HL Deb 25 July 1969 vol 304 cc1188-90

[No. 1–3]

Clause 50, page 27, line 19, leave out "January 1971" and insert "April 1970"

Clause 50, page 27, line 22, leave out "July 1971" and insert "October 1970"

Clause 50, page 27, line 26, leave out "January 1972" and insert "April 1971"

The Commons disagreed to these Amendments for the following Reason:

Because they would unduly advance the dates proposed by the Bill.


My Lords, I beg to move that this House doth not insist on their Amendments Nos. 1 to 3 to which the Commons have disagreed. Let me add my personal apology, and say that I share the concern of the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, at the lack of the Commons Hansard. Parliament does go at a fair clip at this time of the year, but we are agreed that we want to get the Bill through, and I think it would be fair to say that none of the disagreed Amendments which have come back to us concerns matters which we have not fully discussed here. The Reasons given by the Commons for disagreeing to our Amendments, which are on the Marshalled List this morning, are pretty closely related to the issues which we discussed at the time, so I think we may take it that the Commons will have had the same points in mind as we ourselves had on this matter.

Amendments Nos. 1 to 3 are, of course, those which bring forward the dates for conversion into rent regulation in the already qualified cases, and the Commons Reason for disagreeing to them is a very fair epitome and concentration of the reasons which were fully discussed in this House at both earlier stages. My Lords, I beg to move that this House doth not insist on its Amendments Nos. 1 to 3 to which the Commons have disagreed.

Moved, That this House doth not insist on the said Amendments to which the Commons have disagreed.—(Lord Kennet.)


My Lords, let me say at once that I do not for one moment hold the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, blameworthy for the absence of the Commons Hansard from the Printed Paper Office. I feel sure that the fault lies outside the control of anybody in this House. I have already stated that the Opposition are anxious to see this Bill on the Statute Book, even with its defects such as they are, and we do not wish to hold it up.

It is perhaps important to get on the Record again the effect of the Commons disagreement to these very wise Amendments which were made by your Lordships. We are discussing here the dates when houses, which are now the subject of controlled rents at twice 1939 gross value, shall be admitted to rent regulation. I think it is accepted by all Parties that controlled rents are now hopelessly out of date and that it is impossible for any landlord to keep a house in proper repair on those controlled rents, unless he has means from elsewhere. The Government are proposing that the change to rent regulation shall not start until January, 1971, and shall be phased over a period of twelve months from then. It stands to reason that, controlled rents being wrong, there should be a change to proper rents, fair rents, regulated rents, as soon as possible, and your Lordships' Amendments were designed to bring those dates, each of them, nine months earlier. That would be an act of justice and it would also undoubtedly be in the interests of the houses—and I had thought that one of the Government's main purposes in bringing forward this Housing Bill was to maintain and improve the quality of our stock of houses. Here, however, the decision taken in another place is a backward step. I protest against the unwisdom of it, but in view of my desire to see the Bll on the Statute Book I will not press my objection.


My Lords, since the noble Lord has gone a little more fully into it than I expected, perhaps the House will bear with me while I re-record the one main reason why the Government are against the course he proposes. It is this. We fear—I do not say we are certain, but we fear—that it would overload the rent officer services. For that reason, we have put the dates late and taken power for the Minister to advance them if his fears are unjustified. The Government consider that that is wiser than to put the dates early and perhaps take power to retard them if the rent officer services get overloaded

On Question, Motion agreed to