HL Deb 05 August 1947 vol 151 cc976-9

Clause 67, page 77, line 22, at end, insert: ("(5) Any person aggrieved by any assessment or determination of the amount of a development charge may appeal to a Tribunal consisting of a member or members of the panel constituted under Part I of the Schedule to the War Damage (Valuation Appeals) Act, 5945, selected in accordance with the provisions of Part II of that Schedule, and the provisions of Part III of that Schedule shall in so far as they relate to appeals to a Tribunal have effect in relation to appeals under this Act as if for any reference to the War Damage Commission there were substituted a reference to the Central Land Board and as if for any reference to the War Damage Act, 1943, there were substituted a reference to this Act and the Lord Chancellor shall make rules for regulating, subject to the provisions of that Schedule, appeals to a tribunal under this Act.

(6) For the purposes of an appeal under the last foregoing subsection the Central Land Board shall at the request of the appellant or of the Tribunal furnish to the appellant and to the Tribunal a statement setting out the particulars of the grounds upon which the development; charge was determined by them, together with any facts and contentions relevant thereto.")

The Commons disagreed to this Amendment for the following Reason:

Because the said Amendment is inconsistent with the functions of the Central Land Board and would hamper the Board in the performance of those functions.


My Lords, in Clause 67, page 77, line 22, we proposed at the end to insert words which provided that there shall be an appeal from the Central Land Board. Knowing something about appellate tribunals I am bound to say that there is no certainty that an appellate tribunal is going to be any more right than the original tribunal. I am not certain that this matter is in any sense justiciable. Unless you are prepared to set out at length the exact provisions to which the Central Land Tribunal is to have regard, I do not think there is any good in trying to make it justiciable. However, I do not want to argue this matter again. I expressed my views at the time, and although I am sincerely sorry that the other place have not been able to meet your Lordships in this Amendment, you must remember that a very large number of Amendments were made to this Bill in which they did meet your Lordships' point of view. Therefore, on this particular matter, I beg to move that this House do not insist upon the said Amendment.

Moved, That this House do not insist upon the said Amendment to which the Commons have disagreed.—(The Lord Chancellor.)


My Lords, I am at one with the noble and learned Viscount in saying that you never quite know what an appellate tribunal is going to do or whether it will be better than an original tribunal. But the one great advantage in having an appellate tribunal is that the original tribunal has to be careful in what it does. That was the sole reason for putting in this Amendment which has now been considered by another place. Indeed, it is perhaps as well to recall that when we were discussing this Amendment on the fourth day of the Committee stage, the noble and learned Viscount on the Woolsack said these words—I am quoting from column 837 of the Hansard of July 2: Where a man has a factory with some vacant land alongside it, and he wants to utilize part of that vacant land to develop his factory in a way which is really essential for the continuance of his business, it may be said that the Central Land Board are in a position where they can literally blackmail that man, because there is no other potential user of that land. The noble and learned Viscount went on to say: In cases of that nature, where there is substantially only one applicant for the land, I am prepared to concede that there may be an appeal to the Minister. I am not suggesting a tribunal, but an appeal to the Minister. It is quite true that what we suggested was this appeal to a tribunal. Indeed, we selected the tribunal which the present Government had themselves set up—one which we thought might be one likely to gain acceptance. I am sorry that we have not had back from the Government an Amendment in the nature of that adumbrated by the noble and learned Viscount in the words that I have just quoted. However, without our getting into any conflict with the other place, I think it may well he possible still to achieve this purpose. We are dealing here with Clause 67 and under subsection (3) it says: … . regulations made under this Act with the consent of the Treasury may prescribe general principles to be followed by the Central Land Board in determining under this Part of this Act whether any and if so what development charge is to be paid thereunder in respect of any operations or use of land. It might well be right to make provision under those regulations for the kind of case in which the Lord Chancellor himself said he thought there was a point to meet. I do not put it higher than that.

I am not asking for a reply upon t its matter at the present moment, and I notice the noble and learned Viscount preparing to hurry from his seat and consult other people. I do not ask for a reply now, because the possibility and practicability of doing it is a matter which will have to be thought out. While I am not advising those who may take my advice to insist upon our Amendment—and here I am putting up the amber light and not the red one—all I shall say is that we shall watch very carefully. Clause 67 (5) states: Regulations made for the purposes of subsection (3) of this section shall be of no effect unless they are approved by resolution of each House of Parliament. We shall just watch and when that Resolution eventually comes before us we will remember the words I have to-day uttered.

For myself, I am sorry that another place could not see their way to accept this extremely reasonable Amendment. I do not like bodies which are set up to gather money to be the assessors, the appeal tribunal and everything all in one. As I said once before, it is too like the old practice from which we rid ourselves in the time of the Stuart Kings and before. Would, indeed, that there were a Gilbert now alive, to create a character in another light opera showing how this Central Land Board, as the great Pooh Bah, may work. With those few words I think at this stage we had better leave the matter where it is and wait to see what happens when these regulations later come before us.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

3.57 p.m.