§ Lords Amendments considered.
§ Clause 1.—(ABOLITION OF CERTIFICATES IN SUSPENSE.)
Lords Amendment No. 1, in page 1, line 5, at the beginning insert:
Subject to subsection (2) of this section,".
§ 11.6 a.m.
§ Sir Myer Galpern (Glasgow, Shettleston)
I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment.
As all the Amendments have a single purpose, it might be convenient to consider with it the other Lords Amendments:
Lords Amendment No. 2, in page 1, line 11, leave out "sections 88(1) and" and insert:
section 88(1) and, subject as aforesaid, the said section".
Lords Amendment No. 3, in page 1, line 12, at the end insert:
(2) Where a notice to treat has been served or has, by virtue of paragraph 1(1) of Schedule 6 to the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1945, been deemed to have been served on any person in respect of the compulsory acquisition of licensed premises on or before the 4th day of August 1966, nothing in the foregoing subsection shall preclude the Commissioners of Customs and Excise from giving a certificate under section 96(1) of the principal Act for the suspension of the certificate for the sale by retail of exciseable liquor granted in respect of those premises.
Lords Amendment No. 4, in page 1, line 18, after "Act" insert:
or which becomes suspended under the said section 96 by virtue of subsection (2) of this section
§ Sir M. Galpern
When the Bill was being considered in another place attention was drawn by the Glasgow and District Licensed Trade Defence Association to inequity between certificate holder and certificate holder. The purpose of the Amendments is the removal of that inequity. For the issue of a certificate in suspense following compulsory acquisition the sequence of events is that first there is compulsory acquisition and then there is the resultant discontinuance of business.
There can be quite a long interval between those two events, where, for instance, the local authority does not immediately require the whole of a block of premises it has acquired for redevelopment. In such a case the business continues in operation in premises acquired by the local authority. The right to a certificate in suspense is not exercisable until the business is discontinued.
But for the present legislation, the dispossessed certificate holder would have his compensation for the compulsory acquisition assessed on the assumption that he would be able to exercise his right to have his certificate placed in suspense, and he would be able to exercise his right on discontinuance of business. This is as it should be.
In future cases there will be no right to a certificate in suspense, so it will not be taken into account. This is again as it should be. But as the Bill is at present drafted there is a third possibility—that the compensation might have taken into account the right to a certificate in suspense, but because the business had not been discontinued before the coming into force of the Act that right would not be exercisable.
It is clearly desirable that if the compensation took account of a right that right should be exercisable, or alternatively that if the right was not to be exercisable it should not be taken into account in assessing compensation. The effect of the Amendments is that a limited number of certificate holders, whose premises were compulsorily acquired before 4th August, 1966, will continue to have a right to a certificate in suspense even though their business is discontinued after the commencement of the Act. The reason for the insertion of the date, which is the date of the making of the Amendment in another place, is that in 853 respect of compulsory acquisition before that date, some of them considerably before, the assessment of compensation will have taken into account the right to a certificate in suspense, so that it is proper that they should be able to exercise that right.
In respect of compulsory acquisitions after that date the valuers of the Inland Revenue will be able to take into account, in assessing compensation, the fact that the certificate holders will not, under the Bill, be able to exercise their right to a certificate in suspense and will be able to disregard any contingent value arising from that right. They have, in fact, been doing this in the intervening months. Since in assessing compensation for compulsory acquisition after 4th August no account is being taken of any right to a certificate in suspense, there is no case for extending that right to such cases.
I should like to say two things in connection with compulsory acquisition in relation to the Amendments. The first is that the Amendments refer to the time of service of notice to treat, because that is the critical point of time for the assessment of compensation or compulsory acquisition. The amount of compensation is assessed in the light of all the circumstances at the time of notice to treat and it is, therefore, appropriate that the date in the Amendments should apply to that stage of the proceedings.
The experts have advised that these Amendments will have the effect which I have described. I therefore hope that the House will agree to them.
§ Mr. Ian MacArthur (Perth and East Perthshire)
The House will be grateful to the hon. Member for Glasgow, Shettleston (Sir M. Galpern) for explaining the purpose of this group of Amendments so clearly. As the hon. Gentleman has said, they have the effect of removing what would otherwise have been an inequity following the passage of the Bill through Parliament, an inequity which would have fallen with possibly quite severe financial hardship on a small group of people. I believe that the Amendments in the form in which the hon. Gentleman has presented them remove this hardship. 854 It is, therefore, right that the House should agree with the Lords in this group of Amendments.
I add my personal congratulations to the hon. Gentleman on coming to the concluding stages of a Bill which he has piloted so successfully through the House. It is a small but important Measure.
§ The Minister of State, Scottish Office (Dr. J. Dickson Mabon)
The Government appreciate the facility with which my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Shettleston (Sir M. Galpern) has presented his case in support of the Amendments, and I commend them to the House.
§ Question put and agreed to.
§ Remaining Lords Amendments agreed to.