Clause 7, page 0, line 7, at the beginning insert:
("(1) The period during which an order for the compulsory acquisition of land for allotments is, under section one of the Land Settlement (Facilities) Act, 1919, exempted from the requirement of submission to and confirmation by the Minister is hereby extended to the expiration of six calendar months after the passing of this Act.")
§ Moved, That this House doth agree with the Commons in the said Amendment.—(The Earl of Ancaster.)
§ LORD DYNEVOR
My Lords, the Bill as introduced to your Lordships' House gave to the local authorities power to take land compulsorily, without the consent of the Minister, up till August, 1923. An Amendment on the Committee stage was put down by my noble friend Lord Stanhope and myself, to delete that clause. My noble friend Lord Ancaster opposed the deletion, and it went to a Division, and the Amendment to delete the clause was carried. The Commons have put back that clause with this difference, that local authorities may continue to take land without the consent of the Minister for six months. My noble friend Lord Ancaster, in Committee, when resisting this Amendment, said that there would be a considerable number of cases in which a good deal of difficulty would be experienced in obtaining land. I do not quite see why that should be so.
What have the local authorites been doing all this time, and what are they 1057 doing at the present moment? For the last three years they have had full powers to take any land that they liked, without the consent of the Minister. They might have taken, if they had liked, practically the whole country. That power was given to local authorities under the Land Settlement (Facilities) Act, 1919, primarily in order that land could be got very quickly to settle soldiers upon it. I do not think those powers are any longer necessary. The landowners now should be given a small amount of consideration, and should be able to appeal to the Minister if land is going to be taken from them. I am in favour of the allotments movement, and have scores of allotments on my own property. The local authorities are always very friendly, but that cannot be said to be the case everywhere. In many places they have acted most arbitrarily. I do not wish to take up time by giving instances, but I think your Lordships should stand by your former decision and have this clause deleted.
§ THE EARL OF ANCASTER
The noble Lord has rightly described what happened in your Lordships' House in Committee. I quite recognise that as a matter of general principle it is reasonable there should be some appeal to a central authority against the proposal of a local authority to acquire compulsorily land for allotments or any other purpose, but an appeal, which must allow time for objections and the holding of a local inquiry, involves delay. The emergency which now arises is the same as that which was contemplated when the
§ Act of 1919 provided that temporary compulsory orders should not require confirmation. It is now proposed that this exceptional legislation shall continue for six months instead of twelve months; and six months is none too long a time when it is considered that many local authorities and their officers will be taking their holidays at this moment.
§ The matter during the autumn will be a very serious one indeed. It is most essential that local authorities should get on with their work and try to acquire land for the large number of allotment holders who will be dispossessed in March next. I hope your Lordships will consider that there is justification for this exceptional procedure and that the Amendment of the Commons will be accepted. If all these orders have to be confirmed, if there is to be a local inquiry and all the other business, I am quite certain there will be serious delay. Local authorities have been waiting for the passing of this Bill so that they can try to acquire fresh land, or the same land, in order to accommodate allotment holders, and if your Lordships do not consider this as emergency legislation in this respect there will be great delay and a large number of allotment holders will have to leave next March. I hope your Lordships will accept this compromise on the question of six months instead of twelve months.
§ On Question, Whether the Commons Amendment shall be agreed to?
§ Their Lordships divided:—Contents 20; Not-Contents 31.1057
|Birkenhead, V. (L. Chancellor.)||Eldon, E.||Clwyd, L.|
|Lucan, E.||Colebrooke, L.|
|Strange, E. (D. Atholl.) (L. Chamberlain.)||Onslow, E.||Gorell, L.|
|Plymouth, E.||Hylton, L.|
|Ancaster, E.||Stamford, E.||Stanmore, L. [Teller.]|
|Bradford, E. [Teller.]||Terrington, L.|
|Chesterfield, E.||Peel, V.||Teynham, L.|
|Clarendon, E.||Wigan, L. (E. Crawford.)|
|Bedford, D.||Hutchinson, V. (E. Dorioughmore.)||Raglan, L.|
|Salisbury, M.||Ritchie of Dundee, L.|
|Annaghdale, L.||Rotherham, L.|
|Doncaster, E. (D. Buccleuch and Queensberry.) [Teller.]||Barry more, L.||Sempill, L.|
|Brownlow, L.||Southborough, L.|
|Mayo, E.||Dynevor, L. [Teller.||Strachie, L.|
|Midleton, E.||Erskine, L.||Stuart of Wortley, L.|
|Morton, E.||Knaresborough, L.||Sumner, L.|
|Bertie of Thame, V.||Oranmore and Browne, L.||Sydenham, L.|
|Chaplin, V.||Ponsonby, L. (E. Bessborough.)||Templemore, L.|
|Hood, V.||Wharton, L.|
§ Resolved in the negative, and Commons Amendment disagreed to accordingly.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
Unless any noble Lord has any individual point he desires to raise I will put the rest of the Commons Amendments en bloc.