THE EARL OF MANSFIELD
asked His Majesty's Government whether the National Coal Board, and the various Ministries, are automatically relieved of development charges on all improvements or new work carried out on land belonging to them, and also whether the National Coal Board, British Railways, and the various Ministries and Service Departments which now own large areas of land, will be automatically debarred from claiming any share of the £300,000,000 allotted in part-compensation for the confiscated land-values of this country, in view of the fact that any such claims would amount to the Government claiming from, and paying to, itself, which would be a legal absurdity.
With permission, I will answer the noble Earl's two Questions together. Government Departments458WA do not qualify for any payment out of the £300,000,000 and are not liable for development charges. British Railways, like other statutory undertakers, receive special treatment in respect of land which they held as "operational land" within the meaning of the Acts on July 1, 1948. As regards this land, they do not qualify for any payment out of the £300,000,000 and they normally pay no development charge when they develop the land. As regards non-operational land held on that date, they normally qualify for payments and they are liable for development charge. They are also normally liable for development charge on any land acquired after July 1, 1948, whether operational or non-operational. The position of the National Coal Board will be prescribed in Regulations which are now being prepared. It is intended to give the Board broadly the same treatment in this respect as statutory undertakers.
House adjourned at a quarter before five o'clock.