§ Order of the Day for the Third Reading read.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 3a.—(The Earl of Camperdown.)
My Lords, this Bill, as is clearly stated, is to extend the principle of the English Small Holdings Act to Scotland. In your Lordships' House on Thursday last the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack said that by agreeing to this Bill your Lordships pledged yourselves to accept the principle of fixity of tenure and fair rents. That seems to me a wider assertion than your Lordships are prepared to accept. I am fully acquainted with the details of the English Act. I am a member of the Small Holdings Committee of my county, and the only rules with regard to rent are that in fixing the rent the county council shall take care that the rent shall be such that the county ratepayer shall not suffer loss, and in that they are supported by the Board of Agriculture. It will be within the recollection of the House that a Bill containing the principles referred to by the noble and learned Lord was rejected in this House, and I wish to safeguard myself from accepting the view expressed by the Lord Chancellor that this Bill pledges the House in any way to the principles of fixity of tenure and fair rent
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
The exact words which I used I cannot recall; but if I said that the House had committed itself to the principles of fixity of tenure and fair rent I only said what I think. Not only under the English Act, but under the Bill of the noble Earl, a landowner may have his land taken for the purposes of small holdings whether he likes it or not. It is taken upon a lease, which may be renewed by the county councils whether the landlord likes it or not. When a county council possess a power to renew the lease in perpetuity independently of the will of the landlord, the result does not seem very distinct from fixity of tenure. And a provision that rent is to be settled by a valuer independently between the parties, whether the landlord likes it or not, is not very distinguishable from the fixing of fair rent. I do not ask the noble Viscount to accept my view, but I think I have fairly stated the effect of the clauses which, under the English Act, regulate the taking by the county council of land from the landlord.
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
I quite concur in what the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack has just said. I agree that as between the county council and the owner there is practical fixity of tenure and fair rent. But as between the county council and the tenant there is no fixity of rent, but there would probably be practical security of tenure.
§ On Question, Bill read 3a.648
§ Amendments (privilege) made: Bill passed, and sent to the Commons.