§ Lords Amendment No. 9: In page 27, line 19, leave out "January 1971" and insert "April 1970".
§ Mr. Speaker
It will be convenient to take, at the same time, the following two 2201 Lords Amendments: No. 10: In page 27, line 22, leave out "July 1971" and insert "October 1970".
No. 11: In page 27, line 26, leave out "January 1972" and insert "April 1971".
§ Mr. MacColl
This matter has been fully discussed on Second Reading, in Committee and on Report in this House and there is no doubt that there is a strong divergence of view. The Government—and, I hope and believe, the majority of the House—take the view that the arrangements we reached under the Bill were the fairest arrangements as between the two different points of view, the two views being that represented by some of my hon. Friends who thought that this whole procedure of bringing property in good condition into regulation was completely misconceived, and that represented by those who thought that we ought to make it easier and move more speedily.
Principally, it is a question not of policy but of administration. The main purpose of the Bill—one keeps repeating this—is to bring property into improved condition. It is a Housing Bill for that purpose. Therefore, that should be the first call on the time of rent officers, and they should not find themselves with a back-log of cases of dwellings already in the required state which floods them so much that they have no time to do the work which is intended under the Bill.
The other place has not challenged the principle of postponement; it has sought only to reduce the periods of time, inserting April, 1970, instead of January, 1971, October, 1970, instead of July, 1971, and April, 1971, instead of January, 1972.
The effect of trying to speed matters up in that way would not be wise. It would mean that, comparatively soon after the passing of the Bill, which we are anxious to see, there would be opportunity for these dwellings to be subject to application for registration. My advice is that we go back to the original view, which was no snap judgment but was the result of discussion, argument and vote at every stage. It was a considered view taken after a great deal of earnest discussion on both sides.
I invite the House to disagree with these three Amendments.
§ Mr. Graham Page
The principle of the part of the Bill in which Clause 50 falls is to give fair rents for fit premises. That principle was breached when the Government introduced the delaying Clause. We fought the whole proposal to delay conversion from controlled to regulated property when property had been improved, that is, when improvements had been installed before the commencement of the Bill. This delay is contrary to the principles of Part III, fair rents for well kept property. At this stage, unfortunately, we must with reluctance accept the proposal in general and try to bring some sort of justice and fairness into its application.
When I watch television plays and thriller serials, I always have difficulty in distinguishing between the "goodies" and the "baddies". I find myself cheering "baddies" and booing "goodies". The Government have fallen into the same error. Here, the "goodies" are the landlords who have put improvements into their properties, when they were receiving only controlled rents and only the low level of grants. The "baddies" are those who have waited for the Bill to become law, who receive the increased grants, and who allowed their property to go unimproved up to the present.
It is right, perhaps, that the Government should be a sort of father of the prodigal son and encourage what I call the "baddies", but they need not do it at the expense of the "goodies". They are doing it at the expense of landlords who have improved their properties, because they say that there are not enough rent officers to make the decisions and the rent officers must be reserved for those who will improve their properties in future. But, while saying that, they take full-page advertisements in national newspapers, telling people to go to their rent officers, with pictures of rent officers across the top of the advertisements, and so on.
According to Government figures, the estimate is that 200,000 houses are affected by the Clause, that is to say, 200,000 applicants for a fair rent. I do not think that they will all need very much time with the rent officers, but even if they take up the same time as the present cases before the rent officers 2203 the figures show that the rent officers can take on that number of cases.
There are at present 263 rent officers doing 44,000 cases a year. If my arithmetic is correct, that means that every rent officer does only three or four cases a week. I believe that they could deal with four or five times that number and cope with the 200,000 applicants over a shorter period of time.
The Parliamentary Secretary nearly "came clean" over this. It is not the fear of a revolt by rent officers that worries the Government, it is this extra-
§ ordinary fear of a revolt by the hon. Member for Salford, East (Mr. Frank Allaun) and his hon. Friends, who object to the whole principle of moving from "controlled" to "regulated". The Government should stand up to them and say that the rent officers can cope with this and so give justice to the landlords.
§ Question put, That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 194, Noes 144.2205
|Division No. 345.]||AYES||[6.40 p.m.|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Grey, Charles (Durham)||Milne, Edward (Blyth)|
|Archer, Peter||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Mitchell, R. C. (S'th'pton, Test)|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)||Molloy, William|
|Ashton, Joe (Bassetlaw)||Griffiths, Will (Exchange)||Moonman, Eric|
|Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham)||Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)||Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)|
|Barnes, Michael||Harper, Joseph||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)|
|Beaney, Alan||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)|
|Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood||Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith||Morris, John (Aberavon)|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Hattersley, Roy||Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Hazell, Bert||Murray, Albert|
|Boston, Terence||Heffer, Eric S.||Neal, Harold|
|Boyden, James||Henig, Stanley||Newens, Stan|
|Bradley, Tom||Hooley, Frank||Norwood, Christopher|
|Bray, Dr. Jeremy||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Oakes, Gordon|
|Brooks, Edwin||Howarth, Harry (Wellingborough)||Ogden, Eric|
|Brown, Bob(N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.)||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Oram, Albert E.|
|Brown, R. W. (Shoreditch & F'bury)||Hoy, Rt. Hn. James||Orbach, Maurice|
|Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)||Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Orme, Stanley|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Oswald, Thomas|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Hunter, Adam||Owen, Will (Morpeth)|
|Cant, R. B.||Jackson, Colin (B'h'se & Spenb'gh)||Page, Derek (King's Lynn)|
|Carmichael, Neil||Janner, Sir Barnett||Palmer, Arthur|
|Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara||Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles|
|Coleman, Donald||Jeger, George (Goole)||Park, Trevor|
|Concannon, J. D.||Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Parkyn, Brian (Bedford)|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Johnson,Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Pavitt, Laurence|
|Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)||Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred|
|Darling, Rt. Hn. George||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Pentland, Norman|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Perry, Ernest G. (Battersea, S.)|
|Davies, Dr. Ernest (Stratford)||Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, West)||Perry, George H. (Nottingham, S.)|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. Harold (Leek)||Kelley, Richard||Price, Christopher (Perry Barr)|
|Kerr, Russell (Feltham)|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Lawson, George||Price, William (Rugby)|
|Dell, Edmund||Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton)||Randall, Harry|
|Dewar, Donald||Lee, Rt. Hn. Jennie (Cannock)||Rees, Merlyn|
|Diamond, Rt. Hn. John||Lee, John (Reading)||Richard, Ivor|
|Dobson, Ray||Lestor, Miss Joan||Roberts, Gwilym (Bedfordshire, S.)|
|Doig, Peter||Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth (Exeter)||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Robinson, Rt.Hn.Kenneth (St.P'c'as)|
|Eadie, Alex||Lomas, Kenneth||Rodgers, William (Stockton)|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Luard, Evan||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Edwards, William (Merioneth)||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Rose, Paul|
|English, Michael||McBride, Neil||Ross, Rt. Hn. William|
|Ensor, David||McCann, John||Ryan John|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||MacColl, James||Shaw, Arnold (Ilford, S.)|
|Evans, Fred (Caerphilly)||Macdonald, A. H.||Short,Rt.Hn.Edward(N'c'tle-u-Tyne)|
|Evans, loan L. (Birm'h'm, Yardley)||Mackenzie Gregor (Rutherglen)||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)|
|Faulds, Andrew||Mackintosh, John P.||Silverman, Julius|
|Fernyhough, E.||Maclennan, Robert||Skeffington, Arthur|
|Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)||McNamara, J. Kevin||Slater, Joseph|
|Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Steele, Thomas (Dunbartonshire, W.)|
|Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Mallalieu,J.P.W.(Huddersfield,E.)||Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John|
|Ford, Ben||Manuel, Archie||Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley|
|Forrester, John||Marks, Kenneth||Thomas, Rt. Hn. George|
|Fowler, Gerry||Marsh, Rt. Hn. Richard||Tinn, James|
|Fraser, John (Norwood)||Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy||Tomney, Frank|
|Gardner, Tony||Mayhew, Christopher||Tuck, Raphael|
|Garrett, W. E.||Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert||Varley, Eric G.|
|Ginsburg, David||Mendelson, John||wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)|
|Gregory, Arnold||Millan, Bruce||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Weitzman, David||Willey, At. Hn. Frederick||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)|
|Wellbeloved, James||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)||Winnick, David|
|Wells, William (Walsall, N.)||Williams, Alan Lee (Hornchurch)||Wyatt, Woodrow|
|Whitaker, Ben||Williams, Cilfford (Aberttillery)|
|White, Mrs. Eirene||Willis, Rt. Hn. George||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Watkins, David (Consett)||Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)||Dr. M. S. Miller and Mr. Alan Fitch.|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Grieve, Percy||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)|
|Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian||Grimond, Rt. Hn. J.||Page, Graham (Crosby)|
|Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n)||Gurden, Harold||Peel, John|
|Baker, Kenneth (Acton)||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Percival, Ian|
|Balniel, Lord||Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||Pink, R. Bonner|
|Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||Pounder, Rafton|
|Bell, Ronald||Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Bessell, Peter||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere||Prior, J. M. L.|
|Blaker, Peter||Harvie Anderson, Miss||Pym, Francis|
|Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.)||Hawkins, Paul||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Body, Richard||Heald, Rt. Hn. Sir Lionel||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas|
|Boyle, Rt. Hn. Sir Edward||Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward||Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Heseltine, Michael||Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Higgins, Terence L.||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)|
|Buck, Antony (Colchester)||Hill, J. E. B.||Royle, Anthony|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Hogg, Rt. Hn. Quintin||Russell, Sir Ronald|
|Burden, F. A.||Hordern, Peter||Scott, Nicholas|
|Campbell, B. (Oldham, W.)||Hunt, John||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)|
|Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Silvester, Frederick|
|Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert||Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)||Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)|
|Chataway, Christopher||Jennings, J. C. (Burton)||Smith, John (London & W' minster)|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Kaberry, Sir Donald||Speed, Keith|
|Clark, Henry||Kershaw, Anthony||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Clegg, Walter||Kimball, Marcus||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)|
|Cooke, Robert||King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret|
|Corfield, F. V.||Kirk, Peter||Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.|
|Costain, A. P.||Kitson, Timothy||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Crouch, David||Knight, Mrs. Jill||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hn. Sir John|
|Dance, James||Lane, David||Vickers, Dame Joan|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Lawler, Wallace||Waddington, David|
|Dodds-Parker, Douglas||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Walker, Peter (Worcester)|
|Drayson, G. B.||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|du Cann Rt. Hn. Edward||Longden, Gilbert||Wall, Patrick|
|Lubbock, Eric||Walters, Dennis|
|Eden, Sir John||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy||Weatherill, Bernard|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.)||McMaster, Stanley||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn, William|
|Eyre, Reginald||Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham)||Wiggin, A. W|
|Farr, John||McNair-Wilson, Michael||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Fisher, Nigel||Maginnis, John E.||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Fortescue, Tim||Marten, Neil||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Foster, Sir John||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Worsley, Marcus|
|Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)||Miscampbell, Norman||Wright, Esmond|
|Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)||Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.||Wylie, N. R.|
|Glover, Sir Douglas||Morrison, Charles (Devizes)||Younger, Hn. George|
|Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.||Murton, Oscar|
|Goodhart, Philip||Nabarro, Sir Gerald||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Gower, Raymond||Neave, Airey||Mr. Jasper More and|
|Grant, Anthony||Nott, John||Mr. Hector Monro.|
|Gresham Cooke, R.||Onslow, Cranley|
§ Subsequent Lords Amendment disagreed to.
§ Lords Amendment No. 12: In page 27, line 28, after "elsewhere" insert "of a value"
§ The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government (Mr. Arthur Skeffington)
I beg to move, That the House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment.
§ This Amendment remedies a printing omission.
§ Question put and agreed to.