§ The Deputy Chairman
The next Amendment selected is Amendment No. 5, with which it may be convenient for the Committee to discuss Amendment No. 9, in the Schedule, page 7, line 5, leave out from 'of' 'to 'one' in line 7.
§ Mr. Graham Page
I beg to move Amendment No. 5, in page 4, line 36, leave out 'or 1971 '.
The Clause provides that when a fair rent has been fixed by a rent officer for a private tenancy it shall not be recoverable for two years if it is fixed during 1970, and one year if it is fixed during 1971. It was the Labour Government of 1965 which put on the Statute Book the procedure for fixing a fair rent. The Government have claimed that it is a rent fair both to landlord and tenant.
The principle of fair rent was first breached in the Housing Act, 1969, under which landlords who carry out improvements to dwelling houses must wait in some cases four years, and in others as much as six years, before receiving what has already been declared to be a fair rent. Those were special cases, but now in the Bill the principle of fairness is breached with respect to all private tenancies. The provisions of the Clause, coupled with the Schedule, forbid a landlord recovering from the tenant for a period of time the rent fixed as fair by an independent person—the rent officer —and perhaps even an independent committee—the rent assessment committee.
Our Amendment says in effect that if the Government's policies make it necessary that a tenant shall not be charged the fair rent for a period of a year, and the Government are likely to remain in office for that period, we had better have that provision, but that a year is long enough. The Bill should not extend its effect beyond 1970, and rents declared to be fair rents in 1971 should be recoverable by the landlord at once. If the Bill is necessary, it is the Government's actions that have made it so. It should not require the landlord to pay for the Government's failures of policy.
§ 10.15 p.m.
§ The Minister of State, Ministry of Housing and Local Government (Mr. Denis Howell)
The Amendment seeks to remove the protection which the Government think that tenants of private landlords need in 1971 and possibly 1972. Under our proposals, the fair rent increase;: agreed have to be phased, and I do not think that the Opposition are proposing that a fair rent should be paid at once and in full, for the obvious reason that, in this part of the Bill and by the new proposals for rent officers and so on, we are trying to strike a fair balance between landlord and tenant.
But we recognise that, because one has has to take account of the starting point of the operation—the rent being paid before the fair rent was established—after the fair rent has been established, unfortunately, as some of my hon. Friends would think, the difference between the existing rent and the fair rent is very steep in many cases and it would, therefore, be monstrous to say that there should be no phasing and no protection against the automatic implementation of the fair rent.
If we omitted the words "or 1971", the effect would be that, although one third of the increase would be paid in 1970, the other two-thirds would have to be paid in 1971, or, if the new fair rent was registered in 1971, the whole increase would have to be paid on that account. This would be a monstrous pro-
§ posal in the case of many tenants whose budgets are geared to their existing rent. Although we believe it right, since we enunciated the principle of fair rents— something the Opposition did not attempt to do when in office—and are trying to get the balance right, to do it in a reasonable and civilised manner, and it would create considerable hardship in the lives of many tenants and their families if we did not allow for phasing of the kind I have mentioned.
§ I hope that the hon. Gentleman will not press the Amendment, because it shows a complete disregard for the considerable hardship that many tenants would face if the whole increase were imposed in one go. If a small or relatively small increase is agreed, then, of course, the landlord will be able to have it in one year, but if it is a steep increase, it is clear that we should give the tenant some protection. Not to do so would be to create considerable difficulties in many cases and would also affect the prices and incomes policy and the policy towards rents and so on which we judge to be necessary. If phasing is right at the moment, I cannot believe that it can be wrong in 1971. If it is right in 1969 and 1970, it must also be right in 1971 and therefore I cannot accept the Amendment.
§ Question put, That the Amendment be made: —
§ The Committee divided: Ayes 124, Noes 189.567
|Division No. 17.]||AYES||[10.19 p.m.|
|Ailason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Dodds-Parker, Douglas||Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)|
|Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n)||Eden, Sir John||Kershaw, Anthony|
|Baker, W. H. K. (Banff)||Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)|
|Bainiel, Lord||Eyre, Reginald||Kitson, Timothy|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Cos. & Fhm)||Farr, John||Lancaster, Col. C. G.|
|Biffen, John||Fortescue, Tim||Lane, David|
|Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.)||Foster, Sir John||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry|
|Body, Richard||Glover, Sir Douglas||Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)|
|Boyd Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John||Cower, Raymond||MacArthur, Ian|
|Boyle, Rt. Hn. Sir Edward||Grant, Anthony||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy|
|Brewis, John||Grant-Ferris, Sir Robert||McMaster, Stanley|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)||McNair-Wilson, Michael|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Griffiths Eldon, St. Edmunds)||Maddan, Martin|
|Buchanan-Smith, Alick(Angus,N&M)||Gurden, Harold||Maginnis, John E.|
|Buck, Antony (Colchester)||Hal-Davis, A. G. F.||Mawby, Ray|
|Campbell, B. (Oldham, W.)||Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.|
|Campbell, Gordo I (Moray & Nairn)||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)|
|Carlisle, Mark||Hastings, Stephen||Miscampbell, Norman|
|Chataway, Christopher||Hawkins, Paul||Monro, Hector|
|Cooke, Robert||Heald, Rt. Hn. Sir Lionel||Montgomery, Fergus|
|Corfield, F. V.||Heseltine, Michael||More, Jasper|
|Costain, A. P.||Higgins, Terence L.||Morgan, Ceraint (Denbigh)|
|Crowder, F. P.||Hill, J. E. B.||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles|
|Currie, C. B. H.||Hogg, Rt. Hn. Quintin||Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Holland, Philip||Nabarro, Sir Gerald|
|Dance, James||Hornby, Richard||Neave, Airey|
|Dean, Paul||Hunt, John||Nicholls, Sir Harmar|
|Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. (Ashford)||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Nott, John|
|Page, Graham (Crosby)||Silvester, Frederick||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|Page, John (Harrow, W.)||Sinclair, Sir George||Ward, Christopher (Swindon)|
|Percival, Ian||Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Pike, Miss Mervyn||Smith, John (London & w'minster)||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Pink, R. Bonner||Stainton, Keith||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William|
|Pounder, Rafton||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.||Wiggin, A. W.|
|Prior, J. M. L.||Summers, Sir Spencer||Williams, Donald (Dudley)|
|Pym, Francis||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon||Temple, John M.||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret||Worsley, Marcus|
|Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)||Tilney, John||Wylie, N. R.|
|Russell, Sir Ronald||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|St. John-Stevas, Norman||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hn. Sir John||TELLERS FOR THE AVES:|
|Scott-Hopkins, James||Waddington, David||Mr. Bernard Weatherill and|
|Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)||Walker, Peter (Worcester)||Mr. Walter Clegg.|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Golding, John||Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy|
|Alldritt, Walter||Gregory, Arnold||Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert|
|Anderson, Donald||Grey, Charles (Durham)||Millan, Bruce|
|Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.)||Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)||Miller, Dr. M. S.|
|Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham)||Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Milne, Edward (Blyth)|
|Bacon, Rt. Hn. Alice||Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)||Mitchell, R. C. (S'th'pton, Test)|
|Baxter, William||Hamling, William||Molloy, William|
|Beaney, Alan||Hannan, William||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)|
|Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)|
|Bence, Cyril||Harper, Joseph||Morris, John (Aberavon)|
|Bennett, James (G'gow, Bridgeton)||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Moyle, Roland|
|Binns, John||Haseldine, Norman||Neal, Harold|
|Blackburn, F.||Hazell, Bert||Newens, Stan|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Henig, Stanley||Norwood, Christopher|
|Boardman, H. (Leigh)||Herbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret||Oakes, Gordon|
|Booth, Albert||Hilton, W. S.||O'Halloran, Michael|
|Boston, Terence||Horner, John||Orbach, Maurice|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur||Howeil, Denis (Small Heath)||Oswald, Thomas|
|Hoyden, James||Howie, W.||Owen, Will (Morpeth)|
|Broughton, Sir Alfred||Hoy, Rt. Hn. James||Page, Derek (King's Lynn)|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Huckfield, Leslie||Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles|
|Brown, Bob(N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,W.)||Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Park, Trevor|
|Brown, R. W. (Shoreditch & F'bury)||Hunter, Adam||Pavitt, Laurence|
|Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)||Jackson, Colin (B'h'se & Spenb'gh)||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)|
|Cant, R. B.||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)||Perry, Ernest G. (Battersea, S.)|
|Carmichael. Neil||Johnston, Russell (Inverness)||Perry, George H. (Nottingham, S.)|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.|
|Chapman, Donald||Jones,Rt.Hn.Sir Eiwyn(W.Ham,S.)||Price, Thomas (Westhoughton)|
|Coleman, Donald||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Probert, Arthur|
|Concannon, J. D.||Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, West)||Richard, Ivor|
|Conlan, Bernard||Judd, Frank||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Crawshaw, Richard||Keoley, Richard||Roberts, Rt. Hn. Goronwy|
|Dalyell, Tam||Kerr, Russell (Feltham)||Roberts, Gwilym (Bedfordshire, S.)|
|Darling, Rt. Hn. George||Lawler, Wallace||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Davidson, Arthur (Accrington)||Lawson, George||Ross, Rt. Hn. William|
|Davies, Ednyfed Hudson (Conway)||Leadbitter, Ted||Ryan, John|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Lee, Rt. Hn. Jennie (Cannock)||Shaw, Arnold (llford, S.)|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. Harold (Leek)||Lee, John (Reading)||Silverman, Julius|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Lestor, Miss Joan||Small, William|
|Dempsey, James||Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Dewar, Donald||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Swain, Thomas|
|Dickens, James||Loughin, Charles||Taverne, Dick|
|Doig, Peter||Lubbock, Eric||Thomas, Rt. Hn. George|
|Dunnett, Jack||Lyon, Alexander W. (York)||Tinn, James|
|Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth (Exeter)||Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)||Urwin, T. W.|
|Eadie, Alex||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Varley, Eric G.|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||McBride, Neil||Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)|
|Edwards, William (Merioneth)||McCann, John||Wainwright, Richard (Colne Valley)|
|English, Michael||MacColl, James||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Ensor, David||MacDermot, Niall||Watkins, David (Consett)|
|Evans, Fred (Caerphilly)||McElhone, Frank||Watkins, Tudor (Brecon & Radnor)|
|Evans, loan L. (Birm'h'm, Yardley)||McGuire, Michael||Weitzman, David|
|Faulds, Andrew||Mackenzie, Alasdair(Ross&Crom'ty)||Wellbeloved, James|
|Fernybough, E.||Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen)||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Finch, Harold||Mackie, John||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Fitch, Alan (Wigan)||Maclennan, Robert||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Fletcher, Rt.Hn.SirEric(lslington,E.)||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)||Williams, Clifford (Abertillery)|
|Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||McNamara, J. Kevin||Willis, Rt. Hn. George|
|Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||MacPhersnn, Malcolm||Winnick, David|
|Ford, Ben||Mahon, Simon (Bootle)||Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.|
|Forrester, John||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Woof, Robert|
|Freeson, Reginald||Manuel, Archie||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Calpern, Sir Myer||Mapp, Charles||Mr. Ernest Armstrong and|
|Gardner, Tony||Marks, Kenneth||Mr. R. F. H. Dobson.|
§ Mr. Denis Howell
I beg to move Amendment No. 6, in page 5, leave out lines 1 to 4 and insert:'Where a tenant under a regulated tenancy of a dwelling, or a person who might succeed him as a statutory tenant, becomes the tenant under a new regulated tenancy of the dwelling and, whether before or after he becomes the tenant under the new regulated tenancy, a rent for the dwelling is registered, then, if the provisions of subsection (1) of this section apply—'.This is a technical Amendment, dealing with a very involved situation. [Laughter.] I am glad that I carry hon. Gentlemen with me on that at this late hour. It deals with dwellings that were subject to contractual arrangements then become statutory and then go back to contractual. There is a possibility of a loophole which I am sure we would all like to plug.
§ Mr. Graham Page
Having referred to our Amendments as "vague" on one occasion and "imprecise" on another, is the Minister of State not a little bit embarrassed to have to come forward with this Amendment, to stop up a loophole?
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ 10.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Denis Howell
I beg to move Amendment No. 7, in page 5, line 23, leave out 'or paragraph 6' and insert '6 or 8'.
Nothing that I say is vague or imprecise.Amendments Nos.7 and 8 deal
§ with very technical matters and are put down to stop overlapping.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Further Amendment made: No. 8, in page 5, line 24, leave out 'or paragraph 6' and insert '6 or 8'.—[Mr. Denis Howell.]
§ Clause 5, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
§ Clauses 6 and 7 ordered to stand part of the Bill.