HL Deb 09 November 1944 vol 133 cc1078-81

The Land Clauses Acts.

2. The following sections of the Lands Clauses Consolidation Act, 1845, shall be excepted from incorporation with Part I of this Act, that is to say,—

  1. (a)Sections one hundred and twenty-seven to one hundred and thirty-two (which relate to sale of superfluous land);
  2. (b) if the order by which a compulsory purchase is authorized so provides, Section one hundred and thirty-three (which relates to promoters making good deficiencies in land tax and rates); and
  3. (c) Sections one hundred and fifty and one hundred and fifty-one (which relate to access to the special Act).

6. Where glebe land or other land belonging to an ecclesiastical benefice is purchased compulsorily, sums agreed upon or awarded for the purchase of the land, or to be paid by way of compensation for damage sustained by the owner by reason of severance or injury affecting other land so belonging, shall not be paid as directed by the Lands Clauses Acts, but shall be paid to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners to be applied by them as money paid to them upon a sale, under the provisions of the Ecclesiastical Leasing Acts, of land belonging to a benefice.

4.38 p.m.

LORD LATHAM moved, in paragraph 2 (b), to leave out "if the order by which compulsory purchase is authorized so provides." The noble Lord said: This is to preserve the position of authorities in London. It is a very complicated and technical matter, and I hope I may be able to make is sufficiently clear. As at present drafted sub-paragraph (a) of paragraph 2 grants certain exceptions to land which has been acquired by a compulsory purchase order, and if the words whose omission I am proposing remain in it would limit the exception granted to land acquired by the planning authorities in London to that acquired compulsorily and they would get no benefit as regards land acquired by agreement. It is the case that in London, when lands are taken, the promoters of the scheme who take them have to make good any deficiency of the Poor Rate; whereas outside London, under the Rating and Valuation Act, 1925, which does not apply to London, the situation is different, because only one half of the deficiency of the general rate then falls upon the promoters.

Rating authorities in London would be better off in certain circumstances financially if the deficiency of Poor Rate is paid than if the property were to remain liable to rates in the ordinary way. The London County Council, when promoting a Bill for street improvement and the like, normally secures protection against the anomalous position which exists as regards London by reason of the fact that London is not within the Rating and Valuation Act, 1925. I can also pray in aid the fact that the exception we are now asking for is provided for in the Housing Act, 1936. The Solicitor-General in another place, when his attention was drawn to this, said it would be looked into. I hope, therefore, that, inasmuch as it is following normal practice to meet a situation which is peculiar to London, the Government may be willing to accept, and your Lordships to approve, the leaving out of the words as indicated in my Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 74, line 6, leave out from ("(b)") to ("section") in line 7.—(Lord Latham.)


The noble Lord explains these matters so clearly that I feel almost tempted to accuse him of being a lawyer, but, wishing to preserve amity with him, I refrain from that possibly ambiguous comment. He understands it much more clearly than I do. It is a very technical matter. It has been looked at closely and not unsympathetically by those who advise the Government. Our feeling about it is that it is really a question of local government and the Minister of Health and his Department are, of course, necessarily concerned with that. I think it may very well be that consultations with rating authorities here would be necessary, and while I agree that we have adopted already, if I follow rightly, the course which my noble friend wants in the case of a previous Act—


The Housing Act, 1936.


—still it is equally true, of course, that we have not got it at all generally. It may be that it ought to be altered more generally, but we are rather unwilling (I think you can appreciate why) to make a change here with the result that we should create contrast and anomaly in all the other cases. I am sorry not to accept the proposal, but I would like to urge my noble friend opposite to agree that it should not be dealt with here. The proposal was made in the Commons and, after discussion, I think it was withdrawn. It must be a matter—I hope it may be treated as a prompt matter—to be adjusted in connexion with the Ministry of Health on the law of local government. I think my noble friend will see there is some good reason in that.


Yes, I am obliged to the noble and learned Viscount. I cannot understand (I confess this is a very technical matter) why, on behalf of the Government, the noble and learned Viscount puts forward the suggestion that this is a general matter. As I understand it, this situation does not exist outside London. It is only because the Rating and Valuation Act, 1925, which was originally intended to apply to London but was amended in another place during its passage, does not apply to London that this special situation arises. There is no question of general local government. It refers only to London. No one can be prejudiced. After all, the London County Council is not a rating authority. It precepts. It is a question between the London County Council and the metropolitan borough councils. That special position was recognized in Section 147 of the Act of 1936. However, I do not want to take up any further time. I know there is a lot to be dealt with on the Report stage. There is no controversy in this. It is a matter of doing equity to London in a difficult situation, and if you will look at it between now and then I shall be content.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

LORD DARYNGTON moved, in paragraph 6, to leave out "glebe land or other land belonging to an ecclesiastical benefice" and insert "land being ecclesiastical property." The noble Lord said: I move this Amendment on behalf of the right reverend Prelate, the Bishop of London. This Amendment and the following Amendments are designed to secure the proper use, in acordance with the relevant ecclesiastical law, of moneys received upon the acquisition of any ecclesiastical property as defined. Such moneys will be paid to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, as the central Church authority for such purposes, to be applied by them as they would have been required to be applied if the transaction had been effected voluntarily (for example, under the Ecclesiastical Leasing Acts, the Parsonages Measure, the Union of Benefices Measures, the Reorganization Areas Measure, etc.).

Amendment moved— Page 75, line 12, leave out ("gleae land or other land belonging to an ecclesiastical benefice") and insert ("land being ecclesiastical property").—(Lord Daryngton.)


This has been looked into, and I would advise the Committee that the Amendment should be accepted. As my noble friend has just said, it is intended to secure payment to the appropriate statutory central Church authority in order that they may deal with the moneys received, rather than leave it as it is now in the Bill.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


The next two Amendments are consequential Amendments.

Amendments moved—

Page 75, line 16, leave out ("land so belonging") and insert ("such land").

Page 75, Line 18, leave out from ("applied") to end of line 20 and insert ("for the purposes for which the proceeds of a sale by agreement of the land would be applicable under any enactment or Measure authorizing such a sale").—(Lord Daryngton.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.


The next Amendment is drafting. The words are superfluous.

Amendment moved— Page 76 line 46, leave out from ("served") to the end of line 47.—(The Lord Chancellor.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

The Fifth Schedule, as amended, agreed to.

Sixth Schedule: