HC Deb 18 October 1972 vol 843 cc253-4
20. Mr. McCrindle

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what estimate he can make of the date when legislation will be introduced to up-date and amend the compulsory purchase compensation code.

6. Mr. Tilney

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has yet reached conclusions about compensation for owners of property deleteriously affected by urban motorways.

Mr. Graham Page

I would refer my hon. Friends to the answer my right hon. Friend gave on 17th October to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Handsworth (Mr. Sydney Chapman) in which he announced the publication of the Government's White Paper "Development and Compensation—Putting People First". I hope to introduce legislation shortly.

Mr. McCrindle

Does my right hon. Friend accept that there will be a widespread welcome for any improvement in the compensation code following compulsory purchase? Does he further accept that in these inflationary conditions the difference between market and replacement value has been considerable and that any opportunity of bridging the gap in the new legislation will be warmly welcomed?

Mr. Page

Yes. I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his remarks. The White Paper and the policy stated therein sticks to market value as the fairest compensation. My hon. Friend will also notice that it gives a payment for home loss in addition to market value where a tenant or owner-occupier has been in occupation for seven years.

Mr. Cant

Speaking not only as a Member of Parliament but as chairman of a planning council, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether it is true that the great problem in cases where urban motorways are going through cities is the determination of market value? However much one may appreciate the things that have been done in this White Paper, the parsimony of both city estate valuers and district valuers of the Inland Revenue in many cases brings grave injustice to many people who have purchased their homes and are offered derisory payments in return. May I ask the right hon. Gentleman to make the interest-only mortgages a statutory obligation upon authorities and, in cases of compulsory purchase in reverse, make it possible for home loss payment to be made?

Mr. Page

I do not agree with the hon. Gentleman about the district valuer's valuation. The district valuer values on the basis of the market value of the property. It may be an old property and therefore difficult to get reinstatement of that amount. That is why we put provisions in the White Paper for interest-only mortgages and for assistance to those who wish to rehabilitate themselves after having to sell an old house which is not worth very much on the market. I do not think we could have added any value to the normal market value. The normal market value is honestly calculated by the district valuer.