§ MR. YOUNGER (Ayr Burghs)
I beg to ask the Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to an example of a long lease of on-licensed premises granted by an educational institution with the sanction of the Board of Charity Commissioners; whether he is aware that under this lease, granted in 1897 for ninety-nine years, the lessee will remain liable for the remainder of the term of the lease to pay a rental of £600 a year, agreed to because the premises possessed a licence, although the licence will, under the provisions of the Licensing Bill, be terminated at the end of fourteen years; whether, if a re-grant of the licence be obtained at the end of the time-limit, monopoly value will have to be paid for the licence, despite that the lessee is already paying the full rental value of the premises as licensed premises under the lease; and, if so, whether he proposes to make any provision in the Licensing Bill to meet cases of this kind.
§ THE PRIME MINISTER AND FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. ASQUITH,) Fife, E.
My attention has been drawn to the lease in question. No doubt at the end of the time-limit monopoly value will have to be paid for the re-grant of the licence of the licensed premises which are included with certain other trade premises in the lease; but I am by no means satisfied that any special hardship will actually arise. A person who ten years ago took a lease which included licensed premises for a long term, such as ninety-nine years, obviously ought to have taken, and, in all probability did take, into consideration the possibility of changes being made during that time by further legislation in the conditions affecting the renewal of the licence.
§ MR. YOUNGER
Would not the existing holder at the end of the time limit be in a more difficult position than any outsider who wanted a grant? Would he not be handicapped?
§ MR. ASQUITH
I do not think that follows; nor is it the intention of the Government. It is a particular bargain in each particular case.
§ MR. ASQUITH
If a man has made an improvident bargain, I do not think it is the business of the State to remedy that.