HL Deb 12 July 1967 vol 284 cc1205-52

6.32 p.m.

Order of the Day for the House to be again in Committee read.

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(Lord Kennet.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.



I understand that Amendment No. 46 (to leave out Clause 19 and substitute the new clause, "Well-managed estates") has already been moved by the noble Lord, Lord Silsoe.


We now return to this very important Amendment affecting an extremely important clause. I hope that it is agreed on both sides of the Committee that Clause 19 is one of the outstandingly important clauses in the Bill. We are discussing well-managed estates. It is accepted between us that whatever we do here will apply, and apply only, to those estates which are established to be well-managed. These are estates from which no case of hardship has ever been cited—at least, if the Government know of hardship arising on some of the estates which would unquestionably be certifiable as well-managed, we trust that they will say so. Certainly, neither inside nor outside Parliament in any discussion on the Bill have the Government ever suggested that the cases of hardship against which they were devising their policy arose upon any of these well-managed estates.

Large parts of some of the estates which would be likely to be certified as well-managed have now been taken out of the Bill by the Government decision on Report stage in another place that property of a rateable value of above £400 in Greater London, and above £200 in the rest of the country, should not be affected by the Bill. Consequently, we have certain areas of property in different places, estates which are accepted to be well-managed, already substantially reduced, so far as the Bill is concerned, by areas cut out of them owing to the rateable value limit. What we are discussing is what shall happen to the rest of the estates; that is to say, those properties which are below the rateable values that I have mentioned. What I hope we are all turning our attention to is the future; because it is not nearly so much the present-day look of these areas that matters as the eventual redevelopment of them when redevelopment falls due. In the 18th century and early in the 19th century, parts of London may have been a mess; but if they were well developed between 1750 and 1850 or later posterity now is grateful to the redevelopers.

I want to ask what the Government really intend about redevelopment in these areas. How do they think Clause 19 is going to operate in this respect? May I quote from Clause 19(1), dealing with the question of obtaining a certificate from the Minister? The words used are: that, in order to maintain adequate standards of appearance and amenity and regulate redevelopment in the area in the event of tenants acquiring the landlord's interest in their house and premises under this Part of this Act, it is in the Minister's opinion likely … I know that I am quoting from the unamended version of the clause; but that is simpler to read. What do the Government have in mind by including the words: in order to … regulate redevelopment in the area in the event of tenants acquiring the landlord's interest in their house and premises"? These are the parts of the well-managed estates which are under the rateable value limits. These estates are going to be speckled by the enfranchisement of individual houses. If the Government have their way they are to be fragmented. On the face of things, the hope of wise, farsighted, comprehensive redevelopment of that area as a whole is gone. On the face of things, the Government have decided to sacrifice that. Yet presumably the Government have some plan in mind, for otherwise they would not have included these words, "in order to … regulate redevelopment in the area in the event of tenants'" enfranchising.

How is this to work? It is most important that we should have a clear interpretation of this. It is no secret that those who are at present responsible for some of these well-managed estates have but little faith in this clause. Everybody is grateful to the Government for having made an attempt to do something in respect of the well-managed estates; but it is felt that the obtaining of the certificate and the approval of a scheme by the High Court will be a complex and long-drawn-out affair.

Secondly, it is thought that in the end it is going to do nothing to secure farsighted redevelopment. If the Government say that one can leave the wise redevelopment to modern planning legislation, that is wrong. It was no less a body than the Town and Country Planning Association, a non-Party body, which campaigned against the policy of compulsory enfranchisement for this very reason; because once you have rights of enfranchisement, it is impossible to rely on planning legislation or anything else to ensure good, comprehensive redevelopment. Are the Government putting aside here all thought of private redevelopment, which is normally much cheaper from the public point of view, and relying wholly on redevelopment by a local autho rity, or through the agency of the Land Commission—or what? This should be made absolutely plain, because I find very little in this clause as it stands to sustain a belief that good redevelopment of what has hitherto been a good estate will be possible under this clause.

We have on the other side an Amendment before us in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Silsoe, which he explained last night. This Amendment, likewise, is directed to the well-managed properties. The Amendment says further, however, that the Minister shall be satisfied that the area should "continue to be managed by one landlord." There is nothing about that specifically in the Government's clause. Secondly, the Amendment says that it shall be a case where the Minister is satisfied that the area "should be redeveloped when required comprehensively." There is nothing about comprehensive redevelopment in the Government's clause. What Lord Silsoe's Amendment goes on to do is permit extended leases on these well-managed estates, new leases of up to 50 years, but not to permit enfranchisement. As I take it, the object of the noble Lord in proposing that is to render comprehensive redevelopment more practicable than it would be under the Government's clause.

We all have in mind areas of London—and London is not the only town or city concerned—where there has been very fine development in the past over an extended area; and we are grateful to our predecessors for having handed that down to us. Are the Government saying that we must not hope for anything like that in the future? The noble Lord, Lord Kennet, sought to turn down Lord Silsoe's Amendment last night, partly by taking a number of detailed points about it. I am sure that the noble Lord, Lord Silsoe, would be the first to say that if the Parliamentary draftsman went to work on his new clause, it could be improved. The noble Lord, Lord Kennet, also said (col. 1121): … well-managed estates have Clause 19 schemes which will preserve the look of the estate after enfranchisement. They should not have total exemption from the risk of enfranchisement which this Amendment would give them, because that would preserve for them the very property rights that it is the purpose of this Bill to transfer to the leaseholders. I am sure that the noble Lord, Lord Silsoe, was thinking of much more than the present look of these estates. From his speech, I am quite sure that the noble Lord was thinking first and foremost of the future practical possibilities of redevelopment of these well-managed estates; and the main reason, indeed the only reason of principle, that the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, gave against accepting the plan in Lord Silsoe's new clause was that it would preserve for the estates the property rights that it is the purpose of this Bill to transfer to the leaseholders.

Let me examine that for a moment. There is no question here of hardship, though as I read the White Paper the policy was based on hardship, and that is what motivated the Government in bringing forward these proposals. Here the noble Lord is stating that the purpose of the Bill is to transfer property rights to the leaseholder. I have looked into the facts of some of the houses which will be enfranchiseable under this Bill if Clause 19 is not replaced by the proposed new clause, and it is quite clear that there will be numerous cases where the present occupying lessees will be able to net untaxed capital gains of between £5,000 and £10,000 a year, and in some cases over £10,000—


A year?


I am sorry, £5,000 to £10,000 a house, under the Government's proposals. This arises because the Government, unwisely, have sought to keep the rateable value in London to as high a limit as £400. Of course that means that in attractive parts of London those houses will have a freehold value up to £20,000; and the combination of the enfranchisement price which the lessee will have to pay and whatever he may have paid for the remainder of his existing lease may, in many cases, fall far short of that. So what the Government are really asking Parliament to do is to jeopardise the repetition in London of good redevelopment schemes by private landlords, such as we benefit by enormously because earlier private landlords were able to carry out schemes of that kind. And the Government intend to jeopardise that because they do not wish to deprive certain present day occupying lessees of the large capital gains which will accrue to them under this Bill if Clause 19 is not amended.

Casting our minds ahead to 100 years hence, people who care about happy living and the æsthetic appearance of cities will curse the Labour Government of this day if, through some ill-considered action on the part of that Government through this Bill, they have prevented those who have shown themselves competent to manage their estates well from redeveloping them well; and if the only defence which can then be put up by those who defend the present Labour Government is that the Labour Government did not like to move because the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, said it was the policy of this Bill not to deprive certain occupying lessees of untaxed capital gains of £10,000 a house.

There are very important issues at stake here for the future of some of our towns and cities. That is why it was right that we did not hasten to a decision on this clause last night. I dearly hope that the Government will agree to give further thought to Clause 19 in the light of Lord Silsoe's new clause and of what has been said in this debate, because I am not without trust that the Government really mean to make Clause 19 into something which will facilitate, and not prohibit, comprehensive redevelopment, If we could only achieve that—and I am putting all the stress on wise redevelopment—there may be nothing between us at the end of the day.


I find the noble Lord's observations very remote from the Part of the Bill we are now considering. I wonder whether he has really read it carefully. He said, for instance, that there was no reference to only one landlord. In the second line of the clause we are considering there is a reference to "one landlord", and when we come to the operative part of the clause we find "the landlord". Singular does mean singular. When one says "one landlord", it is what one means. That made me doubt a little.

Then the noble Lord said that the grounds upon which the Minister would grant or refuse a certificate are obscure. The noble Lord nods his head, and I withdraw that. Then the noble Lord is clear that subsection (3) provides in some detail what the Minister has to consider when he grants or refuses a certificate. I think the noble Lord should remember that this Part of the Bill is headed, Landlord's overriding rights; that Clause 17 gives a right to the landlord to develop, which this clause does not take away, and that he can resume possession for that purpose. Not a word was said about that.

Clause 18 is a different matter. It deals with the resumption of possession for landlord's occupation or that of his family. Clause 19 is really supplementary to the rights in Clause 17, and it is meant to deal with a limited number of cases. One of those cases is obviously Hampstead Garden Suburb, which has been mentioned. Letchworth, unless the special provision is to survive, is another. There are one or two others, but it is not intended, I think, to deal, and does not really deal, with an enormous number of areas nor with the mixed estates which reflect, in some cases, great credit, and in others less credit upon the landlords.

I cannot see what difficulty the noble Lord found about it. The certificate is to be issued … in order to maintain adequate standards of appearance and amenity and regulate redevelopment in the area in the event of tenants acquiring the landlord's interest …", and in subsection (3) the Minister ….shall have regard primarily to the benefit likely to result from the scheme to the area as a whole (including houses likely to be acquired from the landlord under this Part of this Act), and the extent to which it is reasonable to impose, for the benefit of the area, obligations on tenants so acquiring their freeholds; but regard may also be had to the past development and present character of the area and to architectural or historical considerations, to neighbouring areas and to the circumstances generally. I have never seen a pointer more clearly directed to the public good and more felicitously selecting the kind of thing that ought to be considered in a case of this kind.


If it will help the noble Lord, I was asking the Government whether they would explain in what way it will be possible under Clause 19 to secure farsighted redevelopment under one landlord and by one landlord of an area in which enfranchisement has been permitted.


The noble Lord is a trifle authoritarian about this. If he looks at the clause, he will see that redevelopment is the job of the landlord or, by virtue of the Amendment which was accepted the other day, of the representative body of tenants, with or without the landlord. Surely that is right. I am surprised to hear the Tory Party say that Whitehall ought to do it. Why do they not let the landlord or the tenants do it, as suggested here? It is they who have to prepare a scheme. The Minister is bound to consider the things to which I have just referred in granting a certificate, but the originators of the whole thing are the landlord or representative body of tenants, or both of them. I see the noble Lord shakes his head. He is shaking it a trifle too often. I asked him about this yesterday. Is it intended to simplify the clause? If so, what are we going to leave out—the Minister who has to have regard to the public good? Or does the Tory Party now say that the Minister should do the whole thing and leave out the landlord or tenants? What is their intention? Why should they not do it? Are they any different from the people who have or who have not been doing it in the past? Is there any harm in the Minister, before granting a certificate, having to decide whether, on the conditions I have mentioned, it is a proper case?

Lastly, we come to the court itself. The court has considerable duties. The Chancery Court is accustomed to doing this sort of thing. It has to consider questions of fairness and practicability, and it has to consider that the scheme proposed by the landlord should not be such as to give him: … a degree of control out of proportion to that previously exercised by him or to that required for the purposes of the scheme …". What could be more appropriate and broader than that? Yet we have the noble Lord getting up and saying that this is taking things away from the landlord. All it is doing is to give the landlord, if he has been doing all the things that the noble Lord attributes to him, power to continue, but not to go beyond that and start being unfair or impracticable or to arrogate to himself, by virtue of a statutory scheme, a control which he did not have before. That is all.

I absolutely fail to see upon what grounds anyone who has read this clause and really thought about it can say that it takes away any power to develop. On the contrary, it encourages a good landlord to put forward a scheme if he has a well managed estate. Of course, it does not attempt to go further. We have a Royal Commission sitting at the moment on Affirmative Covenants and the like. I do not want to talk about that, but it seems to me that in a Bill for the limited purposes described in the Long Title it would be somewhat unreasonable to expect a complete scheme for the redevelopment of London and other places to be embodied in its terms. It is right to give this temporary preservation. I say "temporary" because, for all we know, the next Act may alter it. We cannot tell—it depends upon what the Commission say on the matter. Surely it is utterly wrong to attempt to deprive a landlord of one of his overriding rights; and I am rather surprised to hear the Party opposite wishing to take it away from him and give it to the next one.

7.0 p.m.


In the intervention of the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, we had to-morrow's Daily Telegraph story when he said that future generations would curse the Labour Party for breaking up these great estates simply because Lord Kennet wanted to give windfalls of £10,000 to people. I hope that the Daily Telegraph correspondent has it right. This is not really the occasion to go back over the windfall question—


Would the noble Lord explain what his reference to the Daily Telegraph means? I honestly do not know what he means. When he speaks, it would be interesting to know to what he is referring.


I am referring to the propensity that I have observed in the Daily Telegraph, in reporting debates on matters such as this, to pick up the "plummiest" phrases of the noble Lord and build a story round them. This is not really the moment to go back over the windfall question, but I think I must, because the noble Lord has introduced it into this Amendment in a place which I think is entirely irrelevant, and has come back to the question of £10,000 and so on. I let this go on an earlier stage in the interests of speed, but I think I should not do it again, and I would ask the Committee to consider a fairly typical case of what happens when a leaseholder enfranchises on a property which is not of colossal value but of a rather high value.

When a sitting tenant with a fairly long unexpired term enfranchises, he invariably stands to make a capital gain from the special position he is in of being able to marry the two interests—the occupational interest and the ground interest. That is the position under the present law, without this Bill, when there is a voluntary enfranchisement between leaseholder and freeholder. Without this Bill the leaseholder of a house worth £7,000 freehold, with possession (that is not cheap), with 20 or 25 years unexpired, at a ground rent of, say, £25, could expect to obtain a capital gain of about £1,500 to £1,750 in a friendly negotiation for the purchase of the freehold reversion from the freeholder. For his part, the freeholder would receive in such a bargain substantially more than any other purchaser in the market would give for his interest; and because of the 1954 Act he is in no position even to be able to oust the tenant, unless he is going to redevelop the property when the house is demolished, or unless he is getting it for his own occupation, when he will not be realising its value. These are two special cases.

Let us see what happens under the Bill. Under the Bill the leaseholder is placed in a somewhat stronger bargaining position, and his capital gain could be in the range of £2,000 to £2,500. Compare that with the gain that he would get without the Bill, and your Lordships will see that in this typical case he improves his fortune, if he enfranchises, by about £500 to £750. He improves his fortune to that extent if he enfranchises and then sells. But not all enfranchising leaseholders, we may be certain, will sell. Most of them will want to enfranchise because they desire to keep living in the house they are used to. I think we should realise that these figures such as £10,000 are highly sensational, and that the figure we should in all sobriety be considering is more in the nature of £500 or £750 improvement on the position in the case of a £7,000 value: not so sensational.


Did the noble Lord give the rateable value of this hypothetical house?


No, I did not. But the Committee can make its own deductions from the freehold value that I gave of £7,000. I do not think it would affect the issue very much.

The noble Lord raised the question of hardship, and asked: "What evidence is there of hardship on well-managed estates? And if there is no evidence of hardship, should not this lack of evidence be a reason for withholding the right to enfranchisement in such an estate?" The answer is, No, it should not be; because to take that line would be to prejudge what the Minister might decide was a well-managed estate, and would be to prejudge the sort of matters which a court might hold ought to go into a scheme of good management. The very notion of good management, as it has been introduced into the Bill in order to give rise to Clause 19 schemes, is something which should not affect the property rights, and not affect the right to enfranchise, but merely something which, as I said yesterday, should be carried forward into the new property situation created by the Bill.

The noble Lord also raised the question of redevelopment, and said, if I understood him rightly, that if the Government say that we can leave redevelopment to modern planning legislation, that is wrong—I hope I quote the noble Lord correctly. If it is wrong to leave it to planning legislation for recently enfranchised freehold properties, it is also wrong to leave it to planning legislation for other freehold properties. We do at the moment leave it to planning legislation for the redevelopment of all freehold properties, and if it is wrong for all freehold properties, I can only wonder at the inaction of the Conservative Government over 13 years in not putting it right. It is clear to see that they thought it right for 13 years to leave it to planning legislation, and I think the present Government are right to leave it to planning legislation in the case of freehold properties now. And the addition of more freehold property to the total stock of freehold property by the provisions of the present Bill will not affect the merit of planning legislation as an organ for controlling redevelopment.

The noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, made an appeal for the continuity of fine development in London. Let me say, first of all, that I entirely agree with him that there are certain estates, in London and elsewhere, which it is almost inconceivable should not obtain a certificate of good management. We all know what they are, but we must not mention them, because that would prejudge the liberty of future Ministers when they come to consider applications for such certificates. But the Government are convinced that what is good about these estates—and it is very good—can be maintained by the application of Clause 19 schemes as provided in the Bill, without amendment.

It is not automatic (and here I revert to what was said yesterday) that good management of existing property, good redevelopment of existing property when the time comes, can be obtained only by outright freehold rights. We know that this is not so. We know that there have been many fine developments, and many finely maintained areas, which were never leasehold but always small freeholds and have been maintained in that condition. When the plan for redevelopment came, they have been reassembled, in some cases—it all depends on the circumstances—into larger freeholds, and thus we have seen some of the best redevelopments in this country.

I think it is stretching the special case for those estates much too far to say that you cannot hope for good redevelopment without holding on to the large unified freehold. It is no part of my duty to advise these great estates what they ought to do, but I should like to leave one thought with noble Lords, in the most tentative and personal manner possible. Might it not be equally to the general social advantage if some of these great estates were to take their money under the enfranchisement provisions and devote it to areas of our cities which are in tragic need of redevelopment at the moment? I do not think myself that the need for redevelopment in the handsomest areas of central London is overwhelming. They are very nice as they are, and I doubt whether we shall improve them. But, my goodness!, if you go into the "twilight" zones and look there at the crying need for funds for redevelopment, I think the Committee will agree that anybody with property development experience who can get funds, by hook or by crook—and this Bill provides a way of getting funds for freeholders—is under something approaching, a social duty to turn his attention to these areas.

Lastly, on the Amendment, it touches the principle of the Bill, in that it would deny leaseholders the right of enfranchisement in certain areas according to the nature of the freeholder. That is against the principle which the Government have maintained throughout. The Government maintained it in the case of charitable freeholders, and the Government must maintain it also in the case of freeholders of well-managed estates. I believe that all the benefits of good management can be secured under Clause 19 as unamended by this Amendment, and I would advise the Committee against passing the Amendment, which would allow certain freeholders to deny their leaseholders the possibility of enfranchisement altogether.


Very soon I think I shall have to make up my mind about the Amendment. May I try once more to get an answer in a rather different form from the one which the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, gave? It is this question of redevelopment which is worrying everybody under this clause. There are two forms of redevelopment. There is individual redevelopment, where very often redevelopment takes place house by house, or two or three houses by two or three houses—for example, in taking large houses and making them into two dwellings, and so on. That does not worry me. That can be done. The important thing—and it is a technical phrase well known to all of us who have anything to do with this job—is comprehensive redevelopment. There are a great deal of redevelopments which can be done properly only comprehensively. I believe that the word "redevelopment" in Clause 11 was meant to mean compre hensive redevelopment. It has no sense otherwise, if it does not.

Before I put the question I wish to ask, may I say that I speak as one who has, since I have been holding various offices, sold to local authorities for comprehensive redevelopment property amounting to more than half the size of the City of London. Certain types of comprehensive redevelopment require to be dealt with by local government, or in some cases central Government, because they have the power of compulsory acquisition, whereas private individuals have not. What happened in all those cases? In every single case leaseholders, tenants and others had to be displaced. The first thing a local authority has to do, much against its will, is to displace, sometimes only temporarily, the people in occupation, and sometimes compulsion has to be used for that purpose. In all cases people have to go. Another form of comprehensive redevelopment is undertaken by enlightened landlords themselves, and, again, since the war, I personally have had to deal with approximately the same acreage in this respect. You can comprehensively redevelop sometimes without any powers of compulsion, and some very great schemes have been dealt with in that way quite recently. I think I have spoken quite neutrally, but those are the two main methods of redevelopment.

How is it going to work under this clause? First of all, you go to the Minister, and the Minister has to consider, among other things, all the things set out in the Bill regulating redevelopment. When the Minister decides on these matters he merely gives a certificate. He has no power whatever to regulate the redevelopment; he merely gives a certificate. He has considered the matter as one of many things, and he gives a certificate.

The next thing is that the leaseholders will have to consider the matter, and there may be a dispute. Indeed, there must be a dispute with the leaseholder who has got to be turned out, and therefore there must be a large number of cases where there cannot be a common mind. What happens? The whole question is to go before a Chancery Judge. I do not want to be rude to my friends the Chancery Judges, but what on earth do they know about redevelopment? None of them has had any experience of it. A tremendous issue will be going on about this, and they will have to put down in the scheme what the redevelopment should be, and all its terms, and how many people should be turned out. I cannot see that this begins to be the right kind of tribunal. The right kind of tribunal is sitting on the Front Bench here; that is, the Ministers, and also the local authorities. They are the people who should be deciding these matters, not Judges. It is not a judicial matter of any sort. I beg the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, to tell us how this redevelopment through a Chancery Judge can work. I want an alternative. I have already suggested that if a judicial body is to be involved it should be the Lands Tribunal. At least they know something about the job. But I do not believe it is a judicial issue at all. I should like to see this done under the ordinary arrangements of dealing with Ministers. And I want an answer as to how this scheme can work.

7.17 p.m.


I had not intended to intervene, because I have unfortunately not been able to take any part in the proceedings on this Bill, having been ill for these last few weeks. But I have received from the Royal Institute of British Architects representations of their great concern, not about the purpose underlying this clause, but about whether this clause is sufficient to achieve the purpose which I have no doubt the Government themselves have in mind; namely, to preserve very great and important architectural values.

The Royal Institute of British Architects wrote, on June 30 of this year, to the Minister—that is, I think, to Mr. Willey—explaining what their doubts were. They did not themselves suggest any Amendments, but they appealed to Her Majesty's Government themselves to strengthen this clause if they had sympathy with the points put by the Royal Institute of British Architects, in order to make it more effective. There are certain powers given, I think, under this clause, which I admit I have not studied sufficiently, that will enable the landlord, in certain cases, to take action. But it may not be always even in the interests of the landlord to exert the powers which are left to him under the Government's clause.

Certain alternatives were put in another place, particularly, I think, in an Amendment by Sir Hugh Lucas-Tooth, and some sympathy was expressed by the Minister who replied in another place for the attempts to strengthen this clause that were made by Sir Hugh and others. I cannot express a strong opinion on the particular Amendment put by my noble friend Lord Silsoe, or criticise the Government clause in detail, because I will admit frankly that I have not sufficiently studied them. I hoped very much that either my friend the noble Lord, Lord Holford, or Lord Esher, might have been here to put the considerations that moved the Royal Institute of British Architects, much better than I can in my unprepared state. I appeal to the Minister to treat with respect and sympathy these appeals that have been addressed to Her Majesty's Government by the Royal Institute of British Architects, and to consider, whatever happens on the Committee stage, whether they cannot themselves propose Amendments at the Report stage to improve this clause and to make it effective for the purposes which I think they themselves have in mind.


I should like to take up the plea of my noble friend Lord Conesford, but first to say how glad we are to see him back again. I still hope that the Government will say that between now and the Report stage they will further re-examine their Clause 19, so as to try to improve it in the ways that have been discussed in our debate to-day, and particularly in a way which will ensure that it does not place wholly unnecessary obstacles in the way of farsighted comprehensive redevelopment.

If I may put this in its simplest form—and I have not seen the R.I.B.A. document, but I expect I am thinking along the same lines—one may have in one of these well-managed estates a street of charming terraced houses on either side, and without doubt the object of the estate will be in due course to replace them with suitable modern houses for modern living, well designed and calculated to recreate an environment which will give satisfaction not only to the people living in those houses but to all who walk up and down that street. If enfranchisement is allowed, that terrace will be speckled by houses that have become freehold. Exactly how do the Government propose that the estate shall redevelop that street under a scheme? If the Government have no idea at all about that, why are the words regulate redevelopment in the area in the event of tenants acquiring the landlord's interest in their house and premises", appearing in subsection (1) of Clause 19? The Government must have some plan in mind, and this is what I think the noble Lord, Lord Silsoe, and my noble friend Lord Conesford and all of us are trying to get at. We cannot see that plan in this Bill and we cannot see how any scheme that could be submitted to the High Court could secure that.

The noble Lord, Lord Mitchison, talked optimistically about Clause 17. Perhaps he had not observed that that is confined to the landlord's overriding rights where the lessee has an extended lease. It does not apply to cases of enfranchisement. It is where a street has been speckled or an area has been fragmented by enfranchisement that those of us who are worried about this clause quite sincerely cannot see how redevelopment, which I should have thought we all wanted, could be attained under it. I beg the noble Lord to say that he will re-examine this matter. It would make a great difference, and then we could perhaps proceed in amity.


I hesitate to keep the Committee yet longer on this Amendment, but I should like to say a word about the position of the R.I.B.A. in this. The letter which the noble Lord, Lord Conesford, referred to—and I, too, am very glad to see the noble Lord back among us—was concerned mainly with the fact that the enfranchising leaseholders did not themselves have a right to put forward a scheme of management in those cases where the landlord did not put one forward. It was precisely to meet this point that I introduced—and I am glad to say the Committee adopted by common agreement—an Amendment to Clause 19 which would permit them to do precisely that.

On the other, specific point of the architectural preservation angle, I would remind the Committee that Clause 11 of the Civic Amenities Bill which we have recently passed gives local authorities a new duty to preserve precisely the sort of areas about which we are speaking, and that the Clause 19 schemes themselves, especially with the Amendment I have just described, are designed to do precisely that. In short, there is really no guarantee that, leaving aside the redevelopment angle, a lot of separate freeholders will do any worse than one big freeholder with leaseholders peppered all over the place.


I will, in a few moments, ask the leave of the Committee to withdraw this Amendment. My reasons are twofold: one, I am confident that having heard this debate the Government will in fact have another look at many of these difficult problems; secondly, I do not wish to be found with a badly drafted Amendment which has been carried. I found out yesterday that people do not think much of my drafting, and I think everybody is perfectly correct to say so, because no lawyer, except those trained in the art, can draft—and I am a lawyer. Therefore I should like to have another opportunity to read this debate and to make sure that the drafting is all right. I therefore beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 19, as amended, agreed to.

7.28 p.m.

LORD BROOKE OF CUMNOR moved, after Clause 19, to insert the following new clause:

Freeholder's power to refuse enfranchisement or an extended lease

" .—(1) Where the tenant of any house and premises having a right under this Part of this Act to acquire the freehold or an extended lease gives notice of his desire to have it the landlord may for reasons of planning or housing management, at any time before effect is given to the notice, apply to the local planning authority for consent to refuse the tenant's application.

(2) Either the landlord or the tenant, if dissatisfied with the decision of the local planning authority, may appeal to the Minister.

(3) Where a local planning authority accedes to a request by the landlord under subsection (2) above or where the Minister allows an appeal by the landlord the tenant shall, on the termination of the tenancy, be entitled to be paid compensation by the landlord for the loss of the house and premises in accordance with Schedule 2 to this Act; and the provisions of that Schedule shall have effect as regards the measure of compensation under any court order for possession and the effects of the order where there are sub-tenancies and as regards other matters therein referred to."

The noble Lord said: I beg to move the new clause standing in my name. This is a fresh attempt to deal with the problem we have been discussing, and my new clause would bring in the local planning authority. It seems rather ridiculous that the local planning authority should be given no say at all as to whether enfranchisement should be permitted. The local planning authority has a closer knowledge than any Minister or any Government Department can have of what is really happening within its area. My proposal is that where a tenant is seeking enfranchisement or an extended lease the landlord may apply to the local planning authority for consent to refuse that tenant's application on the grounds of planning or housing management.

In subsection (2) of my new clause I provide that either party, if dissatisfied with the decision of the local planning authority, may appeal to the Minister. By subsection (3) I am bringing my proposal into line with other provisions in the Bill. Subsection (3) says, in effect, that where the tenant's application is refused, on the termination of the tenancy the tenant may be entitled to compensation for the loss of the house and premises in accordance with the same provisions (which I think are in Schedule 2) relating to a successful application by a landlord under Clause 17 or Clause 18, for the recovery of the house.

I do not want to repeat what has been said, but, as the Committee will realise, I feel a great concern about these streets where it is most desirable that there should be continuity both of appearance and of management. The noble Lord, Lord Kennet, said on the previous Amendment that one can trust to planning to secure good appearance and wise redevelopment. I am not so sure of that; but, at any rate, here I am giving additional responsibilities to the local planning authority, and I submit most strongly to the Government that the local planning authority should not be left out of this. My clause does not refer to well-managed estates. I have in mind an area which could not well be called an estate—it may be just a tiny group of houses. But I am envisaging the case where the local authority, knowing the area intimately, reaches its opinion that in the interests of good planning or good housing management it is desirable that things shall remain as they are, and that at that point in time the tenant's rights should not succeed against the landlord. The clause provides in subsection (3) compensation for the landlord.

As I have said, this is another attempt to try to overcome the difficulties—and I do appreciate the Government's difficulties. I appreciate the Government's difficulty in that, having promised enfranchisement to tenants and leaseholders, they are now up against the difficulty that they may badly damage the appearance of an area if in fact the area has gained by good planning or good housing management in the past. I hope the Government will seriously consider the purpose underlying this new clause. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— After Clause 19 insert the said new clause.—[Lord Brooke of Cumnor.]


May I ask the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, one question? I do not agree with the argument, but I could understand it where a planning authority was concerned with housing management. What I do not understand is what happens in the country, for instance, where the planning authority is the county council and is not concerned with housing management, and still less concerned with questions between the leaseholder and the freeholder? I should have thought that no planning authority was ever concerned with questions of the sort that are dealt with in this Bill primarily between the leaseholder and the freeholder. They are concerned, broadly speaking, with the use of the land, not with the question of whose it is or what rent the tenant pays or whether he can enfranchise or not. But leaving aside that major issue, and assuming that there is something in the noble Lord's suggestion, how does housing management come into it? The planning authority is, or course, as the noble Lord well knows, the county council and has nothing to do with housing management.


If the noble Lord would like an immediate answer, I may say that I am well aware that the planning authority is not the housing authority in a county. I am also well aware that a planning authority is normally in the closest touch with all the district councils in its area, and indeed seeks their advice before it reaches decisions on many planning matters. On my knowledge of local government, it does not seem to me inconceivable that a planning authority could obtain the advice of the district councils on housing management questions also.


May I thank the noble Lord for explaining the point, which he had not made clear before.

7.35 p.m.


I appreciate the way in which the noble Lord has put forward this Amendment, and I accept that he is attempting to follow up constructively the point he made in the previous Amendment. While paragraph 22 of the White Paper recognised that on some comprehensively managed estates enlightened management contributes greatly to the wellbeing of the residents, by maintaining the character of the estate, the proposal put forward and now embodied in Clause 19 of the Bill was for a scheme for continued management. Such a scheme may provide for the eventual shift of control from the original landlord to a body representing the new individual freeholders or to a local authority. So far, then, as concerns management and the regulation of redevelopment in order to maintain the distinctive character of an estate, the scheme will provide; therefore, in the Government's view, there is no case, on this score, for refusing either enfranchisement or an extended lease.

When we come to the proposal which the noble Lord makes for carrying out redevelopment, I admit that it is convenient for a landlord, particularly a big landlord, to carry out redevelopment as the leases fall in. But that is not because carrying out redevelopment when the leases fall in is necessarily good planning; it is because it is the economic way of doing it. It enables them to do it in one go, without getting involved in the expense of buying out people before their lease has fallen in. It does not necessarily follow that the houses are obsolete by that time, or that the site of a batch of houses whose leases have fallen in ought, ideally, to be redeveloped on its own. In fact it is the Government's view that the dictation of redevelopment at the end of leases has nothing at all to do with good planning, and therefore there is no justification for seeking to go to the planning authority for it. On the other hand, where there is a need for comprehensive redevelopment there is power under the Town and Country Planning Act 1962 to see that this is carried out. With the best will in the world to try to accommodate the noble Lord, the Government just cannot see any merit at all in accepting this Amendment.


As I understand from the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, the Government maintain that redevelopment of areas as the leases fall in has nothing to do with good planning. I should therefore have thought that the Government would welcome my Amendment, which would give the planning authority a say in the present ownership, and consequently the future redevelopment, of a particular plot or plots. I am not going to press this Amendment. I hope that the Government will consider its purpose, along with the general purposes we have discussed under the last Amendment, because I think the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, will realise by now how deeply concerned I am lest the Government are taking action here which will stand gravely in the way of comprehensive or wise redevelopment in the future. It seems to me that if this new clause were to be inserted in the Bill it would ensure that something which is at present believed by the planning authority to be good would survive and not be destroyed, and it would make a contribution, small as it may be, to the purpose we were discussing under Lord Silsoe's Amendment; that is, effective comprehensive redevelopment. All I can hope is that by speaking to these Amendments I am doing something to impress on the Government the very deep concern of a great many people, including nearly all the professional people who have contact with these property matters, lest the Government's Bill is going seriously to injure the possibilities of farsighted comprehensive redevelopment. Having said that, I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clauses 20 to 22 agreed to.

Clause 23 [Agreements excluding or modifying rights of tenant]:

7.40 p.m.


This Amendment is of a drafting nature. When the Bill was introduced it did not contain the words "the freehold or" in the second line of Clause 23(4). The words "the freehold or" were introduced in another place on Committee stage, which makes the use of the word "one" in line 30 rather odd. We seek to make this look a little better. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 41, line 30, leave out ("one") and insert ("the freehold or an extended lease").—(Lord Hughes.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 23, as amended, agreed to.

LORD ABERDARE moved, after Clause 23, to insert the following new clause:

Purchase notice relating to common parts of a leasehold estate

" . The owner of any land which is a road, footpath, watercourse, sewer, drain, garden, parkland, recreational or sports ground, communal building or other premises, used in common by or for the benefit of the residents of any neighbouring house and premises of which that owner is the landlord by virtue of a long lease at a low rent may, within the time and in the manner prescribed by regulations under the Town and Country Planning Act 1962, serve on the Council of the County Borough or County District in which the land is situation a notice requiring that council to purchase his interest in the land in accordance with the provisions of Part VIII of the said Act and the notice shall have the same effect as a purchase notice under Part VIII aforesaid and the condition that the person serving the said notice is the owner and landlord aforesaid shall take the place of the conditions set out in section 129 of the said Act and the provisions relating thereto as stated in that section."

The noble Lord said: I beg to move the new clause which stands in my name on the Marshalled List. Those of your Lordships who have read the Financial Times to-day may have noticed on the front page the headline which reads: How much will Aberdare say today? The answer is, "Not much"; but I hope that what I have to say is of some importance, because it seems to me that this is an important matter.

As your Lordships will be aware, this new clause was moved in another place at a late stage, the Report stage, and the only reason I have reintroduced it here is that the Minister was clearly most impressed by the case that was made on that occasion. He said I am persuaded by what the hon. Member for North Fylde (Mr. Clegg) has said … but I am willing to consider the question".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, 20/6/67, col. 1461.] So I think it is worth returning to it. The fact is that the terms of enfranchisement in the Bill are most attractive, and we can expect that a great many leaseholders will avail themselves of them. So a difficulty may arise on many estates, small and large, where communal facilities are provided by the landlord; and once a number of houses have been enfranchised there would no longer be any incentive for the landlord to maintain these communal facilities. It may be only a few houses which share a common sewer, or it could be a whole estate with a vast park; or, as the Minister himself brought up in another place, it could be a private road. Once the houses that adjoin the road are all enfranchised, what is left to give the landlord any incentive to remain keeping up the road?

Early on the first day of the Committee stage when we were discussing this Bill, your Lordships will remember that the noble Lord, Lord Shawcross, spoke about the park at Dulwich and the trees on that estate. I know that for the moment charities have been excluded from the Bill, but this is the kind of instance that may well arise. Nor would it be appropriate in all cases for there to be a scheme such as the one we have been discussing under Clause 19. It might well not be a suitable site or estate to which to apply Clause 19. I can think of many reasons, one simple one being that it might be an estate where already freeholds have been sold, and therefore there would not be any possible scheme of good management in the sense that is meant under Clause 19. Therefore the clause that I am suggesting requires the local authority in such circumstances to take over those facilities that are common to an area. Perhaps this is not the way to bring about what I have in mind, but I think there ought to be some method whereby these communal facilities can be taken care of after considerable enfranchisement has taken place. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— After Clause 23 insert the new clause.—(Lord Aberdare.)

7.46 p.m.


As the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, has said, this Amendment is identical with the one which was moved in another place on the Report stage. The noble Lord has told us why he has been encouraged to put the Amendment forward; that is, because of the words used by the Minister in rejecting it. In those circumstances, I can well understand that it was worth while having another go at it here. The noble Lord stated that in the estates to which Clause 19 refers it is not a problem. We are talking about estates which would not benefit from Clause 19; and I must admit that where Clause 19 does not apply the landlord could be faced with the possibility of being left, when most of the leaseholders have enfranchised, with a road or open space which he is bound to maintain under the terms of the outstanding lease, and for which he cannot require contributions to be made by those who have enfranchised. In reality, however, his position will be a little better than it seems, since he will be under no obligation, for example, to maintain a road over which former leaseholders have a right of way; and one can expect that in practice a satisfactory agreement will be made between the parties for the maintenance of common amenities which are of real value to the neighbourhood.

No doubt the local authority may be willing to take over in such a case. Little, however, would be gained by trying to force them to take over something if they were not satisfied that it was in the interests of the community generally to do so, because if they were compelled to take over something against their will, it is most unlikely that they would add to the capital expense in which they had been involved in the first instance, a willingness to undertake a maintenance responsibility which they could not be compelled to do.

The Government would have liked to be able to do something about this. I must admit that I have great difficulty in understanding the position, because the law in my country is not the same as it is down here, and there is no problem of this kind. The individual purchaser can have these responsibilities all transferred to him without any difficulty, and it does not matter how much the estate may be fragmented. I have gone most carefully into this matter, and the reason for not including this provision is the difference in the law as it exists in England and Wales.

The desirable thing is that the person who is enfranchised, and who is the one who is going to benefit, should be the one who should carry the responsibility; but, unfortunately, under the law of this country as it stands this cannot be done. I am told that only negative or restrictive covenants run with the land. There is no effective means of passing on the burden of positive covenants from vendor to purchaser. Thus, even if the enfranchising leaseholder was required as a condition of enfranchisement to enter into a covenant with the former freeholder for ever after to bear an equitable proportion of maintaining the road or open space, the covenant would not be enforceable against the leaseholder's successors in title.

In regard to this defect in the law (admittedly it is a defect; and I marvel that it should have survived so long) it is to be hoped that, when the Government have an opportunity of giving effect to the recommendations of the Wilberforce Committee on positive covenants, a Bill will be introduced—I cannot say when, but at some time—and that it will contain a provision to overcome this and similar practical difficulties arising out of the passing of this present Bill. It is not out of any unwillingness to be helpful that the Government do not accept this Amendment. We think that it would not provide a solution, because if the local authority were willing in the first instance they would probably do this without a clause of this nature being in the Bill; but if the local authority are unwilling, then no useful purpose would be served by compelling them to take over these mutual responsibilities.


The noble Lord, Lord Hughes, pinpointed the difficulty about this when speaking about the problem of enforcing positive covenants on the subsequent holders of the land which is intended to be burdened by the covenants. I know that legislation will at some time be introduced on this point. I would point out that there have been Private Acts of Parliament within the last year or so which I have seen which include statutory provisions by which positive covenants can be continuously enforced against the people who have the land which is burdened by those covenants. I do not know whether the noble Lord would like to look at some of those enactments in those Private Acts. There is no reason why the same sort of principle should not be applied for the purposes of this Bill. It would mean that the fort could be held before general legislation comes in. I think that I can find a precedent for the noble Lord to think about. Would he care to consider it?


If the noble Lord is good enough to look this up and write to me about it, I assure him that my right honourable friend will be very happy to look at this matter. As I have said, it is not out of any desire to be unhelpful in the matter, but because the law makes it so difficult to find a useful solution. If the noble Viscount has something else which has not been looked at at present, obviously I am quite happy that it should be looked at.


I am very sorry to hear that in spite of the hopeful attitude of the Minister in another place, the Government have not found any way round this difficulty; for I consider that there will be difficulties, and that this may lead to a great falling off in standards of property management. I hope that they will consider carefully the suggestions put by my noble friend Lord Colville of Culross. For the moment, I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 24 [Preservation of trusts, charges, etc. affecting, tenant's estate]:

On Question, Whether Clause 24 shall stand part of the Bill?


Clause 24 puts into words what is already the legal position when, by agreement, a leaseholder enlarges his leasehold interest into a freehold or negotiates a new lease in substitution of an existing lease. The clause provides that the new freehold or substituted lease is to be subject to the same third party rights as the original lease. Normally, a third party mortgagee of the leasehold interest would get the leaseholder to execute a further deed in his favour. If this is not done, then the third party would apply to the court for an order providing for the legal estate in the freehold or extended lease to be vested in him.

Clause 24 would, in effect, have been a short cut, so that the legal estate in the enlarged interest vested in the third party automatically. However, we have discovered that this short cut would cause grave inconvenience at the Land Registry, since they are not normally in a position to investigate the leasehold title which in many cases will not be registered, and so are unable to ascertain whether or not it is mortgaged. The effect of Clause 24, therefore, might well be to create errors on the register. The Government have come to the conclusion that it is better that the law and procedure governing, voluntary enlargements of a leasehold title should also govern enfranchisement and extensions carried out under the terms of the Bill. It is for these reasons that the Government wish now to delete Clause 24.

Clause 24 disagreed to.

Clauses 25 to 27 agreed to.

Clause 28 agreed to.

Clause 29:

Retention or resumption of land required for public purposes

29.—(1) Where the landlord of any property is a body to which this section applies, and a Minister of the Crown certifies that the property will shortly be required for relevant development, then— (a) a notice of a person's desire to have the freehold or an extended lease under this Part of this Act of a house comprised in the property shall be of no effect; (6) In subsection (1) above "relevant development" in relation to any body to which this section applies, means development for purposes (other than investment purposes) of that body, but so that— (a) the purposes of a county council or county borough council shall be taken to include the purposes of a police authority which is a committee of the council; and (c) in the case of a Regional Hospital Board, Hospital Management Committee or Board of Governors of a teaching hospital, the purposes of the National Health Service Act 1946 shall be substituted for the purposes of the body.

LORD MOLSON moved, in subsection (1), to leave out "shortly" and insert: within a period of seven years or such longer period as the Minister may at any time by order decide". The noble Lord said: In the unavoidable absence of my noble friend Lord Ilford, I am moving the Amendment which stands in his name on the Order Paper. A similar Amendment was moved in another place and was received with not unsympathetic consideration by the Government. The reason for it is that the word "shortly" is vague and means that everybody is left in some doubt as to when the power can be exercised.

During the Committee stage elsewhere the Government spokesman said there were two things which required to be balanced. On the one hand there was the apprehension that might be caused if the situation were uncertain on the other, there was the risk that if a fixed period of, say, seven years were inserted in the clause that period might tend to become the period for all development, regardless of the character of the development. He said, however, that he would be willing to look at the matter again to see whether a fixed period could be put into the clause. When the Opposition put down an Amendment to this effect on Report stage elsewhere, it was not selected by the Chair. The result was that the Government did not have an opportunity of expressing an opinion on this matter. This Amendment is an attempt at giving something more definite in the way of a period of time. At the same time it provides for reasonable flexibility.

We on this side have argued that in matters of this kind it is generally wise to give some discretion to the Minister in the matter. We are most anxious in all matters arising out of this Bill that there shall be a reasonable possibility of good comprehensive development in the future. We feel there is no doubt that by indicating a minimum period of seven years and by providing the additional period in suitable cases where the Minister of the day can extend the period, one would have the advantage of enabling comprehensive development to be carried out. I hope that the Government will be sympathetic to this Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 46, line 35 leave out ("shortly") and insert the said new words.—(Lord Molson.)


I do not think I need declare any interest in the Bill, although my family fortunes, such as they were, were founded on leaseholds in Dublin, and I hope that noble Lords will realise that the landlord's point of view is not altogether lost sight of on these Benches. However, I have no possible interest to declare on this Bill. I am anxious to meet the noble Lord, Lord Molson, and his noble friend Lord Ilford on this point. It struck me, as I looked at this matter, that the word "shortly" was misleading, at any rate to the novice—though perhaps the noble Lord, Lord Silsoe, may understand it. But, in fact, it is intended to cover quite a long period of years. My main doubt is whether, if one is going to put in a period at all, seven years is sufficient, even with the addition mentioned: it might be better to put in ten years. I hope, therefore, that the noble Lord, on behalf of his noble friend, will be good enough to withdraw this Amendment on the understanding that we will withdraw the word "shortly", and will try to meet the idea which is in the minds of the two noble Lords.


I am very much obliged to the noble Earl the Leader of the House and, naturally, on that very satisfactory undertaking by him I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

8.1 p.m.

LORD BROOKE OF CUMNOR moved, in subsection (5), to insert after paragraph (f) ( ) to any landlord of an area which is subject to a scheme approved by the High Court under section 19 above".

The noble Lord said: I am greatly encouraged by the intervention of the noble Earl the Leader of the House. Few Amendments had been accepted, even in principle, until he arrived. It may be decided that these proceedings should be brought to an end as expeditiously as possible. I am therefore much more optimistic in moving Amendment No. 51. Clause 29 enables certain types of landlord to obtain from the Minister a certificate that the property will shortly—or whatever word may be substituted for "shortly"—be required for relevant redevelopment. It seems to me that there is another possibility here of helping towards a solution of the problem which we discussed at some length on Clause 19.

The Government have already recognised that landlords of well-managed estates should be given certain advantages, and my Amendment would add to the list of types of body set out in subsection (5) of Clause 29 as being qualified to take advantage of this clause, any landlord of an area which is subject to a scheme approved by the High Court under section 19 above"; that is to say, any landlord who has been certified as having a well-managed estate and who has obtained from the High Court approval of the scheme.

Despite what the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, said in relation to Clause 19, I hope it is accepted by the Government that the redevelopment of private well-managed estates is a matter of some importance to the community, and it would go some way towards securing the end which I hope we all have in view if this Amendment were accepted. The effect of the Amendment would be that, as with local authorities and other types of body which own leaseholds, a landlord of a well-managed estate could claim that the property will, within a certain term of years, be required for redevelopment, and that accordingly the application of the tenant to obtain enfranchisement or an extended lease should not be granted. But the tenant should, of course, receive the same compensation as is provided in the case of landlords of other types. I can but repeat my appeal to the Government to recognise that there is a problem here, and I submit this as yet another possible step towards the solution of it. I beg to move.

Amendment moved—

Page 48, line 29, at end insert— ("( ) to any landlord of an area which is subject to a scheme approved by the High Court under section 19 above").—(Lord Brooke of Cumnor.)


I am afraid that I cannot keep up my record of 100 per cent. acceptance, although the noble Lord need not despair; I may be more obliging on a later Amendment. I was not quite sure what he was aiming at in his remarks about the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, but in so far as I understood them I thought he misunderstood the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, earlier. Be that as it may, it seems to me fairly clear that the noble Lord's Amendment would not be in place here. I imagine that from our point of view it would not be in place anywhere, but certainly it would not be in place here, because, as the noble Lord knows, the purpose of Clause 29 is to avoid the nonsense which would occur if a leaseholder holding from a public authority were to enfranchise or extend his lease, and shortly afterwards were to be bought out under compulsory purchase powers, as was explained in the White Paper.

Therefore, for that reason—and I should have thought for that sufficient reason—the clause must logically be confined to public authorities of the kind who possess compulsory purchase powers or on whose behalf such powers are used. So I should have thought, whatever ingenious ideas the noble Lord might apply elsewhere, he would agree that his Amendment does not fit in here and I therefore hope that he will not wish to press it.


I am an ignoramus in these matters, and I had no idea that universities and university colleges had compulsory powers. If the noble Earl tells me that they have, then of course I accept it. But it is a great surprise to me and I think it will be a surprise to many people outside.


I think some answer must be given to that, and if I deal with the point at greater length for a few moments I may be able to answer it. I am trying to interpret correctly the intentions of the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, and I gather he is anxious to facilitate the fulfilment of existing redevelopment schemes by private landlords. But, as he is aware, such schemes are not necessarily restricted to well-managed estates; and, in any case, large private estates have to redevelop simply when the leases fall in, because the cost of buying out leaseholders with a current lease is prohibitive whereas local authorities acquire for redevelopment what needs redeveloping. I therefore submit to the noble Lord that the real essence of this clause is to assist local authorities. But I think the point he has made is clearly one which needs an answer, and I hope that he will therefore put this Amendment down on Report stage when I hope he will receive a better answer than he has just received.

A point which I should have added if it had occurred to me earlier is that compulsory purchase powers are occasionally used on behalf of the bodies which the noble Lord mentioned—the universities and so on. Therefore, the distinction lies between those bodies and the ones which he is trying to assist in this Amendment.


I am grateful for the care which the noble Earl has taken in replying to my Amendment. I thought he possibly misunderstood at one point, because I believe I heard him say that there were all sorts of private estates which would in due course require to redevelop. I am sure there are; but my Amendment is concerned solely with the well-managed estates, and as the Bill already recognises the landlords of well-managed estates as being in a special position, it did not seem unreasonable that they should be included along with other bodies, such as universities and university colleges, which are likewise in a special position. However, I think this is all linked up with the general problem of Clause 19, and I will not press this Amendment at this place in the Bill. I seek leave to withdraw it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


I beg to move Amendment No. 52, which is brief, and I will speak also, if I may, to Amendment No. 53 at the same time, because Amendment No. 52 is a paving Amendment. Both of these Amendments are really of a probing character. It is a question of what the phrase "relevant development" means. It would certainly appear that this phrase, "relevant development", is not intended to include private development, but there are cases where a local authority, as a wise act of policy, makes land available for private development as part of a comprehensive development scheme. I do not think there is any political or Party difference about that: it is widely recognised as a perfectly sensible policy for a local authority to pursue in certain circumstances. My Amendment is designed to make sure that the Minister would be able to give a certificate under this clause, Clause 29, in such a case as that—a case in which the local authority wished to make land available for private development as part of a comprehensive development scheme. I may have misunderstood the present wording of the clause, and this may already be practicable, but it seemed to me to be a reasonable question to raise, and I hope the noble Earl will be able to clear it up and perhaps give a favourable answer. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 48, line 31, at end insert ("(i)").—(Lord Brooke of Cumnor.)


I do not think the noble Lord has misunderstood anything here, although he may or may not be right in wishing to put words of this kind in exactly the place in the Bill that he has indicated. We consider that the Amendment is reasonable in intention, for where a local authority acquires land compulsorily under a scheme of comprehensive redevelopment it often then sells or leases sites to developers to carry out redevelopment, as the noble Lord is well aware from his own long experience as Minister. We consider that he is perfectly right in thinking that this point ought to be covered, and that it is, to say the least, doubtful whether it is covered by the clause as it stands. The only criticism I am asked to place before him is that the point really belongs, not to the definition of "relevant development" but to a substantial part of the clause; that is to say, to the beginning. It should come in at the beginning. I would therefore suggest to the noble Lord that he withdraws his Amendment on a clear promise that we intend to do something about it on Report.


I am very grateful to the noble Earl, and I have pleasure in begging leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

LORD BROOKE OF CUMNOR moved, in subsection (6), to leave out paragraph (c). The noble Lord said: This Amendment is designed to leave out paragraph (c) of subsection (6) of the clause. It seems to me that the Bill, by its insistence that the purposes shall be confined to the purposes of the National Health Service Act 1946, will exclude from the advantages of this clause any land which a teaching hospital, or indeed a Regional Hospital Board, holds for the benefit of other purposes, such as research. I may be misinterpreting this clause, but it appears to me that no purpose whatsoever will be served by distinguishing here between the expenditure of a hospital on research and the expenditure of a hospital on specific National Health Service functions. I should like to ask why it is specially provided in this paragraph that it shall be confined to purposes of the National Health Service Act 1946. I hope that I have made my meaning clear, and if I continue to speak for a minute or two it will be to enable the noble Earl further to consider this point which I have raised and which may not have been wholly clear on the face of the Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 48, leave out from beginning of line 43 to end of line 3 on page 49.—(Lord Brooke of Cumnor.)


I think it is possible that the intention of the noble Lord, which he has now made completely clear, was not absolutely plain on the face of his Amendment, and I would therefore ask leave to consider this a little more carefully before the next stage. Certainly the Amendment would leave it in doubt as to whether a certificate could be given under Clause 29 in respect of property held by a hospital authority but earmarked for development by the Ministry of Health for Health Service purposes. I am not sure whether the noble Lord wishes to leave that in doubt. I think he really wants to know whether one could go further. I think he wants not to be restrictive but to be expansive. But, as that was not clear on the face of the Amendment, perhaps we can discuss it at the next stage.


I am grateful to the noble Earl. My Amendment was certainly not meant either to be restrictive or to create dubiety. It was meant to secure a certain widening because matters of research, and so on, it seemed to me, ought not to be excluded. But on the understanding that this point will be looked at in the light of what I have said, I am happy to beg leave to withdraw this Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 29 agreed to.

Clause 30 agreed to.

Clause 31 [Reservation of right of preemption in new town or overspill area]:

LORD MOLSON moved, in subsection (7), after "This section applies", to insert: ("( ) to any local authority namely, the Common Council of the City of London, the Greater London Council, any county council, borough council or district council.") The noble Lord said: Again I move this Amendment on behalf of my noble friend Lord Ilford, and it is one which we put forward at the request of the Greater London Council.

The effect of this clause is that, where the tenant of a house obtains enfranchisement, certain landlords are put into a privileged position. These are the new towns commission, a new town development corporation or the council of a receiving district under the Town Development Act 1952. In such cases, when enfranchisement takes place the landlords may impose covenants securing a right of pre-emption for the landlord and requiring the landlord's consent to a letting of the property. This is obviously extremely desirable in these cases, because of the obvious need for plenty of flexibility in cases where development is taking place. It is not, however, clear why these powers should be restricted to those three kinds of authority.

In other parts of this Bill local authorities have been granted valuable rights, as for example under Clause 30. Many of the local authorities have large estate holdings which are sufficiently similar in character to justify their having the same powers of pre-emption and the right to insist upon consent as in the case of the three kinds of landlords provided for in this clause. It would therefore seem desirable that the powers which are granted to these should be extended to the Common Council of the City of London, the Greater London Council, and any county council, borough council or district council. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 51, line 29, at end insert the said paragraph.—(Lord Molson.)


The purpose of the clause as it stands is to ensure, as the noble Lord has said, that a house built in a receiving area to relieve congestion in some urban agglomeration is not sold after enfranchisement to someone who does not come from the congested area and has no right to that house. Giving the new town corporation or the council of the receiving area the power to insert a pre-emption covenant in the conveyance is mere machinery to control the occupancy of the house and affects nothing else. It is clear that what we are dealing with here is something specially connected with overspill arrangements and, while the clause as it stands might appear too restrictive, I think that, on the other hand, the Amendment as it stands is probably too expansive: it gives power to too many types of authorities. I concede that for certain authorities who own out-county overspill estates there is a case for consideration of whether or not they should be brought within the scope of this clause. On the understanding that the Government will consider that before the Report stage I would invite the noble Lord to withdraw his Amendment.


Things have really gone well recently in these proceedings. Since the noble Earl the Leader of the House rose to reply, there have been concessions to some degree, beaming smiles and benevolence; there has been a genial spirit as of the sun rising. I am bound to confess, having expected to see him rise again like a sun, and having noted the great consultations taking place on the Treasury Bench, that when the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, rose I was full of apprehension. But it was groundless. The effect of the genial presence of the Leader of the House caused even the Parliamentary Secretary to grant some concessions to us. I gratefully acknowledge them; and ask leave to withdraw the Amendment, on the assurance that the Government will consider this matter sympathetically before the Report stage.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 31 agreed to.

Clauses 32 and 33 agreed to.

8.22 p.m.

LORD BROOKE OF CUMNOR moved, after Clause 33, to insert the following new clause:

Saving for Green Belt land and areas of outstanding natural beauty

" . A person shall not be entitled under Part I of this Act to acquire the freehold of any property vested in a local authority within the meaning of section 2(1) of the Green Belt (London and Home Counties) Act 1938 under section 3 of that Act or within an area of outstanding natural beauty designated as such under the National Parks and Countryside Act 1949."

The noble Lord said: I beg to move the new clause standing in my name. This is to follow immediately after Clause 33, which is entitled "Saving for National Trust". The Bill recognises that in the case of the National Trust properties enfranchisement should not be permitted. I hope that there will be the same geniality of approach on the part of noble Lords opposite, at any rate to the purpose underlying my new clause which deals with two separate but related matters: properties within the London Green Belt and properties in areas of outstanding national beauty.

I have not the knowledge to say to what extent local authorities have acquired freeholds in areas of outstanding natural beauty for long-term preservation purposes, but I was for a number of years a member of the London County Council, and I know that it was the policy of that Council to acquire the freehold of properties in the London Green Belt in order to safeguard them and control their use, and to ensure that nothing happened to them which might cause them to become a blot upon the Green Belt. It seems to me absurd that property which has been acquired by a responsible local authority for purposes of that kind should then be made liable to enfranchisement, with the risk that in due course an owner of a quite different character, and with wholly different ideas, might come into possession and invalidate and stultify the public purpose which the local authority had been seeking to pursue. There are no doubt faults in the drafting of this Amendment; but I greatly hope that the Government will be sympathetic towards its purpose, because I feel sure that there should be no difference in Party philosophies towards the preservation either of the Green Belt or of areas of outstanding natural beauty. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— After Clause 33, insert the said new clause.—(Lord Brooke of Cumnor.)


The holiday is over; the days of the hatchet are back—although it is always open to noble Lords opposite to defeat us on this sort of point if they so wish. I take the point of the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, that this comes straight after the National Trust provision in the Bill, and that there is a sort of superficial resemblance between National Trust-type property and Green Belt-type property. But the National Trust provision is in the Bill because the Government found themselves faced with National Trust property which is inalienable. The word "inalienable" appears in certain National Trust contracts and documents of property. It seemed to the Government that this Bill should not be used to "bust up" inalienable property arrangements, specially in the case of the National Trust; and therefore the provisions governing the National Trust were included.

But when we come to the Green Belt we find no concept of inalienable property, or even of property at all. The Green Belt is a planning concept. It consists of planning powers devoted towards a planning end which is irrelevant to property questions. I hope the Committee will agree that planning notions and special planning provisions like the Green Belt ought not to be allowed to affect property rights one way or the other. In essence, the situation is that there is no reason to suppose that a freeholder conceding leases on his property is any more likely to abide by the planning policies which prevail in the Green Belt than is an absolute freeholder in that property like the present leaseholders who would be entitled to enfranchise under this Bill. So, for the sake of not confusing property provisions with planning provisions, I would ask the noble Lord to withdraw his Amendment.


The noble Lord said that the hatchet was back. I am afraid that the cloven hoof and the spiked tail are back. The noble Lord, Lord Kennet, has made only too clear that it is the policy of this Government to subordinate planning good to the enfranchising advantage of private leaseholders. It is a great pity. I am quite certain that it is contrary to general public opinion. I am quite certain that the public as a whole, who care about the Green Belt, and care about outstanding natural beauty, would wish to see some safeguard put into this Bill as there is for National Trust property.

I think that when the noble Lord reads again in Hansard what he has said about the subordinate place of planning in relation to the effect of this Bill on property rights, he will regret it. Nevertheless, as I said at the outset, I doubt whether this Amendment is correctly drafted. I do not wish to press it, but for the last time I beg the Government to think of the effect of their dogma, of allowing everybody to enfranchise if possible, on the beauties of this land of ours. I ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clauses 34 to 38 agreed to.

Clause 39 [Modification of right to possession under Landlord and Tenant Act 1954]:

On Question, Whether Clause 39 shall stand part of the Bill?


I can be very short, thanks to the help of the noble Lord, Lord Kennet. He asked me to place my point on record so that it would not be forgotten, and was kind enough to say that he would deal with it by an Amendment, or by informing me of the reason why he did not wish to amend it. The point, in a nutshell, is this. We have now come to Part II of the Bill, and this clause takes away the right of obtaining possession for redevelopment. I appreciate that some things in the Bill go contrary to the 1954 Act, but I myself, and some people I have consulted, take the view that this goes far too wide, because it deals with everybody, including those who are not within the ambit of the Bill. I think that is sufficient for the Record.

Clause 39 agreed to.

Clause 40 agreed to.

Clause 41 [Amendments of Places of Worship (Enfranchisement) Act 1920]:

8.34 p.m.

LORD HUGHES moved, after subsection (1), to insert: ( ) In section 1(1) of the Places of Worship (Enfranchisement) Act 1920 after paragraph (a) of the proviso there shall be inserted as a new paragraph (aa) the following paragraph:— '(aa) where the person entitled to the freehold or an intermediate reversion requires that underlying minerals be excepted, the trustees shall not be entitled to acquire his interest in the minerals if proper provision is made for the support of the premises as they have been enjoyed during the lease and in accordance with the terms of the lease and of the trust; and'".

The noble Lord said: With this Amendment, I wish to speak also to Amendments Nos. 59, 60, 61, 62, 72, 73 and 74. These are all consequential upon Amendment No. 58. Noble Lords may have noticed that in two of these Amendments the name of the noble Lord, Lord Silsoe, is associated with that of my noble friend Lord Kennet. It is not an "unholy alliance" of any sort, but arises from the fact that the noble Lord, Lord Silsoe, has been in correspondence for some time with the Ministry about what I think we must frankly admit was a useful device in order to accomplish the purpose, but which the noble Lord, Lord Silsoe, regarded as being a drafting nonsense.


Perhaps I could move my Amendment now.


The noble Lord, Lord Silsoe, can come in after me. The noble Lord has given me permission to do something, and he is sitting there wondering what on earth it is going to be.


I am first on the list.


While the noble Lord raised the point seriously, I think he got a lot of quiet amusement out of it, as your Lordships will appreciate when I tell the Committee that the effect of the Bill as it stands is that the noble Lord, Lord Silsoe, is deemed to be a railway board and the premises to which this clause apply are deemed to be railway stations. He did not wish to be so involved at all and so, as I say, there has been quite a bit of amusement for the noble Lord and also inside the Ministry; so much so that from somewhere inside the Ministry this parody emerged: Breathes there a man with Silsoe dead, Who never to himself hath said 'This is my own, my private joke, I care not whom it may provoke'. As I say, the amusement was not all on one side. Seriously, as a result of the noble Lord's correspondence, we have devised what I believe he will find a more satisfactory way of accomplishing the Government's original object. I therefore have much pleasure in moving the Amendment.

Amendment moved— Page 64, line 45, at end insert the said subsection.—(Lord Hughes.)


I think it is a pity that this clause should be allowed in this admirable Bill. I think it ought to be read. In subsection (3) paragraph (aa) reads: For the purposes of sections 77 to 85 of the Railways Clauses Consolidation Act 1845 the use of the premises as a place of worship or minister's house, whether in conjunction with other purposes or not, shall be deemed to be the railway and the trustees shall be deemed to be the railway company. There are no railway companies left in this country. I know certain churches look like railway stations, but I thought that this was going a little far and, if I may say so, it applies to all churches. I am grateful to the Attorney General, because it required the Attorney General to stir people to get this removed, and I am grateful to him that some very sensible words have been put in instead. I do not know whether the noble Lord said so, but the same point arises in the last Amendment, No. 75, which contains exactly the same words.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


I beg to move Amendment No. 59.

Amendment moved— Page 65, line 20, leave out from ("1965") to ("shall") in line 22.—(Lord Hughes.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


I beg to move Amendment No. 60.

Amendment moved— Page 65, line 25, leave out from ("1946") to ("but") in line 26.—(Lord Hughes.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


I beg to move Amendment No. 61.

Amendment moved— Page 65, leave out lines 33 to 39.—(Lord Hughes.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


I beg to move Amendment No. 62.

Amendment moved— Page 65, line 43, leave out from first ("the") to ("and") in line 44 and insert ("enactments originally applied by section 2").—(Lord Hughes.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 41, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 42 agreed to.

Schedule 1 [Enfranchisement and extension by sub-tenants]:

8.39 p.m.


This Amendment overcomes a technical defect in paragraph 14 of Schedule 1 which was added to the Bill on Report stage in another place and which provides for the application of the Schedule where there is a chain of leases and the Crown is one of the links in the chain. Although the appropriate Crown authority under Clause 34(2) can act as the reversioner, it ought not in all cases to execute the actual conveyance or substitute a lease. For example, in the case of land vested in the Duchy of Lancaster, although the appropriate authority is the Chancellor of the Duchy, execution should continue to be by the Queen under the Seal of the Duchy or County Palatine. I beg to move.

Amendment moved—

Page 73, line 47, leave out from ("then") to end of line 4 on page 74 and insert ("in relation to the Crown interest and the person to whom it belongs this Schedule shall have effect as it has effect in relation to other landlords and their interests, but with the appropriate authority having power to act as reversioner or otherwise for purposes of this Schedule on behalf of that person: Provided that paragraph 4(1)(a) above shall not apply to the execution of a conveyance or lease on behalf of the person to whom a Crown interest belongs.")—(Lord Hughes.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Schedule 1, as amended, agreed to.

Schedule 2 [Provisions supplementary to sections 17 and 18 of this Act]:


Once again this is a drafting Amendment. The point is similar to that with which Amendment No. 62 was concerned. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 76, line 17, leave out ("had been") and insert ("was to be").—(Lord Hughes.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


Once again this is a drafting Amendment, this time to meet a point raised by the Law Society. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 77, line 2, leave out ("by reason") and insert ("under or in respect").—(Lord Hughes.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


Amendment No. 65 and Amendments Nos. 66 and 67 are little more than drafting, and once again are to meet a point raised by the Law Society. As drafted, paragraph 7(3) of Schedule 2 provides for compensation received on the termination of a lease under Clause 17 or 18 to reckon as proceeds of sale arising under the trust where the lease is held on trust for sale, but only where there is an order for possession. This subjects the compensation to the trusts of the settlement. Amendment 65 ensures that this rule also applies where no order for possession is made, because possession is given up voluntarily in the shadow of Clause 17 or 18. Amendments 66 and 67 achieve a similar effect in relation to paragraph 9 of the Schedule, which authorises the payment of compensation under Clauses 17 and 18 out of capital moneys where the landlord's interest is subject to a settlement or a trust for sale, or is held by a university or college which is subject to the Universities and College Estates Act 1925. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 77, line 4, leave out from ("sale'") to ("shall") in line 6 and insert ("and compensation is paid in respect of it in accordance with section 17 or 18 of this Act (whether possession is obtained under that section or without any application for possession), the sum received."—(Lord Hughes.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


I beg to move this Amendment.

Amendment moved— Page 77, line 45, leave out from ("under") to end of line 46 and insert ("that section or without any application for possession").—(Lord Hughes.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to


I beg to move this Amendment.

Amendment moved— Page 78, line 4, leave out from ("under") to end of line 5 and insert ("that section or without any application for possession").—(Lord Hughes.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Schedule 2, as amended, agreed to.

Schedule 3 [Validity of tenants' notices, effect on Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 etc. and procedure generally]:


The point of this Amendment is to remove a fear expressed by the Law Society that, as a result of the requirement on the leaseholder to identify the "boundaries" of the property covered by his claim of enfranchisement or a 50-year extension of his lease, he would always be bound to produce either a map or a very detailed description. In most cases it will be obvious what the leaseholder is claiming, without any such map or detailed description. The Amendment does not, however, absolve the leaseholder from making plain just what is the property to which his claim extends. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 81, line 22, leave out ("the boundaries of").—(The Earl of Longford.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


This is a consequential Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 81, line 30, leave out ("seven") and insert ("ten").—(The Earl of Longford.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


The purpose of this Amendment is to ensure that a leaseholder's formal claim of enfranchisement or the 50-year extension is not invalidated by any trifling errors, and also to deal with the case where the leaseholder has made a substantial error. Even such substantial errors may be corrected by leave of the county court, and on such terms as the court imposes. I beg to move.

Amendment moved—

Page 81, line 43, at end insert— ("( ) The notice shall not be invalidated by any inaccuracy in the particulars required by this paragraph or any misdescription of the property to which the claim extends; and where the claim extends to property not properly included in the house and premises, or does not extend to property that ought to be so included, the notice may with the leave of the court, and on such terms as the court may see fit to impose, be amended so as to exclude or include that property.").—(The Earl of Longford.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Schedule 3, as amended, agreed to.

Schedules 4 and 5 agreed to.

Schedule 6 [The Places of Worship (Enfranchisement) Act 1920, as amended]:


This Amendment carries into the Schedule containing the Act of 1920 in full, as amended by this Bill, the words we have just inserted by Amendment No. 58. I beg to move.

Amendment moved—

Page 94, line 29, at end insert— "'(aa) where the person entitled to the freehold or an intermediate reversion requires that underlying minerals be excepted, the trustees shall not be entitled to acquire his interest in the minerals if proper provision is made for the support of the premises as they have been enjoyed during the lease and in accordance with the terms of the lease and of the trust; and'").— (Lord Kennet.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD KENNET: This Amendment and No. 73 are also consequential on Amendment No. 58. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 95, line 12, leave out from ("1965") to ("shall") in line 13.—(Lord Kennet.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


I beg to move this Amendment.

Amendment moved— Page 95, line 16, leave out from ("1946") to ("but") in line 17.—(Lord Kennet.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


In the absence of the noble Lord, Lord Silsoe, I beg leave to move this Amendment, which is consequential on Amendment No. 61.

Amendment moved— Page 95, leave out lines 23 to 27.—(Lord Kennet.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Schedule 6, as amended, agreed to.

Schedule 7 [Repeals]:

8.48 p.m.


This is the last Amendment at the end of a fairly gruelling three days' session, and I should not like it to pass, drafting Amendment though it is, without thanking all noble Lords who have spoken on both sides of the Committee, and on no sides, for the unfailing courtesy and wit with which they have expressed their contrasting points of view, and to say that at the end of the day I believe we have improved this Bill. I should like especially to thank the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, for his constructive approach to those Amendments where we were at one, and once again for his kindness and courtesy in presenting those where we were not at one and had the noble Lord, Lord Silsoe, been here, I should have said the same to him. Perhaps it would not be incorrect if I were also to thank both of my colleagues on the Government Front Bench who have helped me out with this enormous series of Amendments. I beg to move drafting Amendment No. 75.

Amendment moved—

Page 97, line 23, column 3, at end insert— ("In Schedule 3, paragraph 1(d). In Schedule 5, in paragraph 7(3), the words from "under the Rent Acts" to "this Act".")—(Lord Kennet.)


If I am not out of order, I should like to congratulate the noble Lord on his use of the phrase "contrasting points of view". Having said that, I am grateful to him for his remarks. I should like to congratulate him and his colleagues on getting the Bill through Committee, greatly helped in the closing stages, if I may say so, by the happy mood of the noble Earl the Leader of the House. In extending noble Lords' thanks to all concerned, I wonder whether I may also include the Parliamentary draftsmen, for whom I have a profound admiration, for all the thankless work they do behind the scenes in order to enable us to discuss these matters intelligibly at all in Parliament.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Schedule 7, as amended, agreed to.

House resumed: Bill reported, with Amendments.