§ 1. Mr. Hector Hughes
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make an inquiry into the hardship arising from the operation of the statutory provisions for town and country planning in Scotland relating to the compulsory acquisition of small houses at a valuation fixed by the local authority below the purchase price paid by the present owner, or, where improvements have been executed by the present owner, below the improved value, with special reference to cases where the present owner is too poor to contest that valuation or to incur the expense of an expert valuation to rebut the under-value assessed by the local authority; and if he will make a statement.
§ The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. J. Nixon Browne)
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has no reason to think that local authorities seek to negotiate the purchase of houses at prices less than the statutory compensation. The Town and Country 784 Planning Bill recently passed by this House will improve the statutory basis of compensation in certain respects, and while my right hon. Friend will, of course, study any relevant information that may come to his notice, he does not think that the time is ripe for a further review.
§ Mr. Hector Hughes
Does the hon. Gentleman realise that for the owner of a single house hardship may arise if he is put to the expense of valuation and costs in order to prove the real value to him of one house affected by acquisition proposals, and will he, therefore, to minimise the costs, particularise the procedure such a person would have to adopt?
§ Mr. Browne
I sympathise with the hon. and learned Member in his Question, and my right hon. Friend will do all he can to ensure that the local authorities tell these people exactly what their rights and obligations are under the Bill.