§ 4.5 p.m.
§ House again in Committee.
§ LORD STRANGE
I was just going to say, before we broke off for a moment, that I think the subsidies must continue so long as we are building houses we cannot afford to build for people who cannot afford to live in them.
§ BARONESS BROOKE OF YSTRADFELLTE
I had no intention of intervening in this discussion on the introduction of this new clause by my noble relative; but as I sat here listening to what was said around the Chamber I remembered the time when I was chairman of a metropolitan borough housing committee. I inherited a housing revenue account that was deeply in the red. I was told by the chairman of the finance committee of my council, and by the leader of the council, that I could have no money to do those things on the housing estates that I wanted to do until we got our housing revenue account, certainly "into the pink", and if possible, "into the blue".
We had great discussions about how to do this, and we decided to follow the excellent example brought into being by the Socialist-controlled Metropolitan Borough of Lambeth in introducing a differential rents scheme. We worked out our differential rents scheme and brought it into being. As a result, after one year's working of the scheme our housing revenue account was deeply in the blue and I was enabled to do those things which I had been wanting to do for some time: things for the communal benefit of tenants living in erstwhile neglected estates, such as improving the grounds of the estates, putting in playing apparatus for the children and redecorating communal staircases. It is for that reason, a purely practical one, that I have risen to say that I hope very much that this clause which has been put forward this afternoon will be introduced, if only in order to enable chairmen of housing committees to carry out those things which they would do, but which at the moment, so long as their housing revenue accounts are running "in the red", they are unable to do.
§ LORD KENNET
I would only say this to the noble Lady without commenting on the merits of the scheme that she described, about which, unfortunately, I know nothing. Would she have liked the Minister to force her to do it? And this would be the effect of the new clause before the Committee. One of the most engaging things about the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, is that he appears calm, lucid and helpful, whether 35 what he is saying is constructive and useful, or whether, like this one, it is a ploy of a purely Party political nature.
This is the third appearance of the clause in question. The Opposition tried it on at the Committee stage of the House of Commons and again at the Report stage there. Here it comes, in slightly different words, tailored to meet a point which arose in the Second Reading debate in this House. The noble Lord quoted a circular issued by the father of my present right honourable friend the Minister which said:Rent relief should be given only to those who need it, and only for so long as they need it,We are agreed on that. I quoted the words myself in the Second Reading debate. We are agreed that that is the truth of the matter. What we disagree about is how to achieve it.
I think the noble Lord, Lord Wade, was right when he said that the Government should discourage local authorities from passing on rent subsidies to tenants who do not need it. But we are not invited by the proposed new clause to facilitate the discouragement of local authorities from doing this. We are invited to take all power out of their hands and to put it into those of Whitehall. Even if a statutory sanction of this nature were desirable—which I am convinced it is not—it would be completely unworkable. It would involve the Housing Ministers in deciding, in effect, what rents should be paid by the tenants of nearly 1,500 local housing authorities in England and Wales. This would be physically impossible. I am surprised that the Opposition, who strenuously support the independence of local authorities in most matters, should consider it right, immediately after some election results not unfavourable to them, to undermine the long-established independence of local authorities in this field.
In this connection I would remind the Committee of Section 111 of the Housing Act 1957, which laid it down that:The general management, regulation and control of houses provided by a local authority under this Part of this Act shall be vested in and exercised by the authority, and the authority may make such reasonable charges for the tenancy or occupation of the houses as they may determine.36 And that is that. Local authorities are also obliged, as we know, in fixing their rents (and a number of famous court cases have made this quite clear), to consider the interests of the tenants and of the ratepayers as a whole—interests which may sometimes be in conflict. They must remember that all council tenants are also ratepayers. They have to hold a fair balance between the two, and the district auditor may, as part of his statutory duty, draw attention to cases where there is evidence that the balance has been tipped too far one way or the other.
The proposed new clause would alter all this. Since subsidy payments would depend on the Minister's judgment about the acceptability of rents charged in every single case, in practice local authority rents would be fixed in Whitehall. No previous housing legislation has included such a provision. Certainly nothing comparable can be found in legislation enacted while noble Lords opposite were in office. The Government do not feel that it would be right to take such powers, or to diminish the responsibility of a local authority for deciding its own rent policy and balancing its housing revenue accounts, as the noble Baroness, Lady Brooke of Ystradfellte described, from year to year as it is obliged to do under existing legislation.
The Government made perfectly clear in the White Paper on the Housing Programme for 1965 to 70 (which I quoted during the Second Reading debate) that they want, and expect, local authorities to review their rent policies to ensure that they do give the greatest help, by means of rent rebate schemes, to those who need it. The case for thorough-going rent rebate schemes is indisputable and is agreed on both sides of the Committee. I gave the figures last time. According to the Family Expenditure Survey (it is a little complicated, but the figures show the shape of the situation in dramatic form), in 1965 about 30 per cent. of council tenants with household incomes of £500 a year or less were paying more than one-fifth of their income in rent, whereas almost 98 per cent. of those with household incomes of £1,050 or more were paying less than one-tenth of their income in rent.
These disparities, these distortions in the social scene in what is, in effect, a 37 major social service, are extremely disturbing, particularly, of course, in the burden which they place on the poorest families. Housing subsidies are not paid to produce such inequitable results, and the Government fully acknowledge their responsibility to give a lead to local authorities in this matter. This they have done and will continue to do. At present, regrettably, fewer than half of the local housing authorities operate rent rebate schemes of any kind, and many of these are of limited scope so that only a handful of tenants qualify. Sometimes the average weekly rebates are so small that they hardly warrant the cost of administration. But many local authorities, including some of the largest, have well-tried, comprehensive and well-thought-out schemes, which they operate with great measure of success without raising the general level of rents very much. These new rates of subsidy are designed primarily to help those authorities which are tackling greatly increased building programmes and need this assistance to carry the high costs of construction and of building land. The scope of new subsidies and the amount paid out by Government in subsidies is now, as the Committee have already heard, around £83 million a year, and this figure may rise to £150 million a year by 1970–71. This should serve to remind local authorities—I repeat, local authorities—that they are administering a major social service which must be based on a clear assessment of individual needs and a strong sense of social justice.
At the end of last year the Minister set up a small Working Party, with the local authority associations and the G.L.C., to consider the principles on which adequate and comprehensive rent rebate schemes could be based while allowing for adjustments to local circumstances. I am glad to be able to tell the Committee that this Working Party has completed its Report and the Minister will very shortly discuss it with the local authority association members. As the Working Party consisted only of officials, we must—perhaps especially now—see what the elected members think of it. After these discussions, the Minister will probably issue fresh guidance to local authorities on the whole subject of rent rebate schemes, and, in particular, on 38 the importance of getting schemes which give help to those who need it and not to those who do not.
To conclude, I would repeat the gist of what has been perhaps an unnecessarily long intervention in this debate. We agree with the Opposition that help must go where it is needed. We do not agree that the Housing Ministers should take over from local authorities the responsibility of determining what rents should be paid in every case throughout the country. I believe that the Committee would be well advised to reject this new clause.
§ 4.16 p.m.
There is one question that I should like to ask the Minister. What form of sanction has he for enforcing these proposals on the local authorities? I well remember many years ago, when I was a very junior Minister, sitting next to a Socialist high dignitary of a great big British city. In the course of dinner he said to me, "Please instruct me to impose a rent rebate scheme". My reply was, "I am not here to do your dirty work; you must ask for it". The Minister said that fewer than half of these authorities have some form of rebate scheme. Noble Lords on both sides of the Committee want 100 per cent. of local authorities to have them. What sanction has the Minister to impose the schemes in respect of these local authorities? My noble friend's Amendment would provide some sanction.
§ LORD KENNET
The Labour Government do not like sanctions vis-à-vis local authorities, even if the local electors, in their wisdom, have changed the complexion of a good many authorities. We are perfectly content to continue to work with a local authority scene which is now more Conservative-controlled than it was a week ago without having any sanctions. I must say that I am surprised at the attempts of noble Lords who are Conservatives to force sanctions upon us in order to enable us to force certain courses of action on local authorities.
§ LORD BROOKE OF CUMNOR
I hope that noble Lords opposite who have taken part in this short debate will not take it amiss if I say, with the greatest 39 respect, that I think very little indeed of their arguments. I would go further, and declare that when their speeches are read by those people outside who know a great deal about housing, and who are deeply concerned about it, those people will feel the same. I resent that the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, should seek to stigmatise this new clause of mine as a ploy of a purely political nature. In fact I thoroughly believe in the policy embodied in this new clause. I consulted nobody before I put it down, and I am prepared to take full responsibility for it myself.
§ LORD KENNET
If the noble Lord will yield for a moment, may I ask why did he not introduce any such provision when he was himself in charge in this sphere?
§ LORD BROOKE OF CUMNOR
I was going to answer that, which is the one point of any substance made in the debate from the Benches opposite. It was made by the noble Lord, Lord Mitchison. The reason is that we have now reached the stage when housing subsidies are to be increased at an unprecedented rate. Up to now we have been doing everything; successive Conservative Governments were doing everything in their power to persuade local authorities to adopt differential rents or rent rebate schemes, and we had some success. Noble Lords opposite cannot have it both ways. They cannot say that this new Housing Subsidies Bill is so generous that it opens a new era in the housing field and, in the same breath, that a new situation has not been created; that it is simply a continuation from the old history of housing subsidies.
The noble Lord has given figures which show that under this new legislation the subsidy bill is to increase by something like 60 per cent. in three years—an unprecedented increase. That requires that Parliament should take a fresh look at the question of whether these subsidies are going to those who need them.
§ LORD MITCHISON
Is not the position that, subsidies now being adequate or generous, this will lead local authorities to introduce rent rebate schemes which beforehand they felt they could not afford?
§ LORD BROOKE OF CUMNOR
I really cannot understand any circumstances in which a local authority could not afford to introduce a wiser form of rent scheme which would allocate subsidies according to need. I also reject completely the argument that this new clause is an interference with the freedom of local authorities. The noble Lord, Lord Kennet, said that it was taking all power out of the hands of local authorities and putting it into the hands of Whitehall and that it would be an affront to the independence of local authorities.
All that the new clause asks is that the local authority shall satisfy the Minister of the soundness of the scheme. I have served on local authorities for many years, and I can remember a number of cases in which Parliament have passed Acts, sometimes under Labour Governments, when the local authorities were required to submit schemes to the Minister and get his approval before introducing them. That seems to me an exact parallel, and no-one in any quarter suggested that that was an affront to the independence of local authorities.
§ LORD KENNET
The noble Lord said that the local authorities would have to satisfy the Minister of the soundness of their schemes. This is not, of course, what is in the new clause. It says that a local authority would have,… to satisfy the Minister that it grants rent relief only to those of its tenants who need it and to the extent that they need it …Would the noble Lord not agree that any local authority considering a scheme of this kind could go to the Minister and ask whether he would be satisfied that their scheme fulfils the words in the Act? The Minister would have to set up a large staff to go into each category of tenant to see whether it does, and this would amount to central control before we knew where we were.
§ LORD BROOKE OF CUMNOR
The noble Lord has told us that a Working Party has been going into the whole question, and that he hopes that before long a situation will be reached in which the Minister will be in the position to give fresh advice upon the principles on which these schemes should be based. Surely, it would not be an intolerable task for the Minister to satisfy himself that any future 41 scheme fulfils the principles which, according to the Government, he himself is going to lay down.
I cannot accept that this is an interference with the freedom of local authorities, and I am surprised that supporters of the Government use that argument. What this new clause proposes is that local authorities should be given an option, an incentive, to follow a course of action which the Government are urging them to accept. That seems a long way from interference with their independence.
As to the argument of the noble Lord, Lord Leatherland, that my point could equally have been made to apply to the option mortgage section of the Bill, that was completely and devastatingly answered by the noble Lord, Lord Wade. The noble Lord, Lord Mitchison, spoke of a case in the North-East where he said that tenants moving into a new housing estate were not able to get enough to eat.
§ LORD BROOKE OF CUMNOR
That may be so, but the whole purpose of the kind of scheme this clause by implication advocates is one that will more properly meet needs. I cannot think of any local authority which have introduced a rent scheme of this kind who have not so framed it as to make it more generous to those whose needs are greatest, while reducing the amount of
§ subsidy to their better-off tenants who do not need the rent rebate.
§ The noble Lord, Lord Mitchison, went so far as to produce a new argument against rent rebate schemes, of which nobody has ever heard before, when he said that subsidies should be allocated by local authorities indiscriminately to their tenants so as to keep down wages. I entirely agree that local authority rents should not be fixed in Whitehall. I entirely agree that the general management of local authority housing estates should be in the hands of local authorities. But all experience fails to bear out the hope of the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, that there will be a sudden widespread change of heart among local authorities as a result of persuasion. He hopes that his Minister will be able to persuade those who are now distributing the subsidies without sufficient regard to need in a new way that will take that into account. I am afraid that something more than circulars will be required. These circulars have been going out since 1930, and there never has been a better one on the subject than that which Mr. Arthur Greenwood authorised in 1930. I suggest that this is a perfectly reasonable clause and I hope that my noble friends will be prepared to go into the Division Lobby on it.
§ 4.28 p.m.
§ On Question, Whether the said Amendment (No. 7) shall be agreed to?
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 67; Not-Contents, 42.43
|Aberdeen and Temair, M.||Emmet of Amberley, Bs.||Nugent of Guildford, L.|
|Ailwyn, L.||Erroll of Hale, L.||Oakshott, L.|
|Albemarle, E.||Falkland, V.||Ogmore, L.|
|Amulree, L.||Ferrier, L.||Rathcavan, L.|
|Auckland, L.||Fraser of Lonsdale, L.||Rea, L.|
|Balerno, L.||Goschen, V. [Teller.]||Redesdale, L.|
|Bessborough, E.||Grenfell, L.||Redmayne, L.|
|Blackford, L.||Grimston of Westbury, L.||Rothes, E.|
|Bridgeman, V.||Hacking, L.||St. Aldwyn, E. [Teller.]|
|Brooke of Cumnor, L.||Harlech, L.||St. Helens, L.|
|Brooke of Ystradfellte, Bs.||Hawke, L.||Sandford, L.|
|Buckton, L.||Horsbrugh, Bs.||Simonds, V.|
|Carrington, L.||Ilford, L.||Sinha, L.|
|Conesford, L.||Latymer, L.||Somers, L.|
|Craigavon, V.||Lindsey and Abingdon, E.||Strange of Knokin, Bs.|
|Croft, L.||MacAndrew, L.||Strathcarron, L.|
|Cullen of Ashbourne, L.||McCorquodale of Newton, L.||Swaythling, L.|
|Daventry, V.||Merrivale, L.||Swinton, E.|
|Denham, L.||Meston, L.||Teynham, L.|
|Derwent, L.||Milverton, L.||Thurlow, L.|
|Dudley, L.||Monsell, V.||Vivian, L.|
|Ebbisham, L.||Mountgarret, V.||Wade, L.|
|Addison, V.||Longford, E. (L. Privy-Seal)||Silkin, L.|
|Archibald, L.||Mitchison, L.||Snow, L.|
|Bowles, L.||Monckton of Brenchley, V.||Soper, L.|
|Brockway, L.||Morrison, L.||Sorensen, L. [Teller.]|
|Burden, L.||Moyle, L.||Stonham, L.|
|Champion, L.||Pargiter, L.||Stow Hill, L.|
|Collison, L.||Phillips, Bs.||Strabolgi, L.|
|Gardiner, L. (L. Chancellor.)||Plummer, Bs.||Strang, L.|
|Granville-West, L.||Popplewell, L.||Strange, L.|
|Henderson, L.||Rowley, L.||Summerskill, Bs.|
|Hilton of Upton, L. [Teller.]||Rusholme, L.||Taylor of Mansfield, L.|
|Kennet, L.||Sainsbury, L.||Wells-Pestell, L.|
|Leatherland, L.||St. Davids, V.||Williamson, L.|
|Lindgren, L.||Shepherd, L.||Winterbottom, L.|
On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Resolved in the affirmative, and Amendment agreed to accordingly.
§ Clause 14 [Power to reduce, discontinue or transfer subsidies]:
Page 15, line 38, leave out ("1964") and insert ("1965")—(Lord Kennet.)
§ Clause 14, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clauses 15 and 16 agreed to.
§ Clause 17 [Power of Minister to recover certain contributions]:
§ LORD KENNET
I think the Committee will see that this is a self-evident clarification of a drafting nature. I beg to move.
Page 17, line 30, leave out subsection (4).—(Lord Kennet.)
§ Clause 17, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clauses 18 to 20 agreed to.
§ Clause 21 [Interpretation of Part I]:
Page 19, line 23, leave out ("(1)"). —(Lord Kennet.)
§ Clause 21, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clauses 22 and 23 agreed to.44
§ Clause 24 [Right to opt for subsidy for certain loans in connection with dwellings]:
§ 4.38 p.m.
§ LORD KENNET moved, in subsection (3), to leave out "subsection", where that word first occurs, and insert "subsection (3A) and". The noble Lord said: With the leave of the Committee, I will speak to this Amendment together with Amendments Nos. 12 and 13, as they hang together. They meet a point which was raised by the Opposition spokesman in another place during the Report stage—at least, I hope noble Lords opposite will find that they do.
§ A person under 21 who wants to borrow to buy a house has to find an adult to act as trustee to take out the mortgage for him. Usually this will be a parent, and under the Bill the parent can opt for subsidy under the option mortgage scheme, because he can make the declaration required by Clause 24(3)(c). But some young people are orphans, either in fact or in essence, and the trustee may be some other relative, a close friend or, indeed, a solicitor. These Amendments would enable a ministerial direction to be made which would allow these trustees to opt for an option mortgage with a suitably modified form of declaration.
§ The point of making this the subject of ministerial direction is in order to give both flexibility in administration and—and this is an important point—safeguards against abuse. Generally speaking, it can be expected that a trustee will be opting for subsidy on only one occasion in his career as a trustee. But one would not wish that a genuine case where this happened to arise more than once should be ruled out. On the other 45 hand, option mortgages are for owner occupation, and it is necessary to ensure that this arrangement is not used by someone to obtain a mortgage at a subsidised rate of interest for some speculative venture; for example, by forming a spurious trust. Hence the need for that adaptability which can best be obtained by allowing the Minister to regulate.
Page 21, line 32, leave out ("subsection") and insert ("subsections (3A) and").—(Lord Kennet.)
§ LORD BROOKE OF CUMNOR
I should like to express appreciation to the Government for this group of Amendments. They meet a point which I think was raised by my honourable friend Mr. Channon in another place. The Government have recognised that it was a valid point which was worth further investigation. So far as I can see, this is a very happy solution. I am grateful.
§ Amendment moved—
Page 22, line 41, at end insert—
("(3A) The Minister may from time to time direct that, in such cases or class of cases as may be specified in the direction, being cases where the borrower is entitled to the interest in land in question as trustee for a person who is under the age of twenty-one, an option notice shall, if the qualifying lender in question so agrees, have effect if, instead of the condition specified in subsection (3)(c) of this section, there is satisfied such other condition as may he specified in the direction.")—(Lord Kennet.)
§ Clause 24, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 25 agreed to.
§ Clause 26 [Extension of right to opt for subsidy to certain other cases]:
Page 25, line 23, after ("and") insert ("except for the purposes of subsection (3A) of the said section 24").—(Lord Kennet.)
§ Clause 26, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clauses 27 to 29 agreed to.46
§ Clause 30 [Guarantee of advances in excess of normal amount]:
LORD BROOKE OF CUMNOR moved, in subsection (1), to leave out all words from and including "such date", to "appoint", and to substitute "1st April, 1968". The noble Lord said: I beg to move Amendment No. 14, the purpose of which is to provide that the new scheme for insurance guarantees embodied in Clause 30 shall come into operation on the same date as the option mortgage scheme, instead of having to wait until a date to be fixed by order by the Minister. Perhaps I may remind your Lordships of the purport of Clause 30 and I quote from the Explanatory Memorandum. It
enables the Housing Ministers…to enter into arrangements with insurance companies whereby, if qualifying lenders are willing to make loans to persons opting for subsidy above the amount they would normally advance without collateral security, the insurance company will give a guarantee. The risk of loss is to be shared equally between the Minister and the insurance company…In the case of building societies, it is provided that the premium remaining can be added to the loan.
§ I wish to ask the Government why this scheme cannot be brought in on April 1, 1968, along with the option mortgage scheme. I think everybody appreciates that when Clause 30 was foreshadowed in the White Paper, Help Towards Home Ownership, published in December, 1966, the necessary discussions with the building societies and local authorites, and other bodies concerned, had not been completed, and that was at that time a valid reason for not fixing a definite date. But four months have now passed, and this is a desirable scheme. I submit to your Lordships that it is wrong to put a clause like this into a Bill simply as an indeterminate intention of the future. We ought to have more information before we agree to this clause. The simplest course the Government could adopt is the one that is comprised in my Amendment; that is, to say definitely that the necessary discussions have now been concluded, and that April 1, 1968, can be enshrined in the body of the Statute as the date when this new insurance scheme is to start. I very much hope that the Government will be able to accept this Amendment. I beg to move.
Page 29, line 29, leave out from ("after") to ("in") in line 32, and insert ("1st April 1968").—(Lord Brooke of Cumnor.)
§ LORD MITCHISON
I will not take a moment, but I suspect the noble Lord of getting a little distant from his own Amendment, because if I read it rightly it would have this effect. It would refer to a loan by a qualifying lender, and so on, made on or after April 1, 1968; that is to say, the only effect of the Amendment would be to prevent anything from being done in respect of a loan made before April 1, 1968. It is not quite what the noble Lord explained to us. I may have it wrong, but it seems quite clear to me, and perhaps in the light of that he might like to have another look at the Amendment before pressing it to a Division. This again, of course, is half-forbidden fruit, but at the moment most of the troops have departed and a Division at this moment might be dangerous.
§ LORD KENNET
I will not enter into the conflicting interpretations of the Amendment which have emerged in the course of this short discussion. The noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, ended by saying that he wished the Government could accept a definite date for introducing the guarantee scheme. So do the Government. I think that both the noble Lords opposite know the only reason why we cannot. We are not sure that even then there will be enough money to do it, although we very much hope that there will be.
The noble Lord referred to the White Paper on this subject, from which I think he drew the conclusion that the Government had said at the date of publication of the White Paper that the only, or the main, reason for the postponement of the introduction of the guarantee scheme was that certain discussions were taking place on it. This would not be quite the right deduction to draw. The White Paper also said:The Government have decided that no date can at present be fixed for the introduction of the guarantee scheme. Option mortgages"—that is the other part of the scheme—will add to the demand for finance for house purchase and must come first. When this need has been met, the Government will decide, with knowledge of the amount of money then available, when to bring the guarantee scheme into operation. The Building Societies' Association and the British Insurance Association have, for their part, said that they agree that it would not be appro 48 priate to introduce the scheme at the present time.The point about all this is that if you bind yourself to introduce this scheme at a certain date, it may turn out to be a date when there is not enough money with which to justify it. We must remember that we are talking about 100 per cent. guarantees, and we must also remember the obvious mathematical fact, which hangs like a cloud over all our heads in this respect: that the amount of money which gives you 100 per cent. ability to issue 90 per cent. advances only gives you 90 per cent. ability to issue 100 per cent. advances. For better or for worse, the Government have decided that we should stick to idea of making it possible to give 100 per cent. loans. We are anxious not to be "jumped" into doing it when there is only 90 per cent. of the money to cover those 100 per cent. advances. I therefore advise the Committee not to accept the Amendment, although I appreciate that it is not moved in the spirit in which an earlier one was moved.
§ LORD BROOKE OF CUMNOR
I never had the intention of asking the Committee to divide on this Amendment, because it seems essentially a matter which the Government must decide. This is a question of availability of money, and the Government are the body who, under our Constitution, decide these matters. Nevertheless, your Lordships will feel that the Government's reply was a disappointing one. While the noble Lord quoted the White Paper, he did not say whether the Building Societies' Association and the British Insurance Association are still saying, four months after the date when the White Paper was published, that it would not be appropriate to introduce the scheme as yet.
From the words of other Government Ministers which I have read, I had hoped that they were confident about the future of the economy and that there would be money available to do within a reasonable time various things which the Government considered desirable. But this is one which the Government have decided must be put off longer. I do not think it would be for your Lordships' House to challenge that decision. I simply say that it is a disappointing one.
§ LORD KENNET
Before the noble Lord concludes his remarks, I should perhaps say that your Lordships should not draw the inference from my remark that the Government have decided to put this off until after any particular date. The only point is that the Government are against being tied to any particular date.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 30 agreed to.
§ Clauses 31 to 33 agreed to.
§ Schedule 1 [Determination of cost of site]:
§ LORD KENNET
This Amendment enables the Minister to determine how much of the expenses incurred in connection with the acquisition of any land by a local authority is to be attributed to a building site forming part only of the land. I beg to move.
Page 34, line 27, leave out ("by a local authority").—(Lord Kennet.)
§ LORD KENNET
This Amendment enables the Minister to make certain determinations about expenses incurred in connection with the acquisition of sites. I hope that the Committee will find it a clear improvement over the text of the Bill as it stands at the moment. I beg to move.
Page 34, line 46, at end insert ("and references to expenses incurred in connection with the acquisition of a site or of land of which a site forms part shall be construed as including references to such amount as the Minister may determine to be the value of any other land given in exchange for the whole or part of the site or of the land of which the site forms part.")—(Lord Kennet.)
§ Schedule 1, as amended, agreed to.
§ Remaining Schedules agreed to.
§ House resumed: Bill reported, with the Amendments.