§ Mr. G. Campbell
I beg to move, in page 25, line 44 to leave out from "comprised" to the end of line 6 on page 26 and to insert:if—cAs Clause 23 now stands, it applies to a single dwelling comprised in a tenement in an improvement area, and it could be that this will operate satisfactorily in relation to the ordinary case of a house which may be improved internally or with the addition of another part of the tenement which includes another dwelling. There is, however, a case where there might be doubt about the local authority's power to acquire a dwelling for conversion if the work of reconstruction were so great as to result in reducing the number of dwellings, none of which was recognisable as the original dwelling.
- (i) the authoriqty in satisfying themselves that the dwelling falls within the said paragraph (a) have formed the opinion that it is capable of improvement at reasonable expense to the full or, as the case may be, to the reduced standard only if the said part is used or made available, wholly or partly, for the purposes of such improvement, and
- (ii) in the opinion of the authority it is unlikely that the said part will be used or made available as aforesaid unless it is acquired by them.In this subsection the references to a part of a tenement include references to any yard, garden, outhouses, pertinents or rights pertaining to any estate or interest in the tenement or any part thereof or usually enjoyed along with that estate or interest.
This Amendment is in accordance with an undertaking which I gave in Committee and it now makes it clear that the Clause gives local authorities wide power to undertake works of reconstruction and conversion of dwellings in tenements which they have acquired and so facilitate the improvement of older tenement property.
§ Amendment agreed to.1358
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
Yes, that is so, but as I understand the notice which was displayed it was to be taken with the Amendment which we have just discussed. The hon. Gentleman is entitled to a Division on his Amendment if he would like it.
§ Mr. Millan
It was not made clear that my Amendment was to be discussed with the Government Amendment which we have just discussed. I had nothing to do with it.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
I understood that the notice was clearly displayed and I heard no comment about it. It said that the hon. Gentleman's Amendment would be taken with the Government Amendment which we have just discussed but that there could be a separate Division on it. I called the Government Amendment, which has been agreed to. If hon. Members would like a Division on the hon. Gentleman's Amendment, they are welcome to have one, but I cannot allow a second debate on the hon. Gentleman's Amendment, because it was taken with the previous Amendment.
§ Mr. Millan
Whatever may have been said in the notice—and, obviously, I cannot go out and check it now—when the Under-Secretary moved the Government Amendment there was no indication, either from him or the Chair, that my Amendment was being taken with it. No notice could possibly affect that. It would be different, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, if you were saying that it had not been selected.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
I am sure that nobody wants to deprive the hon. Gentleman of the opportunity to make a speech, so let his Amendment be debated now.
§ Mr. Millan
I beg to move, in page 25, after the words last inserted in the Bill, to insert:(2) Subject to the provisions of this section, at am time after the passing by a local authority in Scotland of a resolution declaring an area in their district to be an improvement area such authority may if they 1359 are satisfied that any of the dwellings comprised in a tenement in that area is in an unsatisfactory state of repair and falls within, or is capable of being improved to a condition enabling it to fall within, paragraph (b) of section 22(1) of this Act, and whether or not they have served an immediate improvement notice in respect of the dwelling under section 22, acquire—As it stands, Clause 23 is remarkable because it gives Scottish local authorities power to acquire tenement dwellings in improvement areas simply if, in the opinion of the local authorities, it is unlikely that they will be improved to the full or reduced standard unless they are acquired by the local authority. This is a substantial extension of the principle of municipalisation of tenement properties in Scotland and as such, of course, we on this side of the House welcome it very much.
- (a) the dwelling if in the opinion of the authority it is unlikely that it will be put in a satisfactory state of repair or will be improved to a condition enabling it to fall within paragraph (b) of section 22(1) of this Act, unless it is acquired by them;
- (b) any other part of the tenement in which the dwelling is comprised, or any yard, garden, outhouses, pertinents or rights pertaining to any estate or interest in the tenement or any part thereof or usually enjoyed therewith, if in the opinion of the authority it is unlikely that the dwelling will be put in a satisfactory state of repair or will be improved to a condition enabling it to fall within paragraph (b) of section 22(1) of this Act, unless such part, yard, garden, outhouses, pertinents or rights is or are acquired by them.
My Amendment simply extends that principle a little, because as the Clause stands the qualifying circumstances in which this municipalisation can take place are that it must be possible to improve the property either to the full or reduced standard, and, as was pointed out earlier, there may be many dwellings in improvement areas which are not capable of being dealt with by the process of standard improvement but which, nevertheless, are in an unsatisfactory state of repair and which should be put in a proper state of repair and which have a potential of 15 years' useful life, as laid down in subsection (1,b).
This Amendment would allow the local authority to take over tenement dwellings, not just to bring them up either to reduced standard or to full standard by 1360 the provision of standard amenities, but in circumstances in which it would be possible for them to be brought up to a satisfactory state of repair and be given a life of at least 15 years. It is this kind of wider power, for reasons which we developed at length in Committee, which is required for local authorities in Scotland if they are to give a face-lift to the many substantially built but dilapidated tenements, bring them into repair and improve them. Since the principle of municipalisation has been accepted in restricted circumstances by the Government in this Clause already, I hope that they will accept this limited extension.
§ Mr. G. Campbell
This Amendment is directed to houses in unsatisfactory repair, but it is too sweeping and would amount to a general power to enforce repairs, whereas the Bill is directed to enforcing improvements. As there have been some misconceptions about the application of compulsory improvement, I make three points in reply to the hon. Member for Glasgow, Craigton (Mr. Millan).
First, the reduced standard is an alternative to the full standard only if improvement to the full standard is impracticable at reasonable cost. Even if a designated dwelling already satisfies the reduced standard, there is nothing to stop a local authority from serving a notice requiring improvement to the full standard.
Secondly, many tenements do not have internal lavatories but share them on the landings in the ratio, for example, of three or four dwellings per lavatory. But this does not make them up to the reduced standard, because standard amenities must be provided for the exclusive use of the occupants of a dwelling.
Thirdly, we have just approved a Government Amendment to make it clear that local authorities will have the power to acquire dwellings in tenements in order to improve them. It is clear that local authorities will have compulsory powers to acquire dwellings in order to provide proper standards.
Therefore, much of the point of the Amendment disappears. Virtually the only remaining point is that it would enable compulsory powers to be used in 1361 order to acquire dwellings and enable repairs to be carried out. But local authorities already have powers to do that in Scotland and therefore the Amendment is unnecessary.
Further Amendment made: In page 26, line 16, after "years", insert:
(or such other period as may be prescribed)".—[Mr. G. Campbell.]