are proper and legitimate interests, are taken fully into account. It has been so construed in connection with the Landlord and 1159 Tenant Act and with cases of particular covenants for a long time. There is really not much doubt——
§ Sir Ian Horobin (Oldham, East)
If I may interrupt, what the hon. and learned Member says meets with a good deal of sympathy amongst us on this side of the House, particularly the proposals in his first new Schedule. I wonder whether he could enlighten us on one point. On this matter of unreasonableness of consent, the question which is very often the stumbling block in matters of this sort is not the right of the particular tenants being exchanged but the consequential right of their families which may differ extraordinarily when one is leaving a house under control.
In the case of the hon. and learned Gentleman's second Schedule, where it is not a question of an agreement on both sides, but where the landlord may be faced with an exchange which he does not like, he may have to prove that he is not unreasonably withholding consent. Does the hon. and learned Gentleman anticipate that it would be a reasonable ground of objection that in the one case, to put it crudely, the tenant's rights might be expected to cease with that tenant, while the new suggested tenant—a much younger person, for instance, married and perhaps with a family—would lead to him being saddled with a controlled tenancy over a long period of time?
§ 4.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Mitchison
I do not think the hon. Member or the House would welcome an attempted exposition of the law about this, which is of quite long standing and covers that kind of question. Speaking with real diffidence on this question, because it is not too easy a one, I think it is right to say that it has been held not to be an unreasonable withholding in cases where it would have the effect of turning what would otherwise be a very short tenancy into a very long one. That, I think, is what the hon. Member has in mind.
I would say just one other thing to him, I hope courteously. The boot is on the other foot. It is not the landlord who has to prove he is not unreasonably withholding, but the tenant who has to prove he is unreasonably withholding in these cases.
1160 This is a very limited provision in favour of the tenant or in favour of those who desire to exchange, as against a recalcitrant landlord; a very limited provision, and not one of which any good landlord ought to be in the least afraid. There are, however, cases of the type to which I referred just now, the cases in Sheffield; and I understand that my hon. Friends from Scotland have a number of similar ones in mind. I am sure that it appeals to the common sense of the House when I say that there will be recalcitrant landlords, and that there is no use burking the fact. If we do not meet it by a provision of this sort, then they will get away with what is really an anti-social obstinacy or an anti-social selfishness, and no one in the House ought to wish landlords to get away with that.
That is all that this, in my view very limited, proposal provides. It is certainly all it is intended to provide, because it uses well-known language for its very limited purpose, but I do say that I have not the least doubt that the right new Schedule of these two is the one to which I have put my name and which contains this limited provision to deal with recalcitrant landlords—in the nature of the case and by the language of the new Schedule, unreasonable landlords. The other new Schedule will look all right, will serve some purpose, I quite agree, but will serve only half the purpose.
I shall feel, if the Government or hon. Gentlemen opposite accept the pure agreement Schedule, without any recourse against the recalcitrant landlord, that they are really neglecting their social duty and taking a view of what they ought to do in the interests of the landlord with which I, for one, certainly cannot agree. I trust, therefore, that the right hon. Gentleman will accept the longer, the second of the two new Schedules.
There is one further observation I want to make. The county court was given jurisdiction in this question of unreasonable refusal, but it is at present a very limited jurisdiction to make declarations. I am suggesting here that it should be given a more effective jurisidiction than that, simply to simplify proceedings. Hon. Members will find on the Notice Paper appropriate Amendments to the Clause of the Bill which deals with the 1161 jurisdiction of county courts, Amendments providing for just the addition of a word or two. I feel sure that that would simplify the proceedings.
On this matter, which we on this side regard as of considerable practical importance, I have taken up a little time. I have endeavoured to put what are really very moderate proposals in a very moderate form. I hope I have succeeded, but I want to say again to the right hon. Gentleman and to hon. Gentlemen opposite, so far as they are responsible, that I do not understand why this Bill, if it was intended to cope with questions of under-occupation, to the solution of which exchange is clearly a very valuable contribution, left this enormous gap. The effect of the Bill as it stands will be to deter exchanges in cases in which they are really suitable.
The attention of the Minister and his hon. Friends and supporters was called to this matter by me on Second Reading, when it was contended that the Bill as it stood would make some contribution to solving this problem. I took the line, and I still take it, that the Bill for that purpose is of very doubtful validity as it is drafted, and certainly it does a whole lot of other things and causes hardship and insecurity and is unsuitable for dealing with this problem. I reminded the right hon. Gentleman of his own efforts in this direction. I reminded him of the circulars which have been issued by the Government. I reminded him of our efforts on this side at the time of the 1954 Measure.
I am still puzzled and, I admit, a little frightened, because the right hon. Gentleman has not as yet produced anything whatever on this subject and has left the Bill so that it will have this effect, that in the cases of these controlled tenancies it will definitely deter people, particularly old people, from making exchanges which would be to their benefit and to the social advantage, because by doing so their tenancies will become decontrolled.
The Bill ought to be put right, and I commend these two Amendments, particularly the one enabling us to deal with recalcitrant landlords, to the good sense and good feeling of the House. I hope that they will meet with support from both sides.
§ Mr. A. Blenkinsop (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, East)
I beg to second the Amendment.
1162 What my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison) has said about the Sheffield cases applies in many parts of the country. Most of us have recognised the importance of developing this system of exchanges and have been interested in the provisions in other countries, in some of which compulsory powers have been taken, if landlords are to gain advantage in the form of rent increases, to require them to accept in proper terms exchanges of tenants. We have looked into some of these to see whether they would be applicable in this country, too. This is a very much more modest proposal, of course.
The problem comes before us almost every week when we meet our constituents. In my divisional committee rooms we keep copies of the form the local authority asks the landlords to sign, stating that they would be willing to accept tenants from the council's waiting list. The council does not specify any tenant in particular. The landlord is fully entitled to make as wide a choice as he wishes. All that is said by the local authority is, "It will assist us, of course, if we can get private landlords to agree to take as tenants some of those on the council waiting list." In exchange for that the council is prepared, very often, to advance the rehousing of some of the tenants of the private landlords—a very proper thing to be done.
I have had private landlords complain bitterly to me that while they have tried to work the scheme—and they have shown that they have—the great majority of their brother landlords would not work it. Clearly, these are cases where there is no specific requirement that a landlord must take a particular tenant and, of course, there is a very wide opportunity of choice. I support entirely my hon. and learned Friend's view that the Bill will make exchanges more difficult rather than improve the opportunities for them. Therefore, a provision of the kind that we propose, modest though it is, is obviously required.
On many occasions I have called attention to the need for exchanges. I have quoted figures prepared by the Nuffield Trust and organisations of that kind, and which are contained in surveys and in the 1951 Census, which undoubtedly support the need for more 1163 exchanges to be carried out. We, on this side of the House, firmly believe that the proposals of our own party on future housing policy will meet these cases far more satisfactorily but, granted the unfortunate misery of this Bill, we regard our Amendments as being very constructive and modest proposals.
As hon. Members opposite have been chiding us continuously for not putting forward constructive proposals, here is the fiftieth or sixtieth that we have put forward which we should be glad if the Government could accept.
§ Mr. Hay
I think that most of us have been in some difficulty, until the hon. and learned Member for Kettering moved the Amendment, in getting a clear understanding of what all this is about. There are two Amendments in page 9, line 10 in different names, and, unfortunately, the related Schedules are not printed in the same order.
§ Mr. Hay
Fortunately, I am, and I have been able to puzzle it out.
This debate raises in an interesting way the difference of view to which we have come about the new housing situation. Before the Bill becomes law we shall still be living in an era of widespread rent restriction. All our thinking about housing problems has been conditioned to a very great extent by the existence of rent restriction. We have now to look at housing problems, after the Bill becomes law, in an entirely different way. We have, to begin with, to accept the fact that the market will be much wider and freer and the need for compulsions of various kinds to ensure full use of housing accommodation will be no longer so great as it has been.
The hon. and learned Member for Kettering has pointed out the great difficulty there has been in the cases of which my right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government has particular knowledge because of his chairmanship of the committee which was mentioned last night. I refer to the difficulty in arranging exchanges and transfers between different tenants. This difficulty has been largely due to the very fact that rent restriction exists.
1164 Although the hon. Member for Attercliffe (Mr. J. Hynd) and I may differ, as we have done this afternoon, about the precise details of the Sheffield case, there is some truth in what the hon. and learned Member for Kettering said about landlords not having been tumbling over themselves to get fresh tenants if there has been the slightest chance of obtaining possession. The reason has been the existence of the Rent Restrictions Acts.
Now, for a great deal of property, rent control will be lifted altogether, and for a far wider section of houses rent control will no longer apply on a fresh letting. Although the proposal in the Amendment and the related Schedule is appended to the proviso in subsection (2) of the Clause, which itself creates the opportunity for free lettings for the first time since the end of the war, I think that in principle it is right that some provision relating to exchange tenancies should be included in the Bill.
I am certain that the very existence of the new free market which will arise and the very fact that much more accommodation will come into the letting market than has been the case for the last ten years, which I do not think is really disputed, will remove a great deal of this great problem of exchanging tenancies. Up to now, the landlord, faced with the prospect of an exchange of tenancies, has always had in mind the possibility of getting vacant possession and thereby being able to unlock some of the capital locked up in that house. From now on, he will be able to let that accommodation at whatever rent the market will pay, and he will no longer be under that driving compulsion to realise something out of the property.
It is true that this will mean that rents will rise, but they will reach a more realistic level than that at which they have been for many years past. Therefore, the question of exchange tenancies may not prove, over the next few years, to be so awkward and difficult to handle, simply because the free market will be there and more accommodation will generally be available. The problem will not be quite so pressing.
Nevertheless, I want to support what the hon. and learned Member for Kettering said about one of the Schedules. I 1165 do not like the second of the proposed new Schedules, to which he has put his name. I dislike it only because of the element of compulsion introduced into it. If we accept the picture of a freer market, it is not really necessary to have the rather cumbersome, complicated and certainly expensive machinery which the Schedule proposes, with its applications to the county court. The first of the proposed new Schedules, in the name of the hon. Member for Wellingborough (Mr. Lindgren) and his hon. Friends, is much more acceptable and desirable because that enables simple agreements to be arrived at and the whole machinery to be created for that to be done without the element of compulsion.
I do not know what my right hon. Friend the Minister will say of the debate, but I ask him to look at the matter very sympathetically and, in particular, to consider whether in some way he can accept the idea behind the new Schedule proposed by the hon. Member for Wellingborough. I hope that he will not accept the Schedule as it stands, because I am not at all happy about the drafting in some respects. However, that always happens with complicated affairs of this kind.
I mention only one point to show how difficult these things can be. Throughout the Bill we use the definition of "landlord" contained in the Increase of Rent and Mortgage Interest (Restrictions) Act, 1920. It is done by reference to the Housing Repairs and Rents Act, 1954, and then back to the 1920 Act. "Landlord" can, of course, include a tenant, that is, a tenant of somebody called a superior landlord. If the landlord referred to in the Schedule is himself a tenant, I am not altogether certain what the position will be, under the drafting, vis-à-vis the superior landlord, and so on. I mention that small but not unimportant point only to show that the drafting needs consideration. I do not want to argue, because this debate is subject to the guillotine procedure; as we have so often been reminded.
§ Mr. Mitchison
The point had not escaped me. I thought that it was met by the question of what is and what is not unreasonable, but no one would want to stick to the drafting of these Clauses.
§ Mr. Hay
I am merely saying that if my right hon. Friend accepts the 1166 principle of the matter I hope that he will not accept every word of the Schedule, and that even if it is decided to accept it in another place he will look at the drafting.
The proposal can do something to help, although my general conviction is that the position will not be nearly so difficult or acute in the future as it has been in the past ten years, simply because we shall be having a freer market in housing accommodation and much more accommodation will be available than has been the case for many years past.
§ Mr. William Hannan (Glasgow, Maryhill)
As a newcomer to the debate, I do not want to speak in an argumentative mood, after the reasonableness of the hon. Member for Henley (Mr. Hay), but whatever may be the strength of the reasons for his assertion that new accommodation in a free market will become available in England and Wales, those reasons do not hold good in Scotland. It is not a free market which will provide more accommodation there; it is a question of builders, finance, the Government, and local authorities.
Having said that, I want to support the Amendment which proposes to amend Clause 10, which is the heart of the Bill. The Clause provides for the release from control under the Rent Acts of houses of over a rateable value of £ 40 in Scotland. During the discussion on the Report stage of the Housing Repairs and Rents (Scotland) Bill in 1954, as the Joint Under-Secretary will be aware, I moved an Amendment of this character, which sought to lay down a further condition for rent increases. It was then rejected, mainly upon the ground that its drafting was not acceptable.
Although my hon. Friends from Scotland profoundly believe that forsaking the principle of control will make matters worse in Scotland, we agree that we have had our arguments in Committee and we now merely ask that the Amendment should be considered upon its merits, and in the spirit which has already manifested itself, as distinct from the argumentative atmosphere in Committee. Having accepted the fact of decontrol, we hope that the Amendment can now be considered on its merits.
My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison) 1167 said that if, by Statute, Parliament agreed that houses should be decontrolled, it would have to recognise that a minority of landlords would not be animated by the necessary public spirit. Landlords should be made to recognise that they have to show some signs of public spirit in considering these matters.
It has been part of the Government's case that by decontrolling houses they would create more flexibility and fluidity in the movement of people from unsatisfactory to more satisfactory accommodation. This was the theme of the Minister of Labour when he spoke in the House on 3rd July, 1956. He said:We should encourage, in particular, the maintenance of as big a pool of houses to let as possible. In that field a solution lies."— [OFFICIAL REPORT, 3rd July, 1956; Vol. 555, c. 1289.]This has all tended to confirm us in the view that, although the proposed Amendment will not solve the housing problem, it will make a fairly substantial contribution towards easing the difficulty where it hurts most. We believe that it will help to ensure the better utilisation of existing stocks of houses. It will also ease the difficulty which exists in Glasgow, and in Scotland generally, of securing exchanges between tenants of corporation houses and tenants of private landlords.
It is in this matter that most harm occurs. My impression is that whereas most local authorities are at least prepared to be very helpful in these matters, exchanges are often held up because of the adamant refusal of some private landlords to agree to the exchanges. Local authorities want to be assured that the persons coming from private property have sent applications to them and that the necessary qualifying period has elapsed, or that the question of over-crowding arises.
Two such cases are very clear in my mind. One concerns a man living with his wife and three children in a single-apartment house, on the ground floor of a tenement building. On the same entry, or close, two storeys up, is a widow who is over 60 years of age and who is incapacitated. Those two apartments belong to the same landlord. He was approached about an exchange but he absolutely refused point-blank to do anything about it, not because of the Rent Restrictions Acts—at least, that was not the 1168 reason he advanced—but because he knew that in the case of such an exchange the incoming tenant would expect minor repairs to be carried out there and then. Despite the intervention of the Minister, and a visit which I made—which may not have helped matters—the landlord still refused, and those two tenants are still living in the same accommodation and are both dissatisfied.
The other case concerned a widow living in a four-apartment corporation house —accommodation which she admitted was too large for her. Her family had grown up and had married. She found someone else who had the necessary qualifications and who could have exchanged his tenement for her home. The corporation was agreeable, but the private landlord refused.
I should like to give some figures in respect of Glasgow. We have 32,900 single-apartment houses and 106,000 two-room houses—and these are landlords' houses and not corporation houses. We have a total waiting list of 120,000 applicants, 43,000 of which are homeless and 40,000 overcrowded. These are facts, and within the present pool of houses, amelioration cannot be achieved if the Amendment is not accepted.
I think I have said enough to stress the point that I wanted to make. I know that, despite our political differences, the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland has in the past sincerely addressed himself to the debates in the Scottish Standing Committee and the House on housing problems. When he represented Govan, one of the most overcrowded areas in Glasgow, he said in the Scottish Standing Committee on 5th April, 1951, when speaking about conditions in his constituency:In some cases, if exchanges could be allowed, it would materially help to solve the problem, and I would appeal to the owners of such property to give priority to public over individual consideration on the question of exchanges, which represent 33 per cent. of the genuine housing problems in my constituency."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Scottish Standing Committee, 5th July, 1951; c. 2339.]Such a speech might well have been made by any of us who are supporting the Amendment. As the present hon. Member for Craigtony is the Joint Under-Secretary still as enthusiastic in that respect as when he was the hon. Member 1169 for Govan? Craigton is a little more residential than Govan. I am not trying to be unkind; perhaps "facetious" would be the correct word. If the hon. Gentleman is as enthusiastic now, will he use his influence with the Minister to accept the Amendment?
I would reinforce what has been said about conditions prevailing in Denmark, Holland and Norway, where there prevail tight agreements which go much further than what is proposed in our Amendment. I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman would come to our conclusion if he examined such information. Our proposal will not solve the Scottish housing problem, but it will make a contribution towards the solution.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government (Mr. J. R. Bevins)
We have had a short but very interesting debate in which both sides of the House have taken part. I listened with great care to the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison). I think it is fair to say that he recognised that at least some contribution could be made to improving our housing situation to the advantage of many tenants if they were able more easily to move from one house to another. That is connected with, though it is not wholly dependent upon, the fact that we have many people living in houses which are too large for them and many others who are at present precluded from obtaining as much accommodation as they want.
Speaking for myself—I say this in the friendliest spirit—I welcome the recognition by the hon. and learned Gentleman of the fact that if we can do something to reduce under-accommodation we shall be doing a service to the country.
§ Mr. Mitchison
Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will allow me to say that it is nothing new. It was in recognition of that that the Opposition moved the Amendment to the 1954 Act to which I have already referred. I am sorry to say that the Government turned it down. I hope that by now they have more wisdom.
§ Mr. Bevins
I remember the Amendment moved by the Labour Party on that occasion. I also remember some of the rather volatile speeches made on the topic in Standing Committee and, in particular, the rather strong attack made by the hon. 1170 Member for Wellingborough (Mr. Lindgren), who castigated the "wealthy gentlemen" on this side of the House who occupied one house in London and one house in the country. I can only hope that the hon. and learned Gentleman now carries with him his hon. Friend the Member for Wellingborough, which I do not think he did previously.
The hon. and learned Member rightly reminded the House of the great interest in and knowledge of the question of transfers possessed by my right hon. Friend. The Minister was chairman of the sub-committee of the Central Housing Advisory Committee in 1953 when it produced what is commonly agreed to be a most valuable report on the general subject of exchanges of tenancies. That body is not in the ordinary sense of the term a political body at all. When my right hon. Friend was chairman of it, the chairman of the London County Council Housing Committee, who led the Labour majority on that Committee at that time, was also a member. In spite of the different political complexions of its members, the sub-committee produced a unanimous report which was shortly afterwards accepted by my right hon. Friend the present Prime Minister.
The hon. and learned Gentleman, although commending the principle of transfers, was, I thought, a little reluctant to admit what has been the principal impediment to exchanges taking place in the past. I think that in their hearts all hon. Members realise now that rent control has been the principal impediment to the free exchange of tenancies. [HON. MEMBERS: "NO."] Whether we agree or disagree on that, let me say plainly that my right hon. Friend and all my hon. Friends are entirely in accord with the spirit of the voluntary proposal tabled by the hon. and learned Gentleman.
Indeed, our minds are completely open to all suggestions, put forward from whatever quarter, which are designed to facilitate the exchange of tenancies. Recently several large local authorities have suggested that they might be permitted to purchase relatively modern houses offered to them by owner occupiers at a certain price on condition that the local authority could rehouse the tenants in smaller accommodation, and then the local authorities would be free to put larger 1171 families into the vacated premises. My right hon. Friend looks upon proposals of that sort in the most sympathetic way. Anything that we can do——
§ Mr. Julius Silverman (Birmingham, Aston)
If what the hon. Gentleman says is correct, will he say why his right hon. Friend prevented that very process from proceeding in Birmingham and banned the purchase of such houses for several months, and has only in the last few days reluctantly accepted the proposal of the Birmingham Corporation?
§ Mr. Bevins
The proposal originally put to my right hon. Friend by the Birmingham Corporation was much wider than that. When representatives of the Corporation visited the Ministry and their proposal became clear, it was quickly made apparent to them that we were in sympathy with the proposal which has now been approved.
We had an interesting speech from my hon. Friend the Member for Henley (Mr. Hay) in which he clearly set out the objections that we feel towards the proposal that compulsion should be used in the matter of exchanges. I say on behalf of my right hon. Friend that we are perfectly prepared to consider the Amendment and the related new Schedule which would facilitate exchanges on a voluntary basis.
§ Mr. Mitchison
Am I to understand that the hon. Gentleman is saying that the Government regard it as compulsion to take a landlord to the county court on the ground that he has unreasonably withheld his consent to an exchange? Was that the compulsion he meant, because that is the only "compulsion" in the Amendment?
§ Mr. Bevins
That is the element of compulsion in the new Schedule to which the hon. and learned Gentleman has put his name. It is a Schedule which is unacceptable to my right hon. Friend; but I repeat that we are perfectly prepared to consider the principle of the Amendments and the related Schedules which would help matters on a voluntary basis. I want to make it quite clear that any proposal which my right hon. Friend may produce at a later stage will apply to Scotland as well as to England and Wales. In those circumstances, I hope that the hon. and learned Gentleman will 1172 be prepared not to press the Amendment but to leave my right hon. Friend to deal with the matter at a later stage.
§ Mr. Mitchison
Do I understand the hon. Gentleman to be undertaking on be-half of the Government to insert in another place a Clause to the effect of the new Schedule standing in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Wellingborough (Mr. Lindgren)?
§ Mr. Bevins
The hon. and learned Gentleman is quite right. We are prepared to consider in principle the Amendment and the related Schedule in the name of the hon. Member for Wellingborough, and we shall take the appropriate action at the right time.
§ Mr. Mitchison
If I am correct, that is all I want to say about it. I understand that this provision will be inserted and it is only on that understanding that I say what I am about to say. This is the first time that I have heard any Government spokesman say that it was compulsion to bring a landlord before the court because he had unreasonably withheld his consent. I suppose that it is also compulsion to do so under the Landlord and Tenant Acts. Apparently, in the view of the Government it is compulsion to use the law of the land at all on the sacred person of a recalcitrant landlord.
We take the strongest objection to that, and if this had not been the middle of a guillotined Bill we should have gone to a Division on the Amendment to show that the Amendment is necessary and that the one in the name of my hon Friend the Member for Wellingborough, although better than nothing, is still insufficient. However, in view of what has been said, and in view of our wish to get a discussion on subsection (3), which is very important and which was hardly discussed in Committee, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Mr. Barnett Janner (Leicester, North-west)
I want to say a few words about the Amendment before it is withdrawn. The Minister should reconsider his decision. If a voluntary arrangement is made, it is obvious that we shall be entirely dependent upon the landlord's decision. My opinion and that of a number of people on both sides of the House is that an exchange in the ordinary way, similar 1173 to those under the Landlord and Tenant Acts, is extremely sensible and an arrangement which the Minister should accept. I am not satisfied that depending upon landlords who have hitherto refused to allow exchanges will take us very far.
The Minister is taking a gamble, because the Bill depends upon surmise about what will eventually happen. That gamble must be carefully watched and the risk minimised as much as possible. Even those hon. Members opposite who insist that the result of the Bill will be a plentiful supply of houses know very well that it is a gamble. They are not entitled to ask those whose houses come within the purview of the Bill to take that risk without first being satisfied that the tenants in question are protected if the gamble fails. This is a simple way of testing it.
Hitherto, we have depended on the reasonable provision that if alternative accommodation is available a landlord is entitled to possession. Hon. Members who support the Bill say that alternative accommodation will be available. Hon. Members from both sides of the House have asked that a form of alternative accommodation should be available to those whose houses remain under control. It is nonsense for hon. Members opposite to suggest that people in controlled tenancies should take the risk of allowing a landlord to make an arrangement if he chooses to do so. The request is extremely reasonable and I hope that the Minister will think about it again. He has promised to deal with one aspect of the matter, but I hope that he will not allow this arrangement to be put on a voluntary basis but will give people in controlled tenancies an opportunity to have alternative accommodation so that they will not be put into the streets if they try to move to another house.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Mr. Lindgren
I beg to move, in page 9, line 11 to leave out subsection (3).
I cannot say that I am over-flushed with success after having had some measure of concession on the Amendment which the Government have accepted in principle.
§ Mr. Lindgren
It is, but I was about to say that the Government may further demonstrate their generosity by accepting this Amendment. The subsection gives the Government power to extend decontrol to houses which, for the time being, are within control under the Bill. I take it that the Government's case for including the subsection is that, having publicly stated that their aim is complete decontrol of all houses and the creation of a completely free market in housing, they are justified in taking power to extend at any time the area of decontrol.
The Government are seeking authority by the Bill to decontrol 810,000 houses; that area is comparatively small. Without wishing to be too provocative, I say that they are the better types of property occupied by persons in the higher, if not in the highest, income groups who may be able to fend for themselves in a free-for-all. Yet even the hon. Member for Isle of Thanet (Mr. Rees-Davies), moving an Amendment yesterday, said in effect —I do not want to do him the injustice of misquoting him—that the 810,000 people were not so much concerned about rent increases as about security of tenure. He tried to secure a three-year delay, and we voted for it, but the hon. Gentleman did not succeed.
The hon. Member for Dulwich (Mr. Robert Jenkins) went so far as to say that even with the 810,000 houses there was likely to be chaos. I admit that that number includes the higher and better types of property, in which the tenants can fend for themselves. The Government claim that they are justified in removing control from them, yet even among Government supporters grave fears are put forward, which we share. We are sure that the fears expressed by the hon. Member for Isle of Thanet and other Government supporters will be realised.
In the subsection which I am proposing to delete we are dealing not with 810,000 families but with 5 million families, mainly of the manual and lower-paid types of worker. Again, without trying to be provocative, I say that this type of property varies in age and character and in its standard of maintenance, and that comparison between these 5 million properties below the rateable value limits of £ 40 and £ 30 and the 810,000 houses is not possible because 1175 conditions which might obtain in one case are not likely to obtain in the other. The bulk of the 5 million properties are in industrial areas where pressure of housing, if there were further decontrol, would give opportunities to landlords to increase rents above the limits allowed for in the Bill.
Employers of labour are now asking substantial bodies of workers to undertake not to apply for increases of wages for twelve months. It is not unreasonable to ask the Government to agree to keep rents within control. As a trade unionist, I ask the Minister whether it is fair to expect trade unionists to agree not to put forward wage-increase demands for twelve months while the Minister asks for power to withdraw control and increase rents and so lower the standard of living of the tenants?
This kind of provision hampers agreement in the industrial world. Whether the Minister likes it or not, trade unionists do not trust the Government and take every step they can to protect themselves. They will not tie their hands behind their backs by making agreements with employers while they believe that the Government are out to increase rents and do away with control. They still remember what happened under the Housing Subsidies Act, which contains a Section of this kind. The previous Minister of Housing and Local Government acted upon it to withdraw all the subsidies.
§ Mr. Lindgren
The hon. Member is a very good advocate for the property-owners. I do not want to be ruled out of order in talking about subsidies; perhaps it is my fault for introducing the subject. The Housing Subsidies Act gave the Minister power to make an affirmative Resolution to withdraw the remaining £ 10 subsidy for general housing need, and that is what the previous Minister did twelve months ago today.
§ Mr. Lindgren
I am not a lawyer. I speak ordinary, common English, and most people understand it. It is not necessary to be so precise as to cover 1176 every item likely to arise in the housing field. The subsection gives the Minister power to withdraw control in whole or in part. Trade unionists, knowing that the previous Minister withdrew the remaining housing subsidies under a similar Section within twelve months of the Bill being passed, will assume, not unreasonably, that a Minister of Housing and Local Government will use this subsection within twelve months for a complete withdrawal of control from all properties. Such factors do not help industrial negotiation, but have an unsettling influence, increasing the difficulties of the Minister of Labour, who has a lot to handle in these days.
Is it fair that the future 5 million families should rest with an affirmative Resolution brought before this House between 10 p.m. and 11.30 p.m., which we would have no power to amend but could only vote for or against?
Here we are dealing with 5 million families of men who are vital workers in British industry, and all that we can do for the security of their homes is dealt with on the basis of 1½ hours' discussion in this House at a time when most respectable people are getting ready for bed. It is not a fair way of dealing with the future of the homes of the people of this country. I suggest that if we are to deal with this question of the security of people's homes, we must remember that in many cases these are the only homes which they have ever had, and that it might well mean that if they lost their homes they would be likely to have to move away from the area in which they work. It is quite wrong that all these features of insecurity, which add so much to the fear in the lives of the workers, should be dealt with in 1½ hours late at night and by the procedure of the affirmative Resolution.
I submit that this matter ought to be dealt with by further legislation, when the Government can come forward with that legislation in the light of experience of what has happened to the 810,000 which are over the £ 30 and £ 40 rateable value. At least, where this very large section of the working people of the country are concerned, I think it is quite reasonable that we should ask for the opportunity of new legislation, which can be discussed 1177 adequately, to which Amendments can be submitted, and on which, in addition to that, the Government will have to justify the action which they contemplate.
§ Mr. Niall MacDermot (Lewisham, North)
I beg to second the Amendment.
This is a most extraordinary Clause to find in any Rent Bill. It is perhaps all the more extraordinary to find it in a Rent Bill introduced by the party opposite. What this Clause proposes to do is to give power to the Minister by delegated legislation to sweep away completely the protection of the Rent Acts from any section of protected property in any part of the country at any time that he sees fit, subject only to the protection which has just been described by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Wellingborough (Mr. Lindgren)——
§ Mr. MacDermot
I apologise to my hon. Friend. I was carrying the courtesies of another place into this House.
That protection was a short, limited discussion in this House and another place, with no power of amendment at all.
The principles of delegated legislation have come to be fairly generally known and accepted. They were originally clarified and summarised in the Donoughmore Report, and these principles have, by and large, been adhered to since by Governments of all complexions in this country. This Clause is a complete departure from all of those principles.
May I summarise them briefly? The first case in which there is a strong argument for delegated legislation is when the subject matter of legislation is of such complexity that Parliament would not have time to discuss and consider all the details of it, and, therefore, by necessity, that legislative power must be delegated. That cannot possibly apply here. All that this subsection provides for is the Minister making an order providing that the Rent Acts shall no longer apply. There is nothing complex in the slightest in that.
The second class of case is where the subject matter of the legislation is of such a technical nature that again it would not be suitable for discussion or consideration in Parliament, but needs to be delegated to persons who can bring to bear the necessary expert knowledge. Again, that has no application whatever to this sub-section.
1178 Thirdly, we get the class of case in which it is necessary, in working out a broad scheme of legislation and to allow to those who are to administer it flexibility to meat unforeseen contingencies. Again, there is nothing of that kind or class here. Finally, we get the class where it is necessary to give to the Executive special legislative power in an emergency; of course, paramountly, in time of war. There is nothing of that kind here.
What we are dealing with here is giving power to the Minister to sweep away protection of a kind which has been built up by a series of Acts of Parliament over a period of over forty years. It is true that within these Acts there have been some providing for decontrol, but always the decontrol and the power of decontrol has been limited to decontrol by Act of Parliament. One of the significant features of this class of Rent Act legislation is that there has been virtually no delegated legislation in it at all. Apart from some very minor and purely procedural matters, there has been no delegated legislation. Everything up till now has been reserved to Parliament, and quite rightly, because what one is dealing with in this legislation is something which vitally affects people in their ordinary lives to a greater degree than almost any other legislation that one can contemplate.
We are concerned here with the security of people in their own homes, the ability of people to consider the place where they live as being their own home and not some temporary foothold from which they may be evicted at any time at the whim of their landlord. That such a power as that should be given to a Minister to sweep away such control by delegated legislation is a complete innovation into this whole sphere of legislation. This process of decontrol is something which, it must be admitted on all sides, and I think is admitted on all sides, is bound, at least to some extent, to cause suffering and hardship.
What hon. Members opposite believe is that it will be a short and painful process and that great good will result. We do not agree with them. We do not believe that great good will result. We think that very little good indeed will result, but we do agree with them, and on this there will be no dispute, that suffering and hardship will be caused, that some people at 1179 least are going to be evicted every time there is a measure of decontrol, and that some people are going to be placed in the position of having to search round for other accommodation, which will not be provided for them by their landlords.
Hon. Members opposite believe that the measures they are taking in this Bill will ensure that other accommodation will be available for them, but there is no qualification of any kind at all in this subsection on the powers of the Minister. It is a quite absolute power, and that again offends against one of the fundamental principles of delegated legislation.
It might be different if the subsection provided that the Minister had to see that certain conditions were satisfied before he could make the order; for example, that the Minister should be satisfied that the housing situation in the class of house which he was proposing to decontrol was such that the supply of such houses in the areas in question was sufficient to meet the demand once decontrol had taken place. It may be that the Minister would have it in mind to do that, but there is nothing in the subsection at all requiring him to satisfy himself on that account, and that again offends against one of the clearest and most fundamental principles of delegated legislation.
May I quote from the Donoughmore Report, which on page 58 says:… we venture to express a hope that in the future Parliament will be more conscious both of the principles at stake and of the safeguards needed; that wherever legislative power is delegated, the limits of the power will be clearly defined in the statute by which it is delegated; that Parliament will not depart from the normal into the exceptional type of delegated legislation without special need, nor without conscious consideration of the special grounds put forward as constituting the need; and that it will grant delegated powers of the exceptional type—e.g. powers to legislate on matters of principle or to impose taxation— only on exceptional grounds.Again, on page 21, it states:… the precise limits of the law-making power, which Parliament intends to confer on a Minister, should always be defined in clear language by the statute which confers it.There are no limits of any kind, precisely defined or otherwise, in the Minister's powers under the subsection as it stands in this Bill. The great danger which we on this side of the House fear is that when the critical moment comes 1180 and it has to be decided whether to extend decontrol or not the Minister will take precipitate action at the very time when caution is required. I do not think anyone would deny that the whole of this Bill is, to say the least, a bold step on the part of the Government. Some of us think that it is a very foolhardy step. What is quite clear is that it is a precipitate step. It is being rushed through with the power of the Guillotine behind it, and with the minimum of discussion having been able to take place.
It is a matter which was first brought to the public attention at Llandudno last summer. There was no mention of it—as has been repeatedly stated—in the Election Manifesto of the party opposite at the last General Election. All that spoke of was reviewing Rent Act legislation, which most people—certainly those of us who are lawyers—thought meant trying to reduce to some more manageable form the complexity of this legislation. No one, I think, dreamt it meant, or that anyone intended it to mean, that legislation was to be swept away. But this is the situation in which this legislation is now being rushed through Parliament.
Suppose the situation arises that this legislation does not have the result which the Minister thinks it will have; that it does not have the result which those who are advising the right hon. Gentleman advise him that it will have. It will not be the first time that such a mistake has been made. We remember that only as recently as 1954 we had "Operation Rescue." We were told by the then Minister of Housing and Local Government—no doubt he was acting upon the advice of those who were advising him on these matters—that he was confident that that Measure would have the effect planned for it. I am now referring chiefly to the repairs aspect—namely, that the power given to landlords to increase rents, when they spent a certain amount of money on repairing the property, would have the effect of improving the standard and condition of the worst class of tenanted properties in this country.
Everyone knows now that it had virtually no effect; that it was a dead letter from the start. That was the result of a complete misjudgment. That misjudgment having been made, we are now told, with equal confidence, by hon. Members opposite and by the Minister 1181 that they are quite certain that the provisions of this Measure, which enable the landlords of such properties to increase the rent to twice the gross value, will offer such an inducement that the landlords will do the repairs.
We on this side of the House beg to doubt the accuracy of that. We doubt that it will have that effect, and we may prove to be right once again. In fact, we doubt very much whether that is really the reason why the Government are providing for an increase of rents. We think the reason why they are providing for the increase of rents is in order to ensure that when people invest their money in dwelling-houses for other people, that investment shall be a successful hedge against inflation. That is the object of this Bill, to make sure that as the cost of living rises the landlords return rises. That is the principle which the old-age pensioners have recently asked the Government to accept in relation to their paltry pittance, the old-age pension. The Government have rejected it for them, but have accepted it in relation to landlords.
Suppose, as I say, that this Bill does not have the effect which is claimed for it. What is to happen then? The Minister, no doubt not wanting to admit that he has applied the wrong medicine, will say, "Double the dose." In order to justify his case, he will take the even rasher step of bringing before the House legislation by means of regulation for extending the area of decontrol and say, "Well, if that dose of medicine, unpleasant as it was, did not do the trick, we will double the dose. We may have a great deal of increased hardship, but do not worry, it will only be temporary, for such an increase of additional housing will become available that you will see that all we claim will result."
Cannot we have a little more patience about this matter? During the debate yesterday the Minister said:… I am certain that an enormous amount of property which is at present under-occupied will be let almost as soon as the market is freed."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 26th March, 1957; Vol. 567, c. 1001.]He was there, of course, referring to property which is to be decontrolled. I will refer to my own constituency—I cannot give figures for North Lewisham, I can only give figures for the whole 1182 Borough of Lewisham, including the three Lewisham constituencies—because I think it is a good example to take. It is a London constituency; it does not include the very highest class of accommodation which, on the Minister's own admission yesterday, is likely to result in very high rents. Out of, I think, about 63,000 dwellings it includes 12,500 dwellings of a rateable value of £ 40. That is a very substantial number, and it is out of those dwellings that the Minister looks for the additional accommodation, the enormous amount of which will be let almost as soon as the market is free.
On the Lewisham council's housing list there are 7,250 families waiting to be housed. If what the Minister claims in this Bill is true, we may expect, within the 15-month period or shortly afterwards, that a very substantial reduction indeed in that housing list will become apparent. If that reduction does not take place, is it right that such a power as is envisaged by this subsection should be given to the Minister to extend the decontrol when we still have ample opportunities to see and consider what is the real effect of the kind of legislation which is now being brought forward?
In my submission, that is a matter which should be considered temperately. It should be considered after due time and due warning notice has been given to all those who will be concerned about what is the proposed Measure. Then it should be fully discussed with powers of amendment and the full process of a Bill going through Parliament. What are the Government afraid of? Why do they need to take this power which has never been taken before by any Government, including any Conservative Government, when they have introduced legislation for decontrol? There has been this whole problem of decontrol before. Why should this power to decontrol by delegated legislation be taken now in these days when the Government are determined to force through this liberation of the landlords, irrespective of the hardship it may cause and irrespective of the will of the public and the people about what they are doing?
Our confidence in this matter is not increased by the extraordinary phrase which the Minister used yesterday in referring to rent control. Stung perhaps by the 1183 frequent use of the adjective "iniquitous" when applied to his Bill, he referred yesterday to the:… iniquitous system of rent control. …" —[OFFICIAL REPORT, 26th March, 1957; Vol. 567, c. 1002.]The "iniquitous system of rent control" has given reasonable security and protection to millions of people for forty years. Is it right that the power, by delegated legislation, to sweep away that protection should be given to a Minister who considers the system iniquitous?
§ The Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs (Mr. Henry Brooke)
I am sorry to interrupt, but this system of rent control, which the hon. Gentleman says has done so much good, has also caused millions of houses to fall into decay—[HON. MEMBERS: "That is the landlords."]—causing an unnecessary housing shortage.
§ Mr. MacDermot
That is the Minister's contention. We know. I am pleading that we should have an opportunity to find out the extent to which the Minister is right about that before he should be given powers arbitrarily to sweep away further sections of that control.
I have much pleasure in seconding the Amendment.
§ Mr. Geoffrey Rippon (Norwich, South)
The hon. Member for Wellingborough (Mr. Lindgren), when he moved the deletion of sub-clause (3), dealt with the matter on a rather different basis from that adopted by the hon. and learned Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison) in Committee and by the hon. Member for Lewisham, North (Mr. MacDermot) this afternoon. He seemed to consider himself the chosen representative of 5 million families. I thought that it was rather a pity that he was supported by only thirteen Members of his own party when he was speaking, and that one of them was laid out flat and fast asleep.
Since I cannot range over such a wide field as the hon. Member for Lewisham, North, who I thought at one stage was trying to talk the matter out, I should like to confine my remarks to the subject raised in Committee by the hon. and learned Member for Kettering and again this afternoon by the hon. Member for Lewisham, North, namely, the 1184 question of the circumstances in which delegated legislation of the kind contained in the Clause can properly be employed. It is an important question of principle.
We ought to consider carefully the circumstances in which we use the so-called Henry VIII Clauses which give an executive authority—normally the Minister—power to amend the parent Act or any other Act in order to bring the parent Act into full operation. I must say that in the normal course of events, I very much dislike having Acts of Parliament amended by rules and orders. It is right that this House should be extremely conscious of the dangers of surrendering its authority to the Executive. At the same time, I must say that I thought that the language of the hon. and learned Member for Kettering in the Committee was mere rhetoric. It struck me as manifestly absurd when he told the Committee:I hope and pray no Labour Government will ever sink to the depths of oppression and duplicity which this Clause and the use of it represents."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee A, 26th February, 1957; c. 960.]Of the many forms which this type of provision can take, it seems to me that the one the Government propose, namely approval by affirmative Resolution of both Houses of Parliament, is by far the least objectionable. I can only say that I very much wish that the Labour Government had used it more often. It is by no means as questionable as the very common provision that rules and regulations made under a Sectionshall have effect as if enacted in this Act,or that power to amend or modify a Statute should be by order subject to a negative Resolution, and it is very far removed from some wartime and postwar sub-delegated legislation which gave these powers not merely to a Minister, but also to officials.
I thought that the hon. Member for Lewisham, North was as wide of the mark in saying that this Clause was a complete innovation as the hon. and learned Member for Kettering was in describing it as a tyrannical procedure. If hon. Members opposite really want examples of tyrannical procedure and a misuse of delegated powers of the kind which the Donoughmore Committee so strongly deprecated, let them read the Town and Country Planning Act, 1947, 1185 which was also the subject of a Guillotine and whose proceedings occupy a much smaller volume of the OFFICIAL REPORT although it was a far longer Measure. Let the hon. and learned Member for Kettering and his hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, North, who do not claim, like the hon. Member for Wellingborough, not to be lawyers, look at Section 3 (1) of the 1947 Act which provides that:The Central Land Board shall, in the performance of their functions under this Act, comply with such directions of a general character as may be given to them by the Minister.That was a power to make directions, which was absolutely unlimited. The Minister—the Socialist Minister—could do anything he liked. He could nullify the proceedings of the Board. He could introduce differential development charges as part of planning policy. He had absolutely unfettered powers, with no reference at all to this House whether by negative or affirmative Resolution.
The same sort of thing is to be found in Section 13, where a general development order affecting people in every walk of life and having a profound effect upon the planning policy of the country, may be made not by affirmative Resolution, but by negative Resolution. I do not think it lies in the mouths of hon. Members opposite to complain as a matter of principle of the present proposal.
The hon. Member for Lewisham, North referred specifically to the Report of the Donoughmore Committee. That Committee certainly gave a great deal of attention to this subject, and it recommended that this form of legislation should be abandoned in all but the most exceptional cases. I myself entirely agree with that conclusion, and I believe that we should deal with this as an exceptional case. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] I am quite happy to explain why. The hon. Member for Lewisham, North made a general defence of the power and indicated the circumstances in which it may properly be used, such as when certain modern enactments—such as this one—are so complicated that they cannot be brought into full operation on a particular date.
Here, however, the real argument in favour of this provision does not rest on that general defence. It arises out of the local difficulties of the kind which the 1186 Donoughmore Committee also dealt with, which it evidently felt might justify the use of these powers and which will appear to have precluded it from recommending their total abolition. The Committee was thinking specifically, I think, of the difficulties that arise when there are conflicting local enactments. It should be borne in mind that it has been an argument on this Bill that it is necessary to differentiate between different areas acording to the housing situation in each area, and that has been done, of course, in the case of the Metropolitan Police District.
It has even been argued by hon. Gentlemen opposite that there should be no general decontrol as is in fact proposed in Clause 10 (1). For my part I must say that I believe it is right that a start should be made by decontrolling the houses of a rateable value of over £ 30 in the country generally and £ 40 in the Metropolitan Police District. I believe that the larger the pool of houses decontrolled, the greater the safeguards to the general body of tenants.
For the future, however, it may well be better to make an order applying only to a specific area. Obviously it is inappropriate that a provision for decontrol which applies only to a particular area should be the subject of an amending Act of Parliament. It is in those circumstances that I believe it is right and proper to make the provision in subsection (3). I believe that it is a sufficient safeguard in these circumstances that those orders shall be made operative as a result of an affirmative Resolution of both Houses. I hope, therefore, that the Amendment will be rejected.
§ Mr. Mitchison
We have had this Amendment moved from one point of view and seconded from another, and I can imagine no more appropriate occasion for hearing both those points of view. My hon. Friend the Member for Wellingborough (Mr. Lindgren) put the point of view of the ordinary man who is considering the cost of living and its effect on his pay packet and on any demands he may make. He will be concerned with this subsection.
Next, we have the point of view of those concerned with maintaining some, at any rate, of the constitutional traditions 1187 of the country in the face of an opposition which tends more and more to give powers to Ministers in defence of certain interests, and to derogate more and more from the powers and privileges of this place. There could be no better instance than this subsection.
Once upon a time this country was filled with constitutional clubs, put there by the party opposite. There are still some of them standing about. Since then they have been playing old Harry with the Constitution, and "old Harry" for these purposes means the late lamented King Henry VIII, who was the first person to introduce a Clause by which Acts of Parliament could be altered by Orders. He was not the last.
There have been other and more interesting precedents lately. The French Government got into considerable trouble by endeavouring to do too much by what we know as décret-loi. The German Government, under the late, unlamented Adolf Hitler, did much the same thing, and that is one of the ways by which a party in power can eventually entrench upon democracy and attribute to the Executive powers which should only be given to Parliament itself.
Let us consider, in plain, simple language, exactly what the Government propose to do by this wicked subsection. They have introduced a complicated and difficult Bill to deal with the question of rent control, which is something that immediately and directly affects practically every person in this country. It is an entirely different matter to have delegated legislation in connection with town planning. If the hon. Gentleman the Member for Norwich, South (Mr. Rippon) would take the trouble to read the Donoughmore Report, he would find the reasons for it well stated there.
Let him and other hon. Gentlemen opposite for one moment use a little horse sense in this matter. What they are dealing with in this Bill; what would be dealt with in the kind of Order envisaged by this subsection are the actual living conditions, the security of the homes of millions of the people we are sent here to represent.
§ Mr. Graeme Finlay (Epping)
Would the hon. and learned Gentleman not concede that the Town and Country Planning 1188 Act dealt with issues quite as important to the security of the home?
§ Mr. Mitchison
That seems to me to be an entirely different kind of legislation. If the hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Finlay) will follow the advice I have just given to his hon. Friend, and read either the Donoughmore Report or the excellent summary of it given by my hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, North (Mr. MacDermot), he will see the reason; that is to say, if he prefers to take it in terms of Blue Books.
But I am suggesting to him and to his hon. Friend that a little horse sense might lead them rather more shortly to the conclusion that the Rent Acts affect ordinary people in this country in a way in which no town planning legislation can affect them. The Rent Acts affect people directly and immediately. Does the hon. Gentleman or do any of his right hon. and hon. Friends think that the agitation there has been in the country about the Bill could conceivably have been caused by any town planning legislation? If they do, they must have rather less sense of reality than I usually attribute to the Tory Party.
Look at what has happened to the Bill itself. That is the best argument against this subsection. We have had a very complicated Bill introduced. We have then had it sent to a Committee upstairs, in spite, I may say, of protests from this side of the House. What happened then? It was discussed, and fully discussed up to a point. Then, on a matter directly affecting millions of people—I do not hesitate to say it again—this Government—in that respect, this tyrannical Government—put a Guillotine on this kind of Bill. And it is only because of that Guillotine that the Bill is here now. It is only because of an action which, on any principle of democracy, I find it impossible to defend, that at this time of the year we are considering this Bill.
Take the effect of the Guillotine on this Clause, not merely on this subsection. What happened upstairs? We took as much time as we could on it. We were shut out of thousands of Amendments on subsection (2) and of raising really substantial points. We were shut out practically altogether of any discussion of this vital subsection.
1189 Take the Notice Paper today, with the Guillotine still in operation. We have had to abandon three extremely important Amendments on subsection (2) because time does not permit us to go any further. That is the effect of what the Government have done in this Clause. But even so, even with the Guillotine, we had very nearly 30 sittings in Committee. We would have had more, and rightly, if there had been no Guillotine.
Take the Bill itself. Take the Minister's own Amendments on the Notice Paper now. They are vital to the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman has made concession after concession to points which we raised in Committee—points about repairs. The concession that was made just now about the exchanges—an absolutely vital matter on any view of the effect of this Bill—was not introduced by the Minister himself but by the Opposition, and that at a comparatively late stage, and it is something which will affect a large number of people, which will have a weighty social effect, and which will be some slight mitigation of the harm that will be done by the Bill.
All that has been in connection with this Bill, but what the Minister proposes on one of the most vital features of the Bill, decontrol, is to take power to himself to do it purely by affirmative Resolution. I would ask right hon. and hon. Members whether they have forgotten the limits of debate and discussion of Amendments to an affirmative Resolution? Are they so besotted with this sense of their own infallible judgment that they really think that they will get it right every time; that they will hit on the precise amount of poison to administer to the body politic to secure the health of the landlords of the country?
Do they really suppose that they can get this right every time? What a marvellous intuition they must have. I remember that Cromwell once called upon his men in words which it would be unparliamentary to use—and Cromwell was not always a great liker of Parliament—to remember that they might be mistaken. I suggest that even the Tory Party might occasionally remember that it might be mistaken. What it is doing now is to empower itself to introduce these Orders without any possibility of 1190 proper or full discussion, and as the House well knows, without any possibility of amendment.
Are right hon. and hon. Members opposite ever mistaken? My hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, North reminded them just now—and what could be more apposite—of many of the things they said, many of the things they hoped and many of the things in which they purported to believe, in connection with the 1954 Act. It was brought in by that great man, that far-seeing statesman, the present Prime Minister and he christened it with that singular felicity which he always uses in his carefully worked out utterances, "Operation Rescue".
We all wanted to know what it would rescue. He told us that it was the buildings—it was not the landlords. The House will remember that my right hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) described it as a "mouldy old turnip" for the landlords. That is just about what it was. Others have called it "Operation Flop," and that is exactly what it has been
§ Mr. Ripponrose——
§ Mr. Mitchison
Is the hon. Member rising to tell us that it was a success? If so, I shall be interested to hear him.
§ Mr. Rippon
I would point out that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) also hedged his bet by describing it as "a landlords' ramp."
§ Mr. Mitchison
So it was. It was both, only it was a very unsuccessful ramp, and as a mouldy old turnip for the landlords it proved to be exactly what he prophesied it to be. What better example could we have of a Measure on which such high hopes were founded both by the Tory Party and by the landlords of the country and which proved completely ineffective, either for the purpose of substantially enriching the landlords or for the better social purpose of getting repairs done to houses?
§ Mr. Finlay
The hon. and learned Gentleman is mixing his metaphors. On the question of mixed metaphors, is he aware that his hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, East (Mr. Blenkinsop) called that Bill "a gold mine for the landlords"?
§ Mr. Mitchison
What we are on is the question of what is to be done by administrative order to create hardship and insecurity among the ordinary people, and mixed metaphors do not seem to me to matter anything in comparison with that. What the hon. Member must realise is that what he and his hon. Friends are standing for is not a question of language, but whether the rights of Parliament are to be preserved in a matter of this kind. It is not a laughing matter. It is not a matter to be taken on the question of mixed metaphors or similar trivialities.
Coming back to the substance of it, I am talking about the 1954 Act as it now is. Let me remind hon. Members of one thing—and this is the last thing of which I am going to remind them—that has happened in connection with this Bill. It contains the most completely unintelligible Schedule relating to repairs ever introduced into any Act of Parliament by any Government. It really is a most dreadful piece of legislation.
We offered the right hon. Gentleman upstairs the choice of going back to the Prime Minister's Schedule—it was in the form of a Clause actually in the 1954 Act. I feel that his hon. Friends will be shocked to hear of the facility and ruthlessness with which he flung the Prime Minister overboard. He flung him out, as it were, with the bath water. He just chucked him aside like that. Is a party infallible that introduces a Bill which has none of the effects which it predicts, and then makes the man who introduced the Bill and prophesied what was to happen their chosen leader and, therefore, the Prime Minister? [HON. MEMBERS: "Chosen?"] I apologise for using the word "chosen". There may be a better word. We will leave it like that. That is the position at present.
I ask hon. Members opposite to remember their responsibility in this matter. They are dealing with the homes and the happiness of millions of people. They are proposing to have those things dealt with without proper discussion and without any of the ordinary democratic procedure that the traditions of centuries have imposed on this House. They are putting the Executive in a position in which no Executive ought to be put in a matter directly affecting the people. That is what they are doing. They are 1192 supposed to be a constitutional party. They are making a fine mess of the Constitution by a provision of this sort.
I have said all that I have to say today, and I earnestly hope that the right hon. Gentleman or his hon. Friend will get up and say, "Well, we did not look far enough ahead. We cannot be so certain that we are right. We are not really so set on putting Parliament into a position of merely assenting to anything we propose, and we shall, therefore, withdraw this subsection." I hope that in the name of the freedom and of the people that is what they will do.
§ 5.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Bevins
The hon. Gentleman the Member for Wellingborough (Mr. Lindgren) has moved to leave out sub-section (3) of Clause 10. I should like to address myself to the Amendment and what it implies. The effect of the sub-section, as the House knows, is to enable my right hon. Friend to bring new groups of houses out of control by Order. The Order has to specify the houses by reference to their rateable value. The Order may relate to the whole of England and Wales, it may relate to the whole of Scotland or to particular areas of the country. It may apply generally to houses over a certain rateable value, or to particular classes or descriptions of houses.
I think that the hon. Gentleman will agree that it is widely drawn to give the Minister at the time considerable discretion as to the nature of the Order which he puts before the House. The Order can reduce the transitional period of decontrol to not less than six months, and in the absence of any provisions in the Order, of course, the period would remain at fifteen months.
As the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison) very rightly said, it would be subject to an affirmative Resolution of both Houses of Parliament, and I stress the word "affirmative". In spite of what was said by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Lewisham, North (Mr. MacDermot), this is not a new idea. It is not entirely an innovation, because in 1937 the Report of the first Ridley Committee recommended a scheme for progressively reducing rent control by Order and on a geographical basis area by area. That proposal was related to a scheme based on the amount of 1193 overcrowding in a given area at a particular time. As it happened, the recommendation was not implemented but the idea was there and it was put forward in the Report of the first Ridley Committee.
§ Mr. Mitchison
The hon. Gentleman must get this clear. What my hon. Friend said—and rightly said—was that no proposal of this sort has ever been sanctioned by Parliament in relation to rent decontrol.
§ Mr. Bevins
I quite appreciate that, I am merely pointing out that so influential a body as the Ridley Committee—and, after all, it was an important Committee —did make this proposal as far back as 1937. In 1945 the Report of the second Ridley Committee said that rent control might have to be kept on for a period of about ten years, but it also suggested that the situation should be reviewed after a few years had elapsed to see if rent control could be partially relaxed at that time.
I think we owe it to the House to explain why the Government have included this provision in the Bill. I want to say quite plainly that, in the view of the Government, the sooner we can revert to the normal relationship of landlord and tenant in a situation where there are houses available for letting, the better for the country as a whole. I appreciate, as does my right hon. Friend and hon. and right hon. Gentlemen on the benches opposite, that the two sides of the House are divided on that issue, but I assert, speaking for hon. Members on this side of the House—[HON. MEMBERS: "All of them?"]—that that is our view. Therefore, we do not wish to see hampers and controls in the economy prolonged beyond the time when they have ceased to serve any useful purpose.
The defects of rent control are far too well known—certainly on this side of the House—to require any repetition by me at this stage in our proceedings tonight, but what we are here considering is whether the Government should have the power to bring about further decontrol by Order. In our view, this power is a necessary part of the Bill and we have made it clear that our object is the gradual elimination of rent control, We have made it clear that that is what we mean to do.
1194 I ask hon. Members opposite why this provision is objected to. Is it because they think decontrol in itself is wrong? Is it their view that control of rents should form a permanent feature of our country's legislation? I find that very hard to believe, on the basis of the policy of the party opposite. Its idea is to municipalise the great majority of the houses. That in itself is a recognition that rent control, if kept for too long, has disadvantages as well as advantages. Given that we wish to see a normal relationship between private landlords and tenants, and do not wish to see local authorities as everybody's landlords——
§ Mr. Lindgren
The hon. Gentleman has missed the whole point. The policy of the Labour Party is for modernising these properties. It should not be forgotten that 7 million of these houses of which we are talking have no bathroom. The landlords have done nothing to provide bathrooms for them, and the Bill does nothing to provide them.
§ Mr. Bevins
That may well be so, but the fact is that it is implicit—indeed, in parts, expressed—in the policy of the Labour Party that rent control in this country has brought in its train certain evils which on both sides of the House are perfectly well recognised. The issue before the House at the moment is a perfectly simple one. My right hon. Friend has incorporated in the Bill the provision that he or his successor may by Order vary the limits for rent decontrol. We believe that is a fair provision. The hon. Member for Lewisham, North referred to the possibility that a Government might use power under such an Order either precipitately or intemperately. It is quite inconceivable that, after the experience a Government would have had of the working of this Measure after the lapse of eighteen months, two years or maybe longer, a Government would take precipitate action, on the basis of their experience, to do something which was manifestly anti-social.
§ Mr. Bevins
It seems to me to be implicit in the whole of the case which has been deployed from the benches opposite this afternoon. In spite of what has been happening in the country in recent by-elections, it certainly seems to be assumed 1195 by hon. Members opposite that the party on this side of the House will be successful at the next General Election—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Otherwise, I can see very little point indeed in the proposal which is now before the House.
§ Mr. Blenkinsop
Does that mean that the Minister does not propose to introduce any Orders under this subsection until after another General Election? That would be very interesting.
§ Mrs. E. M. Braddock (Liverpool, Exchange)
What do the Government intend to do for the people of this country? They are not going to get out of their houses on decontrol. What action will be taken because people will not get out of their houses? I hope they do not get out.
§ Mrs. Braddock
I have followed the speeches. I cannot accept anyone else's speech. I should like an answer to my question. What are the Government going to do if the people will not get out?
§ Mr. Bevins
I think the hon. Lady has answered herself. Had she listened to speeches made, not by hon. Members on this side of the House but by her hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kettering and her other hon. Friends, she would have realised that what we are discussing is not houses taken out of control under Clause 10 (1), but houses which at a certain point in the future may become decontrolled. Therefore, her question has no relevance.
§ Mr. Mitchison
Did I understand the Parliamentary Secretary rightly? Is it proposed to use this subsection to decontrol completely all houses as soon as possible?
§ Mr. Bevins
I said nothing of the sort. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I made it perfectly clear at the beginning of what I 1196 had to say that this subsection was so drafted as to give the Minister of Housing considerable discretion as to whether he should give further slices of decontrol either geographically, by rateable value, or otherwise.
§ Mr. Mitchison
Can the hon. Gentleman say what limits he proposes to set to the decontrol with which the present Minister of Defence threatened the country at the Tory Conference at Llandudno? We were then told that it was to be complete decontrol. We understand this Clause to be the instrument for complete decontrol, without any Act of Parliament. Are we wrong?
§ Mr. Bevins
I have made it perfectly clear, so has my right hon. Friend on a number of occasions, that the ultimate objective of Her Majesty's Government is the decontrol of house property in this country.
§ Mrs. Jean Mann (Coatbridge and Airdrie)
I am very glad that Scotland has been remembered because, with this Clause retained in the Bill, Scotland will actually be in a very much worse position than England. At the moment Scottish rents will be increased by 25 per cent. under this Bill, and, under the 1954 Act they will be increased by 50 per cent. The king-pin of the property owners of Scotland has just been pointing out in a letter to the Glasgow Herald that in that delectable country of England:… landlords are to be allowed to charge as rent a sum not exceeding twice the gross value of the house as at 1939,…This represents an increase of some three to four times the rent charged in 1914; and that increase I regard as reasonable.That foreshadows that the Bill, as at present drafted, will not satisfy the landlords of Scotland——
§ It being Six o'clock, Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER proceeded, pursuant to Orders, to put forthwith the Question already proposed from the Chair.
§ Question put, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill: —
§ The House divided: Ayes 283, Noes 232.1201
|Division No. 86.]||AYES||[6.0 p.m.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D.||Low, Rt. Hon. A. R. W.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Garner-Evans, E. H.||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||George, J. C. (Pollok)||Lucas, P. B. (Brentford & Chiswick)|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Gibson-Watt, D.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Glover, D.||McAdden, S. J.|
|Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Godber, J. B.||Macdonald, Sir Peter|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major Sir William||Gomme-Duncan, Col. Sir Alan||Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry|
|Arbuthnot, John||Goodhart, P. C.||McKibbin, A. J.|
|Armstrong, C. W.||Gough, C. F. H.||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)|
|Ashton, H.||Gower, H. R.||McLaughlin, Mrs. P.|
|Astor, Hon. J. J.||Graham, Sir Fergus||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John|
|Atkins, H. E,||Green, A.||McLean, Neil (Inverness)|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J- M.||Gresham Cooke, R.||MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Grimond, J.||Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)|
|Balniel, Lord||Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)|
|Barter, John||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Maddan, Martin|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley||Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.||Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)|
|Beamish, Maj. Tufton||Gurden, Harold||Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark)|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||Marshall, Douglas|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Mathew, R.|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon)||Maude, Angus|
|Bidgood, J. C.||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Maudling, Rt. Hon. R.|
|Biggs-Davison, J. A.||Harvey, Air Cdre- A. V. (Macclesfd)||Mawby, R. L.|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr, S. L. C.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)||Medlicott, Sir Frank|
|Body, R. F.||Harvie-Watt, Sir George||Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R.|
|Boothby, Sir Robert||Hay, John||Molson, Rt. Hon. Hugh|
|Bossom, Sir Alfred||Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.||Moore, Sir Thomas|
|Bowen, E. R. (Cardigan)||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.||Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G.||Nabarro, G. D. N.|
|Braine, B. R.||Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Nairn, D. L. S.|
|Braithwaite, Sir Albert(Harrow, W.)||Henderson-Stewart, Sir James||Neave, Airey|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Hesketh, R. F.||Nicholis, Harmar|
|Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry||Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W.||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch)|
|Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton)||Hill, John (S. Norfolk)||Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.|
|Bryan, P.||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Nugent, G. R. H.|
|Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Hirst, Geoffrey||Oakshott, H. D.|
|Burden, F. F. A.||Hobson, J. G. S.(War'ck& Leam'gtn)||O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Holland-Martin, C. J.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. W. D.|
|Butler, Rt. Hn. R, A.(Saffron Walden)||Holt, A. F.||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Campbell, Sir David||Hornby, R. P.||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)|
|Carr, Robert||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Osborne, C.|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Horobin, Sir Ian||Page, R. G.|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence||Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence(Portsmth, W.)||Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Partridge, E.|
|Conant, Maj. Sir Roger||Howard, John (Test)||Peyton, J. W. W.|
|Cooke, Robert||Hughes-Hallett, Vice-Admiral J.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Cooper, A. E.||Hughes-Young, M. H. C.||Pike, Miss Mervyn|
|Cooper-Key, E. M.||Hulbert, Sir Norman||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.|
|Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Hurd, A. R.||Pitman, I. J.|
|Corfield, Capt. F. V.||Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'gh, W.)||Pott, H. P.|
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Hutchison, Sir James (Scotstoun)||Powell,J. Enoch|
|Crouch, R. F,||Hyde, Montgomery||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Iremonger, T. L.||Profumo, J. D.|
|Cunningham, Knox||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Raikes, Sir Victor|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Rawlinson, Peter|
|Dance, J. C. G.||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Redmayne, M.|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Johnson, Eric (Blackney)||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Joseph, Sir Keith||Remnant, Hon. P.|
|Deedes, W. F.||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. Sir Lancelot||Ronton, D. L. M.|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Kaberry, D.||Ridsdale, J, E.|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Keegan, D.||Rippon, A. G. F.|
|Doughty, C. J. A.||Kerby, Capt. H. B.||Robertson, Sir David|
|Drayson, G. B.||Kerr, H. W.||Robson-Brown, W.|
|du Cann, E. D. L.||Kershaw, J. A.||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond)||Kirk, P. M.||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.||Lagden, G. W.||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David||Lambert, Hon. G.||Russell, R. S.|
|Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Langford-Holt, J. A.||Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.|
|Elliott, R. W.||Leavey, J. A.||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Erroll, F. J.||Leburn, W, G.||Sharpies, R. C.|
|Farcy-Jones, F. W.||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Shepherd, William|
|Finlay, Graeme||Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)|
|Fisher, Nigel||Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Fletober-Cooke, C.||Linstead, Sir H. N.||Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood)|
|Fort, R.||Llewellyn, D. T.||Soames, Christopher|
|Fraser, Sir Ian (M'cmbe & Lonsdale)||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Spearman, Sir Alexander|
|Freeth, Denzil||Longden, Gilbert||Speir, R. M.|
|Spence, H. R. (Aberdeen, W.)||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. D. C.|
|Spens, Rt. Hn. Sir P. (Kens'gt'n, S.)||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)||Ward, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Worcester)|
|Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, S.)||Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)|
|Stevens, Geoffrey||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. P.||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.|
|Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)||Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.||Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold|
|Steward, Sir William (Woolwich, W.)||Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)||Webbe, Sir H.|
|Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.||Turner, H. F. L.||Whitelaw, W.S.I.(Penrith & Border)|
|Storey, S.||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)||Vane, W. M. F.||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Studholme, Sir Henry||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington)||Vosper, Rt. Hon. D. F.||Yates, William (The Wrekin)|
|Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)||Wade, D. W.|
|Temple, John M.||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)||Mr. Wills and Mr. Barber.|
|Ainsley, J. W.||Hale, Leslie||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)|
|Albu, A. H.||Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Morrison, Rt.Hn.Herbert(Lewls'm,S.)|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Hamilton, W. W.||Mort, D. L.|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Hannan, W.||Moss, R.|
|Allen, Soholefield (Crewe)||Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.)||Moyle, A.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Hastings, S.||Mulley, F. W.|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Hayman, F. H.||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)|
|Balfour, A.||Healey, Denis||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. (Derby, S.)|
|Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.)||Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis)||O'Brien, Sir Thomas|
|Benn, Hn. Wedgwood (Bristol, S.E.)||Herbison, Miss M.||Oram, A. E.|
|Benson, G.||Hewitson, Capt. M.||Orbach, M.|
|Blackburn, F.||Hobson, C. R. (Keighley)||Oswald, T.|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Holman, P.||Owen, W. J.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Holmes, Horace||Padley, W. E.|
|Boardman, H.||Houghton, Douglas||Paget, R. T.|
|Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.)||Howell, Charles (Perry Barr)||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)|
|Bowles, F. G.||Hoy, J. H.||Palmer, A. M. F.|
|Boyd, T. C.||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Pargiter, G. A.|
|Brockway, A. F.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Parker, J.|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Hunter, A. E.||Parkin, B. T.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Paton, John|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Pearson, A.|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Peart, T. F.|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Irving, Sydney (Dartford)||Pentland, N.|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Plummer, Sir Leslie|
|Callaghan, L. J.||Janner, B.||Popplewell, E.|
|Carmichael, J.||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Jeger, George (Goole)||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)|
|Chapman, W. D.||Jeger, Mrs. Lena (Holbn & St. Pncs, S.)||Probert, A. R.|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Jenkins, Roy (Stetchford)||Proctor, W. T.|
|Coldrick, W.||Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)||Pryde, D. J.|
|Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead)||Jones, Rt. Hon. A. Creech (Wakefield)||Randall, H. E.|
|Collins, V. J.(Shoreditoh & Finsbury)||Jones, David (The Hartlepools)||Rankin, John|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Redhead, E. C.|
|Cove, W. G.||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Reeves, J.|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Reld, William|
|Cronin, J. D.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Rhodes, H.|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||King, Dr. H. M.||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||Lawson, G. M.||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||Lewis, Arthur||Ross, William|
|Delargy, H. J.||Lindgren, G. S.||Royle, C.|
|Dodds, N. N.||Lipton, Marcus||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Donnelly, D. L.||McGhee, H. G.||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hn. John (W. Brmwoh)||McGovern, J.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||McInnes, J.||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse)||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||MacDermot,Niall||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)||Slater, J. (Sedgefield)|
|Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||MacPherson, Malcoim (Stirling)||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Mahon, Simon||Snow, J. W.|
|Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||Mainwaring, W. H.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Fienburgh, W.||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Finch, H. J.||Mann, Mrs. Jean||Sparks, J. A.|
|Fletcher, Eric||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||Steele, T.|
|Forman, J. C.||Mason, Roy||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)|
|Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||Mayhew, C. P.||Stones, W. (Consett)|
|Gooch, E. G.||Mellish, R. J.||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P, C.||Messer, Sir F.||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)|
|Greenwood, Anthony||Mikardo, Ian||Stross.Dr.Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent,G.)|
|Grenfell, Rt. Hon, D. R.||Mitchison, G. R.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Grey, C. F.||Monslow, W.||Swingler, S. T.|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Moody, A. S.||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)||Watkins, T. E.||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Taylor, John (West Lothian)||Weltzman, D.||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)|
|Thomas, George (Cardiff)||Wells, Percy (Faversham)||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)||Williams, W. T. (Barons Court)|
|Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)||West, D. G.||Willie, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Thornton, E.||Wheeldon, W. E.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Timmons, J.||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)||Woof, R. E.|
|Tomney, F.||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)||Yates, V. (Ladywood)|
|Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn||Wilkins, W. A.||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Usborne, H. C.||Willey, Frederick||Zllliacus, K.|
|Viant, S. P.||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Warbey, W. N.||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Mr. Short and Mr. Deer.|
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKERthen proceeded to put forthwith the Questions on Amendments, moved by a member of the Government, of which notice had beer, given, to that part of the Bill to be concluded at Six o'clock.
Amendment made: In page 9, line 44 at end insert:
and those subsections shall have effect subject to the provisions of paragraph 3 of Part I of the Fifth Schedule to this Act".—[Mr. H. Brooke.]