HL Deb 02 May 1995 vol 563 cc1357-9

30 Clause 40, page 19, line 44, at end insert ", except that paragraph 9 of the Schedule does not extend to Northern Ireland.".

31 In the schedule, page 21, line 10, at end insert:

"The Reserve and Auxiliary Forces (Protection of Civil Interests) Act 1951 (c. 65)

—(1) Section 27 of the Reserve and Auxiliary Forces (Protection of Civil Interests) Act 1951 (renewal of tenancy expiring during period of service or within two months thereafter) shall be amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (1), for the words from are an agricultural holding' onwards there shall be substituted—

  1. '(a) are an agricultural holding (within the meaning of the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986) held under a tenancy in relation to which that Act applies,
  2. (b) are a holding (other than a holding excepted from this provision) held under a farm business tenancy, or
  3. (c) consist of or comprise premises (other than premises excepted from this provision) licensed for the sale of intoxicating liquor for consumption on the premises.'.

(3) In subsection (5), after paragraph (b) there shall be inserted— '(bb) the expressions "farm business tenancy" and "holding", in relation to such a tenancy, have the same meaning as in the Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995;'.

(4) After that subsection, there shall be inserted— '(5A) In paragraph (b) of the proviso to subsection (1) of this section the reference to a holding excepted from the provision is a reference to a holding held under a farm business tenancy in which there is comprised a dwelling-house occupied by the person responsible for the control (whether as tenant or servant or agent of the tenant) of the management of the holding.' (5) In subsection (6), for the words from the beginning to 'liquor' there shall be substituted 'In paragraph (c) of the proviso to subsection (1) of this section, the reference to premises excepted from the provision'.".

Earl Howe

My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 30 and 31 en bloc.

The amendment to the schedule provides protection for reservists who have been called up or recalled for service around the time their tenancy would have ended. It applies to farm business tenancies which include a dwelling house occupied by the person responsible for the management of the holding. That is analogous to the provisions in Schedule 5 to the 1986 Act. It allows the tenant, in certain circumstances specified in the 1951 Act, if the landlord does not extend or renew the tenancy voluntarily, to apply to the courts for a renewal of the tenancy on terms set by the court.

As noble Lords may be aware, the Government's draft legislation for the reserve forces has just been published and comments are invited by 15th June. While it would have been possible to await that Bill and make provision for this contingency in that context, it seemed preferable to put a framework of protection in place from the start for reservists who are farm business tenants.

The amendment to Clause 40 makes clear that the position in Northern Ireland is not affected, since the rest of the Bill does not apply there.

With the leave of the House, I shall clarify one point which arose earlier in relation to the Evesham custom. I am advised that that custom applies mainly in the Evesham area, but it is available, in principle, to market gardens anywhere in England and Wales. However, in practice, it is very localised.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 30 and 31 en bloc.—(Earl Howe.)

Lord Carter

My Lords, we accept this group of amendments and understand the reason for the amendments. However, as this is the last chance that we shall have to discuss the Bill, perhaps I may move a little outside the rules of procedure to thank the Minister for the way in which he has explained the Commons amendments and to take the chance to wish the Bill well.

Perhaps I may repeat the undertaken given in another place by my honourable friend Dr. Gavin Strang. We know that the Labour Party has been pressed hard to state its actions regarding the Bill. We explained that when the Bill completed its course through both Houses we would make our position clear. We have stated that the next Labour Government will not seek to overturn any of the contracts entered into under the Bill after 1st September 1995 and before we change the legislation, if we do so. There will be no attempt to amend retrospectively any of the agreements reached.

Earl Howe

My Lords, I am most grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Carter, for what he said; in particular for his repetition of the undertaking made by his honourable friend in another place. I am sure that that undertaking will be welcomed by the agricultural community at large.

Perhaps I may thank the noble Lords, Lord Carter and Lord Gallacher, for the part that they have played in the passage of the Bill. I am sure that I speak for all noble Lords in wishing the Bill well.

On Question, Motion agreed to.