Mr. Deputy Speaker
With this amendment it will be convenient to consider Government Amendments Nos. 79 to 84.
§ Mr. Freeson
These amendments arise from an undertaking given by the Minister to the hon. Member for Buckingham (Mr. Benyon) during the Committee stage that the Government 1392 would table an amendment to facilitate the payment of a grant for the improvement, conversion or repair of a dwelling which is occupied or will be kept available for occupation by a member of the agricultural population in pursuance of a contract of service and otherwise than as a tenant—loosely referred to as "agricultural tied cottages".
Prior to the Housing Act 1969, when broadly similar grant conditions applied stipulating that, if the dwelling were not occupied by the applicant, it should be let, there was a specific exclusion where the occupant wasa member of the agricultural population in pursuance of a contract of service and otherwise than as a tenant".This was to enable grants to be given for what are loosely described as "agricultural tied cottages" where occupation was not on a tenancy.
Clause 53 as it stands in general prohibits a local authority from entertaining an application for any form of grant, except special grants, unless it is provided with a certificate of future occupation certifying that the dwelling will, for a specified period, either be owner-occupied or be let or be kept available for letting as a residence. In the latter case, a condition will be attached to a grant stipulating that the dwelling will be let or available for letting as a residence, and not for a holiday, to persons other than the members of the family of the person who is the owner for the time being. One effect of this is that agricultural tied cottages which are not let on tenancies will be outside the scope of the various grants available under Part VI of the Bill.
We undertook to consider whether this should be changed, failing the attempt by the hon. Member for Buckingham to reverse the situation by amendment in Committee. The amendments which have been introduced this evening seek to meet that undertaking.
I wish to make it clear that this is in no way a reflection of the Government's intention by means of other legislation on some further occasion to seek to abolish tied cottages. The objectives of the amendments are to ensure priorities where these are needed in order to help improve properties by means of grant.
§ Amendment agreed to.1393
§ Amendment made:
No. 80, in page 50, line 31, at end insert
'or (b) the dwelling will be occupied or available for occupation by a member of the agricultural population in pursuance of a contract of service and otherwise than as a tenant'.—[Mr. Freeson.]