HC Deb 11 November 1975 vol 899 cc1185-223

Lords Amendment: No. 13, after Clause 3, in page 4, line 8, at end insert the following new Clause A—

"A.—(1) A material interest in land shall be treated as out-
standing for the purposes of this Act unless—
(a) it is owned by an authority, a local or new town authority,
a parish or community council or, in Scotland, the
5 council of a district within the area of a general planning
authority, or
(b) it is owned by a charity, or
(c) it is of a description specified in an order made under
this subsection by the Secretary of State.
10 (2) For the purposes of subsection (1) above, a material interest
in land shall be treated as owned by any person mentioned in
that subsection at any time if, at that time, that person—
(a) has entered into a binding contract for its acquisition, or
(b) subject only to completion of the administration of a
15 deceased person's estate, is entitled to it under the terms
of the deceased person's will.
(3) An order under subsection (1) above shall be subject to
annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of
Parliament. "

Read a Second time.

Mr. John Silkin

I beg to move, as an amendment to the Lords amendment, in line 7, leave out 'it is owned by a charity' and insert 'during the whole of the period beginning with 12th September 1974 and ending with the

showing their generosity. I welcome this concession.

Mr. Michael Latham

The Minister has just accepted, subject to a minor change which the other place itself made, an amendment forced on the Government in the other place in a Division. I wish only that members of the Tribune Group had been present to hear about it. If they had been, we might be hearing less about abolishing the House of Lords.

5.45 p.m.

Mr. Oakes

I can assure the hon. Member for Isle of Wight (Mr. Ross) that this amendment does not affect planning. He is right in what he says about horticultural buildings of more than 5,000 square feet.

In reply to the hon. Member for Melton (Mr. Latham), I might point out that in this instance their Lordships made an error initially. They corrected their own error and presented a reasonable form of words to this House. In some other legislation they have not been so reasonable.

Question put and agreed to.

Subsequent Lords amendment disagreed to. relevant time, it has been owned by a charity (but not necessarily the same charity throughout)'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

We are also considering the following amendments to the Lords amendment:

In line 13, after 'has' insert 'or had'.

In line 15, after 'is' insert 'or was'.

It will be convenient also to consider the following Lords amendments:

No. 92, in Schedule 6, page 73, line 27, at end insert— (dd) the needs and obligations of charities

No. 148, in Clause 25, page 24, line 11, leave out from beginning to "this".

No. 149, in page 24, line 24, leave out from beginning to "that" in line 1 on page 25 and insert— (2) For the purpose of assessing the compensation it shall be assumed—

  1. (a) subject to subsection (3), (3B) and (3C) below, that planning permission would not be granted for any development either on the land or on any other land, and
  2. (b) subject to subsection (3B) below"

As an amendment to Lords Amendment No. 149, in line 6, leave out '(3B)' and insert '(3C)'.

No. 150, in page 25, line 6, leave out from beginning to "any" in line 7 and insert— (3) The assumption in subsection (2)(a) above shall not be made as respects development of any class specified in paragraph 1 of Schedule 1 to this Act or in Schedule 8 to the Act of 1971 or Schedule 6 to the Scottish Act of 1972 (development which is not new development.) (3A) for the purposes of subsections (2)(a) and (3) above no account shall be taken of— (a)".

No. 151, in page 25, line 11, leave out "(ii) and insert "(b)".

No. 152, in page 25, line 20, at end insert— (3B) The assumptions in subsection (2) above shall not be made where at the date mentioned in subsection 1(a) or (b) above, the interest in land is owned by a charity. (3C) Where during the whole of the period of one year immediately preceding the date as at which compensation is to be assessed—

  1. (a) the interest in land has been owned by a charity (but not necessarily the same charity throughout), and
  2. (b) the land (as distinct from the rents and profits thereof), has not been used otherwise than wholly or mainly for charitable purposes,
then, for the purposes of assessing the compensation it shall be assumed, if the charity entitled to the compensation so elects, notwithstanding subsection (2)(a) above, that planning permission would be granted for any development by virtue of which the use of the land would be made to correspond with the use which prevails in the case of contiguous or adjacent land. (3D) for the purposes of subsections (3B) and (3C) above the interest in land shall be treated as owned by a charity at any time if, at that time, the charity—
  1. (a)has or had entered into a binding contract for its acquisition, or
  2. (b)is or was indefeasibly entitled to it under the terms of a deceased persons' will."
As an amendment in lieu thereof, in page 25, line 20, at end insert— '(3B) Where during the whole of the period of seven years immediately preceding the date as at which compensation is to be assessed—
  1. (a) the interest in land has been owned by a charity (but not necessarily the same charity throughout), and
  2. (b) the land (as distinct from the rents and profits thereof) has not been used otherwise than wholly or mainly for charitable purposes,
then, for the purposes of assessing the compensation it shall be assumed, subject to subsection (3C) below, that planning permission would be granted for any development by virtue of which the use of the land would be made to correspond with the use which prevails in the case of contiguous or adjacent land.
(3C) The assumptions in subsections (2) and (3B) above shall not be made where—
  1. (a) during the whole of the period beginning with 12th September 1974 and ending with the date mentioned in subsection (l)(a) or (b) above, the interest in land has been owned by a charity (but not necessarily the same charity throughout), and
  2. (b) that period is a period of not more than eleven years.
(3D) For the purposes of subsections (3B) and (3C) above the interest in land shall be treated as owned by a charity at any time if, at that time, the charity—
  1. (a) has or had entered into a binding contract for its acquisition, or
  2. (b) subject only to completion of the administration of a deceased person's estate, is or was entitled to it under the terms of the deceased person's will.'

No. 153, in page 25, line 24, leave out "(3)" and insert "(2)".

No. 154, in page 25, line 28, after "section" insert: other than subsection (3C) above".

Mr. Silkin

The Government ask the House to agree with the Lords in Amendments Nos. 92, 148, 150, 151, and 153, and to disagree with Lords Amendment 154. We also ask the House to agree with the Lords in Amendments Nos. 149 and 152, subject to modifications.

The House will recall that on 15th July I made a statement in Committee describing the special provisions that the Government would be making for Church and charity land in the context of the land scheme. Two of the four main provisions I then announced were introduced and accepted on Report. The third the Government sought to provide in another place. The fourth, relating to development land tax, will of course be presented in the Development Land Tax Bill.

I think that it will be convenient for the House if I restate what these provisions are, including extensions of them that the Government have still decided to make, and then to explain why the Government cannot accept the very wide changes made in another place in these contexts.

First, the acquisition duty and the consequential suspension of planning permission will not apply to land owned by any charity on White Paper day for any kind of development. This will cover the situation where a mixed development is proposed—for example, on a city centre site—and where the charity is dependent on realising the commercial value of the site in order to fund that part of the development which is intended for its use. The powers of acquisition will of course apply to charity land just like any other land, as they do under existing legislation, but the Secretary of State will not expect to confirm any compulsory purchase orders for such land unless there are special planning reasons for doing so.

Second, when authorities acquire such charity land the valuation basis will continue to be market value for 11 years or until the second appointed day, whichever period ends later. This has been extended from 10 years from 12th September 1974 in order to take account of the year that has elapsed since the publication of the White Paper.

Third, after that time they will get prevailing use value for land acquired—in perpetuity. Prevailing use value will also apply to land that came into their ownership after White Paper day so long as it has been kept in continuous charity ownership and use for a certain period. This period I originally announced as 10 years but, following discussions of the point in our debates and those in another place, the Government have decided that a seven-year period should be sufficient and this is what is now proposed.

Moreover, the earlier requirement that there should be a building on such land which should have been in charitable use for 10 years has now been removed and the provision will now apply to the relevant charitable land. This I believe is a really important further relaxation.

Fourth, development land tax will never be charged on any development or disposal of land owned by a charity on White Paper-day.

These are the main special provisions, but the Government are also providing a number of others which will be of significant benefit to charities. Some are unique to them, and some will also apply to other kinds of landowner. They are as follows.

First, authorities will be required by statute to have regard to the needs of charities in exercising their functions. That is the effect of Lords Amendment No. 92. Second, the special provisions referred to will apply even though the land changes hands directly from one charity to another.

Third, in the case of direct testamentary bequests of land to charities, the date when the ownership transfers to them will be the date of the death of the owner and not the later date of the conveyance. Fourth, in other cases the time will be the date when the charity enters into a binding contract to acquire the land.

Fifth, when a Church acquires land for a place of religious worship, it will be able to do so freehold. This will be provided for in the arrangements for general consents under Clause 41. Sixth, under the excepted development regulations, development of under 10,000 sq.ft. total floor space will be permanently exempted from the acquisition duty.

I now turn to Lords Amendments Nos. 13, 149, 152 and 154, which were carried against the Government's advice in another place. For reasons which I shall explain, I must ask the House not to accept Lords Amendments Nos. 152 and 154 altogether, and not to accept Lords Amendments Nos. 13 and 149 in their present form.

First, perhaps I should tell the House that there is another slight mathematical error. On the supplementary sheet of the Order Paper concerning Lords Amendment No. 149, "Line 6," should read "Line 7".

The amendments consist of two major extensions. First, they would provide that all charity land, irrespective of when it came into the ownership of the charity, would be exempt from the application of the acquisition duty on authorities and the consequential suspension of planning permission. That is the effect of Lords Amendment No. 13. Secondly, they would provide that when authorities acquired their land, charities would always get market value for it for evermore.

Moreover, after the second appointed day, or after 11 years—whichever is the later date—charities would get either market value or prevailing use value, even where the latter might result in compensation greater than market value itself would provide. Not only that, but it would enable the Churches and charities on occasion to receive compensation beyond what they would be able to get now under the existing compensation code, which was introduced by the previous administration. That is the effect of Lords Amendments Nos. 152 and 154.

This is a proposition that I cannot believe that even Conservative Members would accept. Certainly such overreaching is quite unacceptable to Labour Members.

The final important change made in another place is the reduction of the period for land acquired by a charity after White Paper day to qualify for prevailing use value treatment from 10 years to one year. This would open the door to abuse whatever the good intentions of the sponsors might be. However, the Government have looked at the matter in as positive a way as possible and they are prepared to bring the qualifying period down to seven years.

These changes in another place are unquestionably in conflict with the Government's basic aims in making special provisions for Churches and charities which, as has been made clear throughout the deliberations on this Bill, must be consistent with the principles of the land scheme. These aims, I need hardly remind the House, were clearly set out in the White Paper, and since hon. Gentle men were at pains to quote the White Paper—if not as extensively as I should like—in a previous debate, perhaps I may quote it in full on this occasion. The aims are to establish a permanent means:

  • "(a) to enable the community to control the development of land in accordance with its needs and priorities; and
  • (b) to restore to the community the increase in value of land arising from its efforts."
A great deal has been said in both this House and another place about the effects that the community land scheme will have on the work of the Churches and charities in this country. It has always been the Government's intention to help the charities to make the transition to the new system. The House will realise from my description of all that we intend to provide for charities that they will in most cases be assisted to an exceptional degree so that they can continue their charitable activities. We are simply ensuring that they, like everyone else, will be able to operate in the knowledge that development land is to be controlled by the community. There can be no getting away from that.

I must therefore ask the House to accept Lords Amendments Nos. 148, 150, 151 and 153—which are paving and minor drafting amendments and do not in themselves affect the charity provisions—and also to accept Lords Amendment No. 92. However, I ask the House to disagree altogether with Lords Amendment No. 154, and Lords Amendments Nos. 13, 149 and 152 in their present form, but to agree to the Government's amendments in their place.

Mr. Michael Morris

I suspect that the reaction of the Churches and charities to the Minister's words assisted to an exceptional degree will not be favourable. I accept that we have come a long way since 12th September last year and the White Paper, when the present Labour Government and especially the right hon. Gentleman, had forgotten all about the rôle of the Churches and charities, the work they do and their relationship to land. We have reached the situation where I suspect that this is the biggest thorn in the Government's side.

It is worth reflecting for a few moments on the path which the Churches and charities have trod concerning the Bill and how we come now to consider this large number of important amendments. The Churches and charities were amazed to find that they were left out of the White Paper, but they assumed that when the Bill was presented they would be exempt. In fact they quickly discovered that, far from being exempt, their own work was to be made impossible by the Bill as it then stood and that it would impoverish and impede their work, which, I am sure, is recognised on both sides of the House. They made representations to none other than the Prime Minister, who spared an hour of his time for representations from no less figures than the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, the Chief Rabbi, the Moderator of the Church of Scotland and the representative of the Archbishop of Wales.

6.0 p.m.

In the early Committe stage the Churches and charities had expected a categorical statement by the Government that, as other parties were beginning to be exempt from the provisions of the Bill, they also would be considered exempt. We had to wait until the very end of the Committee stage. Halfway through the Committee proceedings the Undersecretary of State mentioned that some charities—lucky devils—would be put into a special category, but others clearly would not. However, that morning it was made clear that it was to be all charities.

Mr. Michael Latham

Not that morning.

Mr. Morris

Not that morning. I am grateful to my hon. Friend for pointing that out. It was a few mornings later. We had to wait until 15th July for any form of substantive indication about the detailed situation regarding charities. Then, as the Churches and charities had time to reflect on those considerations during the summer months, they began to see that what the right hon. Gentleman was offering was woefully and wholly unsatisfactory.

Indeed, we come to the early autumn. I believe that the right hon. Gentleman met representatives from the National Council of Social Service and the Churches who were trying to find out how far the Minister would extend exemption and how the interpretation of certain words would affect Churches and charities. There was a further meeting on 17th October. The surprising thing was that, despite these meetings—in fact, as the Lords went into Committee—their Lordships themselves were unclear about the Government's concessions. Indeed their Lordships, at the behest of the Minister in another place, recommitted the Bill.

At that point the Churches and charities wanted a clear definition of what their "own use" was. The right hon. Gentleman has given some clarification this afternoon, but I hope he will repeat and clarify exactly what "own use" means.

The Churches and charities sought a clear definition of the word "curtilage' as it affected them. They put to the right hon. Gentleman substantive reasons why one year was more than adequate for a continuation of use. I find it extremely worrying that the right hon. Gentleman should impugn the good work of charities and Churches by suggesting that if he reduced the period from seven years to one year it would create a major loophole. If there is no loophole between 10 years and seven years, I fail to see how much greater a loophole there can be between seven years and one year.

The charities remain extremely worried because of the impact of development land tax and the great difference that the imposition will make to the pre- and post-White Paper day dates. They pointed out to the right hon. Gentleman that even as late as the Finance Act 1974 concessions were given to charities. They do not believe that there is any need for local authorities to have the duty to acquire their land. Time and again they have said, and the media have repeated, that the 10-year period is too short. They know from practical experience that they will have problems in raising loans on their land value, and that will restrict their work. They know from practical experience that this 10-year period will mean that the value at which they can sell their land will be diminished, because it will be well known in the market that if a charity has only 18 months to run buyers will hold off and there will be depreciation in the value of the land.

The charities and Churches have warned the right hon. Gentleman that the development of church schools will be affected. I am surprised that the Minister has not yet checked with the Secretary of State for Education and Science, because the church schools have a rôle to play in this country. We are led to believe that the Labour Party still believes in church schools. If so, we would have expected the Government, as they are making concessions all the way along, to have exempted church schools and the universities.

I have repeatedly asked the right hon. Gentleman whether he realises the impact that this legislation will have on the older universities. I do not think he has turned his attention to the implications of the Bill for those bodies.

I do not think that adequate compensation arrangements have been made for the Free Church bodies which, as the right hon. Gentleman knows, have a policy of buying land ahead of requirements as the population in certain areas develops.

The Minister suggested that all legacies and gifts will be at the date of the death of the persons concerned. We welcome that marginal concession. But many people have written their wills at this point and left money and land—land in particular—to charities and Churches and they, hopefully, will not die in the next 10 years. Are we to say that a gift of land is no longer to be of any value?

The charities believe that the rigidity of the pre-White Paper date land versus post-White Paper date land will prevent the swapping and exchanging of land which has been the tradition in development in the older parts of our urban areas and in some of the newer development corporation land areas. The charities are to be precluded from undertaking swapping arrangements.

By resisting the Lords amendments, in particular Nos. 13, 152, 154 and 149, the Government will be depriving an area of our national life of the means of doing its work. They do not yet realise the serious nature of what they are undertaking.

In another place the Lord Bishop of London made clear the long historical exceptions for Church and charity land in terms of legislation—over 400 years. That is a fair length of time. For four centuries Governments of all political persuasions have protected the land of charities and Churches. Yet we now see a Labour Government determined to overthrow 400 years of exemption.

Some people say or pretend that charities are not properly regulated. To those who voice those opinions I say that the charities are strictly regulated by the Charity Commissioners. Church land is held in trust and looked after by the Church Commissioners. All other religious bodies are covered by either trustees or Acts of Parliament. Therefore, there is no reason for anyone feeling that there are loopholes here.

Why do the Government want to go against the traditional policy of Parliament? I remind the right hon. Gentleman that the previous Labour Government, within the Land Commission Act—in some ways very much in the same sphere of activity as the Bill we are considering—followed the traditional policy towards Churches and charities. The Minister is an honourable man. If it was Government policy from the start to wish to change the status of charitable land, it behoved the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues to have made it clear to the population at large openly and in full debate.

What we have seen in the months that this matter has dragged on is a take-over by stealth. Every time we have tried to pin the right hon. Gentleman down, we were told that further deliberations and consultations were taking place. So they were, but not in an open manner which enabled the public to understand the Government's view. I find it difficult to understand why the Government do not recognise that those who run Churches and charities, particularly the latter, do not wish for material gain. They have the sole objective of furthering the work of the community.

We all know that no State, no Government, can possibly hope to cope with the requirements and demands of those in need. In particular, no Government have ever yet been able to do the experimental work and take up the individual cases that so many charities do. I suspect that the whole policy behind this move to remove the traditional status of charity and Church land is somehow tied up with the Socialist dogma that the local authority knows best.

It is wrong, when there are these great areas of need in our community and so many charities for so long have done so much, that one of their chief livelihoods should be taken away. I readily concede that the Government have made concessions. The Lord Chancellor himself said that there was a ready recognition of the fact that the charities could not foresee what the Government meant to do.

Even at this late stage, if the Government believe that statutory undertakers, certain other commercial undertakings and agriculture should be exempt, surely the demands of charities far exceed anything else. My contention is supported by the result of the vote in the other place, when, with a majority of 99, their Lordships told the Government—[Interruption.] I would say to the Undersecretary that this is not a laughing matter. I know that they wanted only some charities exempt, but no charity workers are laughing—[Interruption.] I am sorry, but even the Bishops, the Cross-Benchers and long friends of the Minister's party have spoken out against this aspect of the Bill.

It is wrong that the Government should ensure that the supremacy of the State should go over the traditional rights of our charities. If the Government are seeking by stealth to take over the work of our charities, they are doing so in a way which will create what one can only call an economic crucifixion of the Churches and charities. The only redeeming element is that the charities have been given a 10-year lifeline. I am grateful that the point we made on Report has been picked up and that the period, which could have been only nine years, has been put back to 10 years.

I see in this area great sorrow, great problems for the poor in our community who have been helped for so long by our charities and great problems for our schools and universities which are not wholly State-aided. The only redeeming feature is the 10-year lifeline and the hope that within that time there will be a change of Government.

My hon Friend has said that we will repeal the Bill. I hope that the charities and Churches recognise which side of the Chamber is supporting their interests and has honestly and loyally supported them from the first day and pointed out to the Government the error of their ways.

6.15 p.m.

Mr. Douglas Crawford (Perth and East Perthshire)

To adapt a metaphor used earlier by the Minister, I think that we are off for another plod around the course. I thank him for what he has done already—some concessions have been made—but he will not be surprised to learn that I do not think they are enough. They are essentially short-term.

I intend to confine my brief speech to the Churches. Because the concessions are short-term, they cannot by nature or by definition take future changes into account. It is wrong to legislate in such a way that limits are set to the activities of Churches, of all denominations. Populations shift, people move from city centre to outskirts, from one decaying centre of economic activity to a growing centre of new economic activity, from old towns to new towns. This has been going on since before the Church was founded and it will go on for many years—certainly more than the 10 years' grace that the Minister has allowed.

If Churches are to meet the social and spiritual needs of a shifting population, they should be able freely to dispose of land and buildings which are no longer needed and to use the proceeds to purchase land and build buildings where they are needed—in perpetuity.

The Churches' Main Committee and the Church of Scotland—I am speaking primarily on the latter's behalf—has said in a memorandum that the Government's proposals would safeguard the position for 10 years but that once a piece of pre-White Paper day land was given up the replacement land would become subject to the restrictions imposed by the Bill as regards development greater than 10,000 sq.ft. As they say, that is a very low figure for the development of children's and old people's homes.

Finally, the Churches are still subject to normal planning controls. I believe I am right in saying that when they dispose of land they will do so at the same market value as local authorities in a similar situation. I would ask the Minister and the Government to think again. If they accept the Lords amendment, the only difference—to use the felicitous phrasing of the Churches' Main Committee—will be that the Churches would remain free to develop land without the intervention of the local authority and…instead of any development value flowing to the community through the local authority and the State, it would flow to the community direct, through the work done for the community by the Churches in the moral and spiritual values which they sustain and the social services they provide. I would ask the Government, for that reason, to think again.

Mr. Stephen Ross

The question of prevailing use value will lead to enormous problems in the years ahead. I understand from the Official Report of the debate in the other place that the Lord Chancellor said: 'prevailing use value' is the term used to describe a method of valuation, originally conceived in the Planning Act 1947, in which it is assumed that planning permission would be granted for any development by virtue of which the use of the land would be made to correspond with the use which prevails generally in the land round about. "—[Official Report, House of Lords, 4th November 1975: Vol. 365; c. 1028–9.] I can foresee enormous problems in this and arguments about what the prevailing use of the land is in the district. Valuers acting for charities might claim that it is residential land while local authorities might argue that it is gardens or public open spaces. Cases will go to land tribunals and be argued at great length.

Mr. Rossi

Does the hon. Member agree that this amendment is not as generous as the Lord Chancellor would have us believe? In another place he spoke of the prevailing use in the neighbourhood or area of the Church land concerned, but the amendment refers only to contiguous or adjacent land. This is a very precise definition which means only the adjoining piece of land.

Mr. Ross

I accept that. I would have great difficulty in deciding how to evaluate the prevailing use. The term "prevailing use" might have been used in the Town and Country Planning Act 1947, but that measure was repealed and I do not think that the expression has been used in planning circles since. I can understand why Churches and charities are so worried and I can see great difficulties ahead.

Churches and charities have been involved in development and have in some cases become speculators. They have had to do this in order to bring in some money. They have sold land at the highest market prices they could obtain. They have not done the actual development because they have not possessed the necessary specialised expertise. I have been concerned with some such developments and have been unhappy about them because the planners have not always agreed with what local people wanted to see done. A development has sometimes moved out of local control.

However, if we are to take away this right of Churches something must be put in its place. One trembles to think what might happen to the Haig Fund, the Cheshire Homes or the Churches in 10 years' time. They are already facing enough difficulties. I appreciate the Government's point of view, but, if they are not prepared to accept that the Churches and charities should be able to deal with their own land as they wish, some sort of compensation fund must be set up to enable these bodies to continue their good work, which take an enormous load off the State.

I support the Lords amendment because there is nothing else coming forward to deal with the situation after 10 years has elapsed. I hope that the Government will reconsider whether there is something they can do to help Churches and charities to overcome this enormous problem.

Mr. Michael Latham

In local government and in this House I have always agreed with the party system and party discipline, and I accept that when the Division Bell rings the Government troops will support the Minister. However, if ever there was a case for having a full House to listen to an argument, this is it. I know that hon. Members on all sides have many other engagements, but I regret that there are only five hon. Members on the Government Benches—four Ministers and one PPS. If Labour Members had heard the arguments, I am sure they would strongly oppose having a Whip on this matter. We feel strongly on this subject and we deeply regret that the Minister has chosen to disagree with the Lords in the amendment.

I have always been dissatisfied with the Government's concessions. When the statement was made by the Minister in Committee, I and a number of colleagues asked detailed and specific questions about how charities would be affected and we were particularly critical about the 10-year rule. On Report, the Minister gave the impression that the Opposition were carping by pursuing their objections. He accused us of exaggeration, and when we claimed that charities were not satisfied he said that the Government were having full and frank discussions with them and would meet their points.

I cannot quote what the Bishop of London said in another place, but it is an accurate paraphrase to say that he regarded the concessions as very meagre and dry crumbs falling from the Government's table. The Lord Chancellor said of the amendment moving back the 10-year period to 11 years: I agree that it would be wrong to build that up into a great and important matter; but, at any rate, it will be an addition of convenience that, in the decade now ahead, will help the Churches and charities to meet the situation which the Bill presents them with."—[Official Report, House of Lords, 4th November 1975; Vol. 365, c. 998.] The Churches Main Committee sent a memorandum to all hon. Members on 6th November stating that it is very far from satisfied with the concessions made by the Government so far. The memorandum states: unfortunately, most of these special provisions were essentially short-term in their effect and would leave the churches and charities eventually in much the same position as they have always feared ever since this legislation was first proposed. The exemption on White Paper day land does not concern them. That is satisfactory. The difficulty they face is what happens about land they did not own then. It is not practicable for all Churches, as the Government suggest, to arrange their affairs in respect of their White Paper day land within 11 years.

The memorandum from the Churches Main Committee states: Not only is such a period no time at all in the history of churches and charities, many of which have been in existence for hundreds of years, but quite apart from the special difficulty of doing this in present economic circumstances, who is to say what the social needs will be 20, 50 or 100 years hence which the churches and charities must seek to satisfy? The long-term and on-going work of Churches and charities is very important. For instance, the British Legion, which is very much in our thoughts at this time of year, is building new homes on land which it may have only just acquired. This is one of the reasons why we regard the concessions as so unsatisfactory. I shall not go into the argument of whether Churches should be what the Lord Chancellor described as a special privileged body, but let no one come here and try to pretend that the Churches are satisfied with the concessions. They are certainly not satisfied with them.

6.30 p.m.

I move now from the general to the particular and to a matter which I raised on Report. The Government promised then to look at it. It concerns post-White Paper day land which is owned by one charity and is subsequently disposed of to another charity but which in between is owned by a non-charity owner.

The amendments to Lords Amendment No. 13 and to the later Lords amendment refer specifically to the fact that the land has been owned by a charity, but not necessarily by the same charity throughout. On Report I suggested that this seemed an unreasonably narrow restriction. I could see that the right hon. Gentleman was worried about evasion. I put it to him that it was perfectly possible to imagine circumstances in which one charity found that it had land which was surplus to its requirements but disposed of that land to a developer who subsequently sold it to another charity. The land which was sterilised would therefore be released for a satisfactory community purpose. In such circumstances, two concessions would be lost entirely because the land had gone out of charity possession, if only for a few days, during conveyancing. That is nonsense.

Mr. Rossi

It would not necessarily be out of charity hands even for a few days. Recently I had drawn to my attention a situation in which a former Baptist church had for a number of years been used as an industrial storehouse. Subsequently it was used as a synagogue, and it has remained in that use since. The situation of which my hon. Friend speaks could arise there.

Mr. Latham

I am grateful for that constructive example. I understood the Minister on Report to say that he would look at this matter again. As far as I know from a fairly careful reading of the proceedings in another place, this point was not raised there. Have the Government considered it? If they have, why have they done nothing about it.

Dr. Keith Hampson (Ripon)

I rise with great trepidation at this stage of the debate on a complicated Bill, but it is essential for me to do so because it is important to wave the flag on behalf of British universities. They are great international institutions. I am sure that the Minister has had representations from them, although I am not sure what views they have put to him since his so-called concessions. I have an interest in universities, and I am not satisfied with the present state of affairs.

I wonder what co-ordination and liaison there is between Departments of State over provisions which clearly have wide ramifications in other sectors. At a time when everyone is complaining about the financial stringency affecting universities, when they are beset at every level with calls to economise, they are facing a provision which potentially could do them great damage simply because their property operations, which are crucial to them, will be hit by these provisions.

The universities have as good a history of estate management as local authorities. They have worked very closely with the local authorities. They are required by their charters to make such deals in the public interest, and it is extraordinary for the Government to hang the sword of Damocles over their heads. It is not possible for them to sort out their planning affairs within the time scale that the Minister has provided.

Perhaps I may give a couple of examples to highlight a situation which affects many universities. The Bill will distort and confuse the long-term forward planning of these institutions, and that will be to no one's benefit. Already there have been examples in some parts of the country of an exchange of land between the universities and the local authorities. Or a valuable piece of land owned by a university, but possibly on the periphery of its developments, is offered to a local authority or sold in exchange for a more central site.

In other instances it is important for the universities to be able to sell land to raise money to pay for other developments on the campus. This practice has come to the fore in university planning on student housing and on developments involving housing associations. Such programmes will be seriously affected. I received a letter which explained how in one of the University of London colleges such developments can arise at short notice. In one instance a very desirable piece of property, suitable for housing, came on to the market but the cost was very high. The university had to do a deal with the National Westminster Bank to lease part of that property in order to secure the money to buy the property and convert it.

Another instance concerned an old house with land attached to it. By selling the land the university realised £12, 000, which assisted the cost of new student accommodation to the extent of £1,000 per unit. Without that deal the university would have had to charge an extra £2 a week in rent to the students. The Government, like everyone else, are conscious of the pressures on students in housing, yet a system by which the universities can alleviate that pressure is threatened by Government measures. The Minister's concessions do not ease that position.

There is, therefore, little purpose but potentially much harm in refusing to exempt universities. If we are to maintain standards in our universities, we must allow them freedom in planning so that they may release surplus land and buy land that they require, and to carry out the sort of deals I have described. As things stand, the Government risk causing the universities either to push forward too hastily with their planning activities or to distort their forward planning.

Mr. Tony Durant (Reading, North)

I feel strongly on this subject. I wish to deal with charities such as old people's homes. These charities require greater flexibility than the Government's proposals will afford them. The needs which they seek to meet change frequently, and if they can sell property or land which they may own this will assist them in meeting that changing need. If they wish, therefore, to move into another area of charitable activity, they can do so. The Government must take that into account. Often the charities move into areas of new need well ahead of the State. Take, for example, the provision of centres for drug addicts, battered wives or single-parent families. Charities often move in long before the State catches up. The Government's proposals will detract from their ability to carry out those activities. They will be deprived of realising the means to meet changing needs since they will be unable to sell their land.

Mr. Graham Page

It is a most serious matter that this issue has not been left to a free vote of the House. All parties agreed in Committee that there should be substantial concessions for charities and the Churches. Representations which we received from the Church leaders almost invariably stated—rather strangely, perhaps—that they supported the principles of the Bill. I do not think they understood what those principles were, but nevertheless they were friendly towards the Government. Now, we are being called upon to vote down what the Churches and charities should be receiving from the Government.

When the Government announced in Committee that they would accede to the requests of the Churches and charities to be relieved of the burdens of the Bill, we all received pleasant little letters saying "We are so glad that the Government have given us what we asked for." But the Government had done nothing of the sort. Among Members of all parties there was a desire to give the Churches and charities freedom from the Bill—in short, to leave them in control in the management of their properties for charitable purposes, and not to hand over that control to local authorities. That is what will happen if the Bill sees its whole life through to the second appointed day.

Churches and charities, which are the best people to know how to manage Church and charitable property, are being told that eventually that property will be taken away from them and put into the management of local authorities. The main point is that the Government have conceded some relief to the Churches and charities only in respect of land held on 12th September 1974. That is no concession at all, because it takes away the whole possibility of managing that land to the best advantage of the charity. I beg the Minister to think again. He still has time to give the Churches and charities what they believed they were getting.

We have been talking in shorthand by speaking of charities. The word covers a great number of bodies without which this country could not operate. If those bodies—the universities, the schools, the almshouses, the old people's homes, the British Legion, the Salvation Army and the Cheshire Homes—are to be deprived of the right to manage their property as they think fit for charitable purposes, they will be hampered by the fact that it will be taken away from them eventually, at current use value, and then kindly handed back again, perhaps, on the basis of a ground lease with variable rents—another taxation on them. We shall then destroy a whole part of our society.

It is a serious matter that the Patronage Secretary and other Government Whips have not allowed Labour Members to express the sort of feelings expressed by one of them, the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, Central (Mr. McNamara) in Committee and on Report. I believe that the hon. Gentleman is out of the country on a mission, but he could at least have persuaded some of his colleagues to speak in the House according to their conscience.

Mr. Joseph Dean (Leeds, West)

The right hon. Member for Crosby (Mr. Page) painted only one side of what he described as charitable or Church institutions. Some of us who represent the larger cities have in our constituencies property that has been held for a number of years by various denominations and is now in a terrible state. I do not suppose that any hon. Member present could quantify the number of half-demolished chapels in some such areas.

I, too, have received objections to some of the clauses relating to churches and chapels, but my correspondents seeking exemption were more concerned not with the redevelopment of a chapel on a site which was in a shocking state, one that had been unused for some time, but with exploiting the land on the open market. I do not consider that that would be in the best interests of the ratepayer or the taxpayer, or of the public generally. It is only right that land which has obviously become surplus to requirements, because a church or chapel on the site can no longer be sustained, should be subject to the Bill.

6.45 p.m.

Mr. Graham Page

The local authorities have complete power to purchase such properties now, if they think that they are derelict, unsightly or unrepaired. The charities have power to sell them. We are talking not about properties which may be in a bad state of repair but of valuable properties belonging to charities and Churches.

Mr. Dean

I take the point, but is not the right hon. Gentleman only highlighting the fact that it is difficult to apply a set standard to deal with every contingency? I am the first to admit that there are valuable properties on valuable land that may require consideration. But certain areas are dotted with half-derelict chapels. That is particularly true of the area in which I live and which I represent. I could take hon. Members to any number within a short distance of one another that are an eyesore by any standards, because the church authorities which should have maintained them have never had the money to do so.

It is true that the local authority could purchase them and perhaps put them in order. I know a local authority that tried to do that with a church, making a compulsory purchase order to retain the building because it had some architectural merit. But the cost of putting the building in a reasonable condition was astronomical, and the whole preservation scheme had to be abandoned. Public spending priorities would not allow the authority to use money in that way.

Although there may be a case for certain charities, I believe that the Bill is correct and that it contains enough safeguards.

Dr. Hampson

If local authorities do not have enough money to do the work under existing powers, how on earth will they do it on a wider scale under the Bill?

Mr. Dean

The hon. Gentleman misses the point. I am talking about areas where the people concerned have no intention of rebuilding a church but are trying to capitalise on a derelict site. Whether a building is a chapel, a church or an old folk's home, if it has become derelict and is on a derelict site it should be covered by the Bill. I have no qualms about supporting the Bill.

Mr. Durant

There was a Private Member's Bill which covered the very point the hon. Gentleman is making. Its provisions could be included in the present Bill. That Private Member's Bill would have given a local authority the right to ask the church to do up the kind of building to which he refers, a building of architectural interest.

Mr. Dean

The hon. Gentleman is speaking about a definite matter. I am talking about a large number of derelict churches or chapels within a short distance of one another, for whose preservation there is no provision. Anyone who is naive enough to think that local authorities will waste money on conservation of that type, when economic stringency is interfering with high-priority schemes, is living in cloud-cuckoo-land. I think that the Bill will do the job that it is supposed to do.

Mr. Rossi

The hon. Member for Leeds, West (Mr. Dean) suffers from the fact that he has only recently entered the argument about the possibility of exempting Church and charity land. If he had been with us on Second Reading, in Committee and on Report, he would have found that the essence of the case made by the Churches was that they possessed in inner city areas chapels and church buildings which had become derelict because of the shift of population away from those areas. The Churches need to be able to realise the value of those buildings at a market rate so that they may build new churches and new chapels in the areas to which the population has gone. That case has been accepted by the Government. That is why I say it is a pity that the hon. Gentleman has come so late into these discussions.

Mr. Dean rose

Mr. Rossi

The hon. Gentleman should know that the Government have accepted the argument about redundant buildings in city centres. What we are quarrelling about is that the Government are giving only 10 years' grace to derelict chapels.

Mr. Dean

Too much.

Mr. Rossi

During our debates in Committee and on Report we were painfully aware that there was great antipathy on Labour Back Benches towards churches and chapels.

Mr. Bruce Grocott (Lichfield and Tamworth)


Mr. Rossi

What were we told when we were discussing whether charities as well as Churches should receive some grace? The Government said "Some may receive grace, but we do not like the look of others." There were discussions as to whether educational establishments were worthy charities deserving of special consideration by those of Socialist mentality. We were told that there was a range of charities that should not be given any assistance. Why should this be so? It seems that it is the Socialist mentality that the State shall do all. In their thinking there is no room for any help to be given to a member of the community other than that which is provided by bureaucrats obeying politicians' orders. That is why they want to mop up as much land as they can into what they call public ownership. They do not trust other people to manage, dispose of and deal with land responsibly.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Northampton, South (Mr. Morris) said, we started our discussions on Churches and charities with the Government not prepared to give them any help. There was nothing in the White Paper or the Bill that gave any help. It was only when enormous pressures were brought upon the Government from both outside and inside the House that they suddenly realised they would be in enormous trouble if they failed to give assistance to the powerful voices that were being ranged against them.

What are the crumbs of comfort to which reference has been made? I must censure some of my hon. Friends for talking about the Government giving concessions. The Government go about clobbering everyone they possibly can. When they say "We shall clobber him a little less than everyone else", they regard that as a great deal. That is their so-called great concession. It is an abuse of the English language. No concession is being made by adopting that attitude.

The charities and the Churches are greatly disturbed by what is being done. Interestingly enough, in the Divisions in another place two Lord Bishops acted as Tellers. That was a historic occasion for Parliament. That is an indication of the concern that the Bishops feel for the future of their institutions. It is for those reasons that I say to my right hon. and hon. Friends that we must support the Lords in their amendments and reject the amendments that are being proposed by the Government.

It is significant that apart from one lone and uninformed voice on this subject—I refer to the hon. Member for Leeds, West—the Government have had no friends. Not one Labour Member, apart from the hon. Member for Leeds, West, has had the temerity to face the embarrassment of listening to the case being made against the Government, let alone coming in and defending the Government's position. Where are Labour Members? Look at the empty benches behind the Minister. It seems that Labour Members do not have the courage to defend their Government on these matters.

First, we complain that the period of grace is given to Churches and charities only in respect of land they happened to own on White Paper day—namely, l2th September 1974. We have been told by those who manage the lands of Churches and charities that this will cause them considerable hardship. It is part of their land management to transfer and exchange property with others. That movement of property does not necessarily take place between one charity and another; it can take place between a charity and a private owner. It takes place so that a Church or charity may obtain a piece of land that it needs for its purposes. If these bodies continue with that kind of exercise, the land that is acquired by that kind of prudent estate management will not be exempt from the operation of the Bill. The result will be to fossilise the activities of Churches and charities to the detriment of the community at large, which benefits from the activities of Churches and charities.

The second matter that causes us and the Churches and charities great concern is that the acquisition of their property by local authorities is something over which they have no control. There is no exemption and they are subject utterly and completely to acquisition when a local authority considers that a certain piece of land is suitable for development. The charity or church concerned will get the market price for that land for only 10 years.

It might be said that the Churches and charities should start disposing of their land straight away so that they may get their price within the 10 years. However, matters are not quite as easy as that. The value of land in 10 years' time has a bearing on the amount that can be borrowed on it today. If the value of a piece of land owned by a Church or charity reduces substantially in value in 10 years, as it will do under the Bill, the amount that can be borrowed to build a new church, an old people's home or a home for the mentally handicapped, for example, will be restricted. That borrowing being restricted, the activities of charities and Churches will be severely inhibited.

Therefore, I ask my right hon. and hon. Friends to support the Churches and charities—in a way in which the Labour Government and members of the Labour Party are not prepared to support them—by voting for the Lords amendment.

7.0 p.m.

Mr. Oakes

The hon. Member for Hornsey (Mr. Rossi) and the hon. Member for Northampton, South (Mr. Morris) took the foolish step of seeking to mix religion with politics. They appeared to suggest that all the virtue in these matters was with the Opposition, whose Members had done their utmost to wring concessions out of the Government. They know that there is not a grain of truth in that proposition.

The Opposition know that on Second Reading my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Wales said that negotiations and discussions were in progress at that stage with the Churches and charities. They also know that in Committee I said that following discussions with the Churches and the charities a new clause had been tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull, Central (Mr. McNamara)—who, in this context, I must emphasise, sits on the Government side of the House and is not an Opposition Member—a provision to which the hon. Member for Perth and East Perthshire (Mr. Crawford) added his name. However, it is almost being sug gested that the Government on these matters are anti-religion and anti-charity—

Dr. Hampson

And anti-university.

Mr. Oakes

I am now being told that we are anti-university too. It is being said that the Opposition are trying to wring concessions out of the Government in order to assist the charities. Let us look at the matter as a whole and not merely in its historical context. I do not know whether any count has been taken by those upstairs in the Gallery who examine the private interests of hon. Members and their outside activities, but I would lay odds that if we were to count the number of lay readers and lay preachers far more of them would be found on the Government Benches than among Opposition Members.

Mr. Raison

Where are they?

Mr. Oakes

I shall tell the hon. Gentleman where many of them are. Many are upstairs at a meeting discussing the economy. I remind Opposition Members that absence from the Chamber is often as a result of contentment and not a matter of embarrassment. Certainly, if my hon. Friends were here I am sure that they would be more embarrassed after having heard some of the Opposition speeches than by anything that has been said on the Government side of the House.

We have many times been over the ground covered by these provisions. Let us examine the essential difference of approach by hon. Members on the Government Benches and that adopted by their Lordships' House—an approach which is now being backed by the Conservative Opposition. We are saying, and we have said throughout, that Churches and charities are by their nature in a special position because of the good they do and also because of their status. I think that is agreed on both sides of the House.

We are now considering a land scheme for the future, and attempts have been made by the representatives of the Churches, charities and universities in consultation with the Government to find a way in which their interests will not be overridden, as Opposition Members appear to suggest will happen. This is the reason why so many amendments have been made to the Bill. We want special provisions in relation to Churches and charities that will assist them and to make the transition to the new situation, without prejudice to any commitment into which they have entered in respect of land they owned before they had any knowledge of the scheme. It is not intended, and it never has been intended—this is where the Labour Government and the other place are at issue—that Churches and charities should remain permanently outside the scheme altogether.

The effect of the amendments would be widespread. They would have the effect of including in "current use value" the value of any planning permission obtained by a charity in respect of any land acquired at any time. It would mean that the charities would be outside the scheme in respect of receiving the market value for their land in perpetuity. It would create a special category of land, with all the difficulties which that would entail for local authorities.

A number of valid points have been made in the debate, and I wish to answer them. The hon. Member for Northampton, South and the hon. Member for Ripon (Dr. Hampson), whom I welcome to our coterie on land matters, mentioned the universities, particularly the older ones. Do those hon. Gentlemen realise that 99.9 per cent. of land held by the universities benefits from the White Paper day exemptions? We are, therefore, talking of a tiny, indeed minuscule, fraction of land acquired since White Paper day.

Let us get the matter in perspective in regard to the question of the payment of market value. The situation in future will be no different from the present position. Local authorities pay market value for the land they now buy, and they will continue to do so.

Dr. Hampson

Is it not a fact that universities go in for exchanges of the kind I mentioned? Therefore, does not the use come within the provision, and will the Bill apply? Is it not also possible that land could be acquired at below market value which had been purchased with UGC money and later could be sold by local authorities at a much higher price, and will not this take that profit out of the Treasury? Do not these matters amount to an anomaly?

Mr. Oakes

I do not know what the hon. Gentleman means by "exchange" in the university context, because if universities or charities exchange land for a charitable use the provisions of the Bill will hardly affect them. We are talking here of disposal of land rather than of exchange.

Dr. Hampson

The Minister will remember that I gave an example of land in a peripheral area outside the campus.

Mr. Oakes

That is another category, but it is still not exchange of land but rather the sale of land. It may be surplus to requirements, but it does not fall within the ordinary meaning of "exchange".

The hon. Member for Northampton, South asked about the difference between statutory undertakers and charities. One important difference is that statutory undertakers are ordered by statute to undertake a particular job. It is not true, as the hon. Gentleman implied, that statutory undertakers are exempt from the provisions of the Bill. They are not. They are exempt from its provisions only as they relate to operational land.

Mr. Michael Morris

I thought I had made it clear that I was not talking of operational land. If not, I do so now. If the charities and Churches could have their operational land exempted, we would be going some way towards what they are looking for.

Mr. Oakes

Very largely as a result of the amendments that have been made, much of the operational land of Churches and charities is exempted. It is not stated as being exempted, but that effectively is what happens as a result of what we have done during the course of the Bill.

The hon. Member for Perth and East Perthshire said that charities and Churches were especially subject to shifting changes. I do not deny that. My hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, West (Mr. Dean) made the same point. Churches in the city areas become derelict because of population changes. But there is no cause to believe that charities will be better off in getting their land from the private rather than from the public sector. The reverse might apply. There is no argument for the proposition that they would be better off. Furthermore they will still buy at market value. This question of buying has to be made quite clear. Churches and charities will be buying at market value, as is the position now.

The hon. Member for the Isle of Wight (Mr. Ross)—I am not inviting him to intervene now, but I recall that I made an offer to give way to him during the course of my reply—dealt with the question of prevailing use value and what it meant. He also raised the issue of the words used by the Lord Chancellor in the House of Lords. There is no doubt that there are problems here. In some cases, for example a disused church in the High Street, it is obvious that the prevailing use will be shops. As for the point about contiguous and adjacent, "contiguous" means adjoining but adjacent land need not be physically adjoining. "Adjacent" means "near to". Thus the Lord Chancellor inevitably was right. If there is dispute as to whether something is contiguous or adjacent, or about what the prevailing use is in an area, it can be settled by the Lands Tribunal, as such matters are settled now in respect of market value, which can be difficult to assess.

Mr. Stephen Ross

The Churches chose their sponsors cleverly. We had these original amendments sent to us. I shall not dwell on that point. As regards the issue of prevailing use, the Minister has illustrated what the problems will be. Obviously local authorities will argue when a Church or charity is selling land and claiming prevailing use value, which may be approaching market value. This will lead to enormous problems which may end up in the Lands Tribunal. This could take a year or two to deal with. This is what the Churches are scared about.

Mr. Oakes

It will lead to some disputes. Anything can lead to disputes. On the whole, I think that these will be exceptional. The terms "prevailing use value", "land contiguous", "land adjacent" and so on are fairly easy to understand. In the vast majority of cases agreement will be reached about the value. The obvious example is the church in the High Street surrounded by shops and office development. In that case there is a high prevailing use value.

Mr. Costain

Does that mean that the church in the High Street will be pulled down prematurely so that this extra value may be realised?

7.15 p.m.

Mr. Oakes

We are not talking about pulling down churches prematurely. That is returning to the argument about derelict churches and chapels. It is an important strand but not the main strand in our debate. It has been dealt with basically by the Government amendments put forward in Committee.

The hon. Member for Melton (Mr. Latham) asked what would be the position if land was sold from a charity to a non-charity within a short period of time. The answer is that it would lose its charitable status. If the land is bought by another charity, the time starts to run again. The time would begin from the time at which it was bought by the other charity. If the land left the charity, went to another use—I remember answering this point on Report—and could then revert to its charitable status and the time elapsed ran from the first charity, it is clear that all sorts of difficulties could be created and there would be the possibility of using such a method as a device for evasion, not by the charities but by others.

Mr. Michael Latham

The point that the hon. Gentleman has described me as making earlier was not the point I made at all. He said on Report that he would consider the matter carefully and see whether anything could be done. Is he now saying that he has done so and that nothing can be done?

Mr. Oakes

Yes. We considered it carefully when these amendments were considered in Committee in another place. On balance, because of the arguments I have given, we think that no harm will be done by leaving this provision as it is but that much harm could result by seeking to amend it in the way suggested.

The hon. Member for Reading, North Mr. Durant) mentioned centres for drug addicts, battered wives and so on. We are not talking about such things in this amendment because overwhelmingly such charities use existing buildings. They take over a building and that building is not affected.

Mr. Durant

My point is that a charity might find that its original charitable purpose had declined and it might decide to enter a new area. It might need to move away from its existing base. That is the point—moving from a need which has declined to another need and a changing location.

Mr. Oakes

When the time arises, that may be so. When it bought other premises, that charity would have to do so in the same way as it does now. There is no change.

Let me sum up the position with regard to charity land, given not only the amendments made in Committee but the valuable amendments concerning the seven years and the building on the land made by my right hon. Friend today as a result of some of the amendments from the other place. What is the position with charity land, post-White Paper? On buying, I repeat that the charity will buy at market value, as now. There will be a liability to duty if relevant development is being sought. If the charity owned the land, it would have prior right to get it back for development. In the carrying out of exempted development, only the power of acquisition would apply. My right hon. Friend has said that he would not expect to confirm compulsory purchase orders where development was for a charity's operational use, which is similar to what I was saying about statutory undertakers and so on. The charity will also attract the minor benefits in the seven-year period.

Considerable progress was made after the Second Reading debate. The Secretary of State for Wales announced that negotiations were proceeding. Long transitional provisions are necessary. These have been provided by the Government and meet many of the points made by the Churches and the charities.

Division No. 392.] AYES [7.24 p.m.
Abse, Leo Bean, R. E. Butler, Mrs Joyce (Wood Green)
Allaun, Frank Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood Callaghan, Rt Hon J. (Cardiff SE)
Anderson, Donald Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N) Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P)
Archer, Peter Bidwell, Sydney Campbell, Ian
Armstrong, Ernest Bishop, E. S. Canavan, Dennis
Ashley, Jack Boardman, H. Cant, R. B.
Ashton, Joe Booth, Albert Carmichael, Neil
Atkins, Ronald (Preston N) Bottomley, Rt Hon Arthur Carter, Ray
Atkinson, Norman Boyden, James (Bish Auck) Carter-Jones, Lewis
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Brown, Hugh D (Provan) Cartwright, John
Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood) Buchan, Norman Castle, Rt Hon Barbara
Bates, Alf Buchanan, Richard Clemitson, Ivor

I do not think that the Churches and charities ask for permanent exemption, in perpetuity, from this land scheme. The Government could not accept such exemption in perpetuity. We have moved a long way in making the transitional arrangements. Most charities, some of the Churches and many churchmen accept that position.

Mr. Raison

The Minister said that the Churches had not asked for long-term exemption from this scheme. I received a letter from the Churches' Main Committee, which reads: The Government have explained the short term nature of their new provisions by their desire not to allow the establishment in perpetuity of a specially privileged class of land-owner. But Churches and charities are by their very nature in a unique position, as the Minister himself recognised in his speech on 15th July, and they have traditionally been treated as such since Tudor times on grounds of the benefit which they bring to the community and the fact that the whole of their resources are devoted solely to the community. None goes into private pockets. What the Churches and charities are asking, there fore, is not that they should be given a privilege which they have not hitherto had, but that they should retain the position which they have always had, and which Governments of all political persuasions have been at pains to maintain. That contradicts what the Minister said. In the long term the Churches will find it much harder to carry out their charitable and social work. They will find it much harder to pay their clergymen and their ministers, who are the most abysmally paid people in the entire population. The same criterion applies to charities generally. It is not good enough for the Minister to speak as he did this evening. I ask the Opposition—indeed, the whole House—to support the Lords amendments.

Question put. That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes, 273, Noes 265.

Cocks, Michael (Bristol S) Jackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln) Price, C. (Lewisham W)
Coleman, Donald Janner, Greville Price, William (Rugby)
Concannon, J. D. Jay, Rt Hon Douglas Radice, Giles
Conlan, Bernard Jeger, Mrs Lena Richardson, Miss Jo
Cook, Robin F. (Edin C) Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Corbett, Robin Jenkins, Rt Hon Roy (Stechford) Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock)
Cox, Thomas (Tooting) John, Brynmor Robertson, John (Paisley)
Craigen, J. M. (Maryhill) Johnson, James (Hull West) Roderick, Caerwyn
Crawshaw, Richard Johnson, Walter (Derby S) Rodgers, George (Chorley)
Cronin, John Jones, Alec (Rhondda) Rodgers, William (Stockton)
Crosland, Rt Hon Anthony Jones, Barry (East Flint) Rooker, J. W.
Cryer, Bob Jones, Dan (Burnley) Roper, John
Cunningham, G. (Islington S) Judd, Frank Rose, Paul B.
Cunningham, Dr J (Whiteh) Kaufman, Gerald Ross, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock)
Davidson, Arthur Kelley, Richard Rowlands, Ted
Davies, Bryan (Enfield N) Kerr, Russell Sandelson, Neville
Davies, Denzil (Llanelli) Kilroy-Silk, Robert Sedgemore, Brian
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Kinnock, Neil Selby, Harry
Davis, Clinton (Hackney C) Lambie, David Shaw, Arnold (Ilford South)
Deakins, Eric Lamborn, Harry Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-u-Lyne)
Dean, Joseph (Leeds West) Lamond, James Short, Rt Hon E. (Newcastle C)
Delargy, Hugh Latham, Arthur (Paddington) Short, Mrs Renée(Wolv NE)
Dell, Rt Hon Edmund Leadbitter, Ted Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford)
Dempsey, James Lee, John Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)
Doig, Peter Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough) Sillars, James
Dormand, J. D. Lever, Rt Hon Harold Silverman, Julius
Douglas-Mann, Bruce Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Small, William
Duffy, A. E. P. Lipton, Marcus Smith, John (N Lanarkshire)
Dunn, James A. Litterick, Tom Spearing, Nigel
Dunnett, Jack Loyden, Eddie Spriggs, Leslie
Eadie, Alex Luard, Evan Stallard, A. W.
Edge, Geoff Lyon, Alexander (York) Stoddart, David
Edwards, Robert (Wolv SE) Lyons, Edward (Bradford W) Stonehouse, Rt Hon John
Ellis, John (Brigg & Scun) Mabon, Dr J. Dickson Stott, Roger
English, Michael McCartney, Hugh Strang, Gavin
Evans, Fred (Caerphilly) McElhone, Frank Strauss, Rt Hon G. R.
Evans, Ioan (Aberdare) MacFarquhar, Roderick Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
Ewing, Harry (Stirling) McGuire, Michael (Ince) Swain, Thomas
Fernyhough, Rt Hon E. Mackenzie, Gregor Taylor, Mrs. Ann (Bolton W)
Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Mackintosh, John P. Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Fitt, Gerard (Belfast W) Maclennan, Robert Thomas, Mike (Newcastle E)
Flannery, Martin McMillan, Tom (Glasgow C) Thomas, Ron (Bristol NW)
Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston) Madden, Max Thome, Stan (Preston South)
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Magee, Bryan Tierney, Sydney
Foot, Rt Hon Michael Mahon, Simon Tinn, James
Forrester, John Mallalieu, J. P. W. Tomlinson, John
Fowler, Gerald (The Wrekin) Marks, Kenneth Tomney, Frank
Fraser, John (Lambeth, N'w'd) Marquand, David Torney, Tom
Freeson, Reginald Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole) Tuck, Raphael
Garrett, John (Norwich S) Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne V)
Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend) Maynard, Miss Joan Walden, Brian (B'ham, L'dyw'd)
George, Bruce Meacher, Michael Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Gilbert, Dr John Mellish, Rt Hon Robert Walker, Terry (Kingswood)
Ginsburg, David Mikardo, Ian Ward, Michael
Golding, John Millan, Bruce Watkins, David
Gould, Bryan Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride) Watkinson, John
Gourlay, Harry Miller, Mrs Millie (Ilford N) Weetch, Ken
Graham, Ted Molloy, William Weitzman, David
Grant, George (Morpeth) Moonman, Eric Wellbeloved, James
Grant, John (Islington C) Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) White, Frank R. (Bury)
Grocott, Bruce Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) White, James (Pollok)
Hardy, Peter Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon) Whitehead, Phillip
Harper, Joseph Moyle, Roland Whitlock, William
Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Mulley, Rt Hon Frederick Willey, Rt Hon Frederick
Hart, Rt Hon Judith Murray, Rt Hon Ronald King Williams, Alan (Swansea W)
Hatton, Frank Newens, Stanley Williams, Alan Lee (Hornch'ch)
Hayman, Mrs Helene Noble, Mike Williams, Rt Hon Shirley (Hertford)
Healey, Rt Hon Denis Oakes, Gordon Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Heffer, Eric S. Ogden, Eric Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Hooley, Frank O'Halloran, Michael Wilson, Rt Hon H. (Huyton)
Horam, John O'Malley, Rt Hon Brian Wilson, William (Coventry SE)
Howell, Denis (B'ham, Sm H) Orbach, Maurice Wise, Mrs Audrey
Hoyle, Doug (Nelson) Orme, Rt Hon Stanley Woodall, Alec
Huckfield, Les Ovenden, John Woof, Robert
Hughes, Rt Hon C. (Anglesey) Owen, Dr David Wrigglesworth, Ian
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Padley, Walter Young, David (Bolton E)
Hughes, Roy (Newport) Palmer, Arthur
Hunter, Adam Park, George TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Irvine, Rt Hon Sir A. (Edge Hill) Parker, John Mr. James Hamilton and
Irving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford) Parry, Robert Mr. Laurie Pavitt.
Jackson, Colin (Brighouse)
Adley, Robert Gow, Ian (Eastbourne) Moore, John (Croydon C)
Aitken, Jonathan Gower, Sir Raymond (Barry) More, Jasper (Ludlow)
Alison, Michael Grant, Anthony (Harrow C) Morgan, Geraint
Amery, Rt Hon Julian Gray, Hamish Morris, Michael (Northampton S)
Arnold, Tom Grieve, Percy Morrison, Charles (Devizes)
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne) Griffiths, Eldon Morrison, Hon Peter (Chester)
Awdry, Daniel Grimond, Rt Hon J. Mudd, David
Bain, Mrs Margaret Grist, Ian Neave, Airey
Baker, Kenneth Grylls, Michael Neubert, Michael
Banks, Robert Hall, Sir John Newton, Tony
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torbay) Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Nott, John
Bennett, Dr Reginald (Fareham) Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Onslow, Cranley
Benyon, W. Hampson, Dr Keith Oppenheim, Mrs Sally
Biffen, John Hannam, John Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby)
Biggs-Davison, John Harrison, Col Sir Harwood (Eye) Pardoe, John
Blaker, Peter Harvie Anderson, Rt Hon Miss Pattie, Geoffrey
Body, Richard Hastings, Stephen Penhaligon, David
Boscawen, Hon Robert Havers, Sir Michael Percival, Ian
Bottomley, Peter Hawkins, Paul Peyton, Rt Hon John
Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown) Hayhoe, Barney Pink, R. Bonner
Boyson, Dr Rhodes(Brent) Henderson, Douglas Powell, Rt Hon J. Enoch
Braine, Sir Bernard Heseltine, Michael Price, David (Eastleigh)
Brittan, Leon Hicks, Robert Prior, Rt Hon James
Brocklebank-Fowler, C. Higgins, Terence L. Pym, Rt Hon Francis
Brotnerton, Michael Holland, Philip Raison, Timothy
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Hordern, Peter Rathbone, Tim
Bryan, Sir Paul Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Rawlinson, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Buchanan-Smith, Alick Howell, David (Guildford) Rees, Peter (Dover & Deal)
Buck, Antony Howells, Geraint (Cardigan) Rees-Davies, W. R.
Budgen, Nick Hunt, John Reid, George
Bulmer, Esmond Hurd, Douglas Renton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts)
Burden, F. A. Hutchison, Michael Clark Renton, Tim (Mid-Sussex)
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Ridley, Hon Nicholas
Carlisle, Mark Irving, Charles (Cheltenham) Ridsdale, Julian
Chalker, Mrs Lynda James, David Rifkind, Malcolm
Channon, Paul Jenkin, Rt Hn P. (Wanst'd & W'df'd) Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, NW)
Churchill, W. S. Johnson Smith, G. (E Grinstead) Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Clark, Alan (Plymouth, Sutton) Johnston Russell (Inverness) Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Clark, William (Croydon S) Jones, Arthur (Daventry) Ross, William (Londonderry)
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Jopling, Michael Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Clegg, Walter Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith Rost, Peter (SE Derbyshire)
Cockcroft, John Kaberry, Sir Donald Royle, Sir Anthony
Cooke, Robert (Bristol W) Kershaw, Anthony Sainsbury, Tim
Cope, John Kimball, Marcus St. John-Stevas, Norman
Cormack, Patrick King, Evelyn (South Dorset) Scott, Nicholas
Costain, A. P. King, Tom (Bridgwater) Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Crawford, Douglas Kitson, Sir Timothy Shelton, William (Streatham)
Crouch, David Knight, Mrs Jill Shepherd, Colin
Crowder, F. P. Knox, David Silvester, Fred
Dean, Paul (N Somerset) Lamont, Norman Sims, Roger
Dodsworth, Geoffrey Langford-Holt, Sir John Sinclair, Sir George
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Latham, Michael (Melton) Skeet, T. H. H.
Drayson, Burnaby Lawrence, Ivan Smith, Cyril (Rochdale)
du Cann, Rt Hon Edward Lawson, Nigel Speed, Keith
Dunlop, John Lloyd, Ian Spence, John
Durant, Tony Loveridge, John Spicer, Michael (S Worcester)
Eden, Rt Hon Sir John Luce, Richard Sproat, Iain
Elliott, Sir William McAdden, Sir Stephen Stainton, Keith
Emery, Peter MacCormick, Iain Stanbrook, Ivor
Evans, Gwynfor (Carmarthen) McCrindle, Robert Stanley, John
Eyre, Reginald McCusker, H. Steel, David (Roxburgh)
Fairbairn, Nicholas Macfarlane, Neil Steen, Anthony (Wavertree)
Fairgrieve, Russell MacGregor, John Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)
Fell, Anthony Macmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham) Stokes, John
Finsberg, Geoffrey McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury) Stradling Thomas, J.
Fisher, Sir Nigel McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest) Tapsell, Peter
Fletcher, Alex (Edinburgh N) Madel, David Taylor, R. (Croydon NW)
Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Marshall, Michael (Arundel) Taylor, Teddy (Cathcart)
Fookes, Miss Janet Marten, Neil Tebbit, Norman
Fowler, Norman (Sutton C'f'd) Mates, Michael Temple-Morris, Peter
Fox, Marcus Mather, Carol Thatcher, Rt Hon Margaret
Fraser, Rt Hon H. (Stafford & St) Maude, Angus Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Freud, Clement Maudling, Rt Hon Reginald Thomas, Rt Hon P. (Hendon S)
Fry, Peter Mawby, Ray Thompson, George
Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D. Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Thorpe, Rt Hon Jeremy (N Devon)
Gardiner, George (Reigate) Mayhew, Patrick Townsend, Cyril D.
Gardner, Edward (S Fylde) Meyer, Sir Anthony Trotter, Neville
Gilmour, Rt Hon Ian (Chesham) Mills, Peter Tugendhat, Christopher
Glyn, Dr Alan Miscampbell, Norman van Straubenzee, W. R.
Godber, Rt Hon Joseph Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Vaughan, Dr Gerard
Goodhart, Philip Moate, Roger Viggers, Peter
Goodhew, Victor Molyneaux, James Wainwright, Richard (Colne V)
Coodlad, Alastair Monro, Hector Wakeham, John
Gorst, John Montgomery, Fergus Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Walker, Rt Hon P. (Worcester) Whitelaw, Rt Hon William Younger, Hon George
Wall, Patrick Wiggin, Jerry
Walters, Dennis Wigley, Dafydd TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Watt, Hamish Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E) Mr. Spencer Le Marchant and
Weatherill, Bernard Winterton, Nicholas Mr. Cecil Parkinson.
Wells, John Young, Sir G. (Ealing, Acton)

Question accordingly agreed to.

Amendments made to Lords Amendment No. 13: In line 13, after 'has' insert' or had'.

In line 16, after 'is' insert 'or was'.—[Mr. Crosland.]

Lords Amendment No. 13, as amended, agreed to.

Subsequent Lords amendments agreed to.

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