§ Lords Amendments agreed to: In page 8, line 33, leave out "as defined in the Act of 1947".—[Special Entry.]
In line 37, leave out from "1947" to end of line 39 and insert:
(which relates to the provision of halls, offices and other buildings,)".
In page 9, line 8, after second "years" insert:
and in the entry relating to the Cremation Act, 1902, for the words 'Twenty years' there shall be substituted the words 'Such period not exceeding sixty years as may be sanctioned by the Secretary of State;'".—[Special Entry.]
In line 13, leave out:
so far as relating to the provision of buildings for public meetings and assemblies".—[Special Entry.]
§ In Line 21, at end insert:
|"Section twenty-one of the National Assistance Act, 1948.||Such period not exceeding sixty years as may be sanctioned by the Secretary of State."—[Special Entry.]|
Lords Amendment: In page 9, line 25, at end insert:
(2) Where a local authority is authorised to borrow money for the purpose of any enactment, any provision (whether in that or another enactment) that any sum so borrowed shall be repaid within a period of fewer than sixty years, or within such period not exceeding fifty-nine or fewer years as the local authority or a Minister may determine shall be construed as applying only to sums so borrowed for expenditure otherwise than on the acquisition of land; and any sum so borrowed by the local authority for expenditure on the acquisition of land (being a sum to which any such provision as aforesaid would, apart from this subsection, apply) shall be repaid within such period not exceeding sixty years as may be sanctioned by the Secretary of State, or, where the consent of another Minister is required for the borrowing, by that other Minister.
(3) In this section "local authority" and "Minister" have the same meanings as in the Act of 1947, and references to the acquisition of land do not include references to the acquisition, with any land, of buildings or other works thereon, being buildings or other works required to make the land fit for the purpose for which it is required.
§ Mr. J. N. Browne
I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment.
486 The provision as drafted distinguishes between the acquisition of a site and the provision of buildings and so forth on it. While the buildings remain covered by present Statutes, the cost of site acquisition may now be repaid over sixty years. The subsection refers only to services where the statutory borrowing period is less than sixty years.
§ Mr. McInnes
In that case, may I ask the Joint Under-Secretary of State a question? What we are dealing with here is the period of repayment of moneys borrowed by local authorities. If the hon. Gentleman will refer to the Lords Amendment, he will find that the acquisition of land is excluded from the general arrangement by which local authorities themselves or the Secretary of State may determine the period of repayment.
What I want to know is why the general arrangement was not applied to purposes such as the acquisition of land. What is the explanation for excluding land from the general arrangement in operation? I think the Joint Under-Secretary will appreciate that we want the local authority to enjoy the same freedom and privileges in respect of the repayments of moneys borrowed for the purposes of acquiring land. The local authority already enjoys freedom to determine the period of repayment in respect of moneys borrowed for purposes other than the acquisition of land. Can the Joint Under-Secretary give some explanation?
§ Mr. J. N. Browne
If I may have the leave of the House to speak again, as to the buildings, or whatever may be on the land, the period of borrowing depends on the life of the subject. As to the land itself, it was thought right that the period should be one of 60 years, except in the case of land for the purposes of housing, where the period is 80 years.
§ Mr. McInnes
I am afraid that the Joint Under-Secretary is not seized of the point that I endeavoured to make. If he will look at the Bill he will find that the effect of the Lords Amendment is that 487 moneys borrowed by local authorities shall be repaid within a period of not less than 60 years, or within such period not exceeding 59 or fewer years as the local authority or the Minister may determine. In the case of moneys borrowed for the acquisition of land, the local authority has no power to determine the period of repayment. Why is that?
§ Mr. T. Fraser
Before the Joint Under-Secretary replies, may I say a few words? I think he said that the nature of the buildings put upon the land determined the period over which it would be reasonable to repay the moneys borrowed, but in respect of land, he said that the proposition was that the moneys borrowed should be repaid over 60 years. Surely that is not what the Lords Amendment proposes. Surely what it proposes is that the local authority or the Secretary of State may determine the period over which moneys borrowed for the buildings put upon the land may be repaid, but that in respect of moneys borrowed for the acquisition of the land the Secretary of State will sanction the period over which the moneys have to be repaid, such period being not more than 60 years.
He may sanction a period of five years. The Joint Under-Secretary said that the period in respect of land should always be 60 years. Surely local authorities sometimes buy land outright—small pieces of land on corners of streets and so on—and do not borrow the money at all. Surely it would be quite ridiculous to require, as the Under-Secretary suggested, that in all cases the money borrowed to acquire land should be repaid over a period of 60 years. I should have thought that the Lords Amendment does not make that provision but leaves it open to the Secretary of State to sanction a much shorter period.
§ Mr. J. N. Browne
The local authority will propose a borrowing period for land and my right hon. Friend will approve it if it is reasonable, subject to a limit of 60 years. I cannot read into this provision any more than the status quo, except that whereas the Statute at present says that money for land required for certain purposes shall be borrowed for only 40 years, it is now increased to 60 years.
§ Question put and agreed to.—[Special Entry.]