§ 7.22 p.m.
§ Baroness LLEWELYN-DAVIES of HASTOE
My Lords, I have it in command from Her Majesty the Queen to acquaint the House that Her Majesty, having been informed of the purport of the Housing (Financial Provision) (Scotland) Bill, has consented to place Her prerogative and interest, so far as 1710 they are affected by the Bill, at the disposal of Parliament for the purpose of the Bill.
§ The MINSTER of STATE, SCOTTISH OFFICE (Lord Kirkhill)
My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a third time.
Moved, That the Bill be now read 3a. —(Lord Kirkhill.)
On Question, Bill read 3a.
Schedule 2 [Minor and consequential amendments]:
§ Lord KIRKHILL moved the following Amendment:
Page 17, line 15, at end insert (" and in paragraph (b) of this subsection any reference to a protected tenant or statutory tenant shall include a reference to such a lessee as is mentioned in paragraph (a) of this subsection".
(9A) In section 16(4), (5) and (5A) for the words "under a tenancy which would be a protected tenancy", "and his tenancy would be a protected tenancy" and "to which Part VII of the Act of 1971 would apply "wherever they occur there shall be substituted the words" where he would be a private tenant".").
The noble Lord said
My Lords, I have to address myself to an additional Amendment. Before I do so formally, may I take the opportunity of just expressing my own personal appreciation to the noble Lord, Lord Campbell of Croy, for the co-operation that he has shown to me throughout the passage of this Bill. particularly as I had to lay Amendments in a rather disconnected and unrelated manner before your Lordships and without the prior notice which I would, as a matter of courtesy, always wish to give to your Lordships' House and, in particular, to the noble Lord, Lord Campbell of Croy, who normally debates these issues with me.
I turn to an Amendment on Schedule 2. I said last week that it might be necessary to bring forward this Amendment today so as to make fully effective the increase in rateable value limits affecting the rent allowance scheme. That is indeed the case. The Amendment which was added at Report stage secured that people who would be protected or statutory tenants, but for the rateable value limit of £200 in the Rent (Scotland) Act 1971, will in future be within the scope of the rent allowance scheme so long as their house's rateable value limit does not exceed £600.
1711 As I explained last week, however, the £200 rateable value limit affects other categories of tenant mention in Section 16 of the 1972 Act, even though they are not protected tenants. The group most affected by the limit are tenants of housing associations. We need to override the limit by the new £600 limit for these categories of tenant as well. This is what the Amendment does. It makes the new limit applicable to carious categories of private tenant who were not covered by the wording of the earlier Amendment. I beg to move.
Lord CAMPBELL of CROY
First, I should like to express my gratitute for the generous remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Kirkhill, about the co-operation at the later stages of this Bill which has already passed through another place. There have been printing difficulties in the past two weeks and also I know that the Government were concerned to try to get this Bill in the right terms if they possibly could. I, in turn, acknowledge that the noble Lord made great efforts to get the first draft of Amendments to me through the post in Scotland or elsewhere in order to give me as much notice as possible. At the Report stage it emerged that there might be the need for a further Amendment at this Third Reading.
This Amendment appears to carry out what we were expecting. It means that all the private tenants who might have lost their rent allowances due to the unforeseen effects of this Bill, will now find that they are still in the scheme. I know that that is the Government's intention and this Amendment seeks to make sure of that. I can only say again what I said on the Report stage: thank Heavens for a second Chamber! If we did not have these opportunities for revision, even at this late stage, some tenants in private accommodation in Scotland would find themsleves, through nobody's fault, but just by default, without the rent allowances which they ought to have. Even though it has come at a late stage and at Third Reading, I commend this Amendment to your Lordships.
On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Lord KIRKHILL
My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill do now pass.
1712 Moved, That the Bill do now pass—(Lord Kirkhill.)
On Question, Bill passed, and returned to the Commons.