§ 27. Mr. G. Thomas
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs what 1140 decision he has now reached as a result of his consideration of the four reports on the working of the leasehold system in Wales; and whether he will make a statement.
§ The Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs (Dr. Charles Hill)
As I informed the hon. Member on 5th June, I am examining the problems relating to the renewal of ground leases of residential property, on the basis of market value. I do not expect to complete this complex task before the Summer Recess.
§ Mr. Thomas
Is the Minister aware that this news will be received with great disappointment throughout the Principality? Is he aware that he had led us to believe that a statement could be expected? His last Answer given in this House indicated that he was considering this question? In view of the fact that people are holding up their decisions on leasehold while the Government make up their mind, can the Minister tell owner-occupiers when they can expect an announcement of Government policy on this important issue?
§ Dr. Hill
I did not say in the statement I made in the House five weeks ago that the study would be completed by the Summer Recess. This is a complex problem as a study of the Landlord and Tenant Act, 1964, will exhibit. I am pressing on with all seriousness and vigour, but it will not be completed by the Summer Recess.
§ Mr. Thomas
May I press the Minister, because this is a vital matter to our people? Will he indicate to leaseholders when they can expect an announcement of Government policy, because they are faced with the question now of the cost of the renewal of leases or obtaining the freehold if they can? Is he aware that they ought to know the mind of the Government on the matter?
§ Mr. Box
In his further consideration of this matter will my right hon. Friend use his good offices and influences with his right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General to have amended the Settled Lands Act which restricts trustees from increasing leases for over 50 years? Is he aware that an amendment is necessary especially in view of the wider terms of the Measure introduced last year relating to trustees?
§ Mr. M. Stewart
If the Minister really cannot make a statement about this matter before the Summer Recess, will he bear in mind that we might find ourselves back in this Chamber in September for other reasons and that he might consider that time appropriate to make a statement.
§ Mr. Thomas
In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I shall raise the matter at the first possible moment.