§ 2.58 p.m.
§ Baroness BIRK
My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now resolve itself into Committee (on Recommitment) in respect of Clauses 4 and 25 on this Bill.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.
§ House in Committee (on Recommitment) accordingly.
§ [The EARL OF LISTOWEL in the Chair.]
§ Clause 4 [Expressions relating to land and planning law]:
§ The CHAIRMAN of COMMITTEES (The Earl of Listowel)
I understand that it is not proposed to move Amendments Nos. 18 to 30 in Committee. Therefore, unless any noble Lord objects I shall call Amendment No. 31.
The Lord Bishop of LONDON moved Amendment No. 31:
Page 5, line 44, after ("1974") insert ("or any later date").
§ The right reverend Prelate said: I should like to associate myself with the expressions of gratitude that have been extended to the Government for agreeing that this Part of the Bill should be recommitted. As your Lordships will appreciate, this clause is of the greatest possible concern to the future work of the Churches and charities of this country. Therefore, it is very important indeed that these matters should be given the very fullest opportunity for debate, and I thank the Government for agreeing to this Recommitment. The Amendment which I am moving is the same as that which I moved on 22nd October and, after debate, withdrew. Its purpose is to remove, so far as the Churches and charities are concerned, the difference between pre- and post-White Paper day land, and to remove the 10-year period during which the Churches and the charities are protected from the operation of the Bill.
§ In the previous debate, there was very general acceptance of my Amendment throughout the Committee. Indeed, there was not a single speech made in opposition to it, except that which was made from the Government Front Bench. At the end of it, the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor undertook to do what he could to carry out the further consideration he had promised, and to bring before your Lordships the ancillary matters which have since flowed from the latest discussions with the Minister. We were very grateful to him for that assur 994 ance, and as a result of it I then agreed not to press my Amendment to a Division.
§ We now know, through the Amendments which they have tabled, what is in the mind of the Government and, alas!, only some very meagre and dry crumbs have fallen from the Minister's table. The lost year is recovered, so that we should have 11 rather than 10 years in which to put our affairs in order. But the rule remains, as does the rigid difference between pre- and post-White Paper day land; and, as we shall see when we come to Clause 25, the 10-year rule for the holding of charitable land continues, when we have asked for one year. So I have no alternative but to reintroduce my Amendment to Clause 4.
§ May I quite succinctly remind the Committee of what it attempts to do? Its purpose is to remove, so far as all charity land is concerned, the distinction between land owned by a charity on White Paper day and land acquired subsequently, so far as the acquisition duty of local authorities is concerned. This means that although they will still have power to acquire such land if necessary in the exercise of their ordinary statutory powers, local authorities will not be under a duty to do so. Accordingly, a charity will always be able to develop its land for its own use or otherwise, without the intervention of the local authority, and, if the provisions of the development land tax Bill follow the same pattern, be able to develop it or sell it free of tax. This will apply irrespective of when the land was acquired, either before or after White Paper day, and of whether the land is functional land or investment land. This Amendment, together with the corresponding Amendments to the compensation provisions of the Bill in Clause 25, will therefore ensure that, even after the lapse of the 10-year period, charities remain free to continue their operations unimpeded and to redeploy their assets in the form of land in the same way as they can those held in the form of stocks and shares so as best to meet the needs of the times and maintain the incoming capital which sustains the work which they do for the community.
§ I do not intend to deploy again all the arguments which I used previously in support of this Amendment. I want now to concentrate, simply and briefly, on the 995 one point which underlies the case put forward by all the Churches and charities of this land. So far as I know, Churches and charities have never disputed the basic principle underlying the philosophy of this Bill; that is, that land should be used well and in the best interests of the whole people. But they claim that the work that they do is, by definition, one of service to the community, so they assert that they should not be inhibited in the use of their resources for the benefit of the community.
The nub of disagreement is expressed in the words of the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor in this House on 21st October, which I quoted in my speech of 22nd October. On that occasion he said:
It was never the intention of the Government that development by Churches and charities should be completely excluded from the land scheme, since such exemption would lead to the establishment of a particularly privileged class of land owners".—[Official Report, 21/10/75; col. 1380]
It is the conviction and contention of the Churches and charities that there is no claim to "the establishment of a particularly privileged class of land owners." We claim, on the contrary, that the Bill is depriving an area of national life of the means of doing its work. It is the Bill in its present state which is creating a new situation, not the Churches and charities which are claiming something new for themselves.
§ Let me elaborate this point. For four centuries charity land has been protected by law. In the past, charity land has been given or bought in order to make possible the purposes which are beneficial to society; and the object of charity law is to ensure that charities, whether they be ecclesiastical or secular, are protected in the possession of their land and that they use their assets for the purpose for which they were given, and for no other. The Charity Commissioners control transactions by charities with meticulous care, so that the assets are used only for the purpose for which they were intended. The Church Commissioners, a statutory body, are charged by law to use their assets only as the law permits for the benefit of the Church of England; and other religious bodies are equally strictly controlled by trust deeds or by Acts of Parliament.996
This point is absolutely fundamental; and I quote from an expert in the administration of charities with whom I have had some communication. He has said to me:
What the Bill does actually is to confiscate part of the value of land and apply it to public purposes chosen not by the donors but by central or local government. This is an entirely different proposition, and cuts at the constitutional position of charity whereby the State guarantees, as it has since the Tudor Parliaments, to enforce the purposes of charitable trusts against all corners".
This is no new argument. It was considered in 1950 when the Nathan Committee reaffirmed the traditional policy of Parliament towards charities; it was enshrined, with the agreement of all Parties, in the Charities Act 1960; and it was reaffirmed at the time of the Land Commission in 1964 and 1965, when the principle of exemption for ecclesiastical and charitable land, both functional and endowment, was once more established.
§ So that far from begging for privilege, the Churches and charities are by this Amendment asking the Government once more to affirm that they stand by the traditional policy towards them. They ask that their assets shall be protected, so that under the law they may continue to be employed for the purposes for which they were given. In our view, the Bill as it stands confounds that traditional policy and sets up in its place a system under which the assets of charitable land could be used in a way in which it was never envisaged they should be used.
§ I wonder whether the Government appreciate that, as regards charities, the Bill as it stands goes back on the settled policy as regards charitable land which has existed for 400 years, and which was reaffirmed as recently as 20 years ago. I hope that this is a matter of inadvertence, for, if it is the policy of Her Majesty's Government to alter the status of charitable land, this should be done openly and with opportunity for full debate, and not as an item in an extremely difficult and complicated Bill. My Amendment would redress the balance. I hope that even at this very late hour Her Majesty's Government will see the force of this argument and will restore to the Churches and charities the protection they need and look for if they are to do their work effectively and are to have the means to do it. I beg to move.997
§ 3.10 p.m.
§ The LORD CHANCELLOR
(Lord Elwyn-Jones): I am sorry that the right reverend Prelate takes the view that the position into which the provisions of the Bill as proposed by the Government have put Churches and charities has resulted at the end of the day in the production of merely meagre and dry crumbs. I hope to indicate in the course of my observations that that, I think, does less than justice to the attempt the Government have very seriously and conscientiously made to be fair in this legislation to both the Churches and the charities, recognising the unique contribution that they make to the life of our society and to the personal lives of most if not all of us.
Towards the end of the debate which the House had when the right reverend Prelate moved the same Amendment, I promised that the Government would look at it carefully in the light of our discussion. This we have done most carefully and, knowing the seriousness that the right reverend Prelate and those for whom he speaks attach to this Amendment, I am sorry that the Government have not found it possible to meet his wishes in this respect for reasons (which, I submit, will be sound reasons) that I shall be indicating.
The effect of the Amendment which we are presently debating would be to make interests owned by charities into non-outstanding interests; that is, not subject to the duty imposed by Clause 18 of the Bill on the relevant authorities to bring development land into public ownership whenever those interests are acquired.
The Government still feel unable to accept that proposition. The Government indicated the reasons for this in detail when we last debated the matter and, like the right reverend Prelate, I do not know that it will be helpful to retraverse that ground in detail. The broad proposition is that if the integrity of the Community Land Scheme is to be maintained and its purpose accomplished we cannot go as far as the Amendment proposes. I submit that the Government, within the necessity of maintaining the effectiveness of the Community Land Scheme, have gone a long way to help the Churches and charities to adapt to the new system. The special benefits 998 they have already provided and those that are now tabled for your Lordships' consideration in Clause 25 (which we shall be discussing later) place them, at any rate, in a unique position. I withdraw the word "privileged" for I know that that has undertones which are unacceptable. But they place Churches and charities in a unique and favourable position compared with all other owners of land.
I think it right, in view of the broad criticism that has been expressed by the right reverend Prelate, that I should rehearse briefly those special provisions for the Churches and charities so that their full extent may be made clear. First, the acquisition duty and the consequential suspension of planning permission will not apply to land owned by any charity on White Paper Day for any kind of development. That is the effect of Clause 4(3)(b). It will cover a situation where a mixed development, for instance, is proposed; for example, a city centre site, and where the charity is dependant on realising the commercial value of the site in order to finance that part of the development which is intended for their use. Secondly, when the authorities acquire such charity land the valuation basis will continue to be market basis for 11 years or until the second appointed day, whichever period ends later. That is provided for in the new subsection (3)(b) in Amendment No. 167. I agree that it would be wrong to build that up into a great and important matter; but, at any rate, it will be an addition of convenience that, in the decade now ahead, will help the Churches and charities to meet the situation which the Bill presents them with.
Thirdly, after that time—the 10 years or 11 years since White Paper Day—they will get prevailing use value for land acquired. This will also apply to land that comes into their ownership after White Paper Day so long as it has been kept in continuous charity ownership and use for at least 10 years. This is the main effect of the tabled Government Amendments to Clause 25. They will give the Churches and charities the benefit of being able to relate the value of their land to values prevailing in the neighbourhood. Fourthly, development land tax will never be charged on any development or disposal of land owned by a 999 charity on White Paper Day and while this, as the right reverend Prelate said, in relation to past practice is not a novelty so far as the Churches and charities are concerned, in relation to and compared with the position of other owners of land it is an important concession.
Those are benefits of considerable assistance and value to the Churches and charities. There are others of rather less importance which we shall come to in the course of discussions on the Bill; but those four are the main benefits, if that is the right word, when one considers the context in which they have been made. I submit that they are both substantial and unique.
During the series of discussions the Government have had with Church and charity interests, they have repeatedly emphasised that any special provision made in the land legislation for charities must be consistent with the principles of the land scheme. As memories tend to fade during a long debate it might be timely to remind your Lordships of what the land scheme is all about. It is put clearly and succinctly in paragraph 16 of the White Paper which states that the Government objectives are:to establish a permaent means:The community attach major importance to the accomplishment of those two objectives.
- (a) to enable the community to control the development of land in accordance with its needs and priorities; and
- (b) to restore to the community the increase in value of land arising from its efforts."
The Government have gone far in helping with the problems that the Churches and charities believe they will be facing; fears which, with respect, are sometimes exaggerated. As I said in our previous debates, we are fully aware of the vital role of the Churches and charities in our community. For the land they owned on White Paper Day—over a year ago now —they have been well protected. This has been done in the ready recognition that at that time they could not foresee what exactly the Government's land policy held in store, and the Government have recognised this in the wide-ranging special provisions that they have introduced to make the transition from the present system to 1000 the time when the new system is in full operation as smooth and helpful as possible.
When it comes to land charities acquired since the White Paper was published, after White Paper Day, we are in an entirely different situation. By his Amendment, the right reverend Prelate seeks to abolish that difference and to abolish the distinction between what was known to all concerned before that date and what became known to them after that date. The Government have sought to make it as easy as is practicable within the purpose of the scheme to achieve the transition from total exclusion of Church and charity land from that time to a partial compliance with it. As I have said in my observations to the Committee, they will, if these measures acquire a force of law, be in a far more favoured position than other relevant sectors. For these reasons, I must ask your Lordships not to accept the Amendment.
§ 3.22 p.m.
My Lords, on a previous occasion I said that I was a member of a housing association which is developing Church land chiefly for retired clergy and other worthy persons. I also stated that I thought it was wrong to stop this work. In view of the almost unanimous support which the right reverend Prelate received at the first discussion we had on this matter, and in view of the not altogether unsympathetic attitude of the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor, we all expected a good deal more than we are now getting. I agree we are getting something and, as one would expect from such a skilled debater, the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor made the most of it.
On the vital question of the period of time, we have had this extended only from 10 to11 years. This leads me to wonder why the Church and these old charities have to be made the subject of any restriction. We have been told by the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor that the reason is that if the Churches were not put in this position they would not conform to the theory behind this Bill. But what is this theory? We do not belong to any group which attracts the odium of noble Lords opposite, such as the speculators. I think that we do what is generally accepted to be 1001 good work. As the right reverend Prelate said, everything we do is under the constant supervision of the Charity Commissioners who would immediately come down on us if we did anything irregular.
It has been made clear that we do not conform to this theory. But what is the theory? It seems a theory evolved entirely by the Labour Party. I do not think it has any wider appeal than that. There may be a certain number of Government supporters who think, as I think they do, that charity is now old hat; they may think that Christianity is old hat. I do not see why the slight authority which the Government have at the present moment should empower them to raid the assets of the Church and these old charities with this tremendous tradition behind them. What would happen if the land was taken over? That would be administered by a number of minor civil servants all on establishment, all on superannuation, and the administration would be far more expensive and less effective than it is today. I feel like a crusader fighting the infidels in this matter. I should be glad to follow the right reverend Prelate in any course of action he sees fit to take.
§ 3.25 p.m.
§ Lord KINNAIRD
My Lords, what is 10 years? With very great respect to the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor what is 10 to 11 years when the right reverend Prelate was talking of 400 years? If we try in this country to "monkey about" with people's wills, we will get into the law courts and get into trouble. Wills are wills; if today people are considering giving land to the Church, for whatever purpose, they give it for posterity. If they feel that in 10 years' time it will be taken away, then, my Lords, you will kill the goose that lays the golden egg. Land has been given to the Church for centuries; if we are now going to change the law and now give them the land for 10 years, then it is nothing short of robbing the dead.
§ Lord SOPER
My Lords, I must repeat something of what I tried to say last time in support of the Amendment proposed by my right reverend friend, and for reasons which perhaps have been somewhat overlooked. I agree with what has appeared in various newspapers (though of course the noble and learned 1002 Lord Chancellor was far too courteous and gentlemanly to refer to them) regarding the way in which certain charities impose upon a credulous public, and such a process should be ended as quickly as possible. There has been no definition offered in your Lordships' House as to what properly constitutes a charity, and what is not a charity at all but an imposition. I would cordially agree there are many so-called "charities" which need far more scrutiny than they receive, and are entitled to much less money than they get. But that does not dispose of the problem of some charities with which I would presume to think I am not unengaged; one of them is the vastly changing condition under which charities have to operate today if they are to be relevant to the contemporary situation.
A charity is not a fixed mark enduring from century to century. As conditions change, so do the proper ends of the charities directed towards the amelioration of those conditions require to be changed as well. I speak from personal and direct acquaintance with a number of charities, some connected with the Church, others not connected with any form of the Christian Church, which, in order to continue, not only to require help which has been given to them before White Paper Day but require the ability to conduct and to conclude arrangements in the process of being made which are vital to their continuation. Without this they will become, if not completely derelict, certainly less valuable and less entitled to the support which I am sure the noble and learned Lord wishes to give them. It is because of this inability to continue—not to ask for any privileged condition—to render the service which we believe is apposite and right that this Amendment commends itself overwhelmingly to my mind, and to my conscience as well.
If it is true that there are continuing needs for charities of the kind which care for alcoholics, for boys out of Borstal, for one-parent families, then there is ample evidence—though I will not delay your Lordships by deploying it now—that there is an absolute need for those charities to have the ability to improve upon the things which they have been trying to do, unhindered by the pecuniary and. I believe, crippling weight which will 1003 be put upon them if, in the acquisition of further amenities and land needed in order to continue their work, they come under the obligation that they have not so conducted themselves as to acquire that land or those amenities before White Paper day. It is the continuation of the charities, not their acceptability as being some kind of peculiar or exceptional case to be regarded with some disfavour—though, as has been said with certain requirements that can be met by a Government which I am sure is anxious to do the right thing about them—which constantly require changes in their administration and settlement and in the whole environment in which they seek to do their work, which commends itself to me as the most imperative need for the support of this Amendment. I hope that that support will be forthcoming.
§ Lord ALPORT
I have not taken part in any of the discussions which have surrounded the mass of legislation which the Government are putting through Parliament at the present time. I intervene now only off the cuff, so to speak, because I might be able to give the noble and learned Lord and his colleagues an example of the effect which this piece of legislation will have upon one charity. I am chairman of the management committee of a home for elderly people. This was started by a lady 25 years ago, and she is still running it in the most marvellousway today, when she is well over 80. She has given the whole of a piece of property to this charity, and associated with the property in the early days was a small farm, run primarily to provide special diets for the elderly people who were living in the home, and also to provide a certain amount of money which was contributed to the maintenance of the charity. The farm was retained in her own name; she was still the proprietor of that land, although she had given the house and its surrounding garden to the charity.
In the middle of this year, after White Paper day, when I and others had only recently come to be associated with this, she decided that she would hand over this small farm to the charity. The object of the exercise was primarily to enable the management committee to take advantage of a scheme which had long been in her mind. This scheme 1004 involved selling part of the land for development by another charity which intended to provide a group of homes for elderly people which were to be associated with our house, our garden and the other amenities which we have there. The intention was that we should then use the money for the land which would be sold—and sold at the district valuer's valuation—to build a nursing wing for our elderly people's home. This is very important, because the problem which this lady has faced so often during the last 25 years has been that of having to send elderly people away, perhaps during the last few months of their lives, to a place which was some distance away from their friends and relations so that they could get the specialised and intensive type of nursing required by elderly people in those circumstances, and which is a different form of nursing from hospital nursing. The lady thought, and we agreed, that it would be marvellous to be able to use the money that we received for this property to build a nursing wing for our elderly residents.
As I understand it, unless the Amendment of the right reverend Prelate is passed, we shall not be able to take full advantage of the money which is received from the sale of the property to another charity, in order to provide us with some of the funds which we shall require for this form of development. This development, I would stress, is highly desirable, as all those who are familiar with the problems of old people will realise. So we shall not sell that land—we do not have to, so far as I know—and therefore the other charity involved will not build their old people's houses or flats there. We shall not build our nursing wing either, and thus the whole purpose of the benevolence and far-sightedness of a very elderly woman, who has given her life to a very important element in the life of a small community in my part of Essex, will be frustrated.
This cannot be the object of the Government; this cannot be the attitude of any Government in a country such as ours in regard to charities. I cannot understand why the Government and the noble and learned Lord should shy away from the word "privilege", so far as charities are concerned. It may well be that under the present law some charities do not deserve the special treatment they 1005 get. But surely those charities which do deserve it should not have it taken away from them, simply because a few charities have got through the net when they should not have done.
I have very often listened from the seat now occupied by the noble Earl the Lord Chairman of Committees to many of the debates which have taken place on much of the legislation over these last weeks. I can tell the noble and learned Lord, and noble Lords who sit on the opposite side of the Chamber, that much of this legislation will simply go by the board over the passage of time, because in due course, when those who have to deal with public affairs in this country—not on the grand scale that we have here, but on a small scale in the towns and villages of this country—realise the effect it is having on their lives, they will demand its change.
I would therefore ask the noble and learned Lord and the Government to realise that the mainspring of social life in this country is represented by the charitable instincts of the people, and anything that offends or frustrates them will become in the end a source of grievance and something which will succeed in undermining the other purposes of this piece of legislation. Therefore, I would say, from my own very small experience in the very small context of a very small charity which means a lot to a small number of people, that I hope the noble and learned Lord and his noble friends will reconsider the decision he has just announced to your Lordships.
§ 3.39 p.m.
§ Baroness HYLTON-FOSTER
I did not take part in this debate during Committee stage, because the noble Lord, Lord Soper, said so many of the things that I should have liked to say. But today I have been puzzled by a remark made by the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor, who said, if I understood him correctly, that the period of 10 or 11 years ought to give charities plenty of time to adapt to the new system. With respect, I do not think it is up to charities to adapt to the new system, because they are only filling the gaps and doing the jobs which cannot be done by the statutory services, who cannot perform many of the tasks because they have neither the personnel nor the 1006 funds and who, in any case work only for limited hours. Charities today must keep up with the changing needs of society. This may very well mean moving their premises in order to fill gaps which occur, and how can one tell now where gaps will be in 10 or 11 years' time? Unless the charities are assured of having sufficient funds and of being able to sell properties so that they have sufficient funds to embark on new premises and new ventures, I think the position for them will be very disappointing. So I support the right reverend Prelate in his Amendment.
I would not want to add very much to what the right reverend Prelate has said; he said it so well. But there are two points I should like to make. First, if his Amendment is accepted charities will not stand out like a sore thumb. As I read it, the statutory undertakers are already exempt from this Bill. Everybody knows, for instance, that the railways own vast quantities of land which they say they use for operational purposes while in practice they do not. So charities would be merely another form of statutory undertaker, but operating under the Charities Act instead of the various railway and water Acts, et cetera.
Secondly, I believe that if the Bill is passed as it is, in spite of what the law may be, innumerable people, elderly people and so on, making their wills will not leave land to charities because they will believe, rightly or wrongly, that the Government are going to take it away from them. That will be a most inhibiting factor. They may be entirely wrong about the law, but that will be a psychological factor. It will stop them in future from leaving land to charities.
§ 3.42 p.m.
§ Lord GORE-BOOTH
Although there is not much new to say, this is such an important matter that I should like once again to express my strong support for what the right reverend Prelate has said, and, particularly, for the way the noble Lord, Lord Soper, has expressed the case. I should like to express appreciation for the efforts the noble and learned Lord has made to improve matters. Particularly, I would express satisfaction that he has rather formally withdrawn the word "privileged". The expression, "privileged 1007 class of land-owners" has been prejudicial politically since 1917 and it is most unfortunate that it should ever have surfaced in this context.
I would make only one slightly technical point to add to the others. Perhaps I may put it metaphorically by saying that you do not get the Sword of Damocles free; you rent it In other words, once it is known that there is a time limit on certain things that can be done with property, the entire atmosphere in which people approach the necessity for doing business with owner-charities is changed and a premium is put on delay and an influence on prices obtainable by charities —there is waiting and then prices are lowered simply because there is a time limit.
The disappointing feature throughout the conciliatory, if obdurate, speech of the noble and learned Lord was that he expressed himself entirely in relative terms: that what is proposed is a "bit better", and that charities and Churches should do "somewhat better" than everybody else. Surely that contradicts what many noble Lords, including myself, said in the previous debate: that there is an absolute difference here, a difference of principle; that the Churches and charities are largely operated by people who do something they need not do, who do it for nothing and without material reward.
I feel that somewhere within the argument—I disagree with the noble Lord who made this a Party matter; I do not take it as that at all—is some false doctrine in what is preached to us by the Government. One sees traces of the doctrine, which has been quite seriously propounded—and I have heard people propounding it—that if things are not done by the State, well, that is too bad and people will have to wait, but they must not be done by other organisations. That is a very bad doctrine indeed. One does not need to be connected in any way with charity to realise what an anti-social doctrine it is. I hope that the absolute claim, which has existed since Tudor times, for these exemptions of which noble Lords have spoken will be maintained. I should greatly dislike to see this Government being the first Government since the Tudors to pass reactionary legislation on this subject.
§ Lord HYLTON
I supported the right reverend Prelate last week and am delighted to do so again this week. The noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor was kind enough to say that Churches and charities make a unique contribution to our society. Nevertheless, the position he outlined as a result of the Government's Amendments and concessions does not appear to Members of your Lordships' House on all Benches to be anything like unique enough. The Government may consider that they have a mandate to pass this Bill, but I would very much question what mandate they can possibly have to overthrow what has been settled public policy for many hundreds of years regarding Churches and charities.
Why are the Government going beyond the terms of the Land Commission Act 1965? And, if this Bill is to be taken as a precedent, what further taxes and imposts may we expect to be laid upon Churches and charities in future years? The whole Committee should support the right reverend Prelate if only because Churches and charities have over the centuries pioneered all the newest forms of social welfare and moral welfare and of health and education, and I am quite confident they will continue pioneering. I am quite confident, also, that they will continue to provide a choice for a person in need of service which he will not have if he has to rely solely upon statutory services.
§ 3.47 p.m.
§ Baroness ELLIOT of HARWOOD
I also should like to support the right reverend Prelate in this Amendment. There is one aspect which has not yet been mentioned. I may be wrong in this and perhaps the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor will tell me if I am. I have been connected with many charities, as many noble Lords know, all my life. One of the things I have done is to be a member of charitable trusts that give money to charities. I have been nearly 50 years on one trust, and certainly 25 years on another. The grants we gave were always given to enable the charities to enlarge, to become more important, and to grow in strength and value to the community. We were guided in all the grants we gave by the fact that these organisations were charities. We did not 1009 give grants to any organisation of a commercial character or which did not meet the usual description of charities in Acts of Parliament.
If the status, so to speak, of the land which is acquired, or of the buildings which are acquired, or of the work which is done through grant-giving trusts for charities, is altered, what is to happen? Are the trusts then not going to be able to give their money, which is used and owned on a charitable basis, not a commercial basis? What will happen? Are we to be hampered by this situation or will we be able to go on, or what? It seems to me that this is another aspect which might be quite detrimental to the development of charities. By the word, "charity" I mean the word in a wider sense than the noble Lord, Lord Alport, does. There may be detriment to many other, different types of social work which is done by volunteers—whether, as the noble Baroness says, the Red Cross or another organisation. This work is done by volunteers, by people who are anxious to help the community.
In my long experience in this connection I have seen many permanent statutory services arising over experiments made by charitable organisations in the first instance. To mention one, there is the Youth Service, which in the days when I started running clubs (goodness knows how many years ago it was) was a very small organisation, but now is part and parcel of every local authority in the country. All local authorities have youth officers and youth work and different types of club work; and we all pay rates for this Service. When it started there was nothing of that kind at all. The Service was entirely voluntary and the money we gave from our charitable funds—I am speaking now of trusts —was given to develop this work.
I may be wrong but I believe that under this new legislation it will be very difficult to do what in the past was of enormous value to voluntary organisations and to the social work of the country—something which has now become part and parcel of a great deal of our ordinary social and community work. I realise that there are interests which noble Lords opposite are keen to support. Therefore, it would be a thousand pities if the kind of work that is done by Churches, charities and 1010 voluntary organisations, were to he hampered by legislation. Quite frankly, I think this would be a very great mistake.
The Earl of BALFOUR
While we are discussing Amendment No. 31, it is important to point out to your Lordships that if the Government's Amendment No. 30 which stands in the name of the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor and the noble Baroness, Lady Birk, is carried, Amendment No. 31 falls, even if we go into the Division Lobbies. Secondly, may I remind Her Majesty's Government that populations move. Many a church in a built-up area has subsequently been sold and become, say, a plumber's store. Alternatively, the population has moved away from an area and an old people's home has become a ware-house. In my own area I can think of a hospital which was specially built for tuberculosis patients after the 1914–18 War. It is now being used as an old people's home, but unfortunately it is miles away from anywhere. Populations are constantly moving. Churches desparately need to be able to acquire land at a price no higher than local authorities would pay for it in residential areas, particularly in areas where there is an increase in the population, so that they can then erect Churches. Charities need to be able to build amenities such as squash courts, or community halls, or some other form of recreational building and to acquire land at a reasonable price. They should not be subject to the type of land tax with which I understand we are likely to be faced soon, or with the penalties that the provisions of this Bill will impose.
If I may return to my first point, I feel that we are losing almost half of what we ever hoped to achieve by trying to move Amendment No. 31. If Amendment No. 30 is carried, it falls anyway.
§ The LORD CHANCELLOR
I think that the noble Lord, Lord Crawshaw, has been trying to catch the ear of the Committee, if that is the appropriate expression, for some time.
§ Lord CRAWSHAW
May I thank the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor for his help in getting me launched. I wish I could reciprocate his kindness by affording him some support but I fear that I must join the battalions of those who are arraigned against him on this 1011 occasion and suggest that charities and the churches are themselves a vital part of our community and exist solely for the purpose of serving people in general. By subjecting them to this Bill I fear that the Government can only reduce their capacity. One must ask in what way local authorities will use the revenue accruing to them more valuably than the churches and charities themselves. They may well pass the money straight back to the Churches and charities—a cumbrous, bureaucratic and somewhat Irish procedure. Why not leave the Churches and charities to get on with the job they know so well?
I, like most noble Lords, must declare several interests in charities. One in particular concerns me at the moment. For the past 18 years I have served as a County Commissioner in the Scout Association and sit on the Committee of the Council in London. At present the Association has about 600,000 members. Concern is being expressed about how the effects of this Bill will impair the service that the Scout Association can give to the young people of this country. In times of financial stress—and all charities are feeling the pinch at the moment—the areas of the country most adversely affected invariably are the most deprived and the most remote rural areas. At the moment the Scout Association owns 1,100 acres of land, mainly camp sites.
The kind of situation that is causing concern is that of the Tolmers Camp site in Hertfordshire—a 100 acre site that is now within the Green Belt. It is very unlikely that the Association will want to sell this site within the next 10 years, but after that the situation is uncertain. As building ultimately encroaches it may well be advisable to sell, but the agricultural value price only will be obtained under this Bill. There is real concern as to whether this sum can ever be enough to find a replacement camp site in an accessible area, and I am sure the answer to that question is that it will not. Great things are being, done in the Scout world—by our local association in Birmingham following the sale of their camp site for £250,000. In the last few years, more professional help has been recruited and they have been able to reduce membership subscriptions. Also 1012 they have been able to provide many amenities which many other local associations have been unable to afford. Finally, the Girl Guides' Association also wish to be associated with the remarks I have made. I strongly support the Amendment of the right reverend Prelate.
§ Baroness GAITSKELL
As an Agnostic, may I express sympathy for the Amendment of the right reverend Prelate. I do so despite the fact that I am 100 per cent. in favour of the principle of this Bill. I do so because of my experience in the United Nations where for five separate years I have been the delegate to the Human Rights Committee. There I have defended people who wished to be religious against the Communist countries who were always attacking religion. I have always had to defend voluntary organisations. Therefore, it seems to me that in this instance it is logical that I should express at least sympathy for this Amendment of the right reverend Prelate. Since there are many religious people in this country who are concerned with charities that are usually run in a non-Governmental way, it seems to me that it is right that I should be allowed to express this sympathy.
Baroness WARD of NORTH TYNESIDE
I was in the North of England last weekend when a situation was disclosed to me about which I feel I ought to say a word or two today. First, may I say that I am supporting the Amendment of the right reverend Prelate. Quite a long time ago in the place where I live a very generous family built a hospital for crippled children. Before I make my criticisms. I ought to say that, in general. I think that the present Government have done a great deal for the disabled. Therefore, I am putting this forward only because of the difficulty which has arisen. This hospital was specially built for crippled children, and was called the Sanderson Home. After some considerable time it was heavily endowed so that it could be kept running, but now, administratively, it has become involved in the National Health Service. I would have raised this on a later occasion, but this seems an opportunity to mention all the problems which will arise unless we accept this Amendment.
1013 Within the last two years, the friends of the Sanderson Home collected money to build a very special swimming pool, because anybody who knows anything about crippled children, as they used to be called, knows that they very often benefit by having exercises in swimming pools. Quite a large sum of money was spent by the friends of the Sanderson Home to provide this swimming pool. Suddenly, the Government have decided to close down the hospital and to send the children—children who have gone to that home year after year, and also children who have come freshly to it—to no one knows where. No-one knows what is to happen to the endowment which kept the hospital going. In the North of England, there is the greatest possible anxiety, because, after all, that hospital has been a great source of strength to what used to be called crippled children. When the administration was taken over by the National Health Service—which ran it with consultants and people who were specialists in the problems of these unfortunate children—no one thought for one moment that this would be a hospital selected for closure.
As I come from that part of the world, and have always been closely allied with all the things going on there, I was immediately contacted and was asked what would happen. I said, "Well, I really do not know. Nobody knows what is to happen to the money"—
§ The LORD CHANCELLOR
If the noble Baroness, Lady Ward of North Tyneside, will permit me to intervene, I hope not impertinently, with the greatest respect to her the matter that she is raising, although of the greatest importance, has no relevance to what we are currently discussing.
Baroness WARD of NORTH TYNESIDE
I should hate to disagree with the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor, but I would point out that charitable money is involved, because of the fact that within the last two years this very good swimming pool was built with charitable money. I can assure the noble and learned Lord, although I am slightly out of order—
Baroness WARD of NORTH TYNESIDE
—that it is a wonderful opportunity for explaining that charitable money is involved. Out of their own pockets, the friends of the Sanderson Home have collected money to build this pool, and that is charitable money. It is very important to know about this. This was a charitable undertaking and, although it has been administered by the National Health Service, there is still the private endowment which came as a charitable contribution when the hospital was built. I shall not go any further—
§ Several Noble Lords: Hear, hear!
Baroness WARD of NORTH TYNESIDE
—but I thought it was a wonderful example of what could happen to charitable undertakings. I hope to develop this subject later when we come to National Health Service closures. But I thought it was a good thing to raise now, because I was immediately asked by my friends, and by the friends of charitable undertakings in the North who look after crippled children, what would happen, and what was to be done with the endowments which had been made. Therefore, I shall certainly support this Amendment, and I hope that this angle will be taken into consideration.
§ 4.5 p.m.
§ Baroness YOUNG
First, I should like to thank the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor for agreeing to recommit this part of the Bill, which we did not have an opportunity to debate fully either in another place or in this House. May I also say that we appreciate the concessions which the Government are proposing to make. However, I hope that after listening to the debate this afternoon they will consider further representations.
It is my belief that the Government view the purposes and needs of charities in the same way as we all do. I was fortunate in taking part in the debate in this House on 25th June on voluntary organisations, and I recall—and, indeed, it may be useful for the Committee to recall—what the noble Lord, Lord Harris of Greenwich, said on that occasion. 1015 When referring to voluntary organisations, he said:Of course, there are some…who would argue that we are all in some danger of making too much fuss about this problem;"—that is to say, the problem of voluntary organisations—that with the development of the modern Welfare State there is now far less need for voluntary service. I am bound to say that I find this a singularly foolish view. First, it denies the existence of the splendid spirit of idealism that binds the voluntary movement together—a movement consisting of thousands of widely diverse organisations yet with one central objective of relieving the problems and anxieties, and sometimes the pain and anguish, of many millions of our fellow citizens.There is a second reason why those who sometimes mock the voluntary movement are wrong. There has not been a time—certainly not since the last war—when our statutory services have been under more intense pressure. If the lifeline provided by many dedicated volunteers were cut, many of our most under-privileged people would be the first to suffer."—[Official Report, 25/6/75; cols. 1410–1411.]I think we would all agree with those sentiments expressed so well by a Member of the Government. It is because we agree with those sentiments that we very much hope that the Government will reconsider the views put forward this afternoon. They were put very forcibly by the right reverend Prelate, the Bishop of London, and I would very much support what the noble Lord, Lord Soper, said about new and developing organisations. Running like a thread throughout the debate in June, speakers from all sides of the House described particular charities which had arisen to meet new needs. The noble Lord, Lord Soper, referred to alcoholics, but there are charities for the homeless young, for helping single and separated women, for helping discharged prisoners and for drug-takers. A number have recently arisen to help specific needs. All of them, if only the Amendments of the Government are carried, will be affected and I cannot believe, on whatever definition one has of the community, that it can be the intention of the Government that these people will suffer. It is for that reason, above all, that I hope very much that the Government will take the opportunity of the recommitment of this series of Amendments, and the opportunity afforded for reflection on Report, to consider these Amendments.
§ 4.9 p.m.
§ Lord SHINWELL
The noble Baroness, Lady Young, apparently was under the impression that I was going to support the Government, and that is why she intervened. Presumably the noble Baroness had the right to intervene; she is in an exalted position, unlike myself, because she sits on the Front Bench. I should like to offer a few observations, and I will give the reason why.
First of all, my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor may be aware that many Members of your Lordships' Committee have received a vast number of documents relating to this very intricate and somewhat complicated subject. I have received many myself, and I confess quite frankly that I could hardly understand a word of what I read. I have been listening to this debate, and sometimes one gains more from oral representation than from the written word. Therefore, I want to begin by asking two questions which have occurred to me. The first is this. If the Amendment were to be accepted by the Government, how much land would be involved? Would it be a vast amount or a percentage of the land in the United Kingdom which could hardly be said to impinge on the principle of the national ownership of land? I have made some discreet sotto voce inquiries about whether this matter has already been mentioned, and so far as I know, it has not. So may we be informed how much land would be involved if this Amendment were to be accepted? The second question is this. Is there anything particularly improper if we should impinge at some stage and for valid reasons on the principle of nationalisation? As I understand it, that is the case for the Government. The principle has been accepted. Ought there to be any exceptions?
Most of us have had some experience of nationalisation. I mention this only to illustrate my argument, not in order to convey the impression that I am an authority on the subject. But I happen to have been associated with piloting two important nationalisation Bills through another place; one the coal industry Bill and the other electricity supply Bill. Certainly in the case of the coal industry the principle has been impinged upon in 1017 this form: that although the vast majority of coal producing elements have been brought under public ownership and managed by what is alleged to be an independent corporation, some elements in coal production been been exempted and are still exempted.
The same applies to civil aviation. Although the State has exercised almost complete authority over civil aviation, there are some elements that are privately owned; so the principle has again been impinged upon. The same applies to the Bank of England. We nationalised the Bank of England, but the clearing banks were exempted and similarly the merchant banks. Here we are faced with a similar situation. We may agree about the nationalisation of land, the right of local authorities to acquire land as and when it is regarded as necessary. We accept the principle, at any rate on this side of your Lordships' House. Is there any valid reason why there should be no exceptions? I feel there should be.
I occupy the same theological position as my noble friend Lady Gaitskell. I should be the last person in your Lordships' House to seek to represent the theologians, although I am well aware of the history of the innumerable controversies which have taken place as between the State and the Churches in relation to the acquisition of land. I can remember what I read about Henry VIII and the monasteries. I am also aware of what happened in the county of Durham way back in the 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th centuries, when the Government of the day was superseded by the theologians. The bishop exercised complete control, and it was not until Cromwell arrived that the authority of the bishops was superseded. I am well aware of these facts. I do not want to revive these controversies but nevertheless it seems to me, even as regards the Churches, that an exception might properly be made.
When it comes to the question of charities, I have no doubt at all in my mind—none at all. It seems to me to provide what is regarded as a breathing space. A matter of 10 or 11 years is so minimal, so minuscule, that I am surprised that the Government, with all their intelligence and acumen, have ventured to offer that as an argument against the Amendment. What is 10 or 11 years? It is the argument rather like that used 1018 by my right honourable friend the Prime Minister, that a week in politics is a long time, or some reference of that kind that he made several years ago. It seems to me that a case has been made out.
I come now to my conclusion. After all, the conclusion is the most important of my observations, and Members of your Lordships' House will understand the reason why in a moment. Unless I can be satisfied by my noble and learned friend that the amount of land involved is likely to destroy the principle of land acquisition by the State and local authorities because of the amount of land involved, and, secondly, that the principle involved in the Amendment does impinge upon the principle of nationalisation, I will vote for the Amendment. I say that with the utmost regret because of the effect it might have on the Government's future. I say that with the utmost seriousness.
I understand from letters that I receive and from observations made to me by people in the streets and on the highways that I still possess some influence. I was not aware of it until I was told about it. Therefore, I warn the Government to be exceedingly careful; they should not push their luck too far. So far they have got on remarkably well: they are getting an awful lot of their own way, and I am very glad to note it. But, as I say, just consider the situation; be a little, not emotional or sentimental about it, but paternalistic or something of the sort. Just regard this in a logical fashion, be reasonable about it; either review the situation, or accept the Amendment, or take the consequences; I shall vote against the Government.
§ 4.20 p.m.
§ The LORD CHANCELLOR
I have been called a number of things in a substantial period of my life in public affairs, but to be listed by the noble Viscount, Lord Gage, as among the infidel, is a new experience for me. It brought to my mind the observation of Lloyd George in the House of Commons on one occasion when my fellow countrymen were being abused. He said:When my forbears were a God-fearing people enjoying a high standard of culture and civilisation, the forbears of the right honourable gentleman were living on the barren shores of the North East coast on piracy, paganism, and periwinkles.1019 Well, that is a diet that I have never enjoyed and do not propose to enjoy even in the cause of supporting Her Majesty's Government.
The debate has ranged over a wide area and it has exposed a number of serious misconceptions which may account for some of the prevailing anxiety which has been expressed. A number of the speakers in the debate seemed to be thinking that we are debating development land tax. We are not on this Amendment, and the Amendment would have no effect on development land tax. What we are here considering is whether local authorities should be under a duty to acquire development land owned by charities and bought by them after White Paper day if that land is needed by local authorities for relevant development. That is the issue that we are debating.
The noble Lord, Lord Kinnaird, spoke of the Churches having acquired land from the believers for over 400 years. Of course, any land that they have on White Paper day is immune, is sacrosanct, is protected; so there is no worry about that inheritance. There is no question of robbing the dead, assuming that their testamentary dispositions have been effective. Indeed, there is a provision in the Bill which will ease the problems relating to testamentary dispositions of land to charities if the relevant conveyance or transfer has not taken place at the appropriate time. The point that I wish to emphasise is that the proposals in the Bill certainly do not threaten the work of charities as such. The question that we are dealing with is acquisition of land for development by local authorities, and that is the nature and purpose of the scheme. The local authorities were dismissed in rather severe terms by the noble Viscount, Lord Gage, as embodying a facade of democracy. I am not sure that that is a very generous tribute to them. In their own sphere they perform in a democratic field a role as important as that of Members of the Houses of Parliament.
What we are concerned with then is the acquisition of land for development: development land. The vast majority of charities do not deal in development land, will not be affected by these proposals, and they will have no effect on their work. Therefore, in so far as this limited field 1020 causes anxiety, the field is very limited indeed. The noble Baroness, Lady Elliot of Harwood, referred to money given to support charities, by grants or otherwise. That again has no link with the development of land. Money so given can be invested, and there are numerous investments available which can be used to perpetuate income and which are entirely independent of development land.
Therefore, if one looks at the matter within the context of the Bill and the proposals in the Bill, I cannot help thinking that the fears that have been expressed ought to be considerably allayed. As I have said, the concessions made by the Government are very substantial concessions. The acquisition duty and the consequential suspension of planning permission will not apply to land owned by any charity on White Paper day for any kind of development upon that land. I have emphasised that when authorities acquire that charity land, the valuation basis will continue to be market value for 11 years; and then I have emphasised the important new provision embodied in the Amendments, that the charities and the Churches will get prevailing use value for land acquired. Those are very important concessions, which will diminish any loss to the Churches and charities embodied in these proposals.
The noble Lord, Lord Soper, asked me the definition of "charity". It is defined in the Bill in terms which may not be greatly illuminating, but it is the definition which is used in the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1970, the relevant section of which reads:In this section 'charity' means any body of persons or trust established for charitable purposes only.But I and the Government have not approached this problem in any sense on the basis that charities ought to be regarded as objects of suspicion. On the contrary, we have recognised the indispensible role of the charities in our life and in our society, and have attempted to meet their needs.
There were a number of case examples given in the course of the debate where one would have liked to have had time for further and better particulars of the precise nature of the transactions. So far as I was able to understand the case that the noble Lord, Lord Alport, mentioned, 1021 the Amendment would have no effect whatsoever on the transactions that he has described. If, at a later stage, he would like to take up any aspect of it with me, I shall be happy to discuss it with him. The noble Lord, Lord Hawke, raised the position of statutory undertakers. They will not be exempt from development land tax; they will not get prevailing use value at the stage where it will become available as the basis of compensation for Churches and charities, nor will they enjoy any exemptions under Clause 25.
The noble Lord, Lord Crawshaw, asked a question about the boy scout camp site. My understanding is that that site would receive housing value if by the time it was acquired the land round about had been developed for housing, so that housing would then be the prevailing use and compensation would be on that basis. There again, if he would care to discuss the detail with me I should be happy to do so, but I understand that to be the position. The noble Earl, Lord Balfour, who I see has come back into the fray with the same enthusiasm which he has shown through the watches of the night, seems to be asking for something for which the Churches are not now and have never asked; namely, the ability to buy land on the same basis as the local authorities. In the future local authorities undoubtedly will benefit greatly from this scheme. They will be able to buy land in future net of development land tax, but no one else will benefit outside Government from those financial arrangements. My noble friend Lord Shinwell said when he began his speech that apparently the noble Baroness, Lady Young, must have thought that he was going to rise to defend the Government. I am sure that no such thought could possibly have entered her mind.
My noble friend asked me two specific questions, one being how much land would be involved in this category of development land in the possession of the Churches and charities at the material times. I am afraid I cannot at this stage answer that question; it depends on what the authorities consider is necessary by way of making and having available land for development and how much they acquire. I cannot say more, but what I can say is that we on the Government side believe that to make the further con 1022 cessions in relation to land acquired since White Paper day would disturb the whole principle on which the scheme will operate.
Secondly, my noble friend embarked on one of his current essays in scepticism on nationalisation which, if I may say so, I have heard before, though it is always given with a fresh and vigorous voice. However, this scheme is not nationalisation of land but is a scheme for community ownership of development land only—ownership by the local authorities of the country—and that is the extent of it; it is municipalisation of development land. Whether that bit of information will give any comfort to my noble friend and induce him on this occasion yet again to support the Government I know not, but I hope it will.
§ The Lord Bishop of LONDON
My Lords, I am grateful to noble Lords who have taken part in this debate and especially am I grateful to the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor for putting the issues so squarely before us and with such clarity and honesty. Of course, the Churches and charities are grateful for the concessions which the Government have been able to make, but those concessions do not touch the really basic problems with which the charities and Churches are faced. The first is this question of the 10- or11-year rule during which they must get their affairs in order and in line with the provisions of the Bill. One after another noble Lord has said that this is a quite impossible condition; it is impossible if one is negotiating for planning permission or if one is negotiating for loans, and this condition really would be impossibly inhibiting.
The other matter on which we have asked for relaxation is this rigid differentiation between pre- and post-White Paper land, and again we have pointed out that this will have a stifling and stultifying effect on the work of the Churches and charities. It is not merely a question that they have owned land which has been protected for 400 years but, as the noble Lord, Lord Soper, pointed out, they are looking forward to the future and they will be very reluctant to get rid of land which is protected, because it is pre-White Paper day land when they know that land acquired after that date will be subject to the restrictions of this Bill. On neither of these two matters 1023 have her Majesty's Government been able to give us any kind of relaxation.
I am sorry, moreover, that the noble and learned Lord—and I speak with great respect—has not really dealt with the matter with which I concerned myself most fully in my speech on this Amendment. We, the Churches and charities, regard this as a change in the whole attitude of Government towards charities. These charities have been protected for 400 years. They have been protected by successive pieces of legislation, and here the charities will be subject to the conditions of this Bill under certain
§ circumstances. We believe that all the causes of our alarm and concern will arise in a year or two's time and we believe that Churches and charities are entitled to the traditional protection which they have had for so long from Parliament. In the light of the universal support which my Amendment has received on two occasions, I do not feel that it would be right for me to withdraw it.
§ On Question, Whether the said Amendment (No. 31) shall be agreed to?
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 154; Not-Contents, 55.1025
|Aberdare, L.||Evans of Hungershall, L.||Maybray-King, L.|
|Adeane, L.||Exeter, M.||Merrivale, L.|
|Airedale, L.||Falkland, V.||Mersey, V.|
|Alexander of Tunis, E.||Ferrers, E.||Middleton, L.|
|Allerton, L.||Feversham, L.||Monck, V.|
|Alport, L.||Fraser of Kilmorack, L.||Mowbray and Stourton, L.|
|Amherst, E[...]||Gage, V.||Newall, L.|
|Amory, V.||Garner, L.||Northchurch, B.|
|Amulree, L.||Gore-Booth, L.||Nugent of Guildford, L.|
|Ashbourne, [...]||Goschen, V.||Ogmore, L.|
|Atholl, D.||Granville of Eye, L.||O'Neill of the Maine, L.|
|Auckland, L.||Greenway, L.||Onslow, E.|
|Avebury, L.||Grenfell, L.||Orr-Ewing, L.|
|Balerno, L.||Gridley, L.||Piercy, L.|
|Balfour, E.||Grimston of Westbury, L.||Platt, L.|
|Balfour of Inchrye, L.||Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L.||Porritt, L.|
|Banks, L.||Rankeillour, L.|
|Barn by, L.||Halsbury, E.||Rathcavan, L.|
|Barrington, V.||Hankey, L.||Redesdale, L.|
|Bathurst, E.||Hanworth, V.||Reigate, L.|
|Belstead, L.||Harcourt, V.||Rochester, Bp. [Teller.]|
|Berkeley, B.||Harmar-Nicholls, L.||Sackville, L.|
|Birdwood, L.||Harvington, L.||St. Aldwyn, E.|
|Boothby, L.||Hawke, L.||St. Davids, V.|
|Brock, L.||Hayter, L.||St. Helens, L.|
|Byers, L.||Henley, L.||Sandford, L.|
|Campbell of Croy, L.||Hill of Luton, L.||Sandys, L.|
|Carrington, L.||Home of the Hirsel, L.||Savile, L.|
|Cathcart, E.||Hood, V.||Sherfield, L.|
|Chorley, L.||Hornsby-Smith, B.||Shinwell, L.|
|Clwyd, L.||Hylton, L.||Snowdon, E.|
|Colville of Culross, V.||Hylton-Foster, B.||Somers, L.|
|Cornwallis, L.||Inchyra, L.||Soper, L.|
|Cottesloe, L.||Inglewood, L.||Stamp, L.|
|Cowley, E.||Kemsley, V.||Stanley of Alderley, L.|
|Crawshaw, L.||Killearn, L.||Strang, L.|
|Croft, L.||Kindersley, L.||Strathclyde, L.|
|Cullen of Ashbourne, L.||Kinnaird, L.||Strathcona and Mount Royal, L|
|Daventry, V.||Kinnoull, E.||Strathspey, L.|
|Davidson, V.||Lauderdale, E.||Stuart of Findhorn, V.|
|de Freyne, L.||Lloyd of Kilgerran, L.||Taylor of Gryfe, L.|
|Denham, L.||London, Bp. [Teller.]||Thomas, L.|
|Devonshire, D.||Long, V.||Tranmire, L.|
|Drumalbyn, L.||Lonsdale, E.||Trevelyan, L.|
|Dundee, E.||Lothian, M.||Vernon, L.|
|Eccles, V.||Loudoun, C.||Vickers, B.|
|Effingham, E.||Lyons of Brighton, L.||Vivian, L.|
|Elles, B.||Macleod of Borve, B.||Ward of North Tyneside, B.|
|Elliot of Harwood, B.||MacLeod of Fuinary, L.||Wigoder, L.|
|Elton, L.||Macpherson of Drumochter, L.||Wolverton, L.|
|Emmet of Amberley, B.||Mancroft, L.||York, Abp.|
|Erskine of Rerrick, L.||Massereene and Ferrard, V.||Young, B.|
|Arwyn, L.||Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L.||Lovell-Davis, L. [Teller.]|
|Aylestone, L.||Elwyn-Jones, L. (L. Chancellor.)||McLeavy, L.|
|Balogh, L.||Fisher of Rednal, B.||Melchett, L.|
|Birk, B.||Gaitskell, B.||Noel-Buxton, L.|
|Blyton, L.||Gardiner, L.||Paget of Northampton, L|
|Brockway, L.||Geddes of Epsom, L.||Pannell, L.|
|Brown, L.||Goronwy-Roberts, L.||Peddie, L.|
|Bruce of Donington, L.||Hale, L.||Popplewell, L.|
|Buckinghamshire, E.||Harris of Greenwich, L.||Raglan, L.|
|Burntwood, L.||Henderson, L.||Sainsbury, L.|
|Burton of Coventry, B.||Hoy, L.||Segal, L.|
|Champion, L.||Jacques, L.||Slater, L.|
|Cole, L.||Kirkhill, L.||Stewart of Alvechurch, B|
|Collison, L.||Leatherland, L.||Strabolgi, L. [Teller.]|
|Cooper of Stockton Heath, L.||Lee of Asheridge, B.||Summerskill, B.|
|Craigavon, V.||Lee of Newton, L.||Winterbottom, L.|
|Crook, L.||Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, B.||Wootton of Abinger, B.|
|Crowther-Hunt, L.||Lloyd of Hampstead, L.||Wynne-Jones, L.|
|Darling of Hillsborough, L.|
On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Resolved in the affirmative, and Amendment agreed to accordingly.
§ Clause 4, as amended, agreed to
§ 4.48 p.m.
§ Clause 25 [Assumptions as to planning permission on or after second appointed day]:
The LORD CHANCELLOR moved Amendment No. 160:
Page 24, line 22, leave out from beginning to ("this").
§ The noble and learned Lord said: It may be for the convenience of the Committee for us to consider together with this Amendment, Amendments Nos. 161, 164, 166 and 169, which are all drafting Amendments. They differ in one respect from the series of Amendments which previously appeared on the Marshalled List, and it may he an advantage if I mention what that difference is before we discuss the substantive part of the Amendments and those standing in the name of the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of London.
§ Since preparing the original Amendments, we have decided, for technical reasons which are completely unconnected with charities, to revert to the original wording in what now appears as the series of preliminary Amendments Nos. 160, 161, 164 and 166. In framing his Amendments Nos. 162 and 165 to Clause 25, the right reverend Prelate has adopted the framework of the original Government Amendments which are now replaced by Amendments Nos. 161 and 164 and has reproduced their terms up to the point where the substantive provisions which he seeks for charities diverge from those of the Government. 1026 He has also added his name to Government Amendments Nos. 160 and 166 in approval of their technical content and without prejudice to the matters which he challenges.
§ Whatever the outcome of our debate on Amendments Nos. 167 and 168, which contain the substantive provisions and which will follow the present drafting exercise, it will save time and trouble at a later stage if the preliminary Amendments are adopted in the form in which the Government have now expressed them. I assure the right reverend Prelate that there is no catch in this. There is nothing up my infidel sleeve. Indeed, had we been able to table the Amendments in this form earlier, I have no doubt that the right reverend Prelate would have followed them in his own series. I therefore invite him, at the appropriate moment, to withdraw his Amendments Nos. 162 and 165 and I invite the Committee to accept the Government's Amendments Nos. 161 and 164 in their stead. As I have said, the substantive Amendments Nos. 167 and 168, which we shall next be debating, will remain completely unaffected and it may be for the convenience of your Lordships if we proceed in this way. Before I sit down, it may also be to the convenience of your Lordships if I mention now Amendment No. 169, which is consequential on this series of preliminary Amendments. I beg to move.
§ The Lord Bishop of LONDON
I am entirely happy about the course which the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor has suggested so far. I confess that I find it exceedingly complicated, and I am very surprised to find myself 1027 linked with the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor and the noble Baroness, Lady Birk, on some of these Amendments, but I understand that some of the points which I am suggesting are acceptable to the Government. Therefore, I am entirely happy about the procedure which the noble and learned Lord suggests.
§ Amendment moved—
Page 24, line 35, leave out from beginning to ("that") in line 21 on page 25 and insert—
("(2) For the purpose of assessing the compensation it shall be assumed—
§ Amendment moved—
Page 25, line 26, leave out from beginning to ("any") in line 27 and insert—
("(3) The assumption in subsection 2(a) above shall not be made as respects development of any class specified in Schedule 1 to this Act or in Schedule 8 to the Act of 1971 or Schedule 6 to the Scottish Act of 1972 (development which is not new development.)
(3A) For the purposes of subsection (2)(a) or (3) above no account shall be taken of—
Page 25, line 31, leave out ("(ii)") and insert ("(b)").—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ 4.53 p.m.
§ The LORD CHANCELLOR moved Amendment No. 167:
Page 25, line 40, at end insert—
("(3B) Where during the whole of the period often years immediately preceding the date as at which compensation is to be assessed—
(3C) The assumption in subsections (2) and (3B) above shall not be made where—
(3D) For the purposes of subsections (3B) and (3C) above, the interest in land shall be treated as owned by a charity at any time if, at that time, the charity—
§ The noble and learned Lord said: We now come to the substantive Amendments Nos. 167 and 168, and it may be convenient to your Lordships to discuss the two Amendments together. Amendment No. 167, which is a Government Amendment, gives effect to the third part of the package of special provisions for charities which were announced by my right honourable friend the Minister on 15th July. This sets out the conditions in which assessment of compensation at prevailing use value will apply after the second appointed day. Amendment No. 168, tabled by the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of London, is on the same point. I address myself first to the Government Amendment. The first thing I wish to say is that its provisions go considerably further than was announced in the Minister's Statement in July, since there is now no requirement that there should be a building on the land in question before it can qualify for assessment of compensation at prevailing use value.
If I may remind your Lordships, "prevailing use value" is the term used to describe a method of valuation, originally conceived in the Planning Act 1947, in which it is assumed that planning permission would be granted for any development by virtue of which the use of the
land would be made to correspond with the use which prevails generally in the land round about. The Government's provisions will remedy the particular problem facing charities where they own land with a very low, or even nil, current use value—like a disused church—and where they would be dependent upon realising the value of such a site in order to finance their continuing activities. The reference in the Amendment to,
land (as distinct from the rents and profits thereof)
is intended to secure that compensation at prevailing use value shall be available only in respect of land which has been in the "operational use" of a charity, as distinct from land held for merely investment purposes; for example, offices leased out for rental income. As to those premises, charities, like everybody else, will receive the value of the land in its current use as offices, together with the value interest in the right to rebuild the offices.
§ The circumstances in which prevailing use value will apply are as follows. For land owned on White Paper day it will apply after the special market value provision has reached the end of its period —that is to say, after 11 years from White Paper day, or after the second appointed day, whichever ends later. For land acquired by charities after White Paper day, the prevailing use value basis will also be available so long as the land has been owned continuously by a charity—any charity—for 10 years from the date it came into its ownership. The importance of this 10-year qualifying period is simply to establish the bona fides of charitable ownership. As I have said, in my view these provisions are substantial and fair. They go beyond what the Minister originally promised, and should be of great value to all charities with interests in land.
§ I turn now to other benefits that Amendment No. 167 will confer. Your Lordships will notice that it is now provided that charities will be enabled, under subsection (3C)(b) of the Amendment, to receive compensation at market value for 11 years—not 10 years as hitherto—or until the second appointed day, whichever may be the later. This was a concession that I undertook to put forward when we discussed this matter on a previous occasion. As your Lordships will know, the 1030 extension of the 10 years, which was originally provided for, to 11 years is to take account of the year which has elapsed since the publication of the White Paper. The new subsection (3D)(b) will also ensure that land shall be treated as owned by a charity on White Paper day where a testator who had made a charitable bequest dies before then but the land had not actually been conveyed to the charity by that date.
§ Taken with the concessions introduced by virtue of the Amendments tabled earlier to Clause 4 of the Bill, these amount to substantial concessions for Churches and other charities. The Amendments that the right reverend Prelate seeks to move would go further. They would remove any distinction between pre- and post-White Paper day land, would perpetuate compensation at market value after the second appointed day, would reduce from 10 years to one year the qualifying period for establishing that charity land is in bona fidecharitable use, and, finally, would ensure that after the second appointed day charities could elect to receive compensation either at market value or prevailing use value, whichever might be the higher, even where compensation to which they might be entitled under any other enactment would be a lesser amount.
§ I have already endeavoured to explain that the Government have drawn a distinction between charity land owned on White Paper day and land acquired by them after that date in full knowledge of what was proposed in the White Paper. They have always stressed that special provisions must be in accordance with the basic purpose of the land scheme. Amendment No. 168 to Clause 25, which will be moved by the right reverend Prelate, is not acceptable for that reason, and I must invite your Lordships to prefer Amendment No. 167, which I beg to move.
§ The Lord Bishop of LONDON
Perhaps I can speak to my Amendment No. 168, as it is applicable. As the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor has pointed out, the purpose is first to ensure that Churches and charities remain entitled to compensation on the basis of market value for their land whether or not that land was acquired by them before or after White Paper day 1031 and irrespective of whether they disposed of that land before or after 10 years or after the second appointed day. In other words, the Amendment prolongs indefinitely the concession which the Government have announced for land which Churches and charities have on White Paper day, and which was to last for 10 years from that day. Secondly, my Amendment would provide that where land has been used wholly or mainly for charitable purposes for at least one year the Church or charity is entitled to compensation on the basis of prevailing use value—that is, the use prevailing on adjacent or contiguous land, be it office or shop use, or whatever it may be—if that basis is better than compensation yielded on other bases: that is, market value or existing use value.
The Amendment tabled by the Government would allow that where land has been in charitable use for at least 10 years they will have this concession, and my Amendment seeks to reduce this to one year on the ground that 10 years is too long and does not meet the case where a piece of land or a building bought by a charity for a particular purpose is then found to be unsuitable for that purpose and has to be got rid of again. One year was the period accepted for the same purpose in the Land Commission Act 1967, which was itself a work of the Labour Government of the day. I do not want to have to divide the House on this matter, and, at any rate, I should like to be able to consider this carefully and move my Amendment at a later stage, but I would ask whether Her Majesty's Government would be prepared to consider some relaxation in this 10-year rule and would try to meet me over the Amendment I am moving, which requires one year.
§ Baroness HORNSBY-SMITH
I should like to support the right reverend Prelate in his Amendment because of the issue raised by the noble Lord, Lord Soper, in a previous debate, when he made the point that charities are pioneering new spheres. I think we have to recognise that time and time again it has been the voluntary effort that has pioneered the new charity or service, which subsequently the Government have felt it necessary to provide themselves. These new charities are not easy to get off 1032 the ground. You get hold of some small premises to start in and then, as the charity becomes better known and as people seek your help—battered wives could be an example, or the unmarried mother—you seek larger headquarters. A charity can develop in its work very quickly, and very soon require new headquarters. The 10-year rule is, to me, far too limiting on premises which could, in a much shorter period, be outgrown. If a charity succeeds and is able to obtain better and larger premises, they would be deprived, because they were only a year or so old, from having the real compensation which would apply under the Lord Chancellor's Amendment, which provides for a 10-year period. If I read my Sunday papers correctly, the Government seem to regard with the greatest disfavour asset-stripping in another context. I think it quite deplorable that they regard it as a virtue when they apply it to charities.
The Earl of BALFOUR
I am sorry to come in rather late, but perhaps I may say a few words. May I please ask the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor to explain to me what would be the position under Amendment No. 167, subsection (3D)(b), if a person dies in 12 years' time and leaves a large chunk of land to a charity or to the Church? I am not quite certain here whether the Church would be under a penalty in that case or whether they would be entitled to the benefit of that person's will in this respect. Even reading the drafting—I have not really had time to study this—I do not quite understand the position there, and I wonder whether that could perhaps be explained to me.
§ Lord SANDFORD
As your Lordships know, the Government have played the Churches along ever since the summer without, until just now, making clear their rather vague undertakings, and it is only now that we see clearly how inadequate and unacceptable the Government's proposals are to the Churches and the charities. There is only a week to go before Prorogation, and I would have thought that, although we are now seeing signs of repentance from the Government, they would be much encouraged along the right lines if the right reverend Prelate were to move and press his Amendments. We have two more stages, and if the Government are willing to come towards him to meet him they will 1033 have their opportunities then. But I would feel much happier if we had Amendment No. 168 made to the Bill as those remaining days tick by.
§ The LORD CHANCELLOR
In relation to the right reverend Prelate's question as to whether any further concession would be made on the 10-year test to qualify as charity land, I am afraid that the answer I have to give is discouraging to him. Quite frankly, the answer is in the negative. As to the question that was raised by the noble Earl, Lord Balfour, who has a genius for detecting the difficult question to answer, especially in the small watches of the night, as I understand it, in the case of the testator who leaves a will bequeathing land to a charity or a Church in 12 years' time, under the terms of the Bill the charity will be deemed to have owned the land from the date when the testator died, and if the charity kept it for 10 years it would attract prevailing use value. If that is not the right question or the answer is
§ not clear, perhaps the noble Earl will speak to me privately and we will have a session on it.
§ The Lord Bishop of LONDON
Can the noble and learned Lord enlighten me about the procedure here? If Amendment No. 167 is carried, does Amendment No. 168 then fall; or am I entitled to move it?
§ The LORD CHANCELLOR
Perhaps we had better see the outcome of the Division on Amendment No. 167. I would apprehend that Amendment No. 168 would fall. From the point of view of the right reverend Prelate, I think that that would be the brutal consequence.
§ 5.11 p.m.
§ On Question, Whether the said Amendment (No. 167) shall be agreed to?
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 60; Not-Contents, 128.1035
|Arwyn, L.||Foot, L.||Pannell, L.|
|Aylestone, L.||Gaitskell, B.||Peddie, L.|
|Balogh, L.||Gardiner, L.||Platt, L.|
|Birk, B.||Goronwy-Roberts, L.||Popplewell, L.|
|Blyton, L.||Hale, L.||Raglan, L.|
|Brockway, L.||Harris of Greenwich, L.||Rusholme, L.|
|Brown, L.||Henderson, L.||Sainsbury, L.|
|Bruce of Donington, L.||Hoy, L.||Shepherd, L. (L. Privy Seal.)|
|Buckinghamshire, E.||Jacques, L. [Teller.]||Shinwell, L.|
|Champion, L.||Kirkhill, L.||Slater, L.|
|Chorley, L.||Leatherland, L.||Stedman, B.|
|Collison, L.||Lee of Newton, L.||Stow Hill, L.|
|Cooper of Stockton Heath, L.||Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, B.||Strabolgi, L. [Teller.]|
|Crook, L.||Lloyd of Hampstead, L.||Summerskill, B.|
|Crowther-Hunt, L.||Lovell-Davis, L.||Taylor, Gryfe, L.|
|Darling of Hillsborough, L.||Lyons of Brighton, L.||Taylor of Mansfield, L.|
|Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L.||MacLeod of Fuinary, L.||Wallace of Coslany, L.|
|Douglas of Barloch, L.||Melchett, L.||Winterbottom, L.|
|Elwyn-Jones, L. (L. Chancellor.)||Noel-Buxton, L.||Wootton of Abinger, B.|
|Fisher of Rednal, B.||Paget of Northampton, L.||Wynne-Jones, L.|
|Aberdare, L.||Berkeley, B.||Drumalbyn, L.|
|Airedale, L.||Byers, L.||Duncan-Sandys, L.|
|Alexander of Tunis, E.||Campbell of Croy, L.||Dundee, E.|
|Allerton, L.||Carrington, L.||Dundonald, E.|
|Amory, V.||Clwyd, L.||Eccles, V.|
|Amulree, L.||Colville of Culross, V.||Ellenborough, L.|
|Atholl, D.||Cork and Orrery, E.||Elles, B.|
|Auckland, L.||Cornwallis, L.||Elliot of Harwood, B.|
|Balerno, L.||Cottesloe, L.||Elton, L.|
|Balfour, E.||Cowley, E. [Teller.]||Emmet of Amberley, B.|
|Balfour of Inchrye, L.||Crawshaw, L.||Exeter, M.|
|Banks, L.||Croft, L.||Falkland, V.|
|Barnby, L.||Cullen of Ashbourne, L.||Ferrers, E.|
|Barrington, V.||Daventry, V.||Gage, V.|
|Bathurst, E.||Davidson, V.||Gainford, L.|
|Beaumont of Whitley, L.||Denham, L.||Geoffrey-Lloyd, L.|
|Belstead, L.||Devonshire, D.||Glenkinglas, L.|
|Gore-Booth, L.||Long, V.||Sackville, L.|
|Goschen, V.||Lonsdale, E.||St. Aldwyn, E.|
|Greenway, L.||Lothian, M.||St. Davids, V.|
|Grenfell, L.||Loudoun, C.||Sandford, L.|
|Gridley, L.||Lucas of Chilworth, L.||Sandy, L.|
|Grimston of Westbury, L.||Macleod of Borve, B.||Savile, L.|
|Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L.||Mancroft, L.||Somers, L.|
|Massereene and Ferrard, V.||Stamp, L.|
|Hankey, L.||Merrivale, L.||Stanley of Alderley, L.|
|Hanworth, V.||Meston, L.||Strang, L.|
|Harcourt, V.||Middleton, L.||Strathcarron, L.|
|Harmar-Nicholls, L.||Monck, V.||Strathclyde, L.|
|Harvington, L.||Montagu of Beaulieu, L.||Strathspey. L.|
|Hayter, L.||Mowbray and Stourton, L. [Teller.]||Stuart of Findhorn, V.|
|Henley, L.||Thomas, L.|
|Home of the Hirsel, L.||Newall. L.||Thorneycroft, L.|
|Hornsby-Smith. B.||Northchurch, B.||Tranmire, L.|
|Hylton-Foster, B.||Nugent of Guildford, L.||Vernon, L.|
|Inglewood, L.||Onslow. E.||Verulam, E.|
|Kemsley, V.||Orr-Ewing, L.||Vickers, B.|
|Killearn, L.||Piercy, L.||Vivian, L.|
|Kindersley, L.||Porritt, L.||Ward of North Tyneside, B.|
|Kinnaird, L.||Rankeillour, L.||Wigoder, L.|
|Kinnoull, E.||Redesdale, L.||Windlesham. L.|
|Lauderdale, E.||Reigate, L.||Wolverton, L.|
|Lloyd of Kilgerran, L.||Ruthven of Freeland, Ly.||Young, B.|
Resolved in the negative, and Amendment disagreed to accordingly.
§ 5.21 p.m.
§ The LORD BISHOP of LONDON
My Lords. I formally move Amendment 168, to which I have already spoken.
§ Amendment moved—
Page 25, line 40, at end insert—
(3A) The assumptions in subsection (2) above shall not be made where at the date mentioned in subsection 1(a) or (b) above, the interest in land is owned by a charity.
(3B) Where during the whole of the period of one year immediately preceding the date as at which compensation is to be assessed—
§ then, for the purposes of assessing the compensation it shall be assumed, if the charity entitled to the compensation so elects, notwithstanding subsection (2)(a) above, that planning permission would be granted for any development by virtue of which the use of the land would be made to correspond with the use which prevails in the case of contiguous or adjacent land.
§ (3C) For the purposes of subsections (3A) and (3B) above the interest in land shall be treated as owned by a charity at any time if, at that time, the charity—
- (a) has or had entered into a binding contract for its acquisition, or
- (b) is or was indefeasibly entitled to it under the terms of a deceased person's will."
§ On Question, Whether the said Amendment (No. 168) shall be agreed to?
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 127; Not-Contents, 59.1037
|Aberdare, L.||Berkeley. B.||Dundonald, E.|
|Airedale, L.||Campbell of Croy, L.||Eccles, V.|
|Alexander of Tunis, E.||Carrington, L.||Ellenborough, L.|
|Allerton, L.||Colville of Culross, V.||Elles, B.|
|Amory, V.||Cork and Orrery, E.||Elliot of Harwood, B.|
|Amulree, L.||Cornwallis. L.||Elton, L.|
|Atholl, D.||Cottesloe. L.||Emmet of Amberley, B|
|Auckland, L.||Cowley, E.||Exeter, M.|
|Balerno, L.||Crawshaw, L.||Falkland, V.|
|Balfour, E.||Croft, L.||Ferrers. E.|
|Balfour of Inchrye, L.||Cullen of Ashbourne, L.||Gage. V.|
|Balniel, L.||Daventry, V.||Gainford, L.|
|Banks, L.||Davidson, V.||Glenkinglass, L.|
|Barnby, L,||Denham, L.||Gore-Booth, L.|
|Barrington, V.||Devonshire, D.||Goschen, V.|
|Bathurst, E.||Drumalbyn, L.||Greenway, L.|
|Beaumont of Whitley, L.||Duncan-Sandys, L.||Grenfell, L.|
|Belstead, L.||Dundee, E.||Gridley, L.|
|Grimston of Westbury, L.||Lothian, M.||St. Davids, V.|
|Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L.||Loudoun, C.||Sandford, L.|
|Lucas of Chilworth, L.||Sandys, L.|
|Hankey, L.||Macleod of Borve, B.||Savile, L.|
|Hanworth, V.||MacLeod of Fuinary, L.||Sempill, Ly.|
|Harcourt, V.||Mancroft, L.||Somers, L.|
|Harmar-Nicholls, L.||Massereene and Ferrard, V.||Stamp, L.|
|Harvington, L.||Merrivale, L.||Stanley of Alderley, L.|
|Hawke, L.||Middleton, L.||Strang, L.|
|Henley, L.||Monck, V.||Strathcarron, L.|
|Home of the Hirsel, L.||Mowbray and Stourton, L. [Teller.]||Strathclyde, L.|
|Hornsby-Smith, B.||Strathspey, L.|
|Hylton-Foster, B.||Newall, L.||Stuart of Findhorn, V.|
|Inglewood, L.||Northchurch, B.||Thomas, L.|
|Kemsley, V.||Nugent of Guildford, L.||Thorneycroft, L.|
|Killearn, L.||O'Hagan, L.||Tranmire, L.|
|Kindersley, L.||Onslow, E.||Vernon, L.|
|Kinnaird, L.||Orr-Ewing, L.||Verulam, E.|
|Kinnoull, E.||Piercy, L.||Vickers, B.|
|Lauderdale, E.||Porritt, L.||Vivian, L.|
|Lloyd, L.||Redesdale, L.||Ward of North Tyneside, B.|
|Lloyd of Kilgerran, L.||Reigate, L.||Wigoder, L.|
|London, Bp. [Teller.]||Ruthven of Freeland, Ly.||Windlesham, L.|
|Long, V.||Sackville, L.||Wolverton, L.|
|Lonsdale, E.||St. Aldwyn, E.||Young, B.|
|Arwyn, L.||Gaitskell, B.||Peddie, L.|
|Aylestone, L.||Gardiner, L.||Popplewell, L.|
|Balogh, L.||Goronwy-Roberts, L.||Raglan, L.|
|Birk, B.||Hale, L.||Rusholme, L.|
|Blyton, L.||Hall, V.||Sainsbury, L.|
|Brockway, L.||Harris of Greenwich, L.||Shepherd, L. (L. Privy Seal.)|
|Brown, L.||Henderson, L.||Shinwell, L.|
|Macleod of Borve, B.||Hoy, L.||Slater, L.|
|Buckinghamshire, E.||Jacques, L. [Teller.]||Stedman, B.|
|Champion, L.||Kirkhill, L.||Stewart of Alvechurch, B.|
|Chorley, L.||Leatherland, L.||Stow Hill, L.|
|Collison, L.||Lee of Newton, L.||Strabolgi, L. [Teller.]|
|Cooper of Stockton Heath, L.||Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, B.||Summerskill, B.|
|Craigavon, V.||Lloyd of Hampstead, L.||Taylor of Gryfe, L.|
|Crook, L.||Lovell-Davis, L.||Taylor of Mansfield, L.|
|Crowther-Hunt, L.||Lyons of Brighton, L.||Wallace of Coslany, L.|
|Darling of Hillsborough, L.||Melchett, L.||Winterbottom, L.|
|Elwyn-Jones, L. (L. Chancellor.)||Noel-Buxton, L.||Wootton of Abinger, B.|
|Fisher of Rednal, B.||Paget of Northampton, L.||Wynne-Jones, L.|
|Foot, L.||Pannell, L.|
On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Resolved in the affirmative, and Amendment agreed to accordingly.
§ 5.30 p.m.
Page 25, line 44, leave out ("(41") and insert ("(2)").—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ The Lord Bishop of LONDON
My Lords, this is a consequential Amendment. I beg to move Amendment 170.
Page 26, line 4, after ("section") insert ("other than subsection (3B) above").—(The Lord Bishop of London.)
§ Clause 25, as amended, agreed to.1038
§ House resumed: Bill reported with the Amendments in respect of Clauses 4 and 25.
§ Then, Standing Order No. 44 having been dispensed with: Report received.
§ 5.32 p.m.
§ Lord SANDFORD
My Lords, in the Marshalled List for this Report stage there are no less than 16 places where I have moved that the clause should be omitted. As that is a rather unusual procedure on Report, I feel that I owe it to your Lordships to offer an explanation and to assure the Government that I do not intend to press any of those Amendments. It is the normal practice, if I may quote from the Companion, that:An Amendment to leave out a clause or a Schedule is not desirable on Report if the purpose underlying the Amendment is to 1039 initiate a general debate, … Such an Amendment is not, however, out of order; it may, indeed, be appropriate when, for instance, a Lord wishes to learn the outcome of an undertaking given in Committee.In the course of the Committee stage of this Bill we were given between 50 and 60 undertakings, and in the course of Friday night, at the last stage for tabling Amendments for incorporation into the Marshalled List, I had observed about a dozen points where Government Amendments seemed to me to have fulfilled undertakings given to reconsider matters which had been raised on this side, and elsewhere in the House. By last night some further undertakings had been met by letters from Ministers to various Members of your Lordships' House who had taken part in the proceedings on Committee stage; but some undertakings are still outstanding, and in any case I think the House as a whole would wish to know the outcome of many of the undertakings given in Committee. That is the purpose of these Amendments of mine.
§ Clause 1 [Definitions]:
Lord MELCHETT moved Amendment No. 1:
Page 2, leave out lines 13 to 27.
§ The noble Lord said: My Lords, in speaking to Amendment No. 1, I have a long series of other Amendments (20 in all) I wish to speak to, and it might be for the convenience of your Lordships if I read out the list of numbers. With Amendment No. 1, I wish to speak to Amendments Nos. 4, 8, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 35, 37, 39, 103, and 193. This series of Amendments will reorganise Part I of the Bill and it might be helpful if I start by making it clear how Part I will read if this series of Amendments is accepted. First, there would be authorities for the purposes of the Bill; Clause 1 would enumerate the authorities and Clause 2 would deal with joint boards. We should then have a series of clauses dealing with interpretation: Clause 3 deals with development land and relevant development; Clause 4 deals with outstanding material interests; Clause 5 deals with statutory undertakers; and Clause 6 deals with other interpretations. Finally, commencement would be dealt with in Clause 7, referring to the appointed days, and so on.1040
§ This reorganisation of the definitions in the Bill has been made as a result of the debate during Committee stage in your Lordships' House. It was felt to be unsatisfactory that some definitions were in the relevant clauses throughout the Bill rather than being gathered together at a central reference point in the Bill. The noble Baroness, Lady Young, stressed the difficulties to a lay person reading the Bill, when Clause 1 was debated at the Committee stage and my noble friend Lady Birk undertook to consult the Parliamentary draftsmen about the regrouping of the definitions. This long series of Amendments has been brought forward as a result of that undertaking, and they merely achieve the regrouping of definitions without altering any of them. I beg to move Amendment No. 1.
§ Baroness YOUNG
My Lords, I should like to thank the noble Lord, Lord Melchett, for his explanation of this sequence of Amendments. I believe it makes simpler the understanding of Part 1. As this was a point raised by us on this side during the Committee stage—that this complicated Bill was then arranged in a somewhat difficult order—we welcome these Amendments, because it now appears to be much simpler and more logical as regards Part 1. Perhaps I might mention just one point here. I wonder whether in the sequence of definitions the one for "development order" has been left out. If I am right, may I ask why this is so?
§ Lord MELCHETT
My Lords, by leave of the House, I am not absolutely certain whether the definition of "development order" is included in the long string of Amendments, but perhaps I can reply more fully to the noble Baroness when I am dealing with a later consequential Amendment.
Lord MELCHETT moved Amendment No. 2:
Page 2, line 29, leave out ("within whose areas the land is situated") and insert ("whose areas include the land").
§ The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 2 and in doing so I should like to speak to a very much shorter list of other Amendments. Again, I think it might be for the convenience 1041 of the House if I read out the list. With Amendment No. 2, I should like to speak to Amendments Nos. 102, 139, 142, 158 and 159. These are all minor drafting Amendments which achieve consistency. I beg to move Amendment No. 2.
§ Baroness YOUNG
My Lords, we have no criticism of these Amendments which, as the noble Lord, Lord Melchett, has said, in fact are consequential and minor drafting Amendments. Am I right in thinking that Amendment No. 139 should in fact read, "Page 32, line 34, leave out ('is situated')", not line 24 as the Amendment says?
§ Lord MELCHETT
My Lords, again with the leave of the House, my understanding is that "24" is correct, but again maybe I could leave it until I come to move No. 139 and deal with the point then.
§ Clause 2 [Joint boards]:
§ 5.42 p.m.
Lord SANDFORD moved Amendment No. 3:
Page 2, line 30, after ("If") insert ("following representations from one or more of the authorities concerned").
§ The noble Lord said: My Lords, the House will remember that when we were debating joint boards under Clause 2 we found a fair amount to disagree about, but I thought that one of the matters about which there was no disagreement was that it would be unthinkable for the Secretary of State to set about establishing a joint board if one or more of the local authorities involved had not first made representations to him. Inasmuch as the Government agreed with that, I should have thought that this Amendment was acceptable to them, and I hope that it is. I beg to move.
The Earl of BALFOUR
My Lords, briefly, I should like very much to support this Amendment, particularly so far as local authorities in Scotland are concerned. May I again remind the House that, of course, regarding the Town and Country Planning Act. Part I and Schedules 1 and 2 were repealed by the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973. I feel that these few words will not in any way change the general meaning of 1042 the Bill but will be of considerable advantage, particularly in any matter dealing with Scotland.
§ Baroness BIRK
My Lords, it is true that the noble Lord, Lord Sandford, on Committee stage, in the debate on the Question, Whether Clause 2 shall stand part of the Bill? drew attention to this point. In replying to him and other noble Lords, I should have thought my noble friend Lord Melchett made it absolutely clear that the Government foresaw that a joint board would be set up only where the authorities concerned, or at least a majority of them, wanted it. At that time the noble Lord, Lord Sandford, was concerned that this should be written into the Bill. However, the provisions of Clause 2 follow those of Section 1 of, and Schedule 1 to, the Town and Country Planning Act 1971 (which in their turn go back to the Town and Country Planning Act 1947) which allow the Secretary of State to set up joint planning boards.
Incidentally, I think the noble Lord, Lord Sandford, was quite wrong when, at col. 1306 of the Official Report, he said that this planning precedent is not applicable to matters of land acquisition. It has been made clear many times in the discussions on this Bill that the Bill is about land acquisition in the context of planning, and local planning authorities therefore have powers of land acquisition under the planning Act which could be exercised by a joint board established under that Act. I am sorry to bore your Lordships—that point has, I know, been made from this side of the House very many times.
The provisions in the planning Act have been in operation for 30 years and have caused no practical problems in operation. If they had done so, I should have thought the Opposition would have used the Local Government Act 1972 in order to make changes and to right anything they felt was wrong in the previous Act. The fact that they did not do so shows. I should have thought, not that they had missed out on this point but that they accepted also that it worked perfectly well. So there appears to be no justification at all for writing in this provision.
Any joint board set up under Clause 2 will certainly—and this is a point to be remembered—be more democratic than 1043 the present two National Park planning boards. This is because the provisions of Clause 2 follow those of the 1971 Act and provide for all members to be appointed by the constituent authorities. However, the Opposition amended these provisions as they apply to National Parks in the Local Government Act 1972, and therefore paragraph 11 of Schedule 17 provides for one-third of the members to be appointed by the Secretary of State. The noble Lord, Lord Sandford, recognised this when it was pointed out to him by my noble friend on 27th October. But it is the presence of members not appointed by local authorities which has caused much of the resentment about the role of the National Park planning boards; and I feel from what he said before, knowing that this is an interest dear to his heart, that Lord Sandford has this very much in mind. This is a trap which Clause 2 of this Bill does not fall into. We consider that the whole question of consultation is very well covered in the clause and that it is quite unnecessary for this provision to be written into the Bill.
§ Lord SANDFORD
My Lords, if I may say so, that was a rather elaborate response; I am grateful for it. My recollection of the Committee stage is that we were all entirely agreed that the Secretary of State would establish these boards only if representations were made to him, if they were wanted. I do not see that it would do any harm to have it in the Bill, but I will not press the matter. We have more important things to discuss. I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 3 [Meaning of relevant development]:
§ Amendment moved—
Page 3, line 30, at beginning insert ("In this Act "development land" means land which, in the opinion of the authority concerned, is needed for relevant development within ten years from the time at which they are acting
Viscount COLVILLE of CULROSS moved Amendment No. 5:
Page 3, line 34, leave out paragraph (b) and insert ("and").
§ The noble Viscount said: My Lords, this Amendment deals with the plot on which somebody wishes to build a single dwelling-house. It has a chequered history, and at the end of the discussion I think the House will have to decide as a matter of principle which is the right thing to do. I will try to explain as simply as possible what has happened, in the certain knowledge that the noble and learned Lord has very kindly written to me and if I were only to read out his letter I should probably get it a good deal more right than I shall by explaining it out of my head. Perhaps I can leave him to do that when he comes to reply.
§ In the White Paper, certain limited exemptions were provided—and I think "exemptions" is the right word—for plots of land owned on White Paper day upon which the owner intended to build a house for himself or a member of his family. Such plots were said to be exempt from this scheme of the whole of this legislation. "Exempt" meant not only that they were to be exempt from the duty after the second appointed day of a local authority to acquire them for the purpose of building the single dwelling-house for the member of the person's family who owned it on White Paper day; they were also to be exempt from the power of the local authority to acquire the plot for that purpose, or so I understand it. Effect was given to this promise in the Bill as it was originally introduced in another place by the very elaborate provisions of what were then Clauses 4 and 5. It was a complicated procedure and involved giving notices and registering the facts within a certain time, and then the exemption, I think, operated.
§ In the course of the lengthy discussions on this Bill it has been decided to reorganise the whole scheme of things. We have now in the text of the Bill, whereas previously it was not, the provisions for exempted development, which are those which appear in Schedule 1, and also provisions for excepted development, which is not the same and to which the powers of compulsory acquisition under Clause 15 will indeed apply. They will not apply to exempted development. The excepted development appears in Clause 3(1)(c.)
§ There is another category, the one which appears in Clause 3(1)(b) —our old friend the single dwelling-house. But it 1045 is no longer the same single dwelling-house as it was when the Bill was introduced. Instead of being a single dwelling-house to be developed on a plot owned by somebody on White Paper day which will be occupied by himself or by a member of his family, it is now to be all single dwelling houses, whenever owned, to be developed and lived in by whomsoever one may think. The result of this change has been that instead of a limited collection of single plots, which everybody was promised in the White Paper would be not only excepted but exempted so that the local authority could not acquire them under this Bill, we have now reached the situation where those plots are now capable of being the subject of compulsory acquisition under this Bill.
§ If the Government wish to legislate by White Paper and then take something like a year, or rather more, before the Bill which finally gives effect to the White Paper becomes an Act of Parliament—and, indeed, quite a long time before the Bill is introduced at all—they must expect people to rely upon their White Paper. Everybody knows that Socialist Governments do this; they did it last time and they are faithfully doing it again. Therefore, people organise their affairs upon the basis that what is in the White Paper is true and accurately represents the intentions of the Government. Accordingly, may I suggest to the House that in this case a considerable number of people relied upon the White Paper and thought to themselves, "This is very good. My plot, which I owned on White Paper day, upon which I intend to build a house for my mother or my daughter is exempted from the scheme of the Bill. No local authority will be able compulsorily to acquire it. If they want to acquire it they will have to do so under some other legislation. I am not part of the scheme of the Bill in respect of my plot". They will be grievously disappointed because the Government have changed their mind, and a year or so after the White Paper was published have reversed that decision. It is true that they have done so in order to be tidy and logical. Nevertheless, they have misled all those who for over a year have been relying on the White Paper. I do not think that this is right.
§ One could do various things about it. One could put back the elaborate procedures in what used to be Clauses 4 and 1046 5. I would not advocate doing so, because it seems to me to be a very complicated and difficult process. Alternatively, one could do what this Amendment and the next Amendment that appears as Amendment No. 15 would do; namely, make all the single dwelling-house plots into exempted development so that they could not be compulsorily acquired under this Bill. That is wider than what is contained in the White Paper. However, in a measure of this kind I should have thought it was not too bad to be a little less restrictive than one originally said one would be.
§ The noble and learned Lord defended the situation in the Bill as it now is when we discussed it during the previous stage of the Bill, by saying that in the case of the compulsory acquisition of a plot for a single dwelling-house it would be a great pity if the local authority had to promote its compulsory purchase order under two different powers, as for the rest of the land under the powers given by the Bill, but as for the single dwelling-house plot under some other powers because it had no powers under the Bill. If I may say so, that would be a very bad argument if it were to be reproduced today. By the original scheme in the Bill where the single dwelling-house plot that was owned on White Paper day and intended to be used to build a house for a member of the family was exempt, that is precisely what the local authority would have had to do then. They would have been unable to acquire that plot under the powers contained in the Bill. Therefore, if it formed part of a larger area of land that they desired to buy for a major housing or industrial development, they would have had to buy it under some other powers, whereas no doubt they could have bought the remainder of the land under the powers contained in the Bill.
§ It is no use saying that it is a bad thing to have to use two different powers in order to bring forward one's compulsory purchase. It was inherent in the Bill that the Government introduced. That seems to me to be more or less conclusive. I have no doubt that it is a matter of choice but I would choose, and I ask the House to agree with me in this, to stick to the promise that was made in the White Paper upon which people have been acting and relying for some 1047 time, even if it means going a little wider than that, rather than do away with the reassurance that was given in the White Paper and go back on the Government's word. I hope that in these two Amendments I have achieved this in a simple way and I beg to move the first one, Amendment No. 5.
The Earl of BALFOUR
May I support this Amendment and draw your Lordships' attention to the wording of paragraph 2 to Schedule 1 on page 51, Perhaps I ought to declare an interest here. It reads:The carrying out, on land which is used for the purposes of agriculture or forestry, of any building or other operations required for the purposes of that use, other than operations for the erection of dwelling-houses …There will be cases where a farmer or, for that matter, anybody else may wish to erect a house for his own use or in connection with farming, that may be miles away. If the Amendment which has been moved by my noble friend Lord Colville of Culross is not accepted, the ordinary house, which we have taken so much trouble to try to protect, will come within the provisions of Clause 15 of the Bill.
I ask your Lordships to consider that there are many occasions when a person may need to build a house either for himself or for a member of his family or perhaps even—I am sure your Lordships will understand this—for an employee who is necessary to that household. Let us suppose that a person who is very well off is disabled and that he wishes to build a house for use by a nurse or a gardener. I feel that this ought to come within the provisions relating to the single dwelling-house. The emphasis is upon the single dwelling-house and I entirely support my noble friend.
§ 5.59 p.m.
§ The LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, as the noble Viscount. Lord Colville of Culross, has indicated, we discussed this matter during the Committee stage of the Bill. He made the point then that to the extent that it does—and I shall submit in a moment that the practical effect is minimal—the Bill detracts from the White Paper exemption providing for the building of a single house for a member of the owner's family on a plot that was owned on White Paper 1048 day. I venture to suggest that the practical effect of departing to the extent that the Bill does from that position during the interim period must indeed be minimal. Whether or not that be so, my first submission to the House, as indeed the noble Viscount has indicated, is that the exemption which he proposes by his Amendment No. 15 goes far beyond anything that was promised in the White Paper. As he has indicated, this was confined to a house for occupation by the owner of the land or by a member of his family. The proposed Amendment would remove entirely from the acquisition power development consisting of a single dwelling-house and although authorities will not normally be expected to acquire land for such development there might be circumstances in which it would be right for them to do so.
Even more important, inclusion of the building of a single house within Schedule 1 also has valuation implications, since by virtue of Clause 25(3) development within Schedule 1 is included within current use value after the second appointed day. The consequences of bringing single plot development exemption within current use value are considerable and not calculable. It could lead to landowners trying to break their land holdings up into single plots for dwelling-houses to get the value of the right to build a single house added to current use value. That would be unacceptable for a number of reasons.
Secondly, as the Bill now stands the intention is to treat virtually all the exemptions from the land scheme set out in paragraphs 34 and 35 of the White Paper by including them within "excepted development". The only exception to that is agricultural development, which is essentially different from the other categories in that it is the current use of most land. That has been generally accepted both by outside bodies and in another place and we see no reason to depart from this general approach in the case of building a single house for a relative. The only reason why this exemption was previously included in the Bill was because this was the only way to achieve statutory exemption before the creation of "excepted development" and we do not see that the change is significant from the point of view of this 1049 category of development since the Secretary of State would clearly be prepared to confirm a compulsory purchase order only if there was some quite exceptional circumstance justifying it. Indeed at present it is impossible to envisage any such circumstance in relation to the circumstances described in paragraphs 34 and 35 of the White Paper.
A further observation that might be relevant is that if the plot is going to be acquired anyway, would the owner care greatly whether it was under the powers of the Bill or some other power? Since the development is "excepted development", the procedure would be the same in both cases. Under the Bill as originally drafted, the authority could have acquired the plot under the Bill's powers so long as it was not to build a house for the owner or his relative and that limited class. I hope that in the circumstances of what I have endeavoured to give by way of explanation of this highly technical matter the noble Lord will feel disposed not to press his Amendment.
§ The Earl of KINNOULL
My Lords, I wonder whether the noble and learned Lord could answer one point raised on this Amendment? I think he said that the White Paper exempted only the owner of the plot or a member of his family and that my noble friend was wrong to have said that the single dwelling-house now in the Bill was in fact what was covered in the White Paper.
§ The Earl of KINNOULL
My Lords, I am grateful for that, but would the noble and learned Lord not agree that it was the Government who changed the whole basis of the single plot? Coming to the point of compensation which the noble and learned Lord made, I think he referred us to Clause 25(3) and I believe he said that this would change the basis of the valuation from existing use to, I presume, market value. Could the noble and learned Lord confirm that point?
§ The LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, I can of course only speak again at Report stage by leave of the House. If I may say so, perhaps it would be fitting that I should remind noble Lords that we 1050 are at the Report stage and if we are to get on we must avoid the temptations of treating it as a Committee stage procedure.
I have endeavoured to explain that the inclusion of the building of a single house within Schedule 1 has valuation implications, since by reason of Clause 25(3) development within Schedule 1 is included within current use value after the second appointed day, and one of the consequences of bringing the single plot development exemption within current use value may be, as I have indicated, that it might lead landowners to break up their land holdings into single plots for dwelling-houses so that in addition to getting current use value they could get the value of the right to build a single house on the plot as an added factor. This is what I am told and I verily believe it to be true.
Viscount COLVILLE of CULROSS
My Lords, the noble and learned Lord has been verily misled by the procedure on recommitment this afternoon, and references that he made to Clause 25(3) ought, according to one view of the Bill —that is, the text that we have in front of us—to be to Clause 25(4)(b) or, according to another view of the Bill whereby we have inserted Amendment No. 168, to subsection (6) or (7). The difficulty of course is that we have not got a final text. Nevertheless, I take the point and I suggest to the noble and learned Lord that in order to get over that we should adopt the technique which is often used and which has been used in Schedule 8 to the Town and Country Planning Act where we are talking about compensation, and break up Schedule 1 to this Bill into two parts. I will then move a consequential Amendment (if I can find the right place) whereby we do not take account of my paragraph 4 of Schedule 1 for the purposes of compensation, but we deal with it only for the purposes of exempted development and compulsory purchase. I do not think there is any practical difficulty about doing that and that will meet the point on compulsory purchase made by the noble and learned Lord.
I think the noble and learned Lord made two points of substance. The second point that he mentioned was that the Secretary of State will be very chary about confirming the compulsory 1051 purchase order on the sort of plot which used to be covered by the old Clauses 4 and 5 and which was exempted under the White Paper. That is good for us to know, but I am very much afraid that a person who happens to be in the category originally exempted altogether from the scheme of the Bill will not have followed the somewhat mercurial course that this Bill has taken through Parliament. After all, these are bound to be people with small amounts of land and they are the sort of people who often deal with compulsory purchase orders themselves. They do not necessarily have advice. They may know that they were exempted in the White Paper. If they happen to look at the terms of the Bill they will find that their exemption has disappeared. They will not know that the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor on Report stage in the House of Lords made a pronouncement about what the Secretary of State would be likely to do on a compulsory purchase order. Therefore they may throw up their hands in despair and never take the point at all.
For this reason, among others, I would suggest to the House that it would be much better if we were to put this provision into the Bill. Then it is in an Act of Parliament which is, after all, the law of the land which applies to everybody. It is not an administrative concession which is contained in a speech
§ of a Minister, however sincere and however accurate it may be, made in one House of Parliament and which is available only to those who read Hansardor who happen to see it reported in a newspaper if it is so reported. That is not a satisfactory way of dealing with these things. It is much better if it is in the Bill.
§ The other point is this—and this is the first point of substance made by the noble and learned Lord. He said that my Amendment would have a minimal practical effect. That may be so. Why, then, was it the subject of Clauses 4 and 5 in the legislation as originally introduced? What was the point of the Government making the promise in the White Paper, and then introducing it in the legislation when it came before Parliament, if the effect is of minimal practical importance. It must have been sufficiently important to warrant a promise, and to warrant a complicated procedure. Why now is it dismissed as being something we need not trouble about? I am not satisfied about that. I consider it would have been much better if we made this plain on the face of the Statute. As to the compensation point, I will see whether I can deal with that later.
§ 6.14 p.m.
§ On Question, Whether the said Amendment (No. 5) shall be agreed to?
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 118 Not-Contents, 50.1053
|Aberdare, L.||Cowley, E.||Goschen, V.|
|Alexander of Tunis, E.||Crawshaw, L.||Gowrie, E.|
|Allerton, L.||Croft, L.||Grenfell, L.|
|Amherst of Hackney, L.||Cross, V.||Gridley, L.|
|Amory, V.||Cullen of Ashbourne, L.||Grimston of Westbury, L.|
|Amulree, L.||Daventry, V.||Hanworth, V.|
|Arran, E.||Davidson, V.||Harmar-Nicholls, L.|
|Balerno, L.||Denham, L.||Hawke, L.|
|Balfour. E. [Teller.]||Devonshire, D.||Henley, L.|
|Balniel, L.||Drumalbyn, L.||Home of the Hirsel, L.|
|Banks, L.||Dundonald, E.||Hornsby-Smith, B.|
|Barnby, L.||Eccles, V.||Hylton-Foster, B.|
|Barrington, V.||Ellenborough, L.||Kemsley, V.|
|Bathurst, E.||Elles, B.||Killearn, L.|
|Belstead, L.||Elliot of Harwood, B.||Kindersley, E.|
|Berkeley, B.||Elton, L.||Kinnoull, E.|
|Brecon, L.||Emmet of Amberley, B.||Lauderdale, E.|
|Brougham and Vaux, L.||Exeter, M.||Lloyd of Kilgerran, L.|
|Campbell of Croy, L.||Falkland. V.||Long, V.|
|Carrington, L.||Ferrers, E.||Lonsdale, E.|
|Clifford of Chudleigh, L.||Foot, L.||Loudoun, C.|
|Colville of Culross, V. [Teller.]||Gage, V.||Lucas of Chilworth, L.|
|Cork and Orrery, E.||Gainford. L.||Luke, L.|
|Cornwallis, L.||Glenkinglas, L.||Macleod of Borve, B.|
|Cottesloe, L.||Gore-Booth, L.||Mancroft L.|
|Mansfield, E.||Orr-Ewing, L.||Strang, L.|
|Marlborough, D.||Pender, L.||Strathcarron, L.|
|Massereene and Ferrard, V.||Platt, L.||Stuart of Findhorn, V.|
|Merrivale, L.||Rankeillour, L.||Tranmire, L.|
|Meston, L.||Redesdale, L.||Trefgarne, L.|
|Middleton, L.||St. Aldwyn, E.||Vernon, L.|
|Monck, V.||St. Davids, V.||Verulam, E.|
|Mowbray and Stourton, L.||Salisbury, M.||Vivian, L.|
|Newall, L.||Sandford, L.||Ward of North Tyneside, B.|
|Northchurch, B.||Sandys, L.||Wigoder, L.|
|Nugent of Guildford, L.||Savile, L.||Windlesham, L.|
|Nunburnholme, L.||Sempill, Ly.||Wolverton, L.|
|O'Hagan, L.||Somers, L.||Worcester, Bp.|
|O'Neill of the Maine, L.||Stanley of Alderley, L.||Young, B.|
|Arwyn, L.||Gaitskell, B.||Pannell, L.|
|Balogh, L.||Gardiner, L.||Popplewell, L.|
|Birk, B.||Hall, V.||Raglan, L.|
|Blyton, L.||Harris of Greenwich, L.||Rhodes, L.|
|Brockway, L.||Houghton of Sowerby, L.||Rusholme, L.|
|Brown, L.||Hoy, L.||Shepherd, L. (L. Privy Seal)|
|Buckinghamshire, E.||Jacques, L.||Shinwell, L.|
|Champion, L.||Janner, L.||Slater, L.|
|Collison, L.||Leatherland, L.||Stedman, B.|
|Cooper of Stockton Heath, L.||Lee of Newton, L.||Stewart of Alvechurch, B.|
|Crook, L.||Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, B.||Stow Hill, L.|
|Crowther-Hunt, L.||Lloyd of Hampstead, L.||Strabolgi, L. [Teller.]|
|Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L.||Lovell-Davis, L.||Taylor of Mansfield, L.|
|Douglas of Barloch, L.||Lyons of Brighton, L.||Windlesham, L.|
|Elwyn-Jones, L. (L. Chancellor.)||Melchett, L.||Winterbottom, L. [Teller.]|
|Fisher of Rendal, B.||Milner of Leeds, L.||Wootton of Abinger, B.|
|Fulton, L.||Paget of Northampton, L.||Wynne-Jones, L.|
On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Resolved in the affirmative, and Amendment agreed to accordingly.
§ 6.20 p.m.
§ The Earl of BALFOUR moved Amendment No. 6:
Page 3, line 35, at end insert—
("( ) development consisting of the replacement or alteration of an existing building where there has been no change in the ownership of the land.")
The noble Earl said: My Lords, I should like to include as an excepted development in Clause 3 a,
development consisting of the replacement or alteration of an existing building"—
I have tidied this up—
where there is no change in the ownership of the land.
Buildings do wear out. I have in mind three particular categories. I am thinking of a case where somebody has in his possession a house which is sub-standard and wishes to develop it, or perhaps even rebuild it if it cannot satisfactorily be brought up to the proper building standards. Also, there is the very important case where industry is developing and may need to rebuild completely part of its works. It does not involve a change in the ownership of the land. I feel that it is
something that should be excepted from relevant development within the meaning of Clause 3. I beg to move.
§ Lord MELCHETT
My Lords, there is no dispute over whether or not rebuilding or alteration coupled with an element of extension should fall within the category of excepted development. Annexe A in the Paper on The Scope of the Community Land Scheme made it clear that the Government's intentions cover re-building or alteration with an extension of up to a 10 per cent. increase in floor space. So, as I understand it, the only dispute between the Government and the noble Earl is in the mechanics of achieving this. This Amendment would write the exception into the Bill. I regret to say that we cannot accept this, because this is a matter that the Bill, with the special exception of the building of a single house, leaves entirely to regulations.
This use of regulations is justified on two grounds. First, regulations are more flexible, and, as my noble friend Lady Birk explained at Second Reading in October, make it possible for detailed definitions to be drawn up in consultation with interested parties. I think there were several points in the Committee stage when 1055 we saw the importance of consultations on the categories of excepted development, and when we saw that there was still a certain amount left for further discussion. If a lot of independent propositions are written into the Bill, they may overlap or clash. It is much more satisfactory, in our view, to look at the whole field of development and attempt to draft general classes to be included in the regulations. The results can then again be discussed with interested bodies before Parliament is asked to approve the regulations.
Secondly, putting some things in the Bill and others in regulations means that interested persons would have to look in two places, the Bill and the regulations, to find everything that is excepted. It is much simpler for them to look in one place, the regulations, for all the categories of excepted development. In view of the fact that we have accepted that there should be a 10 per cent. increase in floor space allowable on rebuilding or re-development, and in view of what I have said about the importance of leaving this to regulations so that consultations may take place, I hope that the noble Earl will withdraw his Amendment.
The Earl of BALFOUR
My Lords, I am sure there will be many people who will be grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Melchett, for having answered this; at least we have some record in Hansardto this effect. I must say that it still leaves very much open what will eventually appear in the regulations. I am not altogether happy. I trust that this will be provided for, as the noble Lord says, and even allow for a 10 per cent. extension to the building. The problem is that very often you have something like a sub-standard kitchen or bathroom which may involve an extension, in the case of a single dwelling-house, to a far greater extent than that. May I remind noble Lords that if industry is not expanding, time alone is leaving it behind. I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ 6.23 p.m.
§ The Earl of BALFOUR moved Amendment No. 7:
Page 3, line 35, at end insert—
("( ) development for the erection or alteration of any building, which when erected or altered would be eligible for a fifty per
or more reduction in rates under sections 39 or 40 of the General Rate Act 1967, or in Scotland, sections 22 and 23 of the Valuation and Rating (Scotland) Act 1956.")
§ The noble Earl said: My Lords, this Amendment is on an entirely different point. What I was thinking of in this case was the building of churches, the building of village halls, the erection of buildings to be used for general recreation or educational purposes, which, when erected or altered, would be eligible for a 50 per cent. or more reduction in rates under the relevant rating Acts. I am sure that where a building would be eligible for as great a reduction as 50 per cent. or more of rates—which, after all, is the local authorities'income—we should give it the benefit of being an exempted development within the provisions of this Bill. The sort of case I am thinking of is the building which is erected entirely for the benefit of the community, and which, if it were to be taxed to a great extent under any provisions, would probably not be built at all.
§ As noble Lords who are members of the Government have said on more than one occasion, this Bill is designed to be of benefit to the community. The buildings with which I am concerned are very definitely for the benefit of the community and not something out of which any profits can be made. I moved a similar Amendment at Committee stage, but I drafted it incorrectly; I had not allowed for the 50 per cent. or more reduction in rate able value. I beg to move.
§ Lord SLATER
My Lords, there is one thing that can be said; that is, that the noble Earl is not consistent. I was interested in his observations in regard to community halls. In areas like mine we had the closing down of mines. We had welfare halls which are now turned into community centres and have become the responsibility of local authorities. They work under management committees set up to raise the finance to keep these places going, and to give accommodation to the young people of the area who have nowhere else to go. If these places have to be kept up, if they have to receive grants afforded to them by the local authorities, then those authorities must receive rate poundage from somewhere.
The people who use the premises, opera societies and musical festivals and one 1057 thing and another—I do not know whether the noble Earl has seen this in his own area up in Scotland, but it is the case in my county of Durham—are doing a good job of work, but somebody has to carry the responsibility and find the money to keep them going. They need caretakers who have to be paid a wage. They receive grants through local authorities towards meeting their initial expenses, so as to keep these places open. Therefore, we must come down on the side of the local authorities in regard to this matter, because rate poundage has to be imposed upon a local welfare hall, or even a cricket ground or sports centre in the villages. I have much sympathy with the case presented by the noble Earl, knowing the full facts about how these places have to be kept going, but they can be kept going only by the good will of local authorities and other people who are prepared to assist them.
§ 6.30 p.m.
§ Baroness BIRK
My Lords, as the noble Earl pointed out, he moved a similar Amendment in Committee, and at that time my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor explained that the Amendment was unacceptable as it went far beyond the special provisions already announced for Churches and charities, and because effectively it would make special provision for the very large number of organisations coming under Sections 39 and 40 of the General Rate Act. On this particular point I echo the words of my noble friend Lord Slater, who showed the same sympathy I have for the motivation behind the Amendment, but I think also made an extremely valid point.
The noble Earl indicated that he intended to return to the matter on Report and would limit the number of organisations for whom he sought benefits. But in fact it has not quite worked out that way. As the Amendment is worded it could still include any of the bodies described in Section 40(5), as they may be entitled to an unlimited discretionary reduction in rates, so his Amendment would not make that matter sufficiently exclusive. In any case, the Amendment is certainly unacceptable even if limited only to the bodies listed in Section 39 and Section 40(1)(a) and (b.) as it is not 1058 the intention of the Government, as has been made clear, that any development carried out by a Church or a charity at any time shall not be held to be relevant development.
The Government have been quite prepared to give special treatment to land in respect of which Churches and charities had entered into commitments for development before they had any knowledge of the land scheme, but have made it quite clear that they would not be prepared to prejudice the operation of the scheme by excluding permanently from relevant development all developments carried out at any time not only by Churches and charities but also by any of the other organisations, and in that I include the village halls and places for general recreational purposes which the noble Earl mentioned when he moved his Amendment. The special provisions which are already included in the Bill, and which have been described so many times, together with those tabled for addition to Clause 25, ought, I feel, to be quite sufficient to enable charities to carry on their work effectively when the land scheme is in operation. Therefore, I cannot accept the noble Earl's Amendment, and hope that he will withdraw it.
The Earl of BALFOUR
My Lords, I think that I must have the final say here, to establish that my concern was for the erection or alteration of very special buildings. They are non-profit-making, and they were for recreational or educational purposes. I am sorry that the Government feel that this sort of thing ought to be left entirely in the hands of the local authorities, being taken out of the hands of those who, on their own, wish to make this effort to provide something for the community. If that is their wish, then it is regrettable. However, I think I must leave the matter there. I warn the Government and everybody concerned with the Bill that the very fact that the Government are taking things away from private individuals and putting them in the hands of an authority which, in so many cases, can be cold and unfeeling, is something about which I have considerable regret. Having said that, I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.1059
Lord MELCHETT moved Amendment No. 8:
Page 3, line 38, leave out ("(1)") and insert ("(1A)").
§ The noble Lord said: My Lords, I spoke to this Amendment with Amendment No. 1. This might be a convenient moment for me to answer the question put to me by the noble Baroness, Lady Young, when I spoke to Amendment No. 1. She asked me about the definition of "development order". As I understand it, the definition of "development order" has not been removed, and it remains in Clause 4 on page 4 at lines 32 to 34. I hope that that answers the question she put to me. I beg to move.
§ 6.36 p.m.
§ Earl FERRERS moved Amendment No. 9:
Page 4, line 3, at end insert—
("(4) For the avoidance of doubt, it is hereby declared that for the purposes of this section and any regulations made under the provisions of this Act, the term "exempt development" means development referred to in Schedule 1 of this Act and the term "excepted development" means development referred to in subsections (1)(b) and (c) of section 3.")
§ The noble Earl said: My Lords, this Amendment and Amendment No. 22 go together. The noble Baroness will be glad to know that these are helpful Amendments, or supposed to be. One of the criticisms of this Bill has been that it is so terribly complicated to understand. Indeed, we made this criticism on a number of occasions at Committee stage, and I am glad to see that the first thing that the Government did was to introduce Amendment No. 1 to reorganise the definitions because they were so complicated. This Amendment helps the ease of understanding.
We have in the Bill a number of expressions: "development"; "development land"; "development orders"; "development plans"; "relevant development"; "excepted development"; "exempt development". They can tie you up in knots. "Excepted development" and "exempt development "are so similar that they are extremely confusing to simpletons like myself, and indeed to other people. Even the noble Lord, Lord Melchett, got us tied up a little when he said:
We have made it perfectly clear that we should not expect local authorities to involve themselves in excepted development except in exceptional circumstances.
Even that modest phrase takes some five minutes to understand. I do not blame the noble Lord, because I have heard that kind of complication when we have been discussing the Bill outside the Chamber. The whole basis of the Bill rests on "relevant development", "excepted development" and "exempt development". But it is very complicated when you say, "What is excepted development and what is exempt development", and they are defined nowhere.
§ "Exempt development" is not defined anywhere other than Schedule 1, and then it is not a definition: it is merely a statement of fact. It says: "Schedule 1, Exempt Development". "Excepted development" is not defined at all, other than, we are told, in regulations which have not yet been formulated other than the curious document Annex A. Apparently, "excepted development" is defined there, but where is Annex A? Your Lordships might like to know that you can get it in the Printed Paper Office, but how anyone outside the House knows where to get such an Annex A I do not know. Maybe they should get it from the Department of the Environment, but they are not to know that it is available. Further to complicate it, Clause 3(1) defines "relevant development" as "any development except—" various things, but what it excepts is "exempt development" as well as "excepted development".
§ I have put down these Amendments in order to try to write into the Bill what is "excepted development" and what is "exempt development", so that we all know what we are talking about—at least in some measure. I hope that the noble Baroness will find that this is a constructive Amendment, and that she will have no hesitation in accepting it. I beg to move.
§ Baroness BIRK
My Lords, I hope the noble Earl will not describe himself as a simpleton; even if he were to do so I am sure that noble Lords would not agree with him. I thought that at one point, as he was reciting some of the words in the Bill, he was about to break into song and I am tempted to feel that now, on Report, we have the same cast, 1061 almost the same script and the same scenario. I am sure that the noble Earl meant this to be a helpful Amendment—two Amendments in fact because with the leave of the House I will address my remarks at the same time to Amendment No. 22. Amendment No. 9 is, as the noble Earl explained, intended as an avoidance of doubt provision, explaining the terms that are used, while Amendment No. 22 defines the development referred to in Clause 3(1)(b) and (c). Frankly, I think the result of these Amendments would be to cause almost total confusion because they would bring into the Bill terms which have been designed for administrative convenience but which, except for the title of Schedule 1—"Exempt development"—are not used in the Bill. In any case, I imagine that these Amendments are in the nature of a kite being flown, because if the approach were serious there would obviously have to be a number of consequential Amendments, and they have not been tabled.
Leaving aside the defects, which are a minor point, I cannot see that the Amendment would help by redrafting the Bill in this way. I am far from calling myself an expert on this subject, though day-by-day I learn more, but even to me Schedule 1 explains the position clearly. I was re-reading it while the noble Earl was speaking and it explains quite clearly what the position is. If, after reading that, we go on to Clause 3(1), we see, as the noble Earl pointed out, the reference to "relevant development" and the use of the phrase "development of any class"—and in Committee we went into why the single dwelling house has been included—and then we go on to read in subsection (1)(c):…development of such class or classes as may be prescribed by the Secretary of State by regulations".Frankly, this makes it extremely clear and there seems to be little gained from adding more words to the Bill. If there is a problem, other than that in the mind of the noble Earl, this will readily be resolved when the regulations under Clause 3(1)(c) are made. There will, of course, be explanatory publicity issued by the Government and I cannot see the ordinary members of the public being concerned, even if I were to push Annex A under their noses. I do not 1062 think they will want to find Annex A. What they will want to know is how this will affect them, and even definitions further spelt out of, for example, "except" and "exempt" would not get the ordinary person very much further. They would need a far wider and far more simplified explanation than is to be found in any piece of legislation. Thus, although I accept the helpful intention behind the Amendment, I must ask the noble Earl to withdraw it.
§ The Earl of KINNOULL
My Lords, I support my noble friend Lord Ferrers because although the noble Baroness, Lady Birk, said that these proceedings reminded her of the same cast and the same scenario, this discussion proves that the players in this scene have still not mastered the plot. What my noble friend said in a pleasant and cavalier manner masked a serious point. The definition of this excepted development is not in the Bill. It is a major concession that the Government have made halfway through the Bill's passage through Parliament. It affects an enormous number of people; it affects every small builder, every industrialist up to 15,000 sq. ft. if he wishes to develop and it affects individuals, yet nowhere do we see this very special part of the Bill mentioned. The noble Baroness said—or I understood her to say—that she did not think that anybody who wished to examine this part of the Bill would be interested in Annex A. I think that people will be tremendously interested in it.
§ Baroness BIRK
My Lords, the noble Earl must have misunderstood me because I did not say that. I referred to the ordinary person or member of the public. I did not refer to anybody especially interested in the Bill. Anybody who is particularly interested in the Bill —or the Act as it will be—will, of course, be interested in that. I was making the point that when they had read that, they would find it sufficiently explanatory. I said that the ordinary person who wanted to know the effect of this legislation on him would not find the spelling out of this provision helpful because it would still be very technical.
§ The Earl of KINNOULL
My Lords, the noble Baroness is quite right because it is technical. Nevertheless, to the ordinary person Annex A covers man 1063 subjects in which ordinary people are interested. It covers recreational buildings, small buildings, including churches and meeting halls and—this is made clear in Annex A—a wide range of extensions to buildings of all types. The noble Baroness is being rather unkind to the ordinary person. I speak as an ordinary person and I am interested in Annex A. I therefore ask why Annex A is not in the Bill. What effect does Annex A really have? It is not law and we are told that there will be regulations, but we are not told when the regulations will be published. My noble friend has raised a very serious point and I hope that he will consider most seriously what the noble Baroness has said.
My Lords, I am bitterly disappointed in the noble Baroness's reply, because I thought she would be bound to accept the Amendment. Indeed, I tried hard to word it so that she would accept it, but I thought that possibly her advisers would say that this would be a most intolerable intrusion into the Bill and that, for that reason, the noble Baroness should not accept it. My noble friend Lord Kinnoull said it all went to show that the players had not yet mastered the plot. I tried hard to see how that could possibly be a compliment to myself, but I can only take it as being the greatest insult possible, which is of course absolutely justified, and it was in order to try to master the plot that I tabled this Amendment.
The noble Baroness really let the cat out of the bag when she said that the terms "exempt development" and "excepted development" were designed for administrative reasons. That is exactly the trouble. They are designed for administrative reasons and this is our complaint about the whole Bill; it is so designed for administrative reasons that the average person reading it cannot grasp what it is always all about. However, this is not a point over which I would ask your Lordships to take any exercise, either mental or physical, and I therefore beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ 6.48 p.m.
§ On Question, Whether Clause 3, as amended, shall stand part of the Bill?1064
§ Lord SANDFORD
My Lords, three undertakings were given on Clause 10. One—as reported at col. 1345 of Hansard—was given to my noble friend Lady Young about the length of leases for redevelopment by pension funds, which my noble friend does not wish to pursue at the moment. Another was given to my noble friend Lord Balfour and my noble friend Lord Colville of Culross affecting compensation, which my noble friend Lord Balfour intends to raise again on Amendment No. 172 to Clause 27, and I hope it is helpful for the Government to have that notice. The third we were discussing in the course of our debates on Amendment No. 5, so there is no need for me to move Amendment No. 10, which was to leave out Clause 3.
§ Clause 3, as amended, agreed to.
§ 6.49 p.m.
§ Schedule 1 [Exempt development]:
Lord MELCHETT moved Amendment No. 11:
Page 51, line 4, after ("permission") insert ("(a)").
§ The noble Lord said: My Lords, I will, with the permission of the House, speak at the same time to Amendments Nos. 12 and 13. In Committee—as reported in Hansard at col. 1394 for 21st October—the noble Lord, Lord Sandford, raised the question whether Schedule 1(1) as drafted covered the case of development which would normally be permitted under a general development order where, for special reasons, an Article 4 direction had been made requiring expressed planning permission to be applied for in respect of that development, indeed, I think the noble Lord also raised the point at another stage in the Committee proceedings. I have since looked at the point. It was always intended that, in such cases, the development should remain within exempt development but the present drafting does not achieve that. The noble Lord has raised an important point. I am very grateful to him for drawing our attention to this. These three Amendments remedy the defect to which he has drawn attention.
§ Lord SANDFORD
My Lords, I am very grateful to the noble Lord for having dealt with this, because I believe 1065 that it was not fully covered before. That having been achieved, I do not feel I have anything else to raise on Schedule 1.
§ Amendment moved—
Page 51, line 5, after ("force") insert—
(b) would be so granted but for a direction given under the order.")—(Lord Melchett.)
Page 51, line 7, after ("is") insert ("or would be")—(Lord Melchett.)
§ 6.53 p.m.
Viscount COLVILLE of CULROSS moved Amendment No. 14:
Page 51, line 8, at beginning insert ("in addition to any development falling within paragraph 1 above,").
§ The noble Viscount said: My Lords, I suspect that the noble Lord, Lord Melchett, will be replying to this Amendment and I feel I should perhaps offer him an apology for a point which I have just found in looking back through our debates in Committee and which relates to my new friend, Section 132 of the Town and Country Planning Act. I am grateful to him for introducing me to that strange piece of the Statute, which I had not previously come upon. I am sorry that I had to leave the Chamber before I had an opportunity of saying so on the occasion in question.
§ In relation to the present Amendment, I believe that there is on both sides of the House an agreement that a slightly curious overlap occurs. The provision of paragraphs 1 and 2 of the Schedule have been cobbled together from different sources. The first derives from the general development order which deals, in this case, with what is demed to have been granted planning permission under Part III of the 1971 Act, but paragraph 2 comes from somewhere else and the difficulty about it is that the two paragraphs 1066 deal to some extent with the same territory.
§ As we heard in Committee, under the general development order, planning permission is deemed to have been granted and, therefore, for the purposes of this Schedule, this is exempted development and can be taken into account for the purposes of compensation. One sort of agricultural development concerns agricultural buildings up to what used to be 5,000 square feet and what is now 4,465 square metres, though these are subject to other conditions as well. However, under paragraph 2 of the Schedule, we have agricultural buildings of unlimited size also exempted and allowed to be taken into account for the purposes of compensation.
§ I am moving the Amendment for two purposes. The text of the Amendment makes it clear that, for both purposes to which Schedule 1 relates one should take the larger of the two into account. I am sure that that is what is intended, in which case I suggest that, as we are combining two sets of words which have different derivations, it is as well to say so. I would add that, if by any chance the Government are minded, when the Bill goes back to another place, to suggest that the Amendment which we made at this point last time should be reversed, we shall then have a situation under which horticulture will be dealt with specially and there will be a special restriction on horticultural buildings under paragraph 2 which will not apply under paragraph 1. Therefore, at the point where the Amendment has been put down it will be necessary to say which of the two paragraphs is to prevail.
§ I know that the noble Lord, Lord Melchett, told me last time that there was an overlap in the Bill as drafted when it was before us in Committee, and I believe that he will have to put words into the Bill at his point in order to tell people, for the purposes of compensation and of deciding what is exempted development, whether paragraph 1 or paragraph 2 prevails. Here it is a comparatively simple matter. In the hypothetical circumstances which I suggested in the second part of my remarks, I believe that it will be more important if it should ever occur. I therefore ask the noble Lord to look at this once more, so that we may avoid a lot of trouble and 1067 litigation in order to decide what the Bill is supposed to mean. However, for the purposes of this Amendment, I believe that it is sufficient that these words should go into the Bill. I beg to move.
§ Lord MELCHETT
My Lords, I am grateful for what the noble Viscount said about the obscure section of the Town and Country Planning Act. In relation to the Amendment, it was always clear that the carrying out of building ancillary to agriculture or forestry was partly covered by the general development order exemption contained in paragraph 1. My advice is that the Amendment adds nothing of substance to the Bill and that it is unnecessary as a clarification. I am further advised that, while it is not for me to pre-empt what another place may decide to do with the Bill when we send it back, even if horticulture were to be put back in the Bill in the other place, the words would still not be necessary. The exception would cover only paragraph 2 and not paragraph 1. However, I believe that, so far as the second point is concerned, it is something which we ought to leave to the other place. If they feel that additional words are necessary when they look at the Amendments which have been made, that is a matter for them. But my advice is that, as the Bill stands, the Amendment is not necessary for clarification.
Viscount COLVILLE of CULROSS
My Lords, I am convinced by that, but the only method by which I could draw attention to this point was by putting down an Amendment. The noble Lord is right that the words in question would not be correct, supposing the hypothesis which we are working on to occur in another place, but I believe the noble Lord will find other words to be necessary. It was in order to implore the noble Lord to look at this again and to avoid the difficulties which I feel will otherwise arise, that I put down the Amendment. I have now drawn the point to his attention and he has said he will look at it. I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Amendment moved—
§ Lord JACQUES
My Lords, I beg to move that further consideration on Report be adjourned until 8 o'clock.