HL Deb 28 October 1976 vol 376 cc730-1


Clause 17, page 22, line 28, after "course" insert "in agriculture or in a subject which would improve his qualification for farming".

The Commons disagreed to this Amendment for the following Reason:

Because it would unduly restrict the class of persons eligible to apply for a direction giving entitlement to a tenancy of the holding.

8.19 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to move that this House doth not insist on Amendment No. 9 to which the Commons have disagreed. The educational concession has been discussed in great detail in both Houses. I accept entirely that this Amendment represents a genuine effort by noble Lords opposite to find a compromise between the tight restriction as originally drafted the Bill that the formal training had to be in agriculture and the wide definition which allows the further education to be in any subject. I acknowledge the helpful spirit in which the Amendment was made, but I am afraid it is unacceptable to the Government. The main reason for this is that the definition as qualified by the Amendment would be capable of different interpretations. The same arguments that have occupied so much of the time of both Houses would be repeated in the Agricultural Land Tribunals, with the inevitable result of lack of uniformity between them. I am sure that noble Lords would agree that this would 'De rather unfair.

Perhaps I might emphasise one point which may have been overlooked. This is that the educational concession relates only to the eligibility of the close relative to apply to the Tribunal for the tenancy. It certainly does not mean that the applicant who has spent three of the fiveyear qualifying period studying, say, Sanskrit will get the tenancy—far from it. He or she will have to satisfy the far more difficult tests which the Tribunal will apply in determining his or her suitability to become the tenant of the holding. As the two lay members of the Tribunal will be chosen from panels of persons nominated by the CLA and the NFU, as I am sure noble Lords would be glad to I ear, to represent both the landowning and the farming interests—all of them practical men—I feel sure that they will inquire into the applicant's training and experience in agriculture—Clause 19(8)(a)—with great diligence; and so they should. With this reassurance that the suitability test provides a completely adequate safeguard I hope that noble Lords will decide not to press the Amendment. I beg to move.

Moved, That this House doth not insist on its Amendment No. 9 to which the Commons have disagreed for their Reason numbered 10.—(Lord Strabolgi.)


My Lords, we had a full and exhaustive discussion over the possibility of this Amendment, as the noble Lord, Lord Strabolgi, said, both here and in another place, and I think that our minds were almost exhausted of the possibilities of the people who could or who could not be eligible if the Amendment were or were not in the Bill. It was a wide discussion and another place has come to a decision and we are happy to abide by it.

On Question, Motion agreed to.