HC Deb 22 July 1976 vol 915 cc2044-65

'(1) Where by virtue of the operation of this Act—

  1. (a) a landlord is unable to obtain possession of a dwelling-house, and
  2. (b) an agricultural dwelling-house advisory committee has confirmed that suitable alternative accommodation should be provided for the occupant thereof, and
  3. (c) the housing authority is unable or unwilling to comply with an application made to them under section 28,
then the landlord shall be deemed to have planning permission for the erection and maintenance on his land of a caravan or mobile home for the purpose of housing any agricultural worker required by him in the interests of agricultural efficiency until such time as the housing authority are able to discharge their duty under section 29 hereof.

(2) The provisions of this Act shall not apply to any caravan or mobile home erected pursuant to this section'.

(3) The First Schedule to the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 shall be amended to include:— 8(A) A site licence shall not be required for the use of land as a caravan site by virtue of section ( ) of the Rent (Agriculture) Act 1976"'.—[Mr. Rossi.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. Hugh Rossi (Hornsey)

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

The object of the clause is to seek to meet and to deal with the dilemma with which the Committee was confronted time after time when considering the Bill. Because of the way in which the Bill will operate, the following situation will frequently arise. A farmer will find that a farm worker has left his employ but he will not be able to get back the accommodation in which the farm worker is living because the farm worker will be protected and will subsequently become a statutory tenant subject to the protection of the Rent Acts. The farmer may find that he desperately requires the accommodation because the farm worker was doing a job which was essential to the efficient management of the farm. For example, he may have been looking after livestock, which involves someone being on the spot to look after the animals.

5.0 p.m.

The Bill therefore provides that in those circumstances the farmer will be able to go to an agricultural housing advisory committee and obtain a certificate, as it were, that the accommodation is essential to the proper running of the farm. Where the advice of that committee is obtained in the terms I have mentioned, an application can be made to the local authority, which will then be required to use its best endeavours to find alternative accommodation for the farm worker who has left the farmer's employ, so that the farmer can engage somebody else and house him on the farm.

The Government have been in great difficulty about the degree of obligation that they can impose upon the local authority—whether the obligation shall be absolute and, even if it were, whether the local authority would have the accommodation available or, indeed, the resources to make it available. Therefore, the Bill leaves the local authority simply in the position of doing its best to rehouse, and no more.

Mr. Peter Mills

That is not enough.

Mr. Rossi

Certainly it is not enough for the farmer who is placed in that impossible position, but as regard the local authority, with its reduced resources and no accommodation, it is proposed to get round the dilemma, which we have been presented with throughout the Bill, by means of New Clause 3.

The new clause is a genuine attempt to try to meet the situation where the farmer desperately needs alternative accommodation to be provided but where the local authority, with the best will in the world, is unable to provide it. We propose simply that where the farmer is unable to obtain possession of his farm cottage because of the provisions of the Bill, where the agricultural advisory committee has confirmed that suitable alternative accommodation should be provided because of the needs of agricultural efficiency, and where the local authority is either unable or unwilling to fulfil the duties imposed upon it by the Bill to provide that alternative accommodation, in these circumstances, and only in those circumstances, the farmer shall be deemed to have planning permission so as to be able himself to provide alternative accommodation by the erection of a mobile home or some other kind of temporary living accommodation, such as a caravan.

It will not be necesssary for the farmer in those circumstances to submit an application to the planning authority, with all the unfortunate delays which that entails and always with the possibility of refusal. Moreover, we say that the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 should not apply either, so that a site licence would not be required. Short of a provision of this kind, it is difficult to see how one can resolve the dilemma that the Government are introducing in the Bill. I hope that the Minister will try to give some help to the farming community in the way we propose.

Mr. Hawkins

Will my hon. Friend consider the case of the farm worker who wants to take the job of the man who has left? This situation can entail great hardship. There are good men throughout the country who are quite prepared to move from tied cottage to tied cottage. In the circumstances imposed by the Bill, such men may have to travel 10 or 15 miles every day to the new job. I hope that my hon. Friend will stress this hardship.

Mr. Rossi

I am obliged to my hon. Friend. That point emphasises and underlines our case for the new clause.

Mr. Bruce Douglas-Mann (Mitcham and Morden)

I hope that the Minister will give careful consideration to the new clause—indeed, I am sure he has already done so. As drafted it is somewhat unsatisfactory, because I do not see that it is appropriate for a farm worker to go into a caravan with no security of tenure. Subject to that, however, I can see that there may be problems where someone takes up a new job in a situation where the only cottage remains occupied. That could create hardship to the farmer and restrict the opportunity to someone else to take on the job which the occupant of the cottage had been carrying out.

This problem will frequently arise where a farm worker has died, has been injured or become ill or has retired and where the local authority is not immediately able to provide accommodation for the outgoing family. Mobile homes are not a satisfactory long-term solution but they can provide a satisfactory short-term solution.

Planning consent is a major difficulty. Whether it is desirable that there should be automatic planning consent, or a provision whereby the Minister can make it plain to the local authorities that they are expected to grant planning consent in some circumstances, is not material. The new clause is not satisfactorily drafted, but some provision on these lines could be helpful and would not detract from the principle of the Bill.

Mr. W. R. Rees-Davies (Thane, West)

New Clause 3 is invaluable in its main purpose. Even if it is not carried into law, it will be essential in any event for the Department of the Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture immediately the Bill becomes law to send out a circular directing the attention of all local authorities to the fact that this is one way in which accommodation which is immediately necessary can become available for agricultural workers.

Certain circumstances of urgency are bound to arise. If accommodation by virtue of a tied cottage is not readily available, it is essential to have immediate alternative accommodation. That can only be done by the provision of a mobile home or caravan—there is no other way. As my hon. Friend the Member for Norfolk, South-West (Mr. Hawkins) has pointed out, a worker who wants to take on the job available might live many miles away and will have to travel daily unless he can have the accommodation which normally goes with the job.

In Committee we pressed time and again for the imposition on local authorities of an absolute duty to provide the necessary accommodation in urgent cases. I believe that Ministers and Labour hon. Members had a great deal of sympathy with that argument, but they were virtually overruled by the Association of District Councils. In effect, the local authorities said to the Government "This is no concern of yours; mind your own business and leave us to conduct ours in our own way". They gave the Minister a first-class rocket and said that the allocation of council housing was their responsibility, not his. We sat on the touchline and were unable to get into that argument.

Consequently, we failed in our objective of impressing upon the Government that if they produced a Bill of this kind, it was bound to create anomalies, and that one of those anomalies was the necessity to provide alternative accommodation in urgent cases. In Committee I suggested an amendment to deal with urgent cases and also with the problem of pensioners.

What will happen when a farm worker is about to go into retirement? The local authority will say categorically that it will provide a council house for him on retirement. But then it adds that the house will not be ready straight away, that it will take about six months. As a result, there will be no accommodation available for the incoming key farm worker. These key workers are not easy to find, and there should be some way in which we can handle such emergency circumstances.

The same situation could arise when a key worker is taken ill or has an accident and it is necessary for a replacement to be brought in. The accommodation will not be available. It is no use saying that there will be a pool of rural housing, because that will not be ready.

Our amendments dealing with limited delay will not be called. We have a further difficulty now because there can be no delaying this Bill, so we must assume that it will take effect this autumn. If so, there will be no arrangements of any kind and we shall have a situation in which the existing tenant is the statutory tenant. As a result, there will be nothing in hand for an emergency.

It may be that the Government, in due course in another place, will add some time limitation so that no permanent planning control is given to the person who puts up a mobile home or a caravan. We need provisions of this kind urgently.

Miss Joan Maynard (Sheffield, Brightside)

I oppose New Clause 3, and in doing so my heart bleeds for the farmers when I listen to speeches from Conservative Members. The hon. Member for Hornsey (Mr. Rossi) talks about the dilemma facing local authorities because they have to consider their waiting lists. The dilemma arises from the system. No tied cottages means no dilemma.

Fifty per cent. of our farm workers already live in free houses. These farm workers and their farmers do not face this dilemma and neither do their local authorities. It is quite wrong to put an absolute duty on the local authority, and the Government and the local authorities were quite right to resist this suggestion. This would be solving the farmers' problem at the expense of waiting lists, and it would be interfering with the duty of local authorities. Their duty, in this case, is to let houses. If local authorities had had an absolute duty, there would have been an open-ended commitment, and each time they rehoused they would be liable to rehouse again.

The hon. Member for Hornsey talks about the desperate need for a new worker. I suggest that that desperate need could he met in time by paying the rate for the job. We have the strongest objection to our members being put in mobile homes. For too long farm workers have been treated as second-class citizens. [HON. MEMBERS: "Rubbish."] It is not rubbish. Putting farm workers in mobile homes is merely compounding the hardship which they have suffered for so long. It is all very well to say that mobile homes would be temporary. We know from experience that "temporary" has a nasty habit of becoming "permanent".

Mr. Rossi

Has the hon. Lady ever visited purpose-built mobile homes—not caravans—for which there is a great demand? I do not think that she really knows what is meant by a mobile home, otherwise she would not speak like that.

Miss Maynard

Certainly I know what a mobile home is. I do not see why our people should have to be put in one, even for a short period. Most of us prefer to live in houses. So do farm workers.

Mr. Douglas-Mann

Circumstances could arise in which a new worker found himself compelled to remain in an unsatisfactory position because there was no accommodation for him to move into in his new employment. He might prefer to move into a mobile home so that he could take up his new job instead of being perhaps unemployed on his previous farm.

5.15 p.m.

Miss Maynard

We come back to the previous point—all these problems arise because of the tied cottage system.

I am surprised that anyone should be eager to go into a tied cottage from which another man has just been removed. If it were me, I would wonder when it would be my turn.

Another Conservative Member talked about the mobility of labour and moving from tied cottage to tied cottage. But our people do not want to be nomads; they want permanent homes like everyone else. Their children do not want to be removed from one school to another. This sort of hardship has been suffered by farm workers for many years.

We have had cases where a man has died and his widow has been taken to court in order to be evicted. There have been other instances where a man has been ill for a long period or a victim of an accident. When one is faced with emergencies such as these, one does not want to face removal from one's home as well.

Mr. John Farr (Harborough)

I warmly support the new clause moved so ably by my hon. Friend the Member for Hornsey (Mr. Rossi). I shall give the House a brief example of the situation in which a farmer could find himself when he is denied the use of a house for his farm worker.

One of my constituents is a small farmer in Leicestershire. He started from nothing, but over the years he built up a dairy farm and has considerably expanded his herd. He could not find suitable accommodation for his cowman, so he built a house at the cost of £4,000. At the moment the cowman lives there in a rent-free house, receiving free milk and electricity, and being paid more than £3,500 a year for doing his job. He walks out of his house each morning and goes straight to work without having any travelling expenses. That is a great advantage.

The farmer was forced to build this house because near his village was a pool of council houses built years ago for agricultural workers. In the past 20 or 30 years these have been taken over by non-agricultural workers, and it was absolutely impossible to secure accommodation in them for his cowman.

If this Bill becomes law and the new clause is not accepted, what situation will the farmer face if his cowman seeks advancement in another job? What happens when the farmer is unable to provide a house for the new employee who is taken on to do that man's job? Unless the new clause is accepted, farmers will have to connive, in sheer desperation, at avoiding the law. They will have to house workers in caravans and mobile homes, or go out of business.

The Government are apparently too blind to see that if a farmer is faced with the alternatives of going out of business and selling his dairy herd or housing a replacement cowman in a mobile home hidden behind a Dutch barn, he will opt for the latter. The only logical answer is for the Government to accept the new clause.

The hon. Member for Sheffield, Bright-side (Miss Maynard) said that she thought she was helping agricultural workers. I am convinced that within a few years she will be recognised as the hon. Member who has done most harm to the cause of agricultural workers. Can she not see the harm she is doing to farm workers?

Many small farmers will be forced out of business. They will cease to employ farm workers and their land will be taken over by farmers with thousands of acres of land. With the big machines of today, such farmers do not have the same labour requirements.

Miss Maynard

I shall leave it to the good judgment of farm workers to decide whether the Bill is good for them. I would rather rely on their judgment than on the judgment of hon. Members opposite. Can the hon. Member for Harborough (Mr. Farr) say how many hours a week are worked by the cowman who is earning £3,500 a year? Could he also explain how the industry manages on those farms where the workers live in free houses?

Mr. Farr

The farm worker to whom I referred has to work between 50 and 55 hours a week—depending on the days of the week on which he works—to earn £3,500 a year.

I thoroughly condemn this Bill and warmly support the views of my hon. Friend the Member for Hornsey. I hope that even at this late stage the Govern- ment will see sense and accept the new clause.

Mr. Anthony Fell (Yarmouth)

I intervene briefly to support the new clause moved so brilliantly by my hon. Friend the Member for Hornsey (Mr. Rossi). We should not attack the Minister in this matter. I have seen a sort of light in his eye which shows that he is thinking about the matter very seriously and I have seen him consulting his officials, which raises my hopes.

In addition, half the Members behind him support the new clause and have spoken to that effect. The Minister should be encouraged in his attempt to do good work and accept the new clause, despite the efforts of those who are trying to stop him from doing so.

I shall not insult the Minister by going into details of more cases. They are legion. I hope that the Government will promise to look at this matter again and introduce a revised provision in another place.

Mr. Geraint Howells

Whatever our views on this Bill, we must be constructive in our approach, and that is why I support the new clause. We are considering the case of an exceptional farm worker in exceptional circumstances. I do not want to see all farm workers housed in caravans or mobile homes. I am sure that is not the wish of any hon. Member. However, I think that the Government will have to accept the new clause.

What is the alternative if farm workers have no homes to go to? We cannot deny a farm worker his rights if he has been given a good job on a farm where there is no house available for him, and there are no houses on many farms. When so many farmers are willing to accept the Government's calls for expansion, we should accept the new clause and the provision of mobile homes. We do not want thousands of these homes, but just a few.

If the Minister is not willing to accept the new clause, would he be prepared to allow local authorities to buy a few mobile homes in various parts of the country so that farm workers will be able to live on or near the farms on which they work?

Mr. Peter Mills

I should have declared my interest when I spoke before, together with the fact that I have lived in a tied cottage for a number of years. The hon. Member for Sheffield, Brightside (Miss Maynard) spoke about her heart bleeding for the farmers. I do not wish to be rude to the hon. Lady, but I should think that many farm workers are extremely anxious about her attitude. Her views are certainly not shared by the farm workers in the South-West who have not taken a similar stand to the hon. Lady. Indeed, there is a very happy relationship between the farmers and the farm workers there, and long may it continue.

A glance round the House shows the interest taken by the Socialist Government and their supporters in our largest industry. The Press and strangers in the Gallery must realise how seriously Socialist Members take the important subject of agriculture and the housing of its first-class workers.

I support the new clause, but only just. I believe that the difficulty created by the Government should be solved rather than that we should have this second-best solution that the new clause represents. It will be essential to have some sort of temporary accommodation, but it will present many problems, including supplying sewerage and water. There might be difficulty about getting farm workers, who have traditionally had adequate and reasonable accommodation, to live for a short while in a mobile home with all the associated problems. Although I accept that mobile homes have improved immensely, they do not provide the real answer. We should get right back to the beginning again and we should not enact the Bill.

5.30 p.m.

I believe that we must support the new clause, although it is not really what is wanted. The local authorities will probably say that there is some temporary accommodation for farm workers, but there may not be quite the urgency that is required to find alternative council house accommodation. There will be many serious difficulties and snags if we accept the new clause, but there is no alternative.

The blame rests squarely on the Government of the day, the Socialists, for the mess that we are getting into in agricul- ture. The sad thing is that it is so unnecessary. There are a few farmers who have treated farm workers badly, but they represent only very few cases. On the whole, there is a first-class working arrangement between farmers and farm workers.

It is a sad day when my Front Bench colleagues should have to bring forward a new clause of this nature. I hope that the Government will accept it, realising the mess which we are in. The growing lack of confidence is entirely their responsibility.

Mr. Patrick Mayhew (Royal Tunbridge Wells)

In the few minutes that are available I shall make just one point in answer to the hon. Member for Sheffield, Brightside (Miss Maynard). The hon. Lady bases her whole case upon the need to advance the conditions of those who work in agriculture. That is a respectable objective, but she will secure exactly the opposite result. That will happen in the same way as those who wanted to give security of tenure to furnished tenants, for good reasons, have secured the drying up of that market. Even Shelter now recognises that.

I shall cite an example from my own constituency. It concerns someone who wishes to increase—I believe he will do so—the output of his arable farm by 100 per cent. To do that he has to have an arable foreman. He has a cottage available. He says that if it were not available by virtue of somebody holding over in circumstances that the hon. Lady may well bring about if the new clause is not acceptable, he would find it impossible to bring about an increase in production. On the other side of the coin, he says that he has had applications from 24 men, half a dozen being of high calibre who are seeking advancement. If the new clause is not accepted, those people will not be able to get the employment that they are seeking.

Only this afternoon we heard of another imposition being laid upon the backs of those who seek to further agricultural production by employing people. They will have to pay more by way of insurance contributions. If the hon. Lady persists in her opposition to the new clause, she will achieve yet again the opposite of what her colleagues, for perfectly proper motives, intend to achieve.

I beg the hon. Lady to listen to the argument—I ask the Government to do likewise—and to recognise that this is a sensible new clause that should be accepted.

Mr. Hawkins

I support the new clause because it is practical. For many years the National Union of Agricultural Workers in Norfolk has been in the forefront of the fight to do away with tied cottages. I pay tribute to many of the NUAW leaders, many of whom are great friends of mine, but the time has gone for the abolition of the tied cottage. I do not believe that there are now circumstances that necessitate its abolition. However, it is still a running sore. It is an issue that is always brought out at every election when those concerned manage to find someone who has been turned out in the past 25 years, and the case is featured in the headlines.

Therefore, I should like to see tied cottages done away with. That is my view, and I have always said so. I should like to see them done away with if there were enough properties in the countryside to enable that to be done in a way that would enable us to provide alternative housing so that those who look after the stock and the farms could go into cottages in the right places. The Bill will not enable that to happen.

I am convinced that we face a real dilemma. I quite understand that district councils are not able to agree to give a carte blanche undertaking immediately to put on their housing waiting lists any farm worker who loses his job or leaves his job. Their job will be made far worse by today's cut-back in housing mortgage arrangements operated by the local authorities. In the countryside the number of houses to be improved constitutes quite a large number, and there will have to be a large cut-back.

I should have gladly accepted the whole of the Bill if there had been plenty of housing available, but there is not. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Royal Tunbridge Wells (Mr. Mayhew) asked the hon. Member for Sheffield, Brightside (Miss Maynard) to listen to reason, but I do not believe that it is possible to reason with the hon. Lady. She does not accept reason. Her attitude is not based on the real interests of her members. It cannot be, or she would have recognised that her members who work on farms 15 or 20 miles away from their homes and who have to travel backwards and forwards in the winter days to look after stock will be seriously jeopardised if they cannot get a home. They will be jeopardised if they do not have even a temporary home on the farm, and some of the mobile homes are extremely good.

The hon. Lady is bound up with dogma. I have heard many farm workers expressing views entirely contrary to her own. Many of them like living in their tied cottages.

Mr. Armstrong

We have had an interesting and serious debate. I have listened carefully to the proper concern that has been expressed about the effect of the Bill and the attempt to improve it by means of the new clause. I am not sure that the clause would achieve what is intended by Opposition Members. I do not stand on drafting imperfections or on technicalities. I want to leave the House in no doubt about the Government's attitude to the clause.

We believe that it is unacceptable in principle. It would mean that where a local authority did not meet on the spot a substantiated application for rehousing, even in a non-urgent case, the farmer who made the application could give himself planning permission so as to change the use of part of his land from agriculture for the siting of a caravan or mobile home. It would be left to him entirely to decide which part of his land should have the benefit of that permission.

I can see no justification for interfering with local planning authorities' responsibility in that way. I cannot accept the underlying assumption in the clause that a farmer's need to house a worker, especially in less urgent cases, should automatically override elected planning authorities' functions for the area as a whole.

Mr. Fell

Surely it is not beyond the wit of the hon. Gentleman, or that of his Department, to think up a rephrasing of the clause so that we can bring in the local planning authorities.

Mr. Armstrong

I reiterate that I am not complaining about the clause on drafting grounds or on technicalities. It is the principle behind the clause that I am against. I want to make that abundantly clear.

In response to the hon. and learned Member for Thanet, West (Mr. Rees-Davies), I am unaware that rockets have been flying about Marsham Street from the district councils or from the National Farmers Union. We have had sensible discussions and reasonable negotiations. I am unaware of any rockets, but I shall have a search made in the near future. We are trying to find a balance between the proper duties of local authorities and the very strong case in agriculture that all of us accept.

Mr. Rees-Davies

The Under-Secretary has referred to principle, but the new clause recognises that it would be only temporary planning permission. It operates only until such time as the housing authority are able to discharge their duty under section 29". Therefore, it might be a very temporary caravan which has nothing to do with what I might call the long-term planning interests of the neighbourhood.

Mr. Armstrong

This has been given very careful consideration. I do not rule out that in individual cases there could be very strong arguments for a caravan or mobile home being used to house an incoming worker. I understand that, but if a farmer believes that to be the case, there is no reason why he should not follow the same procedure as any other citizen and seek planning permission from the local authority. It is for the local authority, not for us here, to lay down whether he will get that planning permission. The local authority understands local circumstances and considers each application on its merits.

Mr. Peter Mills

The Government have created this situation and therefore they should do something to counteract the difficulties that farming will experience. It is very difficult at present to get planning permission for caravans in rural areas, hence the need for some further help in this matter.

Mr. Armstrong

Of course it is difficult to get planning permission. That is the way our planning laws work. They are devised to benefit the whole com- munity. Whatever the balance struck in these matters someone will always want it moved one way or the other. If there is an individual case, however, it is for the farmer to establish it with the local planning authority. Hon. Members cannot expect us in Parliament to move the balance in that way.

Mr. Douglas-Mann

Will my hon. Friend consider issuing a circular on this matter? I appreciate the force of the points he has made about giving automatic planning consent by the provisions of the Bill. A circular to local authorities, perhaps encouraging them to grant temporary planning consent for the use of a caravan in the circumstances envisaged in the clause, might just meet the case. I accept, of course, that the clause is inappropriate.

Mr. Armstrong

There are not many people who plead with the Department to issue more circulars. Most of the pleas are directed at the issue of fewer circulars.

Sir Timothy Kitson (Richmond, Yorks)

Is the Minister aware that the areas in which there will be greatest difficulty and where there are probably fewer council houses is in the national parks? If the Minister thinks that it will be possible for a farmer to apply for planning permission to build a replacement house for a farm worker in such an area, he is forgetting the additional costs which are involved in meeting the building requirements in the national parks. He should look closely at his own part of the world, either in the Yorkshire dales or in the north Yorkshire parks area. There is a large amount of agricultural land, there but very few council houses to provide alternative accommodation for the farm worker. It is almost impossible quickly to build a replacement house in such an area, and therefore the Minister's suggestion is unrealistic.

Mr. Armstrong

I was not talking about building a replacement house. I said that I did not rule out arguments in favour of mobile homes or caravans in certain individual cases. I say only that a farmer should pursue an application for planning permission through the usual channels just like any other citizen. If a farmer believes that he has a strong case, he must seek planning permission from the local authority which can consider his needs together with any planning implications which might arise from a change of land use.

It is normally necessary for the land on which a caravan or mobile home is sited to be the subject of a site licence under the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960. On the same argument as I have deployed on planning permission, I sec no case why the proper functions of the local authority responsible for licensing should be bypassed.

Much has been said about the increased difficulties that are to be laid on local authorities. That is a matter of judgment and speculation. A great number of people believe that the Act, as I hope it will become, far from creating more difficulty, will strengthen the agricultural industry. That is a matter for judgment, however, and I ask the House to resist the clause.

5.45 p.m.

Mr. Michael Jopling (Westmorland)

The debate, which has had to be speeded up by those of us who feel strongly on the subject because of the provisions of the guillotine, has been notorious for one series of remarks in the speech by the hon. Member for Sheffield, Bright-side (Miss Maynard). She said earlier that her heart bled for the farmers of this country. With her attitude I believe that she will not be satisfied until she has all the farmers bleeding, and I do not believe that she has the interests of farming and agriculture in mind.

The clause is eminently reasonable. It deals with emergencies which are likely to arise as a consequence of the Bill. The Ministry of Agriculture and its various Ministers used to tell us some months ago when the Bill first appeared that it would not materially affect British agriculture. I note that they do not say that very frequently now. Certainly the views expressed by my hon. Friends in

Committee and by the NFU and other organisations outside the House have made it clear that the Bill will have a serious effect on British agriculture.

I was most disappointed with the Minister's reply. I do not think that he has examined thoroughly the wording of the clause. He told us that it was unacceptable in principle, but when he got down to the argument for it he said that even in a non-urgent case planning permission would be granted. Clearly he has not done his homework. Subsection (1)(b) makes clear that this provision would apply only when the agricultural dwelling-house advisory committee had said that the case was urgent. He cannot have read that provision in the clause.

The other factor which he appeared not to understand is that planning permission would be temporary. He cannot have realised the implications of subsection (2) which says that The provisions of this Act shall not apply to any caravan or mobile home erected pursuant to this section". We were careful to ensure, therefore, that we would not be setting up a sort of chain reaction whereby the occupant of the caravan or mobile home would then have all the protection of the Act. The clause would not enable the farmer easily to create a caravan park on the site.

The Minister's reply was highly unsatisfactory. I do not believe that the Government appreciate the problems that the Bill will cause for British agriculture. The clause is one way in which we can mitigate some of the hardship, and if the whole thing is unacceptable to the Government in principle, I invite my hon. Friends and the Liberal Party, which I am glad is to support us, to go into the Lobby in support of it.

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time:—

The House divided: Ayes 273, Noes 285.

Division No. 268.] AYES [5.49 p.m.
Adley, Robert Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torbay) Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown)
Aitken, Jonathan Bennett, Dr Reginald (Fareham) Boyson, Dr Rhodes (Brent)
Amery, Rt Hon Julian Benyon, W. Bradford, Rev Robert
Arnold, Tom Berry, Hon Anthony Brittan, Leon
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne) Biffen, John Brotherton, Michael
Awdry, Daniel Biggs-Davison, John Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)
Baker, Kenneth Blaker, Peter Bryan, Sir Paul
Banks, Robert Body, Richard Buchanan-Smith, Alick
Beith, A. J. Boscawen, Hon Robert Buck, Antony
Bell, Ronald Bottomley. Peter Budgen, Nick
Bulmer, Esmond Howell, David (Guildford) Peyton, Rt Hon John
Burden, F. A. Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk) Pink, R. Bonner
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Howells, Geraint (Cardigan) Powell, Rt Hon J. Enoch
Carlisle, Mark Hunt, David (Wirral) Price, David (Eastleigh)
Chalker, Mrs Lynda Hurd, Douglas Prior, Rt Hon James
Channon, Paul Hutchison, Michael Clark Pym, Rt Hon Francis
Churchill, W. S. Irving, Charles (Cheltenham) Raison, Timothy
Clark, Alan (Plymouth, Sutton) James, David Rathbone, Tim
Clark, William (Croydon S) Jenkin, Rt Hon P. (Wanst'd & W'df'd) Rawlinson, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Clegg, Walter Jessel, Toby Rees, Peter (Dover & Deal)
Cockcroft, John Johnson Smith, G. (E Grinstead) Rees-Davies, W. R.
Cooke, Robert (Bristol W) Johnston, Russell (Inverness) Renton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts)
Cope, John Jones, Arthur (Daventry) Renton, Tim (Mid-Sussex)
Cordle, John H. Jopling, Michael Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Cormack, Patrick Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith Ridley, Hon Nicholas
Costain, A. P. Kaberry, Sir Donald Ridsdale, Julian
Crouch, David Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine Rifkind, Malcolm
Crowder, F. P. Kilfedder, James Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Davies, Rt Hon J. (Knutsford) Kimball, Marcus Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)
Dean, Paul (N Somerset) King, Evelyn (South Dorset) Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Dodsworth, Geoffrey King, Tom (Bridgwater) Ross, William (Londonderry)
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Kirk, Sir Peter Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Drayson, Burnaby Kitson, Sir Timothy Rost, Peter (SE Derbyshire)
du Cann, Rt Hon Edward Knight, Mrs Jill Royle, Sir Anthony
Dunlop, John Knox, David St. John-Stevas, Norman
Durant, Tony Lamont, Norman Scott, Nicholas
Dykes, Hugh Lane, David Scott-Hopkins, James
Eden, Rt Hon Sir John Latham, Michael (Melton) Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Lawrence, Ivan Shelton, William (Streatham)
Elliott, Sir William Lawson, Nigel Shepherd, Colin
Emery, Peter Lester, Jim (Beeston) Shersby, Michael
Eyre, Reginald Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Silvester, Fred
Fairbairn, Nicholas Lloyd, Ian Sims, Roger
Fairgrieve, Russell Loveridge, John Sinclair, Sir George
Farr, John Luce, Richard Skeet, T. H. H.
Fell, Anthony McAdden, Sir Stephen Smith, Dudley (Warwick)
Finsberg, Geoffrey McCrindle, Robert Speed, Keith
Fisher, Sir Nigel Macfarlane, Neil Spence, John
Fletcher, Alex (Edinburgh N) MacGregor, John Spicer, Jim (W Dorset)
Fletcher-Cooke, Charles McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury) Spicer, Michael (S Worcester)
Forman, Nigel McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest) Sproat, lain
Fowler, Norman (Sutton C'f'd) Madel, David Stainton, Keith
Fox, Marcus Marshall, Michael (Arundel) Stanbrook, Ivor
Fraser, Rt Hon H. (Stafford & St) Marten, Neil Stanley, John
Freud, Clement Mates, Michael Steel, David (Roxburgh)
Fry, Peter Mather, Carol Steen, Anthony (Wavertree)
Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D. Maude, Angus Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)
Gardiner, George (Reigate) Maudling, Rt Hon Reginald Stokes, John
Gardner, Edward (S Fylde) Mawby, Ray Tapsell, Peter
Gilmour, Rt Hon Ian (Chesham) Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Taylor, R. (Croydon NW)
Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife) Mayhew, Patrick Taylor, Teddy (Cathcart)
Glyn, Dr Alan Meyer, Sir Anthony Tebbit, Norman
Goodhart, Philip Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove) Temple-Morris, Peter
Goodhew, Victor Mills, Peter Thatcher, Rt Hon Margaret
Goodlad, Alastair Miscampbell, Norman Thomas, Rt Hon P. (Hendon S)
Gorst, John Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Thorpe, Rt Hon Jeremy (N Devon)
Gow, Ian (Eastbourne) Moate, Roger Townsend, Cyril D.
Gower, Sir Raymond (Barry) Molyneaux, James Trotter, Neville
Grant, Anthony (Harrow C) Monro, Hector Tugendhat, Christopher
Gray, Hamish Montgomery Fergus van Straubenzee, W. R.
Griffiths, Eldon Moore, John (Croydon C) Vaughan, Dr Gerard
Grimond, Rt Hon J. More, Jasper (Ludlow) Viggers, Peter
Grist, Ian Morgan-Giles, Rear-Admiral Wainwright, Richard (Colne V)
Grylls, Michael Morris, Michael (Northampton S) Wakeham, John
Hall, Sir John Morrison, Charles (Devizes) Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Hall-Davis. A. G. F. Morrison, Hon Peter (Chester) Walker, Rt Hon P. (Worcester)
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Mudd, David Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir Derek
Hampson, Dr Keith Neave, Airey Wall, Patrick
Hannam, John Nelson, Anthony Walters, Dennis
Harrison, Col Sir Harwood (Eye) Neubert, Michael Warren, Kenneth
Harvie Anderson, Rt Hon Miss Newton, Tony Weatherill, Bernard
Hastings, Stephen Normanton, Tom Wells, John
Havers, Sir Michael Nott, John Whitelaw, Rt Hon William
Hawkins, Paul Onslow, Cranley Wiggin, Jerry
Hayhoe, Barney Oppenheim, Mrs Sally Winterton, Nicholas
Heath, Rt Hon Edward Osborn, John Wood, Rt Hon Richard
Heseltine, Michael Page, John (Harrow, West) Young, Sir G. (Ealing, Acton)
Hicks, Robert Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby) Younger. Hon George
Higgins, Terence L. Paisley, Rev Ian
Holland, Philip Pardoe, John TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Hooson, Emlyn Parkinson, Cecil Mr. Michael Roberts and
Hordern, Peter Percival, Ian Mr. Spencer Le Marchant.
Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Abse, Leo Fletcher, L. R. (Ilkeston) Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole)
Allaun, Frank Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Marshall. Jim (Leicester S)
Anderson, Donald Foot, Rt Hon Michael Mason, Rt Hon Roy
Archer, Peter Ford, Ben Maynard, Miss Joan
Armstrong, Ernest Forrester, John Mellish, Rt Hon Robert
Ashley, Jack Fowler, Gerald (The Wrekin) Mendelson, John
Ashton, Joe Fraser, John (Lambeth, N'w'd) Mikardo, Ian
Atkins, Ronald (Preston N) Freeson, Reginald Millan, Bruce
Atkinson, Norman Garrett, John (Norwich S) Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride)
Bagler, Gordon A. T. Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend) Miller, Mrs Millie (Ilford N)
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) George, Bruce Moonman, Eric
Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood) Gilbert, Dr John Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)
Bates, Alf Ginsburg, David Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)
Bean, R. E. Golding, John Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)
Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood Gould, Bryan Moyle, Roland
Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N) Gourlay, Harry Mulley, Rt Hon Frederick
Bidwell, Sydney Graham, Ted Murray, Rt Hon Ronald King
Bishop, E. S. Grant, George (Morpeth) Newens, Stanley
Blenkinsop, Arthur Grant, John (Islington C) Noble, Mike
Boardman, H. Grocott, Bruce Oakes, Gordon
Booth, Rt Hon Albert Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Ogden, Eric
Boothroyd, Miss Betty Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife) O'Halloran, Michael
Bottomley, Rt Hon Arthur Hardy, Peter Orbach, Maurice
Boyden, James (Bish Auck) Harper, Joseph Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Bradley, Tom Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Ovenden, John
Bray, Dr Jeremy Hart, Rt Hon Judith Owen, Dr David
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy Padley, Walter
Brown, Ronald (Hackney S) Hatton, Frank Palmer, Arthur
Buchan, Norman Hayman, Mrs Helene Park, George
Buchanan, Richard Hooley, Frank Parker, John
Butler, Mrs Joyce (Wood Green) Horam, John Parry, Robert
Callaghan, Rt Hon J. (Cardiff SE) Howell, Rt Kon Denis (B'ham, Sm H) Pavitt, Laurie
Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P) Hoyle, Doug (Nelson) Peart, Rt Hon Free
Campbell, Ian Huckfield, Les Pendry, Tom
Canavan, Dennis Hughes, Rt Hon C. (Anglesey) Perry, Ernest
Cant, R. B. Hughes, Mark (Durham) Phipps, Dr Colin
Carmichael, Neil Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Prentice, Rt Hon Reg
Cartwright, John Hughes, Roy (Newport) Prescott, John
Clemitson, Ivor Hunter, Adam Price, C. (Lewisham W)
Cocks, Michael (Bristol S) Irvine, Rt Hon Sir A. (Edge Hill) Price, William (Rugby)
Cohen, Stanley Irving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford) Radice, Giles
Coleman, Donald Jackson, Colin (Brighouse) Richardson, Miss Jo
Colquhoun, Ms Maureen Jackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Conlan, Bernard Janner, Greville Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock)
Cook, Robin F. (Edin C) Jay, Rt Hon Douglas Robinson, Geoffrey
Corbett, Robin Jeger, Mrs Lena Roderick, Caerwyn
Cox, Thomas (Tooting) John, Brynmor Rodgers, George (Chorley)
Craigen, J. M. (Maryhill) Johnson, Walter (Derby S) Rodgers, William (Stockton)
Crawshaw, Richard Jones, Dan (Burnley) Rooker, J. W.
Cronin, John Judd, Frank Roper, John
Crosland, Rt Hon Anthony Kaufman, Gerald Rose, Paul B.
Crowther, Stan (Rotherham) Kelley, Richard Ross, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock)
Cryer, Bob Kerr, Russell Rowlands, Ted
Cunningham, G. (Islington S) Kilroy-Silk, Robert Sandelson, Neville
Dalyell, Tam Kinnock, Neil Sedgemore, Brian
Davidson, Arthur Lambie, David Selby, Harry
Davies, Bryan (Enfield N) Lamborn, Harry Shaw, Arnold (Ilford South)
Davies, Denzil (Llanelli) Lamond, James Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-u-Lyne)
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Latham, Arthur (Paddington) Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Davis, Clinton (Hackney C) Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough) Short, Rt. Hon E. (Newcastle C)
Deakins, Eric Lever, Rt Hon Harold Short, Mrs Renée (Wolv NE)
Dean, Joseph (Leeds West) Lewis, Arthur (Newham N) Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford)
de Freitas, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)
Dell, Rt Hon Edmund Lipton, Marcus Silverman, Julius
Dempsey, James Litterick, Tom Skinner, Dennis
Doig, Peter Lomas, Kenneth Small, William
Dormand, J. D. Loyden, Eddie Smith, John (N Lanarkshire)
Douglas-Mann, Bruce Luard, Evan Snape, Peter
Dunn, James A. Lyons, Edward (Bradford W) Spearing, Nigel
Dunnett, Jack Mabon, Dr J. Dickson Stallard, A. W.
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth McCartney, Hugh Stewart, Rt Hon M. (Fulham)
Eadie, Alex McDonald, Dr Oonagh Stoddart, David
Edge, Geoff MacFarquhar, Roderick Stott, Roger
Edwards, Robert (Wolv SE) McGuire, Michael (Ince) Strang, Gavin
Ellis, Tom (Wrexham) MacKenzie, Gregor Strauss, Rt. Hon G. R.
English, Michael Mackintosh, John P. Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
Ennals, David Maclennan, Robert Swain, Thomas
Evans, Fred (Caerphilly) McMillan, Tom (Glasgow C) Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
Evans, Ioan (Aberdare) Madden, Max Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Evans, John (Newton) Magee Bryan Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Ewing, Harry (Stirling) Mahon, Simon Thomas, Mike (Newcastle E)
Fernyhough, Rt Hon E. Mallalieu, J. P. W. Thomas, Ron (Bristol NW)
Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Marks, Kenneth Thorne, Stan (Preston South)
Flannery, Martin Marquand, David Tierney, Sydney
Tinn, James Watkinson, John Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Tomlinson, John Weetch, Ken Wilson, Rt Hon Sir Harold (Huyton)
Tomney, Frank Weitzman, David Wilson, William (Coventry SE)
Torney, Tom Wellbeloved, James Wise, Mrs Audrey
Tuck, Raphael White, James (Pollok) Woodall, Alec
Urwin, T. W. Whitehead, Phillip Woof, Robert
Variey, Rt. Hon Eric G. Whitlock, William Wrigglesworth, Ian
Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne V) Willey, Rt Hon Frederick Young, David (Bolton E)
Walden, Brian (B'ham, L'dyw'd) Williams, Alan (Swansea W)
Walker, Harold (Doncaster) Williams, Alan Lee (Hornch'ch) TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Walker, Terry (Kingswood) Williams, Rt Hon Shirley (Hertford) Mr. Frank R. White and
Ward, Michael Williams, Sir Thomas (Warrington) Mr. John Ellis.
Watkins, David

Question accordingly negatived.

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