HC Deb 11 May 1970 vol 801 cc903-10
Mr. Buchan

I beg to move Amendment No. 4, in page 3, line 21, leave out " (if any) ".

Mr. Speaker

I suggest that we take, at the same time, Government Amendments Nos. 5, 6 and 8 and Opposition Amendment No. 9, in page 3, line 32, leave out ' may allow ', which are linked.

I am prepared to allow a Division on Amendment No. 9, if, at the end of the debate, the Opposition claim one.

Mr. Buchan

The quickest way for me to proceed is to let the House hear how this Section would read if the Government Amendments were accepted: (1) On an application under section 1 of this Act, the Lands Tribunal shall give such notice thereof, whether by way of advertisement or otherwise, as may be prescribed, to the persons who, in relation to the obligation which is the subject of the application, appear to them to be either benefited or burdened proprietors and to such other persons as the Tribunal may think fit. (2) In an application to the Lands Tribunal under Section 1 of this Act, any person who, in relation to the obligation which is the subject of the application, is either a burdened or a benefited proprietor, shall be entitled, within such time as may be prescribed, to oppose or make representations in relation to the application, and the Tribunal shall allow any such person, and may allow any other person who appears to them to be affected by the obligation or by its proposed variation for discharge to be heard in relation to the application. The purpose of the Amendment is to meet the criticisms made in Committee about our procedural provisions in the Clause. These criticisms were embodied in a number of Amendments and related essentially to the discretion which had been given in the original draft to the Lands Tribunal—first, in matters of notification under subsection (1) and second, in the matter of those who were to be heard.

We have made the following alterations. First, the kind of notice which will be given under subsection (1) will now be prescribed in rules made by the Secretary of State. This will give the necessary flexibility—for instance, written notice, where this is practicable, and advertisement in cases where it is not. Second, the very wide discretion given to the Lands Tribunal under subsection (1) is curtailed by the omission of the words " if any" in lines 21 and 25. Third, under subsection (2), the tribunal must now give a hearing to burdened and benefited proprietors, but we are still leaving it with a discretion in regard to other people.

I expect that it is on that final point that the main disagreement may take place. Having gone 95 per cent. of the way, if not more, to meet the points made on both sides of the Committee about how far it should be made known and about the people who should be heard, I cannot accept the Opposition Amendment which would make the same kind of compulsory hearing for those who were affected rather than burdened or other proprietors.

The Amendment would remove the tribunal's discretion in relation to those who were other than directly concerned and would give a compulsory hearing to those people. The tribunal would have to estimate who were those affected by the obligation, and this would be a very ill-defined and wide class. In other words, the retention of this discretion seems to be essential. It might make matters difficult if the tribunal had to decide too closely who were those affected.

This, again, is, I think, as far as any hon. Member in Committee expected us to go. It makes it completely cast-iron as regards those who are properly affected and gives discretion to the tribunal to hear those who may remotely be affected. This seems to be right.

7.30 p.m.

Mr. Wylie

We are grateful to the hon. Gentleman. He has gone a good long way towards meeting our point, thought I do not think that he has gone 95 per cent. of the way. But there is no doubt that the Clause is improved as a result.

As the hon. Gentleman said, the only difference between us is whether the right to be heard in connection with this application should be confined to those who are most affected—the burdened or the benefited proprietor—or whether anyone who appears to the tribunal to have an interest equally should have the right to be heard. I take the hon. Gentleman's point about where to draw the line between who has and who has not a right to be heard. However, there is a safeguard in the provisions. Even under our Amendment, not everyone in the world is entitled to be heard, but only anyone who appears to the tribunal to be affected.

The Minister dealt with this matter neatly by reading the Clause incorporating the Government's Amendments. With Government Amendment No. 8, the effect of Amendment No. 9 would be to make subsection (2) read: …within such time as may be prescribed, to oppose or make representations in relation to the application, and the Tribunal shall allow any such person and any other person who appears to them to be affected by the obligation … to be heard…. The hon. Gentleman said a lot in Committee about informality, about this being a social matter and a public relations exercise, and so on. In a way, it might be said to be closely analogous to town and country planning in that there may be many cases in which both authorities have to approve of the change being invoked. Not only will the Lands Tribunal have to give its authority to the extinction of an existing obligation, but town and country planning consent may be involved, too. This is analogous to planning considerations in many ways. In planning matters, anyone who has an interest has a right to be heard.

Even incorporating Amendment No. 9, the Clause would still leave it within the discretion of the Lands Tribunal to decide who was to appear. The interested

party would have to satisfy the criterion of appearing to the tribunal to be affected. If anyone can establish that he is affected by the obligation or its proposed variation or discharge, it seems logical that he should have the right to be heard and that the tribunal should be obliged to afford him the same right as the burdened or benefited proprietor who, the Minister now recognises, should have a statutory right to be heard.

That is the only difference between us. It seems to be material, since it would improve the operation of this whole procedure if interested parties were given a statutory right to be heard. It should not be entirely at the discretion of the Lands Tribunal.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendments made: No. 5, in line 22, leave out to such of ' and insert:

`as may be prescribed, to '.

No. 6, in line 25, leave out ' (if any) '.

No. 8, in line 32, after Tribunal ', insert:

'shall allow any such person, and '.—[Mr. Buchan.]

Amendment proposed: No. 9, in line line 32, leave out may allow '.—[Mr. Gordon Campbell.]

Question put, That the Amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 88, Noes 145.

Division No. 120.] AYES [7.36 p.m.
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.) Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Glover, Sir Douglas Mills, Peter (Torrington)
Astor, John Gower, Raymond Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)
Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n) Grant, Anthony Monro, Hector
Baker, W. H. K. (Banff) Gurden, Harold Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)
Batsford, Brian Hamilton, Lord (Fermanagh) Morrison, Charles (Devizes)
Berry, Hn. Anthony Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh
Bitten, John Harvie Anderson, Miss Neave, Airey
Body, Richard Hay, John Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael
Braine, Bernard Heald, Rt. Hn. Sir Lionel Onslow, Cranley
Bullus, Sir Eric Hiley, Joseph Page, John (Harrow, W.)
Campbell, B. (Oldham, W.) Hirst, Geoffrey Pearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe)
Campbell, Gordon (Moray A Nairn) Holland, Philip Pounder, Rafton
Carlisle, Mark Howell, David (Guildford) Pym, Francis
Chichester-Clark, R. Hunt, John Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James
Clegg, Waiter Hutchison, Michael Clark Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Corfield, F. V. Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Ridley, Hn. Nicholas
Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne) Jennings, J. C. (Burton) Russell, Sir Ronald
Dean, Paul Kershaw, Anthony Sharpies, Richard
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. (Ashford) Kitson, Timothy Silvester, Frederick
Eden, Sir John Knight, Mrs. Jill Smith, John (London & W'minster)
Elliott, A. W. (N 'c'tle-upon-Tyne,N.) Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Speed, Keith
Errington, Sir Eric McNair-Wilson, Patrick (NewForest) Stainton, Keith
Fortescue, Tim Maddan, Martin Temple, John M.
Fry, Peter Maginnis, John E. Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.
Gillmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.) Marten, Neil van Straubenzee, W. R.
Vickers, Dame Joan Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro) Younger, Hn. George
Waddington, David Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Walters, Dennis Worsley, Marcus TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Ward, Christopher (Swindon) Wylie, N. R. Mr. Reginald Eyre and
Williams, Donald (Dudley) Mr. Bernard Weatherill.
Alidritt, Waiter Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth) Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)
Armstrong, Ernest Grey, Charles (Durham) Murray, Albert
Ashton, Joe (Bassetiaw) Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside) Ogden, Eric
Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.) Grimond, Rt. Hn. J. O'Halloran, Michael
Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham) Hamilton, William(Fife, W.) Orme, Stanley
Bacon, Rt. Hn. Alice Hamling, William Oswald, Thomas
Barnett, Joel Harper, Joseph Palmer, Arthur
Beaney, Alan Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Parker, John (Dagenham)
Bence, Cyril Haseldine, Norman Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)
Bidwell, Sydney Hooley, Frank Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred
Bishop, E. S. Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas Pentland, Norman
Blackburn, F. Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Perry, Ernest G. (Battersea, S.)
Blenkinsop, Arthur Hoy, Rt. Hn. James Perry, George H. (Nottingham, S.)
Booth, Albert Hughes, Roy (Newport) Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.
Boston, Terence Hynd, John Pries, Thomas (Westhoughton)
Brooks, Edwin Jackson, Colin (B'h'se & Spenb'gh) Price, William (Rugby)
Brown, Rt. Hn. George (Beiper) Janner, Sir Barnett Probert, Arthur
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Jeger, Ceorge (Goole) Randall, Harry
Brown, R. W. (Shoreditch & F'bury) Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Rankin, John
Buchan, Norman Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.) Rhodes, Geoffrey
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Richard, Ivor
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Kelley, Richard Roberts, Gwilym (Bedfordshire, S.)
Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James Leadbitter, Ted Rodgers, William (Stockton)
Carter-Jones, Lewis Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton) Roebuck, Roy
Coe, Denis Lee, John (Reading) Ross, Rt. Hn. William
Coleman, Donald Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.) Sheldon, Robert
Crawshaw, Richard Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Sillars, J.
Dalyell, Tam Lomas, Kenneth Silverman, Julius
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Loughlin, Charles Skeffington, Arthur
Davies, Rt. Hn. Harold (Leek) Lubbock, Eric Spriggs, Leslie
Davies, Ifor (Cower) Lyon, Alexander W. (York) Steel, David (Roxburgh)
Delargy, H. J. McBride, Neil Steele, Thomas (Dunbartonshire, W.)
Dell, Edmund MacColl, James Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John
Dickens, James MacDermot, Niall Tinn, James
Dobson, Ray McElhone, Frank Wallace, George
Driberg, Tom McGuire, Michael Watkins, Tudor (Brecon & Radnor)
Dunn, James A. Mackie, John Wellbeloved, James
Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth (Exeter) McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.) Wilkins, W. A.
Ellis, John McNamara, J. Kevin Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Evans, loan L. (Birm'h'm, Yardley) MacPherson, Malcolm Williams, Alan Lee (Hornchurch)
Fernyhough, E. Marion, Peter (Preston, S.) Williams, Clifford (Abertillery)
Finch, Harold Mahon, Simon (Bootle) Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Mallalieu,J.P.W,(Huddersfield,E.) Willis, Rt. Hn. George
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Mapp, Charles Winstanley, Dr. M. P.
Ford, Ben Marks, Kenneth Woof, Robert
Forrester, John Marsh, Rt. Hn. Richard
Galpern, Sir Myer Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Gardner, Tony Millan, Bruce Mr. J. D. Concannon and
Garrett, W. E. Morgan, Eiystan (Cardiganshire) Mr. James Hamilton.
Golding, John Morris, Alfred (Wytrtenshawe)
Mr. Wylie

I beg to move Amendment No. 10, in page 3, line 38, leave out ' which has taken effect '.

This is a short drafting Amendment. The matter was raised in Committee, and the Minister said that he would look into it.

It seems that the recording is the governing factor and that these words are not strictly necessary. Where a personal obligation has been constituted it is binding on the parties. The Clause seeks to make a provision whereby it is binding on all persons having an interest, and that can arise only where it is duly recorded.

It is not a matter on which we would go to the barricades. It is merely a question whether the words are necessary.

Mr. Buchan

I am glad to hear that we shall not be going to the barricades on the Amendment. We made heavy weather of this point in Committee, so I will try to be succinct.

There is a difference between " duly recorded " and " which has taken effect ". The position is that there may be some kind of obligation imposed by the tribunal as a result of the making of the order. For example, the order of the tribunal might require the successful applicant to pay a sum as compensation —the point that we have already been discussing. The intention is that the order should not take effect until the compensation has been paid. But it could have been recorded. So we have the position of a recording having taken place but the order not having been carried out and not taking effect.

I think that the hon. and learned Gentleman sees the point. In order to get the run of the thing properly, we require the words, Where an order made under Section 1… which has taken effect is duly recorded ". That is as succinct as I can put the explanation. I hope that the hon. and learned Gentleman will accept it.

Mr. Wylie

That is not an explanation which I should have thought up. However, it is interesting and entirely satisfactory to me. I therefore beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

7.45 p.m.

Mr. Wylie

I beg to move Amendment No. 11, in page 4, line 26, leave out subsection (7).

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Sydney Irving)

With this Amendment it is suggested that we take Government Amendments Nos. 12, 25, 61, 63, 64 and 75.

Mr. Wylie

This is a drafting Amendment. The statutory provision referred to is being superseded by the provisions of the Bill. It figures appropriately in the repeal Schedule. Therefore, it seems unnecessary to have subsection (7). It is somewhat analogous to Clause 7(4), which the Government, in Amendment No. 25, seek to delete. On this occasion they are determined not only to keep subsection (7) in, but to amend it as well. As it is not necessary, I should think that subsection (7) could leave the Bill altogether.

Mr. Buchan

We are asking the House to reject the Amendment. It is true that on this occasion we are also amending the subsection.

I think that the hon. and learned Gentleman agrees with the other Amendments that we have put down, which are grouped together. We are both after the same thing. I think that the hon. and learned Gentleman was seeking the same point when he asked to delete subsection (7).

The argument that arose in Committee —I accepted some of the criticisms made —was that it was not necessary to repeal enactments in the body of the Bill, and also in the repeal Schedule. But I believe that there is still a case for doing this for the sheer convenience of people using the Bill. I have accepted the point, but also simplified it.

There is a special point to be made about subsection (7). The provisions of Section 189 of the Housing (Scotland) Act are not conterminous with the provisions of this Clause, because the Clause refers to the relationship between a landowner and a feuar, a proprietor and a superior. But a third element enters into this section of the Act, the local authorities. It is therefore not an inevitable consequence of the Bill that that section should be repealed. This is the difference from the other repeals in the Bill but we are including this because the provision has proved un-necessary. Even the local authority aspect is never used and therefore we are deleting it.

However, as this is a special case, we thought that it would be useful to say something about it. We are saying that it is a form of repeal, declaring that it shall no longer have effect, and putting the substance back into the body of the Bill. I think that this will be convenient, because it is in a different category from the other repeals.

I hope that with that explanation the hon. and learned Gentleman will not only withdraw his Amendment, but accept ours.

Mr. Wylie

I accept the Government Amendment, for the reasons given by the hon. Gentleman, but I am not repentant about putting down my Amendment. I still do not see the need for the subsection, but, as the hon. Gentleman assures me that people like to see these things in the body of the Bill—and as the hon. Gentleman says this is not directly related to the Bill, but to an oblique effect of the beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment made: No. 12 in page 4, line 28, leave out ' is hereby repealed and insert ' shall cease to have effect '.—[Mr. Buchan.]

Back to
Forward to