HL Deb 02 May 1995 vol 563 cc1350-1

10 Clause 4, page 3, line 22, after "tenancy," insert, ( ) is created by the acceptance of a tenant in accordance with the provisions as to compensation known as the 'Evesham custom' and set out in subsections.(3) to (5) of section 80 of the 1986 Act on the terms and conditions of the previous tenancy,".

4.30 p.m.

Earl Howe

My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 10.

The amendment safeguards the position of existing tenants who took over their market gardens by making use of the Evesham custom. Noble Lords may be unfamiliar with the Evesham custom. The custom grew up last century in the Evesham area where there was a considerable number of very small market garden holdings, and enables an outgoing tenant, in effect, to sell a new tenancy if the landlord is willing to accept the new tenant. The payment made by the new tenant covers all compensation for past improvements that is due to the outgoing tenant and also generally includes a premium in return for receiving a tenancy conferring life-time security.

Under the Bill as it left your Lordships' House, any new tenancy would be a farm business tenancy and would not really be, on the same terms and conditions as the previous tenancy", which is what the Evesham custom requires. Tenants to whom the Evesham custom applies could suffer an immediate loss as their holding would become much less valuable as an asset if, for example, they needed a loan.

The amendment ensures that where the custom applies and is used to create a new tenancy, that new tenancy will remain subject to the 1986 Act. That will resolve the problems in relation to this small group of market garden tenants whom we would not want to see suffering financial loss by reason of an unintended effect of the Bill.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 10.—(Earl Howe.)

Lord Carter

My Lords, we have all been intrigued by the Evesham custom; indeed, we all had to read up about it to find out exactly what it was. However, can the Minister say whether it applies in the Evesham area only or are there agreements outside of Evesham that use the custom?

Earl Howe

My Lords, my understanding is that it applies only in the Evesham area. However, I shall take advice on that point and, if I am wrong, I shall write to the noble Lord.

On Question, Motion agreed to.