HC Deb 09 April 1964 vol 692 cc1361-4

Amendments made: In page 27, line 20, after "years", insert: (or such other period as may be deseribed)".

In line 22, after "period", insert "from".—[Sir K. Joseph.]

Question put, That those words be there inserted in the Bill:—

The House divided: Ayes 42, Noes 97.

Division No. 68.] AYES [10.58 p.m.
Blackburn, F. Henderson, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Rwly Regis) Mitchison, G. R.
Bowies, Frank Herbison, Miss Margaret Morris, Charles (Openshaw)
Boyden, James Howie, W. Peart, Frederick
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Robertson, John (Paisley)
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Hynd, John (Attercliffe) Ross, William
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Janner, Sir Barnett Small, William
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Jones, Dan (Burnley) Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Dempsey, James Kenyon, Clifford Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Diamond, John Lawson, George Thornton, Ernest
Evans, Albert Lee, Frederick (Newton) Wainwright, Edwin
Fletcher, Eric Lever, L. M. (Ardwick) Wilkins, W. A.
Foot, Dingle (Ipswich) Loughlin, Charles Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Galpern, Sir Myer MacColl, James
Hannan, William Manuel, Archie TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Hayman, F. H. Millan, Bruce Mr. McCann and Mr. Whitlock.
Agnew, Sir Peter Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough) Miscampbell, Norman
Allason, James Harris, Reader (Heston) More, Jasper (Ludlow)
Atkins, Humphrey Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Page, Graham (Crosby)
Batsford, Brian Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)
Bennett, F. M. (Torquay) Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe) Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)
Biffen, John Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe) Pitt, Dame Edith
Bishop, Sir Patrick Hirst, Geoffrey Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch
Bowen, Roderic (Cardigan) Hobson, Rt. Hon. Sir John Pym, Francis
Box, Donald Hocking, Philip N. Quennell, Miss J. M.
Braine, Bernard Holland, Philip Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin
Campbell, Gordon Hornby, R. P. Renton, Rt. Hon. David
Clark, William (Nottingham, S.) Hughes-Young, Michael Ridley, Hon. Nicholas
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Robinson, Rt. Hn. Sir R. (B'pool, S.)
Cleaver, Leonard Johnson Smith, Geoffrey Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Cole, Norman Joseph, Rt. Hon. Sir Keith Scott-Hopkins, James
Corfield F. V. Kerans, Cdr. J. S. Sharples, Richard
Critchiey, Jullan Kirk, Peter Shaw, M.
Dance, James Litchfield, Capt. John Stainton, Keith
Deedes, Rt. Hon. W. F. Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral) Studholme, Sir Henry
Drayson, G. B. Longbottom, Charles Summers, Sir Spencer
du Cann, Edward Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) MacArthur, Ian Thomas, Sir Leslie (Canterbury)
Elliott, R. W. (Newc'tle-upon-Tyne, N.) McLaren, Martin Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)
Farr, John Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax) Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon
Finlay, Graeme Madden, Martin Walker, Peter
Fisher, Nigel Maltland, Sir John Ward, Dame Irene
Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton) Marten, Neil Whitelaw, William
Freeth, Denzil Matthews, Gordon (Meriden) Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Gammans, Lady Maude, Angus (Stratford-on-Avon) Woodhouse, C. M.
Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, Central) Mawby, Ray Worsley, Marcus
Glover, Sir Douglas Maxwell-Hystop, R. J.
Goodhew, Victor Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Green, Alan Mills, Stratton Mr. Chichester-Clark and Mr. Peel.
Grosvenor, Lord Robert
Mr. G. Campbell

I beg to move Amendment No. 61, in page 28, line 4, at the end to insert: being a dwelling in respect of which an immediate improvement notice has been served under section 22 of this Act. As subsection (7) now stands, it excludes from the provisions of the Bill a dwelling comprised in a tenement in Scotland. This would mean that a local authority could not accept an undertaking in respect of a Scottish tenement dwelling before service of the improvement notice under any circumstances. It would prevent a local authority from accepting the undertaking in respect of a dwelling in a Scottish tenement where action had been initiated by a tenant under Clause 19, or after the area had been declared an improvement area but before the improvement notice had been served.

Mr. Millan

On a point of order. The Under-Secretary is reading his brief so rapidly that it is completely impossible to follow what he says. He did the same thing on the last Amendment. Is there some rule of order in respect of this?

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

I am bound to say that I was hearing what the hon. Gentleman was saying very well.

Mr. Campbell

I am very sorry. I did not realise that I was going so fast as that. It was because of the lateness of the hour and the fact that this is a fairly straightforward Amendment, although it does deserve an explanation. I shall speak at a slower pace if that will be helpful.

In the circumstances I have described, it should be possible for a local authority to accept an undertaking under Clause 24 without having to serve an improvement notice, and this is achieved by the Amendment.

Mr. Willis

I am sorry to have to ask the hon. Gentleman what he said. I certainly heard what he said, but he said it so quickly that I did not follow it.

Mr. Campbell

I think I can sum it up for the hon. Member. As the Clause was drafted, it would mean that a local authority could not accept an undertaking in respect of a Scottish tenement dwelling before the service of an improvement notice under any circumstances. Now we are making a change so that an undertaking can be given under Clause 24 in the circumstances of the two examples I gave.

Mr. Willis

It is more clear than it was, and I certainly begin to have a glimmer of what the Amendment means. I must say to the hon. Gentleman, however, that although it is ten past 11 it must not be understood that we are not anxious to follow what the Government are trying to do. I point out to the Under-Secretary and to the Minister in charge of the Bill that we have not delayed the passage of the Bill. A large part of the discussion has been by hon. Members opposite. On that I have no complaint to make, because they have raised points of substance, but because this takes a long time and the Government have not allowed sufficient time wt should not be brushed aside and not allowed to understand what we are doing.

I understand the Amendment to mean that an undertaking can be given by a person in respect of a dwelling prior to an improvement notice being served in respect of a tenement. This seems desirable, although I find it difficult to discover how it will work. If a local authority passes a resolution declaring a certain area an improvement area, obviously the work covers all the houses in the area. From my experience of tenements in Edinburgh, I think it would be difficult to carry out improvement schemes in many areas without undertaking all the work at once. The block has to be treated as a whole. To talk about carrying out improvements separately, even to a reduced standard in some huge blocks of tenements, seems to interfere with the principle we are trying to follow to make these houses contain all modern amenities. If that principle is breached to a considerable extent we shall not do what we desire.

I understand that the local authority is the authority responsible for accepting this proposal. It is able to make its own judgment as to the wisdom of permitting various people to carry out work when other work is being done at the same time. I am prepared to accept the Amendment.

Amendment agreed to.