HL Deb 17 July 1947 vol 150 cc935-1000

2.35 p.m.

Further considered on Report (according to Order).

Clause 84 [Land held for charitable purposes]:

THE LORD CHANCELLOR (VISCOUNT JOWITT) moved to leave out Clause 84 and insert the following clause:

Land held for charitable purposes.

84.—(1) This section applies to land an interest in which is held for charitable or ecclesiastical purposes of any description if the land, as distinct from the rents and profits thereof, is used in any manner (including use in a manner involving the beneficial occupation of the land by any person) for or in connexion with the purposes for which the said interest is held, and not otherwise, or if the land would be so used but for the occurrence of war damage or but for the fact that the land is for the time being requisitioned land.

(2) No payment shall be made under Part VI of this Act in respect of any such interest as aforesaid in land which, on the appointed day, is land to which this section applies; and no development charge shall be payable under Part VII of this Act in respect of any operations carried out on such land by the person entitled to any such interest for or in connexion with the purposes for which that interest is held or in respect of any use of the land by that person for those purposes.

(3) Where any land which, on the appointed day, was land to which this section applies ceases at any time thereafter to be such land, no development charge shall be payable under Part VII of this Act in respect of any development by virtue of which the use of the land is made to correspond with the use which prevails generally in the case of contiguous or adjacent land, if planning permission for that development has been granted under Part III of this Act before the land ceases to be land to which this section applies.

(4) Where any such interest as is mentioned in subsection (1) of this section in land to which this section applies is compulsorily acquired under this or any other Act in pursuance of a notice to treat served on or after the appointed day, then if—

  1. (a) the land was land to which this section applies on the appointed day; or
  2. (b) the land is being used at the time of the notice to treat for a purpose of such a nature that there is no general demand or market for land for that purpose,
it shall be assumed, in assessing the compensation payable in respect of the acquisition of the said interest, that planning permission would be granted under Part III of this Act for any development by virtue of which the use of the land would be made to correspond with the use which prevails generally in the case of contiguous or adjacent land, and that no development charge would be payable under Part VII of this Act in respect of any such development.

(5) If, upon application made to him at any time within three years after the appointed day, the Minister is satisfied—

  1. (a) that any interest in land was held on that day for charitable or ecclesiastical purposes of any description, but that the land was not then used in any such manner as is mentioned in subsection (1) of this section; and
  2. (b) that it is reasonable, having regard to any proposals for its future use, that the land should be treated for the purposes of this section as if it had been so used,
he may, if he thinks fit, direct that the foregoing provisions of this section shall have effect in relation to the land, so long as that interest is so held, as if the land was land to which this section applies and had been such land on the appointed day:

Provided that subsection (3) of this section shall not apply by virtue of any such direction if the interest in question ceases to be held for charitable or ecclesiastical purposes before the land has been actually used in the manner aforesaid.

(6) For the purposes of subsection (1) of this section any interest in land which is held by the National Trust shall be deemed to be used for the purposes for which that interest is held, and not otherwise, if, and only if, that interest is held by the Trust inalienably.

The noble and learned Viscount said: My Lords, I beg to move that we leave out Clause 84 as printed in the Bill and substitute the clause on the Order Paper. Before I go any further, may I say that there is a purely technical error here. On the eighth line you will find the words "the war damage." It is intended that the phrase should be "war damage," and may I take it that your Lordships understand that, in moving this clause, I am moving it without the word "the." This clause and the next proposed new clause are so closely intertwined that I think it is really impossible to discuss one without trespassing upon the other, and I shall therefore—and I assume your Lordships will think it not improper—inevitably, I am afraid, in discussing this clause rather stray into the territory of the other.

I may say at once that I think this is by far the most difficult topic of an exceedingly difficult Bill, and I may add further that there is no clause in the Bill which has given me personally more anxiety than this clause relating to charities. I gather from my postbag, and I gather from some of the leaders I have seen in the papers, that I am regarded as the modern Henry VIII despoiling the monasteries, and it is apparently assumed that my colleagues, and in particular the Chancellor of the Exchequer, are mere puppets who dance to my tune. My Lords, I wish it were so. But you may take it that that is not true, and that, though I must of course take—and I take without any hesitation—my share of the collective responsibility for the matters that are put forward, I cannot take, and it is unfair that I should be asked to take, more than my fair share. On the other hand, I do not claim to be the sole originator or begetter of this scheme. At the same time, I have had, in the course of the last six or seven years, to give very careful consideration to this matter and, having given that consideration, I myself have come to the conclusion—I do not mind saying the rather reluctant conclusion—that the only course you can take about this topic is to differentiate the land by reason of the nature of the land, some quality attaching to the land, rather than to consider the nature or quality of the owner of the land. I believe that as we come to consider this topic in the course of this clause and the next clause, you will find that you will get into very great difficulty if you are going to treat two parcels of similar land in a different way because of some inherent quality not in the land but in the owner.

Our scheme, broadly speaking, is this: We differentiate between operational land, as I have termed it, and investment land of charities, and we say that land which is used for the direct purposes of the charity, which is what I mean by operational land, shall have one treatment, and land which is mere investment land—that is to say, land from which the charity derives profits and rents which it uses no doubt for its charitable purposes —shall be in a different category. Historically the matter in the last few years has been dealt with in this way. At the time of the Uthwatt Committee they had to consider this matter, and those of your Lordships who are familiar with the Uthwatt Report will find, in paragraph 76, that they dealt with this matter. They were not concerned to deal with land within towns, but so far as land in the country is concerned they expressly state in that paragraph that the lands of institutions such as hospitals and other charitable institutions should be treated exactly on the same basis as dwelling-houses. With regard to dwelling-houses their scheme was to treat them as developed with, I think, one acre.

Then in 1943, in the days of the Coalition Government we had to consider this matter very carefully in the case of war damage in regard to the collection of war damage contributions. In regard to charities what we did was this—I am not sure whether it was the first time it was done, but the first time of which I am aware—we differentiated between what may call the operational land and the investment land, and we made them pay contributions in respect of their investment land, but preserved them from paying any contribution in respect of their operational land. When this Bill came from another place to this House, and Clause 84 as it was drafted originally was before us, again it preserved the distinction between operational land and investment land. I undertook to your Lordships to take back that clause and to consider its drafting again, because I am most anxious to make the relief in respect of operational land as wide as I can, and where there comes a border-line between operational land and investment land I am quite willing to draw that line with a favourable view towards the charities so far as I can.

I confess that on looking at the clause as it came to us, I was not altogether happy about it. As I thought, it emphasized too much the principle of the land being "contiguous or adjacent" and one or more of your Lordships gave me some illustrations in this connexion. I remember that the noble Viscount, Lord Simon, referred to the boathouse of Westminster School, which is situated at Putney. That boathouse is certainly not contiguous or adjacent to the school, but, obviously, it is used for the purposes of the educational establishment. I was not satisfied, therefore, with the contiguous or adjacent test. If you come to think of the case of an ordinary country vicarage, it would be an odd result if one were to grant some privilege or protection to a vicarage merely because it nestled beside the church, but denied it that same protection if it was situated half a mile or a mile away. In drawing up my new clause I have been anxious, so far as I can, to deal with that matter, and I think I can fairly say that in the new clause, so far as land is being used for operational purposes, whether it is contiguous or adjacent to anything or not, it gets the benefit of the relief.

I wish now to say something with the next Amendment particularly in mind. I would like the noble Viscount, Lord Samuel, to listen to this carefully. It is a question I am going to ask him when we consider his proposed new clause, so I must make the matter perfectly plain. If land, operational land held for charitable purposes (though in this connexion the same principle applies to investment land) is purchased, either through voluntary sale or compulsory acquisition, you must make it plain what the purchaser is getting. By buying that land what right does he get? Has he the right to develop the land to any extent without paying a development charge? Or, alternatively, has he the right to develop it in accordance with the prevailing user of the neighbourhood without paying a development charge? Or has he no right to do anything without paying a development charge? It is no good, if I may say so with great respect, having a clause dealing with this difficulty unless that matter is made plain. I am sure that your Lordships will agree with me upon that. When I ask your Lordships to look through my clause I shall endeavour to show that I have made that matter plain. Equally when I come to consider the next proposed clause which I shall examine from that same point of view, and—forewarned is fore-armed—I am telling my noble friend Viscount Samuel that I shall ask him to consider what is the position under his clause if land is purchased either in a voluntary or compulsory transaction: what does the purchaser get? Unless that matter is put beyond the ambit of ambiguity it is obvious that the clause is no good at all.

I have drafted my clause wide enough to meet the case of the particular movements or bodies that I was asked to consider—youth organizations, youth hostels, boy scouts or anything of that sort. In the case of land with regard to which you cannot say that there is a general requirement for land of that character contiguous to anything at all that matters, so long as it is used for the purpose of boy scouts, youth hostels and so on it is plain, according to my clause, that it is operational land and therefore gets treated as operational land. And the treatment of operational land, of course, is this. You do not claim under Part VI—that is to say you have no share of the £300,000,000 —and having no share in that you do not have to pay development charges if you seek to develop your land.

That is the broad scheme, and it would be convenient now, I think, if I were to ask your Lordships to look at my clause in order to see what I have been enabled to do. In the first subsection I define, so far as I can, operational land. It is land held for ecclesiastical or other charitable purposes if the land, as distinct from the rents and profits thereof, is used in any manner (including use in a manner involving the beneficial occupation of the land by any person) for or in connexion with the purposes for which the said interest is held … or if the land would be so used but for the occurrence of war damage.…. Then, in the next subsection, consequent on that, I set out that No payment shall be made under Part VI in respect of any such interest as aforesaid in land which, on the appointed day, is land to which this section applies.… That is, there shall be no share of the £300,000,000. But correlatively no development charge shall be payable under Part VII … in respect of any operations carried out on such land by the person entitled to any such interest for or in connexion with the purposes for which that interest is held. … So far, I hope, it is quite plain.

Now I have to deal with the question of what happens suppose that operational land ceases to be so held. I say that if the land ceases at any time thereafter to be such land, no development charge shall be payable under Part VII in respect of development so as to make the land correspond with the prevailing user of adjoining land. That is to say that if an Oxford College, which I will call St. Luke's College—is minded to sell its land, it can sell its land and the purchaser will know that in buying that land he can, always assuming he receives planning permission, develop that land up to and in accordance with the existing use prevailing in the neighbourhood without paying development charge. St. Luke's will get more from the purchaser because the purchaser knows he has that privilege without paying development charge.

I turn next to what will happen on compulsory purchase. I deal with this in subsection (4): Where any such interest as is mentioned in subsection (1) of this section…is compusorily acquired…then if—

  1. (a) the land was land to which this section applies on the appointed day"
or has since the appointed day become operational land, it shall be assumed in assessing the compensation payable in respect of the acquisition of the said interest, that planning permission would be granted under Part III of this Act for any development corresponding to the prevailing use in the neighbourhood. And no development charge is payable in respect of that. So, if St. Luke's wants to sell its gardens to a man going to build a factory—a horrible thought, but let us assume it for a moment—always assuming you get planning permission and the factory is in accord with the prevailing use in the neighbourhood, then it could sell the land for a factory and the purchaser would know he was entitled to put up that factory without paying any development charge.

Then I deal with a different topic. I have been trying to meet a particular point put by the noble Lord, Lord Llewellin. St. Luke's may have land at some other part of Oxford, possibly in the High Street, at present used for shops but which in the fullness of time may well be wanted for an extension of the college or other college purpose. If the college like to go to the Minister and obtain his approval, that land may be treated as if it were operational land. But there is a proviso, which says: Provided that subsection (3) of this section shall not apply by virtue of any such direction if the interest in question ceases to be held for ecclesiastical or other charitable purposes before the land has been actually used in the manner aforesaid. Therefore, if St. Luke's, having got the Minister to agree that this land occupied by shops may be used for college purposes, decide they cannot use it and wish to sell it, then subsection (3) will not apply to that land and the purchaser will know that he will buy it subject to existing use and if he wants to do more than that he has to pay development charge. Finally, I have tried to meet the almost passionate plea of the noble Viscount, Lord Esher, about National Trust land, and I have decided to treat as operational land the inalienable land of the National Trust, which is by far the largest proportion of their land.

That is the scheme I am here putting forward. I have differentiated between operational land and investment land. I warned your Lordships on the previous occasion when I promised to withdraw the clause for redrafting, that I felt certain the instructions I had to maintain this distinction would prevail. What I promised to do, I have done. I promised to take this matter back to my colleagues and impress them with the arguments which your Lordships had used. I have done so. I have faithfully carried out my undertaking, but the net result is that I am bound, and I say it quite unambiguously, to adhere to the distinction between operational and investment land. If this were merely a system of taxation analogous to the Income Tax or what was done in '31 or '43, I think there would be a strong case for exempting the charities from this tax. But what we are doing in this Bill is not a matter of taxation at all: that is purely incidental.

This is one of the most far-reaching and one of the most revolutionary Bills ever introduced into this House. The broad principle of this Bill, be it observed, is agreed to by all Parties. It follows the Coalition White Paper. What we are doing is nothing less than this—the whole principle of ownership in fee simple has virtually gone. The owner of land is at best and at most a sort of tenant for life without any of the concessions and privileges which the Settled Lands Act secured him. He is entitled under the scheme to continue to use the land in its existing state, but if he wants to alter the land or the nature of its use, he has to get permission to do so and pay a fee by way of development charge for so doing. It seems to me a complete fallacy to speak as though this were a mere system of taxation. It is not. It is a limitation, and a very serious limitation, imposed on ownership of land and it is a limitation to which all Parties are committed.

Speaking for myself, though it is a revolutionary change, I believe it to be right, I believe it to be justified. If you look at conditions in our great cities and realize how far the absence of planning is due to our grandfathers in the past having no planning policy—I am not making Party capital out of this—I think there is complete justification for this Bill. Is it possible to have subsisting at one and the same time two forms of land tenure, not depending on the nature or use of land, but depending on the quality of ownership? Is it possible to say that land held, for instance, by St. Luke's College shall be subject to one system of tenure, that they shall have complete ownership, something corresponding to ownership in fee simple as we used to know it, and that land next door belonging to a landlord shall be subject to the limited system of land ownership? We do not believe that to be practicable. We realize, everybody must realize, that the consequence of putting investment land into the category of ordinary landowners' land may have adverse effects on some charities. I believe myself, for the reasons I have given in the course of the debate, that the extent of that adverse effect is very much overstated, but I will not embark on that now.

Surely, if we take any other criterion than the use of land we get an arbitrary and artificial distinction. Take charities' land within the Green Belt: where it is not going to be developed, where no question arises, you must be able to say in regard to that land, "You are not going to develop it." Are you going to pay compensation there? Are you going to pay different compensation apart from the £300,000,000? If so, you find yourself in this position, that the treatment which charities get will depend on an accident as to where that land is situated, whether it is or is not fit for development. I believe that to be impossible and, as I have said, having thought over this matter for a very long time, I have come to the conclusion that the only thing you can do on this very difficult and very debatable clause—I can see there is room for two points of view—is to base your principiles upon the quality of the land itself and not upon the quality of the owner.

For those reasons, I have endeavoured in my Clause 84 so to draft it as to apply concessions to operational land, though at the same time—and I hope your Lordships will not use this in evidence against me when we come to the discussion on the later clause—I have tried to consider operational land in as wide a way as I legitimately could, so as to bring as much charity land as possible within the concession of the clause. That is my scheme. The other proposed new clause, which I have to some exent incidentally discussed, we shall have to consider, too, but for the moment I hope your Lordships will realize that I have, to the best of my ability, carried out the undertaking which I gave. I can only assure your Lordships that the redrafting of this clause has caused a great deal of thought and anxiety to myself, and in particular to those who have been advising me. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Leave out Clause 84 and insert the said new clause.—(The Lord Chancellor.)

3.3 p.m.

VISCOUNT SIMON

My Lords, the noble and learned Viscount, the Lord Chancellor, has made, as he always does, an impressive speech which, if I may say so without impertinence, was of course very well argued and very attractive. I thought myself that when he reached the latter part of his oration he moved a little wider of the mark than at the beginning. He treated the matter which is in issue here as though it involved a question as to whether planning should apply to the land the treatment of which is in dispute between these two clauses. Surely, it must be quite plain to the noble and learned Viscount—he knows it perfectly well—that the planning clauses of this Bill apply with exactly the same force to land which is held by trustees for a charity as they do to any other land. It has, again with the greatest respect, nothing whatever to do with the point, and is merely a flourish added at the end of his argument to induce some people to think that what some of us venture to think would be right here is an invasion of the planning principles of the Bill. The trustees of educational charities—of whom I am particularly thinking in this connexion—are the people who welcome planning most of all; and they have shown it by the way in which they have acted throughout. I am sure my noble and learned friend will forgive me if I say that the issue of planning has nothing whatever to do with his Amendment or the other Amendment.

It is, as the noble and learned Viscount says, very difficult to decide what is the right thing to do here. I would like to express, if I may, my sincere thanks—and I think I can say the thanks of the whole House—for the trouble which he has taken about this. He has beyond any question improved the original clause in the Bill almost out of recognition by the substitute which he now puts forward. It does make plain—as I ventured to suggest when we discussed this in Committee he would have to make plain—that the test within his clause is not really whether a particular piece of land is "contiguous" to another piece. That has really nothing to do with it; it was an imperfect piece of drafting. In the nature of things mistakes must arise, and the skilled draftsmen are always ready to recognize that. With the help of the noble and learned Viscount, the Lord Chancellor—and I have no doubt with his principal authority—the clause has been altered so that all that difficulty has gone. I am very glad that it should be so.

But I do not think that his new clause covers quite all the difficulties. If I mention one, it is not with any desire to be captious, but merely so that it should be on record. I do not myself see (though I may be wrong about this) how the noble and learned Viscount's clause deals with this case, which is not at all an uncommon case. You have cases—I think I could mention one, or perhaps two, in the university I know best—where the college or the university has already acquired an area of land with the idea that later on, perhaps when leases have run out, or when sufficient money is available, they will make use of it not wholly for the purposes which my noble and learned friend very conveniently called "operational," but partly for operational purposes and partly for something else—what you might call a "mixed" user. The sort of instance which occurs to me, and which I know is the practical instance, is this. You may have a college which has some time ago acquired an area of land in the town which it hopes, when the leases have run out, to make use of by providing additional rooms for undergraduates on the upper floor, while having shops below. I do not mention that with any desire of magnifying this point beyond what is right, but I ask my noble and learned friend to consider whether that case is really dealt with. If it is, I am more than satisfied, but I felt so much doubt about it that I thought he would allow me to mention it.

As the noble and learned Viscount said, it is convenient to review these two clauses together. If I do that (and I will not do it at any length) I want to be sure that we concentrate our minds on the real issue. The real issue is an issue of principle. If my noble and learned friend thought it was right—or perhaps I should say, had the necessary permission—to provide that land held by a charity as an investment should not be treated in the same way as land which was held by a private individual for his personal profit, nobody could question that with the resources that he commands he could draw up a clause which would cover the case. I do not for a moment suggest that he could not. As it is, those who put down n the Amendment in the name of the noble Viscount, Lord Samuel, are, I think, at a certain disadvantage, because they have not my noble and learned friend's assistance, nor the assistance of the skilled draftsmen of the Government. But that it could be done nobody is going to dispute for a moment. Of course, with the resources of Parliamentary draftsmanship it is not impossible to provide that investment land held by trustees for charitable uses shall not be treated in the same way as land which is merely held for private profit. There may be complications but of course it could be done. The real issue is, therefore, on the point of principle.

The question is whether the profits on development in the case of trustees for charities who hold land, could better be made available for the community through being left in the hands of the trustees, or whether the community will benefit more by their being transferred to the Treasury. Now observe that when this development charge in respect of such lands is paid to the Treasury there is no sort of guarantee —there is no sort of pretence, I think—that in the hands of the Treasury they are to be devoted to educational, religious or other charitable purposes—none at all. They fall into the general maw of the Treasury. The noble and learned Viscount explained just now the relationship between himself and the Chancellor of the Exchequer. In the old days, certainly down to the days of Mr. Lloyd George, "the Chancellor" meant the Lord Chancellor. Mr. Gladstone would never for a moment have allowed himself to be referred to as "the Chancellor." He was the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and anybody who looks at Hansard—anybody who knows the history of our Parliamentary nomenclature—knows that that was the old position, and "the Chancellor" in the old days meant the Lord Chancellor. The change took place in the time of Mr. Lloyd George.

Equity has sometimes been described as a very uncertain protection, because, as the old lawyers sometimes said, "it was the length of the Chancellor's foot"; that is to say you could not imagine what it would be in advance and you had better just see what the particular Chancellor would say. The amount of development charge in the present Bill, and the way in which it is going to be used may be described as the length of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's foot—it depends on how much he wants for general purposes. There is not the slightest reason to think that the £300,000,000—which, by the way, is to be shared with Scotland—is arrived at by any particular calculation. The question is whether, when you come to educational charities, you are really going to promote the benefit of the community by placing this heavy charge upon such land. What has been done in this new clause is really to follow as closely as possible the provisions in Clause 84. Anybody who compares, for example, subsection (5) in the clause of the noble Viscount, Lord Samuel, with the clause which was referred to just now by the Lord Chancellor will see that they are practically the same. In the same way, subsections (3) and (4) really are fitted in, in view of the language of Clause 84 of the Lord Chancellor. Everything depends upon whether we are or are not going to treat land which is admittedly investment land held by the trustees of charities just like private owners' land or not.

If I may, by way of brief exposition, make a further observation, it would be this. I have no difficulty in answering the noble and learned Viscount's question which he put just now. The scheme of the clause of the noble Viscount, Lord Samuel, as I understand it is this. Supposing that trustees of charitable land sell it, as of course they may sell it, to anybody who is not interested in the charity at all, it is just the money which is paid for it which then becomes the charitable fund. If the trustees of a landowning charity which is land with a development prospect get planning permission for a given development for any given parcel of land, then the first proposition is that the development charge which ought to be paid shall not exceed the amount which has been paid in respect of that area of land from the £300,000,000, which is sometimes called compensation money. That is the first proposition. If that proposition is applied it follows, of course, that the trustees of a land-owning charity, whatever they may receive in the first instance, will have to pay it back in development charge, but not more than they have received when the planning permission is given for a particular development and before that development takes place. Such a man who buys such a piece of land from the trustees—it may be a college or a school—will buy land which to that extent has a permission for development. But if there is any further development which is required hereafter he has to pay development duty on anything which is added. It is perfectly simple and nothing more than simple arithmetic.

But there did arise a second administrative difficulty which the Lord Chancellor did not fail to point out very clearly in the previous debate. The difficulty is this. It may be that the area of land, in respect of which a portion of the £300,000,000 may have been granted, is a larger area than the portion of it which is going to be developed or going to be sold. In that event, as the noble and learned Viscount pointed out—and I quite agree with his criticism—you would get into the gravest of difficulties as to how you are going to distribute over the whole area of the land the amount received, having regard to the fact that only a portion of it is going to be granted development rights. The criticism is a perfectly just one and, of course, the noble and learned Viscount made it as clear as crystal the moment he explained it. He said that it is a great administrative difficulty—as it would be—but it is completely overcome, I venture to think, by the clause which we are now discussing together with the Lord Chancellor's clause. That other clause contains the provision that if only a part of the land which, as a unit, has got some payment from the £300,000,000 is sold, or ceases to be trust land, then there is no limitation on the development charge which may be made—permission having been obtained in connexion with a given development of that portion—until the development charge or charges on such portions as have thus been dealt with equals or exceeds the payment out of the £300,000,000 which has been made in respect of the whole. The advantage of that is that you never have to undertake what I agree would be a difficult task, the task of apportioning between the whole area and a portion which is going to be developed and sold, this contribution out of the £300,000,000. That is, I think, an exposition of Lord Samuel's clause, and I will not, at any rate now, take more time about it.

At the end of his speech the noble and learned Viscount, the Lord Chancellor, advanced some very striking and stirring propositions and said that he regarded this as a revolution in land tenure. It abolished in effect fee simple. I wonder what would happen to the Birkenhead Acts, passed not so many years ago, if it is so revolutionary as all that. So far as I am concerned, it is nothing of the kind. It is recognizing a principle from which I have never retracted, in which I have sincerely believed ever since my early days: that if the increased value of land can fairly be regarded as created by the efforts of the community as distinct from the efforts of the individual owner, then it is perfectly right to demand from that owner a contribution. I am the purest of the pure on that subject. I have expounded it in another place and on public platforms, probably, if I may say so, before some noble Lords opposite were ever interested in the subject at all. I have not changed one scrap.

Having spent my life in—amongst other things—trying to master our law, I know that throughout our whole history we have always regarded land which is held for charitable purposes as not being a proper subject for the general statutory exactions which from time to time have to be made for public purposes. I am not going to spend time, and the noble and learned Viscount on the Woolsack would not expect me to do so, in discussing where a tax is not a tax. It really is an idle discussion. He himself called it a "fee," and if it is any advantage to anybody to say that this is a fee exacted from the landowner instead of saying it is a tax imposed on him, then for heaven's sake take the advantage of the distinction.

I think that if you had any regard to the language of Adam Smith or of John Stuart Mill, this thing does become in substance what they would have called a tax. I have extracted a passage; here it is: A tax is a compulsory contribution in support of government levied on persons or property under the force of an Act of Parliament. Do not let us spend more time in discussing whether this is a tax or not. What is quite certain is that, throughout our history of exactions placed by Statute upon our citizens for purposes of contribution to the Exchequer, there cannot be the least doubt in the world that from beginning to end lands held by trustees for charity have been regarded as exempt. It goes back further than the noble Lord, Lord Llewellin, suggested the other day. He thought it started in 1846. As a matter of fact, there was an Income Tax imposed by Pitt in 1799. Then the Peace of Amiens came, but it ended in 1803. I had the curiosity to look at Pitt's Statute of 1803 and I found that it exempted all charities just the same. It has always been so.

Reference has been made to the Snowden Act. It is relevant to observe that in 1931, when Snowden made his proposals in respect of this very purpose—namely, getting a contribution out of the development of land—there was this actual provision in paragraph (f) of Section 24 headed "Exemptions and Reliefs." It is, of course, in rather technical language but the meaning of it may be very easily ascertained. He exempted from what he was imposing any land "owned by any persons entitled to claim, in respect of the unit or any part thereof, or in respect of rents and profits thereof, exemption from Income Tax under Schedule A of the Income Tax Act of 1918, Section 37." I have the section here; I will not trouble your Lordships by reading it, but I hope you will take it from me that it is a clean exemption of lands which are vested in trustees for charitable purposes so far as they are used for charitable purposes. It has always been so. The reason is this. There may be a great deal to be said—I think there is—for getting a contribution from the private owner of land which he sees growing more valuable, not owing to his own efforts but owing to the efforts of the community—circumstances having in one form or another made it more attractive to buy. But when you come to these educational charities, they are held on behalf of the community.

As I ventured to tell your Lordships' House the other day, I really have a personal knowledge of this. For thirty or forty years I have sat and helped to administer such a charity to assist the Bodleian Library, the Adult Workers' Association, the non-collegiate students who may not always be able to afford the ordinary expense of a university education, and other educational purposes. Here is a simple example within my own knowledge. Some years ago the institution to which I refer were the owners, as trustees, for educational purposes, for a charity, of a considerable acreage of land—not I think very far from London. In the course of time, the land became more valuable. In 1936, a portion of it was requisitioned for some purpose or other and the college were paid in respect of that portion of the land £81,000. They invested that £81,000 with the authority of the Minister of Agriculture—without whose authority we could do nothing at all in the matter either of buying or of selling land—in other land, which had at the time a prospect of development. What is going to happen to this trust? It has got this £81,000 worth of land. It is going under this Bill to be required to pay, I do not know how much. Nobody knows; one of the oddities of this Bill is that it does not give any definition as to how much. It is an undefined amount which has to be paid as development charge. What were they going to do with the land? If it had been left in their own hands they were going to do nothing whatever except promote the education of the people. Are we so set in our ideas, sitting in serried ranks, that when an argument of this kind is before the House of Lords, it is of no avail? I say that on principle and precedent alike, this exemption ought to be made.

The clause which has been here produced by the noble Viscount, Lord Samuel, is a clause which I do not think it is very difficult to explain. It proceeds exactly on the same lines as the clause which the Lord Chancellor himself has introduced. The real issue for this House, which we have to decide, is whether or not we as a House think it right to take these large exactions from trustees of land which they have acquired with the authority, and very often with the encouragement, in some cases of the Ministry of Agriculture, in some cases of the Board of Education and in some cases of the Charity Commissioners. Do we think it right to say: "This will be very much better used if you hand it over to Mr. Dalton"? There is no sort of suggestion that Mr. Dalton is going to use it for educational purposes. But still, here is £300,000,000. It is going hereafter to be divided, even with Scotland although Scotland is not included in this Bill. In those circumstances, I submit to the House—I apologize for having kept your Lordships—that the argument should prevail. I hope I have put it clearly and reasonably. I submit that the right course is to make a further exemption which is suggested in the clause.

LORD HAMPTON

My Lords, whatever may be the fate of the colleges under this present clause, I should like to thank the noble and learned Viscount sincerely for the concessions which it brings to those associations on whose behalf I spoke. I should also like to include the National Association of Boys Clubs which I did not mention before, and other associations which will benefit very greatly. I am most grateful to the noble and learned Viscount.

3.33 p.m.

LORD BRAND

My Lords, I should like to say a few words in support of the Amendment in the name of Lord Samuel. I am sure you will give me your indulgence for a few moments. I feel like a junior barrister, or perhaps someone who is not even a barrister, arguing before the House of Lords sitting as a court of law. I am, in fact, going to support the Amendment on behalf of educational charities, and particularly on behalf of the colleges of a university, of two colleges of which I happen to have been a member for many years, who are going to suffer a very heavy financial loss if this Bill goes through as now drafted. I think it is natural that that loss will be incurred not only by them but by other educational charities, because land is, in my opinion, the proper investment for a charity which has a perpetual life, and has always been so.

The colleges of Oxford and Cambridge, no doubt, still possess land that was given to them by their great founders and benefactors five hundred years ago. If one could assume that it were possible in those days that those educational charities were able to invest in equities, as they might now, I feel convinced that in the course of five hundred years they would have lost their money. Land, however, always remains, and therefore land is obviously the proper investment and the main investment that such charities should hold.

My view is the same as that enunciated by my noble friend Viscount Simon, that what we are discussing in this Bill is not a new principle of holding land, but whether certain values which have not been given to land by the owner shall be retained by the owner or shall be used on behalf of the community. Viscount Samuel's Amendment, to my mind, is wholly consistent with the second principle, that the development profits shall be retained for the purposes of the community. Like my noble friend Viscount Simon, I have sat for many years at meetings concerned with the administration of such charities. I know the meticulous care which has been given to the administration of the trust; I know how the moneys are used for the most urgent university purposes, and I feel sure that no one could say that any private interest whatever is concerned in the management of those trusts. That is where they differ fundamentally from the ownership of such land by purely private interests. I think one can say, too, that the great universities cater for all classes of the population and in that way serve the whole community, and not only part of it.

It would seem that those who disagree with this view really hold the opinion that the community can only be represented by Whitehall. That seems to me a very deplorable consequence of this Bill. It is perhaps one small nail in the coffin of what you might call private enterprise and variety in this country, because it leads on to all control, not only of other institutions but of educational institutions, ultimately being centred in Whitehall. Yet in these great universities we see what I regard as perhaps the most magnificent example in the world of private enterprise. They were started, it is true, in most cases, by the great magnates of the Church, but they have been administered through many centuries by those who are in charge of them and in authority, and they have been so well administered that no other institutions in the world have a world-wide reputation superior, or perhaps even equal, to theirs.

One has to recollect that hard times are coming for these educational charities. This is a period of inflation when all expenses are going up, when all salaries have to go up, and when all costs of every kind are going up. These educational charities, these universities and colleges, to my mind, will be very hard put to it to make both ends meet. They have in the past relied very greatly on large benefactions. That was so not only in the earliest days but we have a recent example in the benefactions of industrial magnates such as Lord Nuffield. Nevertheless, while in the United States the universities can still rely on such support and do get it in large measure, in my opinion, it is not possible in this country to expect that we shall have men of such wealth in future that they can support universities or colleges as they have done in the past. Therefore, you are taking away by this Bill revenues which it will be extremely difficult to replace. For that reason, I think one ought to consider with all the more care whether it is really desirable in the public interests to diminish their revenues and therefore to prevent them from carrying out the duties that they so well carry out for the, community now. I have great pleasure in supporting the Amendment brought forward by Viscount Samuel.

3.40 p.m.

LORD LUKE

My Lords, I am sorry I was unable to be present when this particular clause was discussed on the Committee stage, otherwise I should have spoken on that occasion, and then I think perhaps the noble and learned Viscount's surprise, about which he spoke on that occasion, might have been possibly less. His surprise was that the number of voices raised on behalf of these charities was not larger. Well, I venture to add my small voice now. Although it may be rather a voice crying in the wilderness, at any rate I feel it should be raised. Let me assure the noble and learned Viscount that the list is rather formidable. I do not wish to weary him with the full details, but it is a formidable list. I do not speak, as you might think, on behalf of St. Luke's College, which the noble and learned Viscount has instanced to-day, but on behalf of the Harpur Trust, which was one of those mentioned, and which is the governing body of the Bedford Schools.

The Lord Chancellor has asked us to consider this matter upon the nature and quality of land rather than upon the nature and quality of ownership. I have tried very hard, but I think it is extremely difficult to do that. We are right up against the principle whether the landowners should be treated all alike, or whether there should be any exception in this Bill. Even landowners have good intentions, I believe. It is not often thought so—it is popularly thought the other way, and the legislation which we are passing in this and other Bills does tend to view the landowner with suspicion; it partially pushes him into the semi-criminal class. But the good landlord—and we have heard something to the effect that the Government are going to be a good landlord in the future—does, I understand, plough back his increment, if you like, if he has any, and he improves his property. That may not be a very good way of putting it briefly, but I think that describes it fairly well. That is the good landlord. But there is one better, the best landlord. The best landlord ploughs back and develops for the benefit of others than himself, and I think it is only fair to say that these land-owning charities come under that category. They plough back and develop for others in the community, and not for any selfish interest.

We come up against the question whether there shall be an exception. I should have thought, with all the arguments we have heard, and a great deal of sympathy for those trusts, that this should be the one exception. Instead of that, it appears to be the policy of His Majesty's Government that they should, after all these years, as we have heard from the noble Viscount, Lord Simon, make an exception to the rule that charities are exempt. Now that is to be changed. In his speech on the Committee stage, the Lord Chancellor gave us advice that if the schools and colleges want assistance they must come to the Government for it. Strangely enough, many of them value their independence. It is again rather an unfortunate trait that anybody should value independence to-day, because independence is very greatly frowned upon. I would suggest that with most of these trusts the last thing that they would wish to do is to go cap in hand to the Government and thereby submit themselves to Government control.

THE LORD CHANCELLOR

May I ask the noble Lord a question? He may, no doubt, be aware of the Universities Grants Committee, and will be conscious of the fact that large sums of money are paid every year by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Does he suggest that the interests of these colleges are being interfered with in that way?

LORD LUKE

I was talking on behalf of the Harpur Trust, which does value its independence and which is not anxious to receive Government grants. I know, of course, that grants are made to the universities. But we have heard so much on this and on other occasions, that where public money goes Government control must follow, and that is why I brought it up on this occasion. It is probably old-fashioned of me to appeal for intelligent thought and action, and I am sorry that I always seem to come up against the noble and learned Viscount on the Woolsack on all these charity matters. But I would suggest that the value to the nation—and that is the community—of the individuals and institutions who have forged their own particular link in the educatonal chain, is quite invaluable. It is, if I may say so, applauded on all sides, but it is, at the same time, and is about to be, hampered.

The illogicality of special treatment for a particular class of landowner is a point which has, of course, been emphasized from the Government side, but I would point out that special treatment is already being given in the Lord Chancellor's new clause in the case of operational land—and it is welcome—for particular landowners. I should have thought the illogicality was on the other side, to withhold the special treatment of those small landlords, it being another part of their essential operations. The principle is, as I see it, "thus far, and no further." That is a question which the noble Viscount, Lord Samuel, asked in Committee, and I make no apology for asking that question again. I will not keep you any longer, my Lords, but I do hope that there may be reconsideration of this matter on the grounds that the community should continue to have the benefit of a particular kind of education which is being opened wider and quite rightly so, and which has contributed so greatly to the good of our great nation in the past.

3.48 p.m.

VISCOUNT SAMUEL

My Lords, let me, in the first instance, express the thanks of all those who are interested in this matter to the Lord Chancellor, and to his advisers, for the great trouble that they have taken in order to deal with the matter as fully as could be. We are extremely grateful to him for the new clause which is now before your Lordships' House. It is certainly a great improvement on the first draft which was before your Lordships on the Committee stage. Many of the difficulties which would have arisen out of that clause would be obviated by the present draft. We have no Amendments to propose to it, and we trust that your Lordships will accept it as it stands. But, as the Lord Chancellor has warned us, it does not deal with our most important point and, therefore, we have found it necessary to put down a second parallel clause which does deal with the question of investment land. This debate has necessarily covered both the one clause and the other and, as was suggested by the Lord Chancellor, it is convenient that that course should be adopted. Therefore, in my observations I shall treat the two questions as inseparable.

With regard to the clause which stands in my name to go after that of the noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor if your Lordships accept it, I desire to move, when the time comes, with a very slight verbal change in the second line as printed on the Paper. The wording of the first subsection follows the wording of the Government draft of their clause in the Committee stage. Now that has been slightly altered, and in order to make a corresponding alteration in this clause I should like to move it in these words: This section applies to land an interest in which is held for ecclesiastical or other Charitable purposes of any description. That change, of course, is merely drafting. The essential difference between the two clauses is this: whereas the Lord Chancellor's clause in the first subsection says that it applies to land an interest in which is held for ecclesiastical or other charitable purposes "if the land, as distinct from the rents and profits thereof" —and those are the vital words—is used for the purposes of the charity, my clause which, as I have said, is parallel to the Government clause, applies to land an interest in which is held for ecclesiastical or other charitable purposes of any description if the land not used in such manner as is mentioned in Clause 84 (1).

To use the language which the Lord Chancellor has employed the first clause applies to operational land, and the second to investment land. That is the one point which I wish to bring to your Lordships' consideration. I do not propose to repeat this afternoon the arguments that I advanced in the Committee state a fortnight ago, but I should like to summarize the main points because I see many noble Lords in the House today who were not here on that occasion. Therefore, without elaborating the arguments, I would venture to submit the heads of those arguments. One important point is that this clause does not conflict with any considered opinion of another place. I know that your Lordships are very chary, and wisely so, of entering into any conflict with a view that has been deliberately expressed by the other House. This Amendment, which I am putting forward, is not the same as that which was proposed in the other House before the Standing Committee. It differs in a most important particular and in a matter on which the Minister of Town and Country Planning laid the greatest stress in opposing the clause.

That Amendment, as originally drafted proposed that charitable land, to use the technical term, should be exempted always qua land, no matter who owned it. If they sold it to anyone else, for all time that land would be exempted and differ from all other land in all other ownership. This clause does not go so far. It only refers to the land while in the possession of the charities and being used for their financial benefit. Furthermore, this matter never came before another place on the Report stage—this clause fell under the guillotine and there was no opportunity for the House to express an opinion upon it.

Again, this clause in no way affects the planning powers generally conferred by the Bill. I share the surprise which has been expressed by the noble and learned Viscount, Lord Simon, that the noble and learned Viscount, the Lord Chancellor, in his concluding observations, laid emphasis upon the importance of the planning provisions of the Bill, saying that the whole House had assented to them. He said: "Look at the condition of our towns. How essential it is that we should ensure that effective and drastic improvement is made! That is the purpose of the Bill." Certainly, we are all at one upon that, but this clause does not affect in the smallest degree any of the planning powers of any authority. The universities and other charities do not ask for any favour or any exemption with regard to the planning powers conferred under this Bill.

Next, the noble and learned Viscount, the Lord Chancellor, has argued—and this was a point with which I dealt briefly, and with which the noble and learned Viscount, Lord Simon, has dealt rather more fully—that if it were merely a question of tax it might be that we should make an exception. There is an exemption for Income Tax and all other taxation purposes, and always has been, but this is not a tax. The noble and learned Viscount, Lord Simon, says that it can come within the definition of a tax, but I would add that it is something much more drastic than a tax. It is a tax and something more. During all my political life, as with him also, I have been an advocate of the taxation of land values. That was one of the political war cries for one or two generations, and that was intended to be a way of securing for the community unearned increment in the land. That was the purpose of Lord Snowden's land taxes in the Budget of 1931 From that taxation all these lands were in fact exempt. But now, those methods not having proved highly successful, an entirely different approach has been deemed necessary.

The Uthwatt Committee propounded a scheme under which we should not attempt to tax land values nor should we nationalize the land. But we should nationalize the development value of the land. That is an alternative to the taxation of land values. Now the noble and learned Viscount, the Lord Chancellor says that if we were imposing a tax of 20 per cent. on development values we might consider exemption, but when we impose what in fact is a tax of 100 per cent. and take away the whole of the development value we cannot be expected to make an exception at all. If there is a claim for exemption from the land tax, a fortiori there is a much greater claim for exemption from this special measure of what is in effect confiscation of those values.

The noble and learned Viscount who sits on the Woolsack raised in the previous stages of consideration of this Bill one or two points of machinery. I shall not go into the details of those, for my noble and learned friend Lord Simon has already dealt with them. But since I am giving a brief summary of the whole situation I would mention that in the Committee stage the noble and learned Viscount, the Lord Chancellor, first of all objected that we were in effect asking by our clause, as it then stood, that any piece of land which was now charitable land and was sold to someone else should be franked for all time, no matter in whose ownership that land would be, because it had at the present date been charity land. We recognized the force of that objection, and the present clause I think completely meets that point. The exemption only extends for the benefit of the charity, and does not apply to any future owners.

On that point, the noble and learned Viscount, the Lord Chancellor, asked me a question, and he warned me that he would raise the matter when we came to the clause which I was to move. What is it, he asked, that the purchaser buys and how far do any future development rights —any fresh development rights—belong to him? The answer is a simple one. He buys whatever the charity sells, and what the charity sells is that piece of land with a certain permission for development from the planning authority. The purchaser may consequently develop the land so far as the planning authority has given permission before the sale. After that it ranks the same as every other piece of land. If there is any further development, it has to pay the development charge exactly the same as any other land in private ownership. Therefore by this we are not constituting two forms of land tenure existing separately. The Lord Chancellor also objected that we were setting the valuers an impossible problem in their having to value a portion of the land if only a part of it were sold afterwards for development. We realize the force of that and the present clause meets that point, as the noble Viscount, Lord Simon, has explained. There will be no question in future of making the valuer apportion one part of the value of a unit as distinct from the rest.

The noble and learned Viscount, the Lord Chancellor, has raised this further point. He says that we are treating charities unequally because one may perhaps have land in the Green Belt, where the land is sterilized, and it will have to pay development charge under our clause and to receive whatever modicum of compensation belongs to it—that is true —while another charity may have land in a developing area and would receive the benefit of this clause and would be able to get much more money for its land. That is true. The noble and learned Viscount said it was a matter of chance. It is a question of chance. So it is already, and always has been, for the private owner or any other owner. One has land in the Green Belt and gets it sterilized and the other has land in a developing area. A charity may have one piece of land given it in the reign of Queen Elizabeth which happens to be in the centre of the City of London and brings in perhaps £1,000,000 and another piece of land in some rural area never developed, and which never will be developed, bringing in nothing in particular. The fact that that still continues and that there are inequalities according to geographical situation and economic circumstances is no reason for doing an injustice to charities which have valuable land.

The position reminds me of what was said by one of the characters in one of George Meredith's stories: "I never commit an injustice save with gaud reason." The noble and learned Viscount said we spoke of his Government as if it were a case of King Henry VIII despoiling the monasteries. Precisely; that is exactly what it is. I am grateful to the noble Viscount for having given the illustration—I will not say the illustration, but for having mentioned the precedent. The methods are more urbane, as one would expect from the Lord Chancellor, and though the extent of deprivation is much smaller, historically the process is the same and the result will be similar. Just as the monasteries and other institutions that were despoiled were compelled to cease such of their activities as were of great social value, to the extent to which this law does prevail, universities, colleges and hospitals will be compelled to cease their beneficent activities.

The noble and learned Viscount said that they were compelled to adhere to the provisions of the Bill. But why? He has really given us no reason why they should adhere to that provision except that it is the ipse dixit of the Minister concerned—whether it happens to be the Lord Chancellor or the Chancellor of the Exchequer is a matter of indifference both to us and to the victims. The noble and learned Viscount said it is impossible to create a system in which different treatment is meted out, not according to the particular piece of land, but according to the character of the owner. But that is done by the Bill now, because all land in the ownership of local authorities is taken out of the Bill. Our point is that the work of these hospitals and educational establishments is more analogous to the work of health authorities and educational authorities than it is analogous to the position of private owners.

And that brings us to the point raised in discussion in Committee. What is a community? The Minister of Town and Country Planning opposed an Amendment in the House of Commons on the ground that we were surely all agreed that the community is entitled d to the increase in value of land which the community had itself created. By passing the Second Reading of this Bill your Lordships, whatever might be your private feelings, have accepted that principle and now the question arises whether the community which has created these values is the State or the whole body of the nation. Surely it is not the State that has created these values? It is the community itself, by its efforts, its labours, its enterprise in developing the land in which we live. These universities, these colleges, these hospitals are part of the community, doing a communal work on behalf of the people as a whole, and we urge that they ought not to be deprived of resources on which they have learnt to rely and on which they must depend for the beneficence of their operations.

4.8 p.m.

THE EARL OF HALIFAX

My Lords, I do not think there is anything of substance to be added to the case that has been made by my noble and learned friends on these Benches and others. If I ask your Lordships' leave to say one or two words, it merely would be to protect myself from the charge that a silent voice might imply a lack of interest in a matter which very directly concerns and affects the University of Oxford, along with a great many other institutions for which argument has been advanced this afternoon. I regret that it was not possible for me to be in your Lordships' House when the matter was argued in Committee. I think there emerges a sufficiently clear broad principle on which all of us can judge without being too deeply involved in the intricacies and technicalities of this exceedingly difficult Bill. The noble Viscount who spoke last stated it with his usual clarity and force. I do not repeat the argument that he developed better than I could in relation to what we exactly mean by the community. I agree with every word he said. To go out of your way, in these days when education is more costly and more generally desirable than it has ever been before, to make it more difficult for educational institutions to perform their self-accepted task, does seem to me to be a very extraordinary thing to do and one for which I find it extremely difficult to accept any justification.

What about the long-term future of educational and other charitable institutions? Quite apart from the effect that this sort of treatment of educational institutions may have upon possible benefactors in future—about which my noble friend Lord Brand spoke a few moments ago—is it really the desire of this House to throw everything more and more than they need into one mould, and to diminish, where it still prevails, that variety of influence and impulse that invigorates our national life, as it does in all these countless institutions that are affected? There is no quarrel, so far as I know, in any part of your Lordships' House with the general principle that in this particular case we are discussing, profit in land should rightly inure to public advantage rather than to private gain. We are all agreed on that principle.

It appears that what would be done under the Amendment of the noble Viscount, Lord Samuel, would in no way affect the powers of the State or its appropriate agents to plan in whatever fashion they may think desirable. But it does seem, to my mind at least, that if we fail to give the kind of exemption and protection for which the plea is urged this afternoon to these institutions, we are taking a further step along that road of establishing the uniform control and extension of power of the State over areas where it is probably not the determined intention of any of us to do so, and from the doing of which, as I think, great damage and loss would ensue. If it is not necessary, why do it? The conclusion I have reached, after giving such study as can to this problem, is that the Lord Chancellor and His Majesty's Government are in this matter being unwittingly unjust, and unwittingly unwise. I hope they may still reconsider the matter, and not be afraid of a frank exception for bodies that are doing this public beneficent work, whether educational or charitable, that is of admitted importance to the State. If they are not able to reconsider the position, as the noble and learned Viscount has stated this afternoon, I hope your Lordships will not hesitate to support a claim that seems to me to be inherently right and just.

4.13 p.m.

THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY

My Lords, I had not intended to intervene in this debate this afternoon, and I do not think it is really very necessary. We have had a full discussion, and there has been, I think, most impressive unanimity among the members of your Lordships' House. I feel His Majesty's Government should pay full attention to what has been said. I never saw a more imposing array of arguments and personalities come out in favour of any proposition. The only reason why I have risen is because I have been asked by certain noble Lords on this side of the House who sit behind me whether there is any advice I can give them. I do not think I can give any advice on this matter. It seems to me that it is not an ordinary political question on which advice is permissible. It is a question on which everybody should wish to exercise his right to his own opinion. There are strong arguments which have been exposed in favour of the Amendment of the noble Viscount, Lord Samuel, and there are equally strong arguments which have been exposed, and with great persuasive capacity, as always, by the noble and learned Viscount, the Lord Chancellor. Therefore, I would say to any noble Lords who belong to the Conservative Opposition that it is just one of those cases where every man must take his own view and not expect any advice from his Leader. It is a matter of conscience, and a matter of personal opinion.

At the same time I am bound to say that personally, after a good deal of anxious consideration, I have decided to support the Amendment, if it is pressed to a Division. I should say, quite frankly, that when the noble Viscount, Lord Samuel, originally introduced his Amendment I took rather a different view. It seemed to me—as I think it seemed to the noble and learned Viscount, the Lord Chancellor—unwise as a general principle to put any section of the community, however desirable, in a favourable position in comparison with other citizens. However, there have been two considerations which have influenced me since then, and influenced me, I think, conclusively. The first one is that this Amendment applies only to existing properties, and it will not, therefore, present an opportunity or a temptation to the organizations in question—if they have any such temptation—to begin to speculate in land values. The second consideration is this—it was mentioned, I think, by my noble friend Viscount Simon. All this land was bought on the advice of Government Departments and, unless it was intended for the personal operations of the foundation in question, it was bought because of the development value attaching to it. That was why these Government Departments advised these people to buy the land, and if they had not had that official advice they would not have bought those particular properties. That seems to me to be a very powerful consideration, and in those circumstances I have been driven to the conclusion that there are solid and, to my mind, convincing grounds for affording special treatment to the charities in question.

If I may say so, I have not been diverted from this point of view by what was said by the noble, and learned Viscount, the Lord Chancellor. I am very nervous of advancing on this ground, which is largely legal, and on which I shall only expose my ignorance if I go too far. But the noble and learned Viscount attempted to prove that the only possible basis of compensation in this connexion was upon the land and not upon the person who owns the land. Surely, the Government have demolished that very argument by their own Bill, because this £300,000,000 is not going to be paid out on a basis of equal compensation but on ground of individual hardship. The Government are going to decide whether they pay compensation or not on the hardship caused to certain citizens. If they admit that in the payment of compensation it is fair and right to judge between one case and another, I should have thought they were admitting the case for this Amendment.

Surely, the charities in question represent the most deserving category of citizens. As has been said this afternoon, they are corporations entirely devoted to the welfare of the community. If in the Bill we are going to say that it is right to differentiate and make exceptions, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer is going to do, between one citizen and another, surely it is perfectly proper for him to differentiate in favour of this particular category. Perhaps, I ought to add that, in my experience, the Chancellor of the Exchequer never differentiates in favour of, he always differentiates against; but in this particular case I think he might make an exception. After all, there are, as your Lordships know, many precedents for special treatment of charities of this kind. They have been quoted again and again in debates we have had on this subject. I cannot see why such a differentiation should not be made now, except, as I say, because of the peculiar characteristics of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I do beg the Government to consider this matter. They have here a most powerful body of opinion, people all of them above reproach, arguing for institutions which are themselves above reproach and which, in the opinion of every noble Lord who has spoken this afternoon, will suffer grievously if this Amendment is not accepted. It does seem to me that in the present case for the Government to stand firm, as I think the noble Earl, Lord Halifax, said, is not only mistaken but extremely unwise. That was the only reason I rose this afternoon: to express first my advice to my supporters—which is to do whatever they think right—and second to explain the reasons which have driven me to the conclusion that I must myself go into the lobby and support the Amendment.

4.21 p.m.

THE LORD CHANCELLOR

My Lords, perhaps your Lordships will allow me to reply very shortly, as I moved Clause 84 and we have discussed also the next clause. I am grateful to your Lordships for what you have said about Clause 84, and although I have been likened to Henry VIII yet I like to think that some of the monasteries which he then abolished did, in fact, form the basis of the land of the Oxford Colleges. Let us hope the same will apply in my case. I venture to think that the last speech made by the noble Marquess was eminently reasonable. I consider that some of the speeches we have heard to-day have not been reasonable and have not advanced to the smallest degree the cause which your Lordships have at heart. To suggest that this is some wicked Socialist conspiracy, designed to get you all into one dull common mould, or something of that sort, is entirely to neglect the fact that the proposal we are making is more favourable than the proposal the Coalition Government made. Unless you say that the Coalition Government had this desire to force you all into one dull mould, it seems to me that that observation, with due respect, is quite worthless and does not elucidate the problem at all. The other argument which I think equally worthless is the argument about the community; that, after all, it is true that these Oxford Colleges are the community, and they should retain the value which is due to the effort of the community. That argument applies to the future just as much as to the past, and everybody agrees that it is utterly wrong to make this extension apply to anything except land existing at the critical date. It cannot apply to the future.

I do not suppose for one moment that I shall influence any one of your Lordships in what I am about to say, so I will make it very short indeed. On the other hand, I may influence other people, and therefore I shall say what I am going to say in this way. The noble and learned Viscount, Lord Simon, asked me whether it was not possible for a Parliamentary draftsman to devize some scheme which would be better than the scheme of this Amendment. If I may say so, I am quite sure it is. The simple way of dealing with this matter is to treat this land as though it were dead ripe land; take it out of the scheme altogether; admit no claim against the £300,000,000, and in consequence of that pay no development charge. That is simple, but that is not what your Lordships are doing. What your Lordships are doing is this. In respect of this investment land, unlike operational land, you are distinguishing between the two just as much I am. You say: "Let us have a claim against the £300,000,000 in respect of our investment land," and you are claiming against the £300,000,000 in respect of your investment land. I quite understand that when the amount of the payment you get has been exhausted in paying development duty, thereafter you pay no development duty.

What I do not understand—and which so far as I know no one understands—is what happens before that time. Supposing that the day after a charity has received £10,000 by way of payment out of the fund of £300,000,000 it is going to sell either voluntarily or compulsorily for road widening a portion of its land—and this is the first thing that has happened after it has received the £10,000—what comfort the man who buys that land is going to acquire I am sure I do not know. Upon what basis the arbitrator is going to give his award I do not know.

I am not going to bore your Lordships with a lot of details, except to say this. I have gone through this Amendment with my advisers, who are experts on these things, and they do not know either. It is all because your Lordships have mixed up the claim on the £300,000,000 and this exemption. I am inclined to think—I am still experimenting with it, I confess—that the scheme simply will not work.

May I just answer this question of your Lordships? Supposing the charity landowners were to get full compensation out of the £300,000,000; that is to say, they assess what they will lose by losing their present development rights and get that sum of money. Is there anyone of your Lordships who, in addition to that, will ask for any further concession? I gather not. If so, may I suggest to your Lordships that a much more hopeful way of trying to achieve that which you want is to hold your hand until the scheme has to be presented for the division of the £300,000,000, and try then to get yourself into the preference class of shareholders. I am not going to anticipate, and I certainly hold out no promise, but it is quite obvious that if the amount of the loss of the charity land is assessed at £20,000,000 you may have one solution. If it is assessed at £200,000,000 you might have another and very different solution. We do not know the figures, and therefore we cannot say. As a matter of principle, there can be no noble Lords on either side of the House who can say that it is fair that you should get full compensation out of the £300,000,000, and also over and above that have this concession.

It seems to me that this concession does not work, and you are trying to mix up two wholly different things. If you want your investment land to be left out of the scheme altogether, that you could have done; that the draftsman can do, and that I have done for my operational land. But to try and get the best of both worlds in this way is, in my humble belief, impracticable and impossible. For those reasons we shall have to resist this Amendment and see that there is not this special exception made for these charities.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

VISCOUNT SAMUEL

My Lords, I beg to move the new clause standing in my name.

Amendment moved— After Clause 84 insert the following new clause: (" —(1) This section applies to land an interest in which is held for ecclesiastical or other charitable purposes of any description if the land is not used in any such manner as is mentioned in subsection (1) of Section eighty-four. (2) The provisions of Part VI of this Act shall apply to any such interest as aforesaid in land which on the appointed day is land to which this section applies. (3) Where any land, which, on the appointed day, was land to which this section applies ceases at any time thereafter to be such land any development charge which shall be payable under Part VII of this Act in respect of any development by virtue of which the land is used in any such manner as is mentioned it subsection (1) of Section eighty-four or its use is made to correspond with the use which prevails generally in the case of contiguous or adjacent land shall not, subject to the provisions of subsection (4) of this section, exceed the amount of any payments made under Part VI of this Act in respect of the said land, if planning permission for that development has been granted under Part III of this Act before the land ceases to be land to which this section applies. (4) Where any payment has been made under Part VI of this Act in respect of any land to which on the appointed day this section applies and any part or parts of such land cease at any time thereafter to be such land the limitation imposed by subsection (3) of this section upon the amount of the development charge payable in respect of such part or parts of the said land shall apply only to the amount, if any, by which the aggregate of the development charges payable in respect of all such part or parts exceeds the payment made under Part VI of this Act in respect of the whole of such land. (5) where any such interest: as is mentioned in subsection (1) of this section in land to which this section applies is compulsorily acquired under this or any other Act in pursuance of a notice to treat served on or after the appointed day, then if the land was land to which this section applies on the appointed day, it shall be assumed in assessing the compensation payable in respect of the acquisition of the said interest, that planning permission would be granted under Part III of this Act for any development by virtue of which the use of the land would be made to correspond with the use which prevails generally in the case of contiguous or adjacent land, and that the development charge payable under Part VII of this Act in respect of any such development would be limited in the manner provided in subsections (3) and (4) of this section").—(Viscount Samuel.)

On Question, Whether the said clause shall be there inserted?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 58; Not-Contents, 17.

CONTENTS.
Cholmondeley, M. Aberdare, L. Hampton, L.
Salisbury, M. Addington, L. Hylton, L.
Altrincham, L. Kenilworth, L.
Abingdon, E. Balfour of Burleigh, L. Llewellin, L.
Bessborough, E. Balfour of Inchrye, L. Lloyd, L.
Grey, E. Brand, L. [Teller.] Luke, L.
Halifax, E. Butler of Mount Juliet, L. (E. Carrick.) Mancroft, L.
Iddesleigh, E. Mendip, L. (V. Clifden.) [Teller.]
Lucan, E. Cawley, L.
Lytton, E. Cherwell, L. Monson, L.
Ypres, E. Clanwilliam, L. (E. Clan-william.) O'Hagan, L.
Rennell, L.
Elibank, V. Courthope, L. Roche, L.
Hailsham, V. Cromwell, L. Rushcliffe, L.
Lambert, V. De L'Isle and Dudley, L. Sinha, L.
Long, V. Digby, L. Soulbury, L.
Maugham, V. Ebbisham, L. Strathcona and Mount Royal, L.
Monsell, V. Fairfax of Cameron, L.
Samuel, V. Gage, L. (V. Gage.) Tweedsmuir, L.
Simon, V. Grenfell, L. Wakehurst, L.
Swinton, V. Greville, L. Windlesham, L.
Templewood, V.
NOT-CONTENTS.
Jowitt, V. (L. Chancellor.) Amherst of Hackney, L. Holden, L.
Ammon, L. Kershaw, L.
Onslow, E. Carrington, L. Lucas of Chilworth, L.
Radnor, E. Chorley, L. [Teller.] Marley, L.
Dukeston, L. Morrison, L. [Teller.]
Addison, V. Henderson, L. Shepherd, L.
Walkden, L.

Resolved in the Affirmative, and Amendment agreed to accordingly.

4.38 p.m.

Clause 85:

Land subject to claims for betterment under other Acts.

85. Where, on the carrying out of any development after the appointed day, any payment falls to be made to a local authority by virtue of the provisions of Section forty-eight of this Act or of any Act passed before the passing of this Act, in respect of any works carried out (whether before or after the passing of this Act) by that authority, then—

  1. (a) if the amount of any such payment is required to be calculated by reference to any increase in the value of the land in respect of which the payment is made, the amount of that increase shall be calculated as if Part VII of this Act had not been enacted;
  2. (b) whether or not the amount of any such payment falls to be calculated as aforesaid, the payment, or the liability therefor, shall be taken into account in determining under the said Part VII whether any and if so what development charge is to be paid in respect of that development.

LORD LLEWELLIN moved to leave out "by that authority." The noble Lord said: My Lords, I move this Amendment on behalf of my noble friend Lord Saltoun, who is not in the House to-day—perhaps he has to be in Scotland. Although I have some doubt myself as to whether this is the appropriate clause in the Bill in which to do it, what my noble friend wishes to do is to provide that in case the frontagers themselves make up a part of the highway they can be reimbursed just as a local authority can be reimbursed. That is the point of this Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 103, line 13, leave out from ("Act") to ("then").—(Lord Llewellin.)

LORD HENDERSON

My Lords, the purpose of this Amendment has been quite properly and fairly stated by the noble Lord, Lord Llewellin. Perhaps I ought to say that during the Committee stage my noble friend Lord Chorley, in dealing with the Amendment to this clause, agreed that the point ought to be met. Since then the matter has been further examined, and it has become clear that it could not be covered either by accepting the Amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Saltoun, or by making any other Amendment to Clause 85. That is because Clause 85 deals only with cases where a payment falls to be made to a local authority. It does not apply where an owner executes worksat his own expense, and Lord Saltoun's Amendment would not make it so apply. As a matter of fact, Lord Saltoun's Amendment is part of a wider problem which is not limited to the execution of street works but covers also cases where owners have carried out land drainage schemes, works for sea defence and flood protection or the reclamation of derelict land. In calculating development charge, due regard must clearly be had to works carried out by an owner which enhance the development value. It is hoped to secure that that regard is given by regulations to be made under Clause 69 (3)—that is to say, the regulations which prescribe the general principles on which development charges are to be calculated. Having given the noble Lord that explanation, I hope he will see his way not to press his Amendment.

LORD LLEWELLIN

My Lords, I am much obliged to the noble Lord for his explanation. On consideration, I think that the matter is certainly better dealt with in the regulation which gives the general direction than in this clause. With that undertaking and in those circumstances, I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

4.43 p.m.

Clause 90 [Land acquired by notice to treat served before appointed day]:

LORD HENDERSON

My Lords, the clause as drafted deals with acquisitions which take place before or after the appointed day but does not define what will happen in the case of acquisitions which take place on the appointed day. This Amendment rectifies the omission. I beg to move.

Amendment moved—

Page 107, line 44 after ("acquired") insert ("on or").—(Lord Henderson.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HENDERSON

My Lords, this Amendment is consequential on the last. I beg to move.

Amendment moved—

Page 108, line 34, after ("before") insert ("on").—(Lord Henderson.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HENDERSON

My Lords, with the permission of the House, I should like to take this Amendment and the next three Amendments together. These Amendments are consequential on the insertion of the new clause after Clause 55, the new clause which was accepted at the last meeting of the House. They give rise to no point of policy or controversy. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 108, line 35, leave out ("and") and insert ("then—(a) where").—(Lord Henderson.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Amendment moved—

Page 108, line 41, after ("interest") insert: (" (b) where the compensation so payable falls to be assessed in accordance with Rule (5) of the rules set out in Section two of the Acquisition of Land (Assessment of Compensation) Act, 1919, as amended by subsection (2) of Section fifty-six (Special provisions as to war-damaged land where compensation assessed by reference to cost of equivalent reinstatement) of this Act, the provisions of the said Rule (5), as so amended, shall apply, subject to any necessary modifications, for the purpose of calculating under the said Part VI the restricted value of that interest").—(Lord Henderson.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Amendment moved— Page 108, line 42, leave out ("thereunder") and insert ("under the said Part VI").—(Lord Henderson.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Amendment moved—

Page 109, line 17, after ("Act") insert: (" (b) the provisions of Rule (5) of the rules set out in Section two of the Acquisition of Land (Assessment of Compensation) Act 1919, as amended by subsection (2) of Section fifty-six of this Act, shall not apply for the purpose of calculating the restricted value of any interest acquired as aforesaid except in the cases provided by subsection (3) of the said Section fifty-six;").—(Lord Henderson.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 91:

Determination of questions under Part VIII.

91. Any question whether land is land to which Section eighty-one, eighty-two or eighty-four of this Act applies shall be determined by the Minister.

LORD HENDERSON moved, at the end of the clause to insert:

"(2) Any question of law arising in connection with any such determination as aforesaid, being a question relating to the application of the said section eighty-four, may, if the Minister thinks fit, be referred for decision to the High Court; and any person aggrieved by the decision of the Minister on any such question of law which is not so referred may appeal from that decision to the High Court.

(3) Provision shall be made by rules of court for regulating references and appeals to the High Court under this section and those rules shall provide for limiting the time within which such appeals may be brought.

(4) So much of Subsection (1) of section sixty-three of the Supreme Court of Judicature (Consolidation) Act, 1925, as requires an appeal from any person to the High Court to be heard and determined by a divisional court shall not apply to appeals under this section."

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this Amendment implements a promise made in Committee that there should be an appeal from the Minister's decision to the High Court on the question of whether land is land to which the charities clause applies. The Amendment also provides that the Minister may refer a case in the first instance to the High Court. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 109, line 25, at end insert the said subsections.—(Lord Henderson.)

LORD LLEWELLIN

My Lords, those of your Lordships who were here on Committee stage will remember that a proposal was then put forward that there should be an appeal to the High Court in really all the cases dealt with by Clause 91 of this Bill. However, on further consideration, questions between the Ministry and the local authority which some of the clauses deal with are not those that ought so to be marked. The real point that a lot of us had in mind was that, when we come down to this Clause 84, which is the one dealing with what is a charity, that is a very proper matter for the High Court; indeed, the Chancery Division of the High Court deals with such matters quite frequently during the course of a legal term. On the real point for which some of us were pressing on the Committee stage the Government have met us, and I rise to say that the way in which they have done so is quite acceptable.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

4.46 p.m.

Clause 96:

Power of Ministers to contribute towards compensation paid by local authorities.

96. Where compensation is payable by a local authority under this Act in consequence of any decision or order given or made under Part III of this Act (including compensation payable in respect of land compulsorily acquired by virtue of Section nineteen of this Act) then if that decision or order was given or made wholly or partly in the interest of any service which is provided by a Government Department and the cost of which is defrayed out of moneys provided by Parliament or out of the Road Fund, the Minister responsible for the administration of that service may pay to that authority, out of moneys so provided a contribution of such amount as he may, with the consent of the Treasury, determine.

LORD ADDINGTON moved to leave out the first "may" ["may pay to that authority"] and insert "shall." The noble Lord said: My Lords, I believe this is the same point on which the Lord Chancellor was good enough to meet me on Clause 22, subsection (5), in an Amendment which was lodged at an earlier stage. I hope that the present Amendment will be accepted. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 113, line 31, leave out ("may") and insert ("shall").—(Lord Addington.)

THE LORD CHANCELLOR

My Lords, I am sorry I cannot meet the noble Lord on this Amendment, but, if I had met him before on a similar point, I should have found myself in trouble. I have consulted the Treasury about this, and constitutionally the word "may" is right and the word "shall" is wrong. I am told that there is an important constitutional point involved in this. I do not think we need bother about it now. In all these matters, the word is "may." When I first became Lord Chancellor and had to look at the retiring pensions of the Judges, I found that the document I signed was an authority which enabled the Treasury to say that "they may pay"; it did not say "they shall pay." They always do pay, and, whether it is "may" or "shall," I do not think it much matters. I will, therefore, spare your Lordships the lengthy constitutional arguments which go to show that the word "may" is appropriate.

LORD ADDINGTON

My Lords, in view of those remarks, I will not press the Amendment. I hope the payment is made with the same regularity as that made to the Judges! I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 110 [Regulations and orders]:

LORD HENDERSON

My Lords, this Amendment is preparatory to the new clause which is to be moved after Clause 113 a little later on. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 124, line 20, leave out from ("by") to ("this") in line 21.—(Lord Henderson.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 111 [Assumptions as to permission for development]:

THE LORD CHANCELLOR moved, at the end of the clause to insert: (3) Any reference in the said Third Schedule to the cubic content of a building shall be construed as a reference to that content as ascertained by external measurement.

The noble and learned Viscount said: My Lords, I beg to move this Amendment. Your Lordships may remember that in the Committee stage we had some discussion as to whether or not, when you talked about the measurement—it was important because we had the words "fifteen hundred cubic feet"—you were referring to the external measurement or the internal measurement. Varying views were expressed upon it. I said it was internal. Several of your Lordships got up and said that it was external. I do not know which is right, but we do want to have it plain. This Amendment will make it plain that it is external. By way of consolation, I have increased the figure of "1,500 cubic feet" to "1,750 cubic feet." I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 125, line 4, at end, insert the said subsection.—(The Lord Chancellor.)

LORD LLEWELLIN

My Lords, for exactly the same reason that the Lord Chancellor has moved this Amendment, I moved a similar Amendment on the Schedule. My Amendment was to require that the internal measurement should be taken, whereas the Lord Chancellor has said that it should be the external measurement. It is highly important that it should be made clear in the Bill which measurement it is to be. If the Lord Chancellor had kept his figure at 1,500 feet internal measurement, I should not have welcomed it as much as I do at the present moment. However, I have been into this matter, and found that with the added 250 feet we have gained slightly; therefore I would only say that I am obliged to the Lord Chancellor, and that I shall not move my Amendment. I think the position is fully met in this way.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 113 [Special provisions as to London]:

LORD HENDERSON moved, in subsection (2) to leave out "and forty-one" and insert "forty-one and ninety-seven." The noble Lord said: My Lords, this Amendment corrects a small omission in Clause 113, subsection (2), which extends certain powers and duties, of local authorities under Parts III and IV of the Bill to the City of London and metropolitan boroughs. Clause 97, subsection (1), enables local authorities to contribute towards the expenses of local planning authorities and county districts. Since neither of these expressions includes the smaller London authorities there would be, without this Amendment, no power for one metropolitan borough to contribute towards the expenses of another—for example, in the purchase of land for open spaces. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 126, line 12, leave out ("and forty-one") and insert ("forty-one and ninety-seven").—(Lord Henderson).

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HENDERSON

My Lords, this Amendment continues the power of the City of London to enter into agreements under Clause 25 regulating the development or use of land. It also enables a metropolitan borough council, with the consent of the London County Council, to enter into similar agreements. I beg to move.

Amendment moved—

Page 126, line 17, at end insert— (" (3) The power of a local planning authority to make agreements under Section twenty-five of this Act may be exercised also

  1. (a) in relation to land in the City of London, by the Common Council of that City; and
  2. (b) in relation to land in a metropolitan borough, by the council of that borough with the consent of the London County Council,
and references in that section to a local planning authority shall be construed accordingly.")—(Lord Henderson.)

LORD LLEWELLIN

My Lords, this Amendment, I suppose, gives a little bit of sugar to these bodies. Having had their main planning powers taken away, they are allowed something back. I suppose that really summarizes what the Amendment does. However, it is something that they are allowed to keep, and for that concession those of us who took their side are grateful.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HENDERSON

My Lords, this Amendment relates to the powers conferred on metropolitan boroughs by subsection (4) to acquire land for open spaces. It secures first that one borough can contribute to the expenses of another in acquiring land for this purpose, and, secondly, that when the land has been acquired the borough can use the powers of the Eleventh Schedule. I beg to move.

Amendment moved—

Page 126, line 39, at end insert— (" (5) Any reference in this Act, or in the Act of 1944 as incorporated with Part IV of this Act, to the said Part IV shall be construed as including a reference to the last foregoing subsection.")—(Lord Henderson.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HENDERSON moved, after Clause 113 to insert the following new clause:

"Application to Isles of Scilly.

114. The Minister shall, after consultation with the council of the Isles of Scilly, by order provide for the application of this Act to the Isles of Scilly as if those Isles were a separate county, and any such order may provide for the application of this Act to those Isles subject to such modifications as may be specified in the order."

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this new clause gives the Minister power to apply the Bill to the Scilly Isles. It is a common form provision, closely following similar provisions in a number of recent Acts—for example, the Education Act of 1944. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— After Clause 113 insert the said new clause.—(Lord Henderson.)

LORD LLEWELLIN

Perhaps the noble Lord could tell us why this important part of the British Isles was overlooked in another place.

LORD HENDERSON

I understand that the Scilly Isles are not outside the scope of Public General Acts, but Acts affecting local government will not work in the Scilly Isles unless specially applied, because the Scillies do not fit into the normal local government pattern. It may be of interest to the noble Earl, the Earl of Radnor, to know that the Scilly Isles are not under the jurisdiction of the Cornwall County Council. They have an authority of their own, the Council of the Isles of Scilly, which exercises many of the functions both of a county council and of a county district council. The present Bill would not work unless specially applied. We have sought to remedy that omission. I am not sure whether it is common form also for this provision to be inserted in this House, and not in another place.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 117:

Interpretation.

"enactment" includes a local Act and an order or bye-law made under any Act;

"engineering operations" includes the making of excavations and the formation or laying out of means of access to highways;

LORD HENDERSON

My Lords, this is a drafting Amendment. It adopts the same definition of "enactment" as that contained in the Scottish Bill. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 132, line 6, leave out from ("includes") to end of line 7 and insert ("an enactment in any local or private Act of Parliament and an order, rule, regulation, bye-law or scheme made under an Act of Parliament").—(Lord Henderson.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD LLEWELLIN had given notice of two Amendments to the definition of "engineering operations"—namely, to leave out "the making of excavations and" and to insert at the end "and the making of excavations in connexion therewith." The noble Lord said: My Lords, with the permission of the House I would like, instead of my two Amendments that appear on the Marshalled List, to propose in Clause 117, at page 132, line 8, the same line as my first Amendment, to leave out from "the" to "formation" in line 9—["making of excavations and the"]. Your Lordships will remember that I pointed out, I think, quite accurately, although of course from my point of view of the argument taking the de minimis cases, that under the Bill as drafted permission in law would have to be got for any digging that anybody did, and that was because of the development permission having to be obtained for any engineering operation, which included the making of any excavations. I have had some talks with noble Lords opposite and their advisers, and it may be that the Amendment that I now move is more acceptable than those that I had put upon the Paper. I was taking the view that it is rather absurd to leave these things in a Bill of this sort. Although it is not a big point, I do hope that we shall tidy it up in this way, and that the Government can see fit to accept my Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 132, line 8, leave out from ("the") to ("formation") in line 9.—(Lord Llewellin)

LORD HENDERSON

My Lords, I do not think there is any need for me to make any comment on the point raised by the noble Lord in justification of the Amendment. I am quite prepared to accept it.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HENDERSON

My Lords, the rest is a little more than a drafting Amendment, to avoid doubts on what is meant by "improvement" in relation to roads. It arises on Clause 12 (2), Clause 47 (2) and Clause 49. I beg to move.

Amendment moved—

Page 132, line 15, at end, insert: ("'improvement', in relation to a highway, has the same meaning as the expression 'improvement of roads' has in Part II of the Development and Road Improvement Funds Act, 1909").—(Lord Henderson.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

THE LORD CHANCELLOR

My Lords, I beg to move the next Amendment. The reason for this, and we have so phrased it, is to make it plain that when you are talking about land you are talking also about easements. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 132, line 27, leave out ("in") and insert ("or right in or over").—(The Lord Chancellor.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

4.58 p.m.

First Schedule: Part II [Planning Committees]:

LORD HENDERSON moved, at the end of Part II to insert: 4. Any power conferred by this Part of this Schedule to establish or appoint committees or sub-committees, or to authorise such committees or sub-committees to exercise any functions, shall include power to dissolve or alter the constitution of such committees or sub-committees, and to revoke or vary any such authorisation.

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this is a machinery provision. Its purpose is to ensure that a local planning authority can not only appoint committees and subcommittees, but can also dissolve them, alter their constitution, and withdraw from their control functions which have been delegated to them. There is, as the noble Lords I have no doubt will have seen, a similar provision in Part III of the Schedule. I beg to move.

Amendment moved▀× Page 138, line 11, at end, insert the said paragraph.—(Lord Henderson.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HENDERSON

My Lords, the next two Amendments are consequential, and the third one is drafting. I beg to, move.

Amendments moved—

Page 138, line 34, after ("by") insert ("this Part of");

line 34, leave out ("and constitute");

line 35, leave out the second ("such").—(Lord Henderson.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

THIRD SCHEDULE.

EXCEPTED CLASSES OF DEVELOP- MENT.

PART I.

DEVELOPMENT INCLUDED IN EXISTING USE FOR PURPOSES OTHER THAN COMPENSATION UNDER S. 20.

1. The rebuilding, as often as occasion may require, of any building which was in existence on the appointed day and of any building which was in existence before that day but has been destroyed or demolished since the seventh day of January, nineteen hundred and thirty-seven (including the making good of war damage which has been sustained by any such building), so long as the cubic content of the original building is not exceeded in the case of a dwelling-house, by more than one tenth or fifteen hundred cubic feet, whichever is the greater, and in any other case by more than one-tenth.

PART II.

DEVELOPMENT INCLUDED IN EXISTING USE FOR ALL PURPOSES.

4. The carrying out, on land which was used for the purposes of agriculture or forestry on the appointed day, of any building or other operations required for the purposes of that use, other than operations for the erection, enlargement, improvement or alteration of dwelling-houses or of buildings used for the purposes of market gardens, nursery grounds or timber yards or for other purposes not connected with general farming operations or with the cultivation or felling of trees.

7. In the case of any land which, on the appointed day, was being used for the deposit of waste materials or refuse in connection with the working of minerals, the use for that purpose of any additional part of the land so far as may be reasonably required in connection with the working of those minerals.

THE LORD CHANCELLOR

My Lords, this Amendment deals with a matter to which I referred just now. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 139, line 26, leave out ("fifteen hundred") and insert ("seventeen hundred and fifty").—(The Lord Chancellor.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD LLEWELLIN moved, in paragraph 1, after "case," where that word last occurs, to insert: "so long as the floor space of the original building is not exceeded." The noble Lord said: My Lords, this is an Amendment which we discussed before. There was some question as to whether this extra one-tenth should be a matter of cubic feet or whether it should be floor space. As the result of talks which I have had about this I have become quite convinced that cubic feet is correct in regard to dwellinghouses, but I am not convinced that we ought not in the case of factories and office buildings to take floor space as the criterion, and that, of course, is in square feet. These, briefly, are my reasons. If it is desired to add not more than one-tenth to an existing factory, the man who wants to add it will be counting up how many machine tools he can get in, how much additional working floor space he will have.

It is my belief that in a large number of cases instructions will be given to the architects to put in as low a ceiling as possible, if the cubic content rule is insisted, upon, so as to keep as large an area of measurement as possible in floor space. Office buildings and factories are practically in every case sold by floor space. The insertion of these words would make floor space the test in the case of factories or office buildings and leave cubic content the test in the case of dwellinghouses. As your Lordships will see the Amendment does not increase the amount in any way, it only ensures that it shall be measured by area. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 139, line 27, after ("case") insert ("so long as the floor space of the original building is not exceeded").—(Lord Llewellin.)

THE LORD CHANCELLOR

My Lords, I said when we had a discussion on this at the Committee stage that I would consider with my advisers the possibility of using floor space in this connexion for the purpose of factories. I confess that this is a topic on which I have no special knowledge. The noble Lord is really putting in this Amendment to have it considered as a matter of convenience. I have duly consulted with my expert advisers, measurers and so on, and they tell me that they have definitely come to the conclusion that even in the case of factories floor space is not a suitable criterion. In the case of factories, just as in the case of dwellinghouses, there is sometimes a good deal of floor space which is not, so to speak, fully operational—boiler houses, passages, administrative offices, caretakers' rooms and the like. There would thus remain very considerable room for doubt as to whether in any particular case the operational floor space of the factory had or had not been exceeded by more than the permitted amount.

This Amendment would create further difficulties, since it is not limited to factories. It applies to all buildings other than dwellinghouses, and would thus include offices, hotels, multiple shop buildings, and so on. In these cases, the difficulty of deciding what is and what is not included within the total floor-space of the building would be just as acute as in the case of dwellinghouses. I am assured that the test of cubic content avoids all these difficulties, that it is a simple one to apply, and that it is a basis well known to the valuation and surveying Departments. It is in practice always calculated on external measurements. I am afraid therefore that, guided as I must be on such technical matters by experts, I cannot accept the Amendment.

LORD LLEWELLIN

My Lords, I do not agree that there would be any great difficulty about the application of my Amendment. I think that it would call for the use of a little common sense and that the difficulty for the valuers would not be so great as they make out. But this is a small point. Although I am certain that, in practice, in a great number of cases, I shall be found to have been right, this is not of great importance and I shall not press it. I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

THE LORD CHANCELLOR

My Lords, I beg to move the next Amendment. Your Lordships know the reasons for it.

Amendment moved— Page 139, line 38, leave out ("fifteen hundred") and insert ("seventeen hundred and fifty").—(The Lord Chancellor.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

5.7 p.m.

LORD CARRINGTON moved, in paragraph 4, to leave out all words after "operations" where that word occurs a second time, and insert: not required for agriculture or the cultivation, felling, or utilization for estate purposes of trees.

The noble Lord said: My Lords, when this point was discussed at the Committee stage the noble and learned Viscount, the Lord Chancellor, said that the Amendment I moved then was much too wide, although he agreed in principle with its purpose. Therefore, I have put down this Amendment in the hope that it will now meet the case. It is not the intention of the Amendment to open the door to all sorts of buildings which are not in fact used for farming purposes. All I am asking is that genuine buildings put up by market gardeners, and horticulturists, for their own businesses should be exempt from payment of development charge just as are those buildings which are put up by farmers. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 140, line 1, leave out from beginning to end of line 4, and insert the said new words.—(Lord Carrington.)

THE LORD CHANCELLOR

My Lords, I am afraid that I cannot accept this Amendment, but I may be able to give the noble Lord some consolation. My difficulty with regard to this Amendment arises in this way. If your Lordships look at the Third Schedule you will see that it deals with the excepted classes of development—both Part I and Part II will deal with them—that is to say, classes of development on which you may embark without paying any development charge. Now whenever you acquire land compulsorily a valuer has to assess the value of that land on the basis that those things set out in this Third Schedule can be done.

The reason why we cannot put this Amendment into the Third Schedule is this. Those who have practised in the law have had trouble enough over the question of hypothetical tenants. I do not want further trouble about hypothetical greenhouses. Supposing this were in the Schedule. This would be the result. If I am going to acquire compulsorily a piece of agricultural land, and the owner of that land is insisting, naturally, on as much as he can get, he will advance this argument before an arbitrator. He will say: "Please remember, in assessing the value of this land to me, that I have a right, without paying any development charge, to cover this land with greenhouses"—or to set up a seed-factory, or some bizarre thing of that sort. And so the general level of compensation for acquiring a perfectly innocent piece of land, which no one had the slightest idea of covering with greenhouses, would be assessed on a basis of being dead ripe. I do not think that either the noble Lord or I want that. But that is the consequence of putting those words in the Third Schedule.

There is only one way in which I can meet the noble Lord and prevent that. The Minister has power under Clause 68 to make, with the consent of the Treasury, regulations to exempt certain classes of business from development charge, and I can, on behalf of the Minister, give the assurance that it is his resolve to grant an exemption for such things as the erection of greenhouses and other agricultural buildings of that sort. I do not know how far it will go. I do not want to say a word more than I should. Greenhouses and chicken houses are the particular cases which have been given. I am not sure whether it would take in sawmills, if there is an estate sawmill, or possibly a combination to which the estate supplies available labour and appliances and which sometimes does extra work for people in the neighbourhood. The Minister is in consultation with the Central Landowners' Association and the National Farmers' Union to try to fix the terms on which these exemptions should be granted. The noble Lord may rest assured that the sort of building he has in mind will be covered by virtue of the exemption under Clause 68 and will be free of development charge. I hope, therefore, that he will withdraw his Amendment.

LORD LLEWELLIN

My Lords, we are grateful to the noble and learned Viscount on the Woolsack. The aim of my noble friend who moved the Amendment was to see that just as buildings which were necessary for agricultural holdings, as defined in the Bill, were exempt from development charge, so should the buildings necessary for market gardening be exempt, because, in our present food positon, it is just as important that nothing is done to hamper or in any way discourage vegetable growing.

LORD CARRINGTON

My Lords, the assurance given by the noble and learned Viscount relieves my mind completely, and I can assure him that when market gardeners read it they will be very gratified. I beg leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

5.14 p.m.

THE LORD CHANCELLOR moved, after paragraph 4 to insert: 5. The winning and working, on land held or occupied with land used for the purposes of agriculture, of any minerals reasonably required for the purposes of that use, including the fertilisation of the land so used and the maintenance, improvement or alteration of buildings or works thereon which are occupied or used for the purposes aforesaid.

The noble and learned Viscount said: My Lords, this Amendment was put in to meet a point I was asked to concede at an earlier stage, that gravel pits and things of that sort should be free of development charge. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 140, line 4, at end insert the said new paragraph.—(The Lord Chancellor.)

THE EARL OF RADNOR

My Lords, I should like to express my gratitude to the noble and learned Viscount for this concession. I think that the words are all right—"on land held or occupied with land used for the purposes of agriculture." I take it that these words presumably cover ordinary agricultural estates and are not confined to individual farms. I assure the noble and learned Viscount that the owners of agricultural land will be extremely grateful. It is only a crumb of the whole question of minerals in the Bill, but it is very welcome.

LORD LLEWELLIN

My Lords, this is one of the matters on which we pressed noble Lords opposite, because it would be almost impossible to work if you have to pay development charge for every load of chalk taken out to put on a field, or every load of gravel to put on the roads. I am very much obliged to the noble and learned Viscount for this Amendment and for meeting us so fully on this matter.

THE LORD CHANCELLOR

My Lords, it is a great consolation to me to know that market gardeners and estate owners will have some kind thoughts for me. I am afraid the friends of the noble Viscount, Lord Samuel, will not.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD CARRINGTON moved, after paragraph 4, to insert: (5) The erection, enlargement, improvement or alteration of dwellinghouses occupied by persons engaged or employed in agriculture, so long are they are so occupied.

The noble Lord said: My Lords, during the Committee stage the noble and learned Viscount said that the Government were prepared to make a concession and exempt from payment of development charge all those agricultural houses which attract a subsidy under the Housing (Financial and Miscellaneous Provisions) Acts, 1946, so long as they continue to attract it. I think that some exemption is better than none, but if the Government are really interested in seeing a fully progressive and well balanced agriculture—and I am sure they are—then it is not logical to exempt one particular class of house and not all the others, whether it be for a political or any other purpose. Further, I think that because of the present appalling shortage of houses in rural areas and the many existing cottages being too small, too cramped and unsatisfactory, anything that would discourage anybody from either building or reconditioning houses in the country should be avoided at all costs. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 140, line 4, at end insert the said new paragraph.—(Lord Carrington.)

THE LORD CHANCELLOR

My Lords, in principle I find myself in sympathy with the noble Lord. I cannot, for the reasons I have already given, put this proposed paragraph in the Third Schedule. The question is, whether it can come under the exemption in Clause 68. The difficulty is this. Under the Housing (Financial and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1946, a subsidy is paid only so long as the house is occupied by a genuine agricultural labourer. The noble Lord and I would agree that we do not want to help week-enders who use agricultural houses. If I relate this to the Housing (Financial and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1946, I have an automatic control. I can exempt from development charge, or I can spread the development charge over a term of years, but I cannot exact development charge so long as a subsidy is being paid. In that way we know that week-enders are not getting the benefit of this concession. Immediately I depart from that, I am in a difficulty. I must get somebody to police the scheme, to let me know when a genuine agricultural labourer goes out and a week-ender comes in. If I could be certain I had some proper method of policing, then I would go all the way with the noble Lord so far as Clause 68 is concerned. The Ministry of Agriculture, whom we asked to undertake this job, started off by saying they would, and then came to the conclusion that it was too big for them.

I myself hope—I do not promise—that we may get the local authority to do it. To be quite candid, I think the local policeman would probably know as much about it as anybody else. We may be able to do something of that sort. I am afraid I must answer the noble Lord in this way. If we solve the difficulty of policing, then I anticipate that the Minister will put what is proposed, together with the greenhouses, in the excepted clauses. Unless we can find some satisfactory and simple method of policing the thing, we shall be in very considerable trouble. The noble Lord will see what the trouble is. I rather understand that on this matter, too, consultations are proceeding, and I hope that a happy issue will come which will enable us to settle this problem.

LORD ADDINGTON

My Lords, I hope that will happen. It is very important from the point of view of the local authorities, and for the development of agriculture. The same authority which has experience of the Act making provision for preparing these houses will be able to deal with the other one.

LORD LLEWELLIN

My Lords, I had hoped the noble and learned Viscount would be able to give us something rather firmer on this Amendment than he has given. I understand that as it stands at present the only thing that has to be done under the Bill in regard to a house that attracts a subsidy is that the owner has to send a certificate to the local authority, who, if they like, in any case of doubt, can check the validity of the certificate. In principle, as I understand the noble and learned Viscount's speech, we are all absolutely agreed that any dwellinghouses properly used by an agricultural worker should be exempt from paying the development charge. If we are agreed on that, I should have thought that where there is a will there ought to be a way; and if it is only a question of getting somebody to check an occasional certificate in regard to these houses, I should have thought it was not too big a thing for any Government to undertake. It is a most important point.

I should have liked to hear to-day that the matter would be dealt with in the regulations, because this is one of the things that shows whether or not we are in earnest in this country about food production. We all know we are lacking in private dwellinghouses for the agricultural workers of the country. We all know that the problem is going to be most acute, the moment we lose all our German prisoners. I should have thought that this assurance could be given to-day, and arrangements could be made to see that the certificates were checked in any case where the planning authority had not to impose the development charge because the house was being occupied by an agricultural labourer. The planning authority are the local county council, and they can check that. They can get their agricultural department to check it. They are all in the same building, and they know what a certificate is. If there is really a will to do this, I am certain a way can be found. I should like a better assurance that something is going to be done than the one which the noble and learned Viscount was able to give us.

THE EARL OF RADNOR

My Lords, I should like to reinforce the remarks of my noble friend, Lord Llewellin. This is a very important thing. The noble and learned Viscount, in his remarks, seemed to suggest that the procedure under the Housing (Financial and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act was adequate to prevent the week-ender from deriving benefit from cottages that are subsidized for agricultural purposes. No doubt that is so in a great many cases. But he would be a rash man who would guarantee that it was always so; and, in fact, that procedure has to rely upon the fact, not, I think, very well understood in Government offices, that there are more honest people in the world than there are dishonest. I think this procedure of an annual certificate from the owner of the cottage ought in many cases to be applicable, and I hope that the noble and learned Viscount can see his way to make that promise before the Bill leaves this House. As I say, there are more honest people in the world than dishonest people. Some dishonest people, of course, may slip through, but surely when they are caught out there are processes of law which should act as a not inconsiderable deterrent to wrongdoing in that direction as in others. However, it is a comparatively small thing. I think it is in fact true to say that development charges from agricultural cottages may not in many cases be leviable. On the other hand, the psychological effect will be very great if this concession can be made before the Bill becomes an Act of Parliament.

VISCOUNT GAGE

My Lords, I rise only to say that at an earlier stage of the Bill I expressed the great desire of certain local authorities to ensure that agricultural cottages were maintained for agriculture. I even went so far as to move an Amendment to secure an assurance—which I got—that it was possible for local authorities to issue consents, with a condition attached to them that they should remain agricultural cottages. I do not necessarily marry that suggestion with what has been put forward by my noble friend. I wish only to say that it is an indication that local authorities would be willing to co-operate in order to enforce this suggestion that has been made.

THE LORD CHANCELLOR

My Lords, I cannot speak again without the leave of the House, and perhaps your Lordships will give me that leave. I am not sure that I can go further than I have gone. I agree with the noble Lord that where there is a will there is a way. I am afraid I can only tell him there is a will. I do not myself doubt but that the way will be found, but the way has not been found yet. I am very anxious to be cautious in the statements I make, because once I make a promise which I cannot make good your Lordships will hestitate to accept my promises in future. Therefore, I rather play for safety. I have very little doubt that I shall be able to do something, and there is this solid consolation which the noble Lord can have. Your Lordships will remember that we bring up our regulations; they have to be brought before this House, and I think I am right in saying that they have to have affirmative approval. If, when these regulations come up, your Lordships see that this concession is not there, I have no doubt that I shall be reminded on all sides of what took place to-day. I shall be very anxious to avoid having to be reminded of that fact. I venture to think that your Lordships may feel comparatively comfortable, though I cannot say more than I have because I have no authority to do so.

LORD CARRINGTON

My Lords, I confess that I am a little disappointed at what the noble and learned Viscount has said, but I understand his difficulty. I am sure that if he agrees in principle with what we all want, he will, in point of fact, find a way somehow. I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

THE LORD CHANCELLOR

My Lords, the next Amendment is a drafting Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 140, line 19, leave out from beginning to the first ("the") in line 20.—(The Lord Chancellor.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

THE LORD CHANCELLOR moved, in paragraph 7, to leave out "the use for that purpose of any additional part of the land" and insert "on any land comprised in a site which, on the appointed day, was being used for that purpose." The noble and learned Viscount said: My Lords, I beg to move this Amendment. It is really consequential on the acceptance in Committee of an Amendment to Clause 12 (3) (b) providing that any extension of the height of a dump of waste materials involves a material change of use. It is therefore necessary to draft the exemption for mineral undertakings in the Third Schedule in such a way as to allow vertical as well as lateral extension of a deposit. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 140, line 21, leave out from ("minerals") to ("so") in line 22 and insert ("on any land comprised in a site which, on the appointed day, was being used for that purpose").—(The Lord Chancellor.)

VISCOUNT MAUGHAM

My Lords, might I just ask a question on that? I am not quite sure that I know what effect this is going to have on the working of minerals. This clause, as altered, will have this effect, will it not? The only thing a mineral owner can do is to increase the height, or something of that sort, of his spoil heap. When he has got that up to a certain height he can go no higher because the angle of repose remains the same. I am not quite sure what the position is when he wants another spoil heap or wants another area of land upon which to deposit his spoil. I do not want to harry the noble and learned Viscount, the Lord Chancellor at the present moment, but as one who has had something to do with things of this sort I am not quite happy about the ultimate result of leaving out those words. I thought that while those words were in it was intended that you could increase the size of your spoil heap. You cannot go on increasing the height, you cannot make it steeper. Perhaps the Lord Chancellor will think that over and see what should be done about it.

THE LORD CHANCELLOR

I will certainly think over the point the noble Viscount has made.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

FOURTH SCHEDULE.

PROVISIONS RELATING TO COMPENSATION UNDER PART III.

3. Where any interest in land is subject to a mortgage—

(d) the compensation payable in respect of the interest subject to the mortgage may be paid by the local planning authority to such of the claimants as they think proper, and shall be applied by that claimant in such manner as the parties interested may agree or, in default of such agreement, as may be determined by arbitration.

5.33 p.m.

LORD HENDERSON

My Lords, this is a drafting Amendment consequential on an Amendment introduced in Committee making compensation payable under Clause 22 subject to the provisions of the Fourth Schedule. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 140, line 27, after ("twenty") insert ("Section twenty-two").—(Lord Henderson.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HENDERSON

My Lords, the object of the next Amendment is to bring the wording into line with the wording of Clause 22. There is no change in meaning. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 140, line 28, leave out ("diminution") and insert ("depreciation").—(Lord Henderson.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HENDERSON

My Lords, this Amendment is a drafting Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 141, line 3, leave out ("diminution") and insert ("depreciation").—(Lord Henderson.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

VISCOUNT MAUGHAM moved to leave out sub-paragraph (d) of paragraph 3 and insert: (d) the compensation payable in respect of the interest subject to the mortgage shall be paid by the local planning authority to the mortgagee or where there is more than one mortgagee to the first mortgagee and shall in either case be applied by him as if it were proceeds of sale.

The noble and learned Viscount said: My Lords, this Amendment was suggested to me by the Law Society. It raises rather a curious point and I think the proposed Amendment is an improvement on the present sub-paragraph. The question is as to what happens when an interest in land subject to mortgage is dealt with, or has now to be dealt with, and compensation is payable in respect of that interest. To whom should the compensation be paid? Of course in ordinary law the compensation would go to the local owner of the property—namely, the mortgagee. It might be more than the amount of his mortgage—and I will tell you the result of that in a moment. The sub-paragraph as it stands says: the compensation payable in respect of the interest subject to the mortgage may be paid by the local planning authority to such of the claimants as they think proper.… The schedule does not go on to say what they are to do with the money.

All difficulties can be resolved by reason of the fact that in dealing with matters of this sort in the equity part of the Court we constantly have to deal with cases where the mortgagee sells the property and receives more than enough to pay his principal, interest and costs. After that he becomes a trustee of the balance. If there is a second mortgagee he would hand it over to the second mortgagee who himself would become a trustee if he gets too much. Therefore, the legal result of a person getting too much is resolved by saying, as is suggested in the Amendment: the compensation payable in respect of the interest subject to the mortgage shall be paid by the local planning authority to the mortgagee or where there is more than one mortgagee to the first mortgagee and shall in neither case be applied by him as if it were proceeds of sale. Therefore, if I may repeat what I have said, if he gets a little too much, or a great deal too much, he is a trustee for that and is bound by law to hand it over to the person in title. That seems to me a better plan than to leave it rather in doubt as to what the local authority would have to do in selecting such of the claimants as they think proper. Some of those claimants, for all I know, may not be in equity trustees except under some equitable doctrine, about which it is better not to bother for the moment. I think, if I may say so, the new subparagraph will meet every requirement of the case and be much more simple than the original. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 141, line 10, leave out sub-paragraph (d) and insert the said new sub-paragraph.—(Viscount Maugham.)

THE LORD CHANCELLOR

My Lords, I may perhaps save your Lordships trouble if I say at once that we are grateful to the noble and learned Viscount for thinking of this point, and we have much pleasure in accepting his Amendment.

VISCOUNT MAUGHAM

I am obliged to the noble and learned Viscount.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Eighth Schedule [Enactments Amended]:

LORD HENDERSON

My Lords, the next is a drafting Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 159, line 21, column 2, leave out ("order made") and insert ("decision given.")—(Lord Henderson.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HENDERSON

My Lords, this also is a drafting Amendment. It is consequential to Amendments made in Committee to Clause 35 and the Fifth Schedule. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 159, line 24, column 2, leave out ("sanction") and insert ("authorization.")—(Lord Henderson.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HENDERSON

My Lords, the words to be omitted by this Amendment are now unnecessary in view of the procedure which the Bill provides for compulsory acquisition. They are consequential on certain repeals in the 1944 Act. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 160, line 44, column 2, at end insert ("and in the said sub-paragraph (2) of paragraph (3) the words 'or the draft of the order or the application therefor as the case may be' shall be omitted.")—(Lord Henderson.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Ninth Schedule [Enactments repealed]:

LORD HENDERSON

My Lords, this Amendment repeals certain references in the Sixth Schedule to the 1944 Act to the supplements to owner-occupiers, etc., provided for in Part II of that Act. Since the supplements are being swept away with the 1939 standard, these references are no longer necessary. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 164, line 23, column 3, after ("Act") insert ("and in sub-paragraph (1) of paragraph 5 the words 'or the amount of any sum payable as a supplement thereto' and the words 'together, if any small is payable as a supplement thereto, with the amount of that sum'").—(Lord Henderson.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD ADDINGTON moved, in reference to the extent of the repeal of the Town and Country Planning Act, 1944, to insert: "subsection (4) of Section nineteen." The noble Lord said: My Lords, this Amendment is put down in order to question a point which might be raised upon the administrative action taken by the Minister of Town and Country Planning, and to obtain some statement as to the policy and intention of the Ministry. It is fully accepted that it is quite right that the Minister's consent should be required when a local authority is proposing to dispose of land which they have acquired for development purposes, but the Ministry now are not merely requiring such information as will be necessary to enable them to give a decision on the question of principle. They are not even content to see the leases which should be drafted in this respect drafted by a solicitor advising the local authority; they are insisting that the lease must be in a form laid down by the Ministry, and must be finally approved by the Treasury Solicitor. That, I understand, is a practice that is entirely new, and that has been embarked upon only within comparatively recent times. All the local authorities have been letting land for a good many years now. They are competently advised, and the advisers consider themselves quite capable of drawing up leases which are designed to meet the case. I venture to hope, therefore, that they may be able to get some assurance from the Minister that his Ministry really will not go into these questions of detail. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 167, line 12, column 3, at end, insert ("subsection (4) of Section nineteen").—(Lord Addington.)

LORD HENDERSON

My Lords, I am inclined to think that the noble Lord has been misinformed. The Ministry have never sought to impose a standard or any other form of lease. It has always been recognized that the form of any disposal by way of lease is a matter for the professional advisers to the authority, and they are allowed complete freedom in their draftsmanship. The Ministry's criticism of any draft submitted for approval has always been offered by way of suggestion and for consideration by the authority as an improvement. In one respect only is a particular provision required in the lease—namely, in respect of the linking of leasehold and planning control of user, and of alterations and additions to the building. The reason for this is that without it there could arise conflicting controls, in that the authority as lessor could impose conditions other, and different from, the planning control of the planning authority, and, on appeal, of the Minister. This particular provision has been accepted without hesitation by all authorities with whom the Ministry has so far had dealings, for the need for it, and its justice, is recognized. There has been some evidence that some authorities in their dealings with prospective developers, have for their own purposes, informed the developer that such and such a form of lease was final and the only acceptable form to the Ministry. This is quite untrue, and I welcome the opportunity which this Amendment has given me to make the truth of the situation known to the public.

LORD ADDINGTON

I am very grateful to the noble Lord for what he has, said. I think it clears up what appears to be a misunderstanding. I beg leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

TENTH SCHEDULE:

Transitory provisions and provisions consequential on repeals.

10. Subject as hereinafter provided, any agreement for restricting the planning, development or use of land made under Section thirty-four of the Act of 1932 with any such authority as is mentioned in subsection (2) of that section, or made or having effect is if made under a planning scheme with the responsible authority for the purposes of the scheme, shall, if in force on the appointed day, continue in force in accordance with the terms thereof and may be enforced under the said Section thirty-four or under time scheme, as the case may be:

Provided that

(a) nothing in any such agreement shall be construed as restricting or requiring the exercise, in relation to land to which any such agreement applies, of any powers exercisable by any Minister or authority under this Act;

(b) if the Minister is satisfied, on application made to him by any person being a party to any such agreement, or a person entitled to land affected thereby, that any restriction on the development or use of the land imposed by the agreement is inconsistent with the proper planning or development of the area comprising the land, he may by order discharge or modify that restriction so far as appears to him to be expedient;

5.42 p.m.

LORD HENDERSON

My Lords, this is a drafting Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 171, line 26, leave out ("or requiring").—(Lord Henderson.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HENDERSON

My Lords, this is a drafting Amendment complementary to the Amendment on Clause 25, which has been accepted. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 171, line 28, at end insert ("so long as those powers are exercised in accordance with the provisions of the development plan or in accordance with any directions which may have been given by the Minister under Section thirty-six of this Act, or as requiring the exercise of any such powers otherwise than as aforesaid").—(Lord Henderson.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD HENDERSON

My Lords, the object of this Amendment is to enable a local planning authority to take the initiative in asking for a modification of a Section 34 agreement, even though they were not a party to the agreement. This is clearly right, because action can only be taken under this paragraph in the interests of the "proper planning or development of the area;" the local planning authority is obviously the right person to judge that. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 171, line 31, after ("thereby") insert ("or by the local planning authority").—(Lord Henderson.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Eleventh Schedule [Unrepealed provisions of the Town and Country Planning Act, 1944, reprinted as amended by this Act]:

LORD HENDERSON

My Lords, this and the remaining four Amendments on the paper are consequential. They simply write into the Eleventh Schedule Amendments which have already been accepted. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 194, line 27, leave out ("order made") and insert ("decision given").—(Lord Henderson.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Amendment moved— Page 194, line 29, leave out ("sanction") and insert ("authorisation").—(Lord Henderson.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Amendment moved— Page 200, line 25, leave out from ("submitted") to ("made") in line 26.—(Lord Henderson.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Amendment moved— Page 202, line 3, leave out from ("Schedule") to ("is") in line 4.—(Lord Henderson.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Amendment moved— Page 202, line 10, leave out from ("compensation") to ("has") in line 11.—(Lord Henderson.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LONDON AND NORTH EASTERN RAILWAY BILL.

LONDON MIDLAND AND SCOTTISH RAILWAY BILL.

Reported with Amendments.

SWINDON GAS ORDER, 1947, BUCKLEY GAS ORDER, 1947, AIRDRIE GAS ORDER, 1947, WORKINGTON GAS ORDER, 1947.

Report from the Special Orders Committee, That no Petition has been presented praying to be heard against the Special Orders, and that there is nothing in these Orders to which they think it necessary to call the attention of the House: Read and ordered to lie on the Table.

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