§ (2) Subject to the provisions of this Section compensation shall be recovenable under this Section only if the tenancy is terminated by the landlord and either—
- (a) between the sixth day of April and the twenty-ninth day of September, or
- (b) by re-entry at any time under paragraph (b) or paragraph (c) of the last preceding Section.
§ (8) Except as provided by this Section or by the contract of tenancy, the tenant of land under a contract of tenancy to which this Section applies shall not be entitled to recover compensation from the landlord at the termination of the tenancy.
§ (9) This Section shall not apply to any tenancy which is terminated by the effluxion of time before the date of the passing of this Act, or where a notice to quit has been given, re-entry has been made or proceedings for recovery of possession have been commenced before that date.
§ Amendment made: In Sub-section (2), after the word "and" ["and either"], insert the words "is so terminated."—[Sir A. Boscawen.]
§ Mr. ACLAND
I beg to move, in Subsection (2, a), to leave out the words "twenty-ninth day of September," and to insert instead thereof the words "fifteenth day of November."
We have decided under Clause I that normally notice to quit shall expire on or before the 6th day of April or on or after the 29th day of September. As the Bill now stands, if the notice expires during the winter months between those days no compensation shall be given for the growing crops. That means that if notice is given, say, at Easter to terminate at the end of September and it does so terminate, the allotment holder makes such arrangements as he can with regard to the growing crops at that time. But my right hon. Friend intends to move on this Clause an Amendment which meets the case to a limited degree, by a new Sub-section which says that if the tenancy terminates on the 29th of September or 877 any date from then on to the 11th of October, there shall in future be a fortnight's grace given to the allotment holder during which he shall have a chance of removing his crops from the ground. I do not think it unreasonable that the tenancy should terminate at Michaelmas, which is a customary and convenient date, and therefore I have not moved to prolong that in Clause 1. But it is one thing to say that compensation should be paid and another thing merely to say that there should bean extension of a fortnight for the purpose of removing the crop. If the present proposal stands, allotment holders in the North of England at any rate will be deprived of any real chance of putting in their main crop of potatoes with any prospect of getting a crop at the ordinary time of year, towards the end of October, when the main crop of potatoes is usually lifted. My right hon. Friend's Amendment gives a chance of removing the crop up to the 13th of October, but no later, and does not give compensation for the value of the crop.
The value of allotment cultivation is not really in the additional food supplies that it provides. It is in the additional interest that it gives to the lives of the allotment holders. No one who has not come into close contact with it knows the interest that the allotment holder feels, not only in getting a large amount of food off his allotment, but in getting a considerable variety of stuff and having a rotation of crops and using his land as long as he can through the winter, and not only having early spring greens like peas and beans, but also going in for winter greens such as leeks and parsnips. But his great stand-by is his main crop of potatoes; it is hard lines on the allotment holder to get notice that his plot should be given up in October and then to feel that he will get no compensation for anything, and that his only chance is to get out of the land such value as is provided by his crops, not later than 13th October. That is not unreasonable. It would cover practically the whole of the potato season.
Sir A. BOSCAWEN
I hope that my right, hon. Friend will not press this Amendment. This matter was discussed at considerable length in Committee.
§ Mr. ACLAND
In Committee that is just what was not done. It was held that as we had made a certain decision with regard to the date in Clause 1, we could not bring up the matter of compensation. Now I am bringing up the questions wholly in regard to compensation.
Sir A. BOSCAWEN
I do not want to quarrel with my right hon. Friend about his recollection of what took place in Committee. I rather think my right hon. Friend was not present at the Committee. In my opinion this matter was discussed in Committee more than once. I made a certain suggestion which I understood was generally supported by the friends of the allotment movement. It was that whatever date was taken, whether it was Michaelmas or the old Michaelmas, which is 11th October, I should give the allotment holders an additional fortnight to gather in their crops. That was accepted as a fair solution of the question. In all cases where old Michaelmas was used it would give them up to 25th October.
§ Mr. R. RICHARDSON
I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will accept the Amendment. I am a resident in the North of England and I know its climate. In numberless cases potatoes grown there are not fit for lifting until November. I have cultivated a garden for years and have long taken an active interest in this question. We do not object to having notice given to terminate tenancy, but we think we ought to have time to get off the land the crops which we have grown. If crops are lifted too early they are not ready for storing for winter use. That applies especially to the North-East coast.
§ Colonel ASHLEY
I hope that the Minister of Agriculture will stick to his decision, and resist the Amendment. I do not see why, because in certain districts in the North of England potatoes are rather later than in the rest of England, the rest of England should be put to inconvenience and the whole scheme of the Bill be upset. The North of England should join up with Scotland in this respect, and get the more favourable conditions which, no doubt, Scotland will get. The compromise suggested by the right hon. Gentleman for the Government is a sensible compromise.
§ Sir K. WOOD
In Committee, the representatives of the allotment holders, 879 so far as we could express their views, concluded that the Minister had met them fairly. They would like another week, if the Minister could give it to them, but in fairness to him I must say that what was arranged in Committee was regarded as a compromise which we all accepted.
Sir A. BOSCAWEN
I am very anxious to get this Bill, and to get it as easily and with as little unnecessary discussion as possible. I am willing to substitute three weeks for the fortnight which is to be proposed later in an Amendment in my name.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Further Amendment made: In Subsection (2, b), after the words "paragraph (c)," insert the words "or paragraph (d) of Sub-section (1)."—[Sir A. Boscawen.]
Sir A. BOSCAWEN
I beg to move, at the end of Sub-section (8), to insert a new Sub-section—(9) if the tenancy of the tenant is terminated on the twenty-ninth day of September or the eleventh day of October, or at any date between those days, either by notice to quit given by the landlord or by the termination of the tenancy of the landlord, the tenant whose tenancy is so terminated shall be entitled at any time within twenty-one days after the termination of the tenancy to remove any crops growing on the land.This Amendment provides additional time in which the allotment holders can gather in their crops.
§ Amendment agreed to.
I beg to move, at the end of Sub-section (9), to insert the wordsExcept in the case of land let by a council where the tenancy has been terminated on account of the laud being required for building, when the first day of January, nineteen hundred and twenty-two, shall be substituted for the date of the passing of this Act.This Bill gives to allotment holders in towns certain penalties, which begin to accrue after the date of the passing of this Bill. The object of the Amendment is to anticipate those benefits in the interests of a certain class of tenants. To some extent its effect is retrospective. I know the objections to retrospective legislation. This Bill will pass within the next few days and then the provisions with regard to compensation will come 880 into force. I want to substitute the first clay of January for what will probably be something like 31st July or 1st August, in order that certain tenants who have been disturbed and have had their tenancy terminated during the period between 1st January and whatever the date may be, should get the benefit of this Bill. Cases have been reported to me from Newcastle on-Tyne where allotment holders, who hold their allotments from the. Corporation of that city, have had their tenancies terminated because the land is required for building. It would appear that the passage of this Measure will produce this effect—that certain allotment holders during the coming year will have their tenancies terminated, and will get the benefits of this Measure, while other allotment holders, upon whom notices to quit will have been served, before the date of the passing of this Measure, will not receive those benefits. That is a condition of affairs which it would be desirable to avoid.
I have limited the Amendment so that it will only apply to those tenants who hold land from councils. I felt there would be grave objection to an Amendment which would extend this benefit to tenants holding land from private individuals, and tenancies made under the law as it formerly stood and under which landlords would suffer in a way they ought not to suffer, by retrospective action. Therefore the benefits of the Amendment are limited to those tenants in towns who hold land from councils, and it is further limited to those whose tenancies are being terminated because the land is required for building. I am endeavouring to show that the Minister may safely accept the Amendment without landing himself into any position which he does not desire to be in, and therefore I am emphaising, its limitations. The benefits secured under the, Amendment would only apply to a very limited section of tenants and there cannot be great ground for objection. I do not suggest that any anticipatory action has been taken in any of the cities or that tenancies are being terminated before the date of the passing of this Measure in order to prevent the tenants getting compensation, but there is some feeling that that has been done, and the effect of my Amendment will be 881 to remove that feeling, and to prevent the possibility of any such advantage being taken of the tenant.
Sir A. BOSCAWEN
I think my hon. and gallant Friend is overlooking the fact that in the case of tenancies terminated before this Measure comes into operation there is already compensation. These particular tenants will get compensation under the existing law, which as a matter of fact might be rather more than they would get under this Measure. The only effect of the Amendment will be to worsen their position.
I am obliged to the Minister for his statement. The right hon. Gentleman will realise that I have no more desire than he has to worsen the position of these tenants. There is no doubt, however, that the situation as explained by him is not understood, and that a number of tenants whose tenancies are to be terminated before the Bill becomes an Act, or on whom notices have been served, believe they will be in a worse position than the tenants receiving the benefit of this Measure. On the statement of the Minister I have no desire, to press the matter.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.