§ Mr. Michael Noble (Argyll)
I beg to move Amendment No. 22, in page 15, line 33, leave out Clause 18.
§ Mr. Speaker
With this we are to take Amendment No. 27, in page 17, line 15, leave out. Clause 19; Amendment No. 33. in page 18, line 20, leave out Clause 20; Amendment No. 41, in Clause 51, page 40, line 12, leave outand Part III of this Actand Amendment No. 43, in Title, line 7, leave out from "purposes" to "to" in line 10.
§ Mr. Noble
Our reason for proposing to leave out Clause 18 is based simply and solely on the fact that we believe that it is not in the best interests of Scottish agriculture for it to be included in the Bill. In Committee, there were a number of discussions about why the Clause should have been introduced after Second Reading and about whether there were proper negotiations and so on. I do not want to waste any time in debates of that sort, because we now have the Clause and it is our duty to decide whether it is bad.
As the House knows, I am a landlord and, as the House probably knows, I have never been a tenant. But many of my friends in Scotland are tenants and I have discussed these matters with them 494 frequently. The by-election which I fought in 1958 was exactly at the time when the legislation of that date was going through the House. The by-election was in an agricultural community and, naturally, I got the full arguments from both sides. I said them, as I say now, that the 1958 alteration was correct and that restoring the position, although not in the same form, was wrong.
One of the main reasons why this form of legislation is bad is that it is inevitably based on hard cases. I do not know exactly how many cases have arisen since the 1958 Act repealed the earlier provisions, but in Committee it was suggested that over the last year or two there had been only two such cases. If that is so, I know of one of them, because I was responsible for bringing it to the attention of the Scottish Office. It was an extremely hard luck case of a young man who had always worked for his father. When his father died, at a great age—the young man had, in fact, been farming the land for the previous 15 years—I tried, first with his landlord and then with the Crofters Commission, then with the Highlands Development Board and then with the Scottish Office, to see whether there was some way in which we could give this, by then not so young, man a chance to stay on his farm.
§ 6.30 p.m.
§ This particular case would not have been covered in any way by the provisions of this Clause. As so often happens with these things that are brought to the attention of Members, this case (could not conceivably have been related to a two-man farm. It was barely a one-man farm, and only that because the young man concerned had been brought up on it, lived it, and was prepared to work on it and make a very small living from it. If there were only two such cases, one of them certainly would not have been affected in any way by what we are considering in Clause 18.
§ Mr. Donald Dewar (Aberdeen, South)
In the Clause there is the vital proviso of discretion to the Land Court as to what a fair and reasonable landlord would do. If the case the right hon. Gentleman has mentioned is so outstandingly hard, that might apply.
§ Mr. Noble
It might, and I hope that it ay be so. This is an individual case 495 and I had sympathy with the tenant. I told the landlord that I could not agree with his view about it. Under Clause 18 the landlord would have been strengthened in his view that this was a nonviable farm and therefore should not pass in the way that I felt in this particular case it should.
In Committee the Under-Secretary took the view that because there were only a few cases in the past it could not be all that important a change. He said:I hope that hon. Members opposite will not exaggerate the effects of these changes. It is important for the individual involved "—and there I agree with him—but it would be wrong to suggest that it is of great importance for the agricultural economy of Scotland. The number of cases arising in a year under Section 6 of the 1958 Act is small, and the effect of our provision on the pattern of agriculture is consequently not likely to be significant."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee B, 1st February, 1968; c. 551.]This is not a question whether it is one or two cases; it is a question of the pattern that has existed over many hundreds of years, between landlord and tenant. Often I have listened to debates in this House and heard from one side or the other, people arguing that all landlords are wicked and all tenants are paragons of virtue. I have lived all my life in an agricultural setting, and I have never heard such arguments in any agricultural community, because an agricultural community is a practical community. It knows that some tenants are not perfect and that some landlords are not perfect either. It knows of the relationship between them. The trust and confidence between perhaps 95 per cent. of landlord and tenants has played an extremely important part in the build-up of efficiency in the system.
This change is significant because I believe that in trying to put the matter right for the one or two hard cases that might exist per year—
§ Mr. Buchanindicated dissent.
§ Mr. Noble
The Under-Secretary shakes his head, and I am sure he will adduce his view in due course—but it is in any case a very small number, and in order to try to treat the small number of cases and make a law covering such hard cases, we are fundamentally undermining the relationship between landlord 496 and tenant, which has existed satisfactorily for many years.
It is a feature of agriculture in Scotland and England that there has been a tendency, going on for all of my lifetime, for the number of tenant farmers to reduce, and the number of owner-occupiers to increase quite considerably. Though their number is diminishing, there is still an important rôle for tenant farmers to play in our system. This is in part perhaps because it is the only way that young people without very much capital can get into farming, and if they are successful, in due course buy their own place. In part they have an important rôle to play because there are many people who have ideas, often new and exciting ideas, who are able to take advantage of a landlord who is prepared to back them. Often these people are in the forefront of progress.
It is interesting that this proposal should be brought forward, at a late stage, creating as it does an hereditary system in farming. This from the party which is against the hereditary system in everything else. This is merely an interesting sidelight, and I do not want to develop it to any great extent. It is, however, one of the serious dangers to agriculture. There is no doubt that during the period between 1948 and 1958 there was a considerable reluctance on the part of a number of landlords, either to let their farms, or, if they let them, to put as much money into them, as much power behind the elbows of their tenants as perhaps was needed. This was because the tenant did not have security of tenure—he had complete fixity of tenure. This makes for a difference in the approach which any prudent landlord—a phrase often used in this House—makes in dealing with the situation.
In Committee the Joint Parliamentary Secretary made a great deal of play about this having the wholehearted and enthusiastic support of the National Farmers' Union. It is true that at fairly regular intervals, once every year or so, the N.F.U. puts a little note round saying that it thinks that this is a good idea. Like the present holder of the office, I was Secretary of State for a number of years and I can honestly say that the N.F.U. never once raised this with me as being something of real importance 497 for the extra efficiency of Scottish agriculture.
§ Mr. Noble
That might be. It might have been convinced by the arguments which I made continuously on this subject in the past. If it had been something of importance I cannot believe that the N.F.U. would not have raised it when I was Secretary of State because of the opportunity of getting some publicity.
§ Mr. Dewarrose—
§ Mr. Emrys Hughesrose—
§ Mr. Emrys Hughes
Surely the right hon. Gentleman reads the agricultural Press? Surely he reads the Scottish Farmer and knows that the most popular writer for that journal is a man called William Young? If he does not know William Young's ideas about this, he is not following agricultural journalism.
§ Mr. Dewar
About 30 seconds ago the right hon. Gentleman said that it was possible that the N.F.U. had been convinced by the continuous repetition of his own excellent arguments. Was he making these arguments in a vacuum? I would have thought that they were in response to some sort of agitation or some awareness of the problem shown by the public.
§ Mr. Noble
In reply to the last intervention, as I told the House, I fought the by. election in an agricultural area on this issue. In reply to the hon. Member for South Ayrshire, of course I am aware of the writings of Willie Young. He is one of the most prolific writers I know. Before his day there was a Mr. MacDonald of Blyth, who wrote continuously on this subject, and he bored even the I do not believe that any serious leader of the N.F.U. in Scotland would stand up and say that he regarded this as one of the key points, necessary to safeguard Scottish agriculture.
I do not want to take up too much of the time of the House but arguments on this. point are often based on the fact that what a farmer needs to farm successfully is security of tenure. Everybody 498 who has farmed will agree about that. But this Bill does not give security of tenure; it gives fixity of tenure. The Government may just as well admit it and not try to quibble about it. I have often heard the argument that if the farming is badly carried out by the heir there are ample provisions in the 1948 Act under which the farmer can be dispossessed for bad husbandry.
All I can say is that in all the time I have known Argyllshire I have known only one farm dispossessed for bad husbandry. He was dispossessed by the Department of Agriculture during the war. The Department ran his farm for six or seven years and when it had finished with it, it had to pay him several thousand pounds for having run the farm so badly. The dispossessing of people for bad husbandry is a very rare action and when it is done it is not very successfuil.
The Secretary of State will have serious worries about this matter because he is the biggest landlord in Scotland and probably has more farms under this control than anybody else.
§ Mr. Noble
The hon. Member can make his own point on that matter. The Secretary of State is certainly the biggest, and at the time when I remember coming back to farming after the war the two worst groups of farms in Scotland were those run by the Secretary of State and the Forestry Commission. I am glad that things have improved a little since, but those farms were outstandingly bad examples of the system of State landlords.
We in Scotland have always had a much higher appreciation of the importance of security of tenure. For that reason, leases in Scotland have always run for a much longer time than they have in England. We realise the importance of the issue, especially in a country mainly given to livestock rearing.
I find it very odd that the Government should seek to make a major change in the land tenure system of Scotland, and to do so only in respect of Scotland. Is it not a little curious that not one English Minister is in the Chamber? It is widely known that the English N.F.U., which has as much right as the Scottish N.F.U. to be interested in small farms and in 499 farm tenure, has not asked for this provision, because it shares my view that it is not in the long-term interest of agriculture.
It will be interesting if the Minister will say that the English N.F.U. has asked for it. I am certain that he will not. But if something which is believed by many English farmers not to be in the interest of their community is made applicable only because one or two hard cases came to light a few months after the Bill was drafted, and after the Second Reading debate, and therefore it was thought a good thing to import this Clause in Committee, it proves that this a Government sop to the Scottish people in the N.F.U. who have been asking for it, and that they do not feel that it is really of importance to agriculture in Scotland. For that reason my hon. Friends and I will oppose the inclusion of the Clause.
§ 6.45 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. William Ross)
I am glad to have this opportunity to declare Government policy on a very important principle. I am also glad that the right hon. Gentleman has made such a direct challenge. He rightly called attention to the fact that he fought a by-election when this was a matter of public discussion and controversy in Scotland. I remember it very well. I believe that the first vote he cast was on the Report stage of the 1958 Bill.
§ Mr. Ross
It was one of his first votes.
I notice that the hon. Gentleman the Member for Edinburgh, West (Mr. Stodart) has been doing a little research. He has heard about my discussions with landlords at a private meeting that I had with them in St. Andrew's House and has proceeded to find out whether or not I directed the opposition to this proposal in 1958. He did not come into the House until after 1958. I do not know whether he had by then released himself from the Liberal Party. It may be that he was opposing the very thing that he is now proclaiming.
I have the advantage of knowing the right hon. Gentleman. I used to go round the country with him doing a radio programme when he was a Liberal. In 500 those days the Scottish farmers were very angry because of what the Government were doing, as I am sure the right hon. Gentleman will agree. This matter was contested in the House. The opinions of farmers were produced. The Scottish farmer has never resiled from his position of opposition.
Whatever arguments there may have been about fixity, the Scottish farmers were satisfied that the pendulum had swung too far back and that they were in a worse position than they had ever been. The new incontestable notice to quit went against everything they felt they were entitled to after the war. There had been a considerable change in 1940.
In the present mood of Scotland it is quite wrong for the right hon. Member to say, "The English farmers do not want it; let us pay no attention to what the Scottish farmers want". I should have thought that that was a very dangerous argument to use. Our concern must always be to try to deal with the problems of Scotland at the right time and in the right way.
§ Mr. Noble
I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman does not wish to mislead the House. I said at the beginning of my speech that in opposing the Clause I was thinking about the best interests of Scottish agriculture in referring to the fact that the English N.F.U. did not want it, and citing it as a rather curious example of the fact that the Government feel that they must do something which they do not regard as very important to Scotland.
§ Mr. Ross
The fact remains that the right hon. Gentleman said that it strengthened his argument opposing this being done for Scotland, that the English farmers took a different view. That is a weak argument for him to put forward. It is not one that I would expect to come from any Scottish Member. The hon. Gentleman will be aware that the English N.F.U. did not shut its eyes to the fact that there might well be hardships. In its publication "Tenure of Farm Land", the English union indicated that it did not feel that a special case on behalf of sons succeeding stood any chance of success and added that it hopedthat all landlords and agents will give particular consideration to the sons' hopes and recognise that confidence in succession gives 501 many older farmers a strong incentive to maintain and improve their farm as though it was their own.That was the attitude of the N.F.U. in England and Wales. But there is no doubt where the Scottish N.F.U. stands.
When the Government's proposals were announced, Mr. A. B. Campbell, convener of the union's Legal and Commercial Committee, said:Good farming needs long-term planning and this is only possible for a tenant farmer where he has security of tenure. It is reasonable that a farmer's immediate family should be able to succeed to the tenancy and this right will remove the uncertainty which has hindered tenant farmers from spending money on capital improvements. The Union has pressed for the restoration of a measure of security of tenure since 1958. We are therefore pleased that the Government is introducing the necessary legislation as part of the Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill instead of trying to find Parliamentary time for a separate Act".This was the nub of the point of the right hon. Gentleman. He did not want to make much of it, but he wondered why the provision was introduced in this Bill in this way. He should know, as a former Secretary of State, that one can be held up if one has to wait for a special place in the legislative programme. If one sees a suitable vehicle, then one is wise to use it.
The right hon. Gentleman and others have said, "But we did not know about this on Second Reading". I have been a Member of the House for a fair length of time, and I could list a number of Bills in the past 10 years in which very important changes were made after the Second Reading. A very important part—I think that it was Part I—of the Children and Young Persons Act did not apply to Scotland. After the Second Reading, after the Committee was set up—and there was not a Scottish Minister on it—the Government decided to apply it to Scotland. I should not be surprised if it was the hon. Gentleman who was deputed to be the Scottish Minister in respect of this new-found interest in the legislation.
§ Mr. Stodart
The right hon. Gentleman's memory, for the third time tonight, is quite wrong. However, he said that the N.F.U. has been pressing for this. We know that. No doubt, mature consideration was given to the Bill for many months before 1st November, when it was published. What caused the right hon. 502 Gentleman to ignore that pressure, as he must have done, and suddenly put it in on 4th December?
§ Mr. Ross
I can assure the hon. Gentleman—and this will be borne out by my right hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Willis)—that we tried for a long time to get agreement between the Scottish Landowners' Federation and the N.F.U., because every Government, when making changes of this nature, tries to make them on the basis of agreement. That went on for a long time—through 1965. It became obvious eventually that there would be no movement by the Scottish Landowners' Federation. When it was evident that we might be moving towards drawing up proposals for legislation, they sought certain assurances—and I think the correspondence was read in Committee—and wanted to see Ministers. I assure the House that no pledges were given, but their representatives did see Ministers; they saw me. We discussed the matter fully. It was evident to me that, once again, they were completely opposed to the principle; they were inflexible. But I found the meeting useful.
The pressures were not merely there; they were here in the House. There were Questions during those years. Two hon. Members tried to introduce Bills under the Ten Minute Rule procedure to do exactly this. I assure hon. Members that there was very considerable anxiety in certain parts of Scotland. In one part of the Highlands a landlord acted, and notice to quit was given to a farmer. The right hon. Gentleman's memory is right concerning one case. There have been others. I know of some in Ayrshire. But I equally know of the effect of the existence of this. I know of cases in which the factor called on a widow shortly after the funeral. This kind of thing happens. [Interruption.] The hon. Gentleman will be denying some of the things which have happened. He will be denying what his right hon. Friend said about the case with which he has sympathy.
§ Mr. Alasdair Mackenzie (Ross and Cromarty)
To confirm what the right hon. Gentleman has said, I attended a funeral myself. The factor was there, and he approached the widow before we left the church.
§ Mr. T. G. D. Galbraith (Glasgow, Hillhead)
Before the right hon. Gentleman referred to factors attending funerals, he was in the middle of explaining—and it was very interesting—why this was not dealt with on the Second Reading of the Bill, but was put in in Committee. I understood him to say that negotiations were going on all this time. But he seemed to contradict that, because I understood him to say that the negotiations with the Landowners' Federation had stopped in 1965. If there were no negotiations with the landowners after 1965, the pressure from the N.F.U. was there all the time. What was it that caused the right hon. Gentleman to change his mind after the Second Reading of the Bill?
§ Mr. Ross
A meeting was held by the Department of Agriculture with the Landowners' Federation and the N.F.U. on 20th December, 1965. Therefore, we are talking about not early 1965 but the end of 1965. The Scottish Landowners' Federation wrote to the Department of Agriculture on 29th September, 1966. A certain amount of consideration was given to its point of view and there were discussions with other people as well.
§ Mr. Ross
Of course, it was all before the Second Reading. But I assure the hon. Gentleman that our opinions have been hardening about what could and should be done as a result of the consultations which we had. Probably we could have produced these Amendments earlier in a much rougher form. But I do not think that anyone would have liked that. We took time to ensure that they were presentable Amendments, and met some of the principles which had been evolved in agricultural progress in the previous two years concerning amalgamations, and so on.
§ Mr. Ian MacArthur(Perth and East Perthshire)rose—
§ Mr. Ross
We are not in Committee. I should like to make progress and set out what has been done.
Hon. Members should not think that this was suddenly thought up and 504 suddenly put in the Bill. However, we must note the feelings of the agricultural community which have existed since 1958 and which have been strengthened here and there by events. That is the kind of thing which people want—not just that the power should be there but people who are prepared to use that power when circumstances lend urgency to something being done fairly quickly.
§ 7.0 p.m.
§ Mr. MacArthur
If it is true that this was involved in the right hon. Gentleman's thinking at that time, why did he not announce that it was his intention to introduce a new Clause in Committee? Why did he not give the House some indication of his intent, so that this very large change in the law could have been discussed by the House?
§ Mr. Ross
I can assure the hon. Gentleman that this was raised on Second Reading. It was raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Dunbartonshire, West (Mr. Thomas Steele), and, indeed, I gave him an answer at that time. I think it was just about this time that the hon. Member for Inverness (Mr. Russell Johnston) and my hon. Friend the Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan) announced publicly that they would have Ten Minute Rule Bills to do just exactly this.
When there is that kind of feeling growing up and when there is an Agriculture Bill before the House I think it is right, having taken the decision, to implement it by that means.
§ Mr. Ross
I can assure the hon. Gentleman that the Landowners' Federation was aware of it before we put the Clause down and there was ample time to consider it. I certainly have no apologies to make with respect to the speed with which we acted. Indeed, some people may say we acted far too slowly and should not have tried to get agreement and co-operation before we proceeded.
The right hon. Gentleman was quite right in saying that to get the best out of agriculture we need co-operation between landlord and tenant, but I do not think that those people are right who claim 505 that that will be undermined and destroyed by what is being done here. I am quite sure it will not. There has been far too much exaggeration of the effects of this. In saying that, I draw upon the discussions I had with the landowners themselves. I do not think that they are suddenly going to change their altitude to the sons or near relatives of those who are their tenants. I do not think they will suddenly change their whole ideas about the proper way to run their estates. Far from it. I do not think that the consequences of this will be a tremendous reduction in the number of tenants in Scotland. Far from it.
I think the hon. Gentleman was right in what he said about what has happened since 1958. I think it is true that if there has been a reduction in the number of tenant farmers in Scotland, it has been due to the fact that landlords have been realising what gains they could make and have been selling off farms. I have often argued this with my farming friends. I represent a farming community. When they tell me about the sad state of agriculture I draw their attention to a farm which has just been sold and I ask, "If things are so bad, why were such high prices offered for that farm?" and they say," It is the wrong people who are getting the farms." This runs counter to the suggestion being made that landlords desire to get the right tenants. One would have thought that they were at least as interested in getting the right buyers as well. We must get these things aright, and in the right perspective, and not have so much exaggeration of the effects.
It is suggested that what we are doing is creating the hereditary system in relation to tenancy. We are not abolishing the hereditary system in land ownership. That was an argument I have heard more than once. What we seek to get within this pattern of stability is a certain measure of safeguard and of social justice in the balance of rights, and I am satisfied that what we have done is the right thing and that it is being done at the right time. Consultations have taken place and I do not think that the Bill will have on the farming industry the adverse effect which some people have suggested. We are continuing exactly some of the conditions already existing; we are bringing about a very narrow 506 range of change, and only a narrow range will be affected.
I hope it will help the House if I explain in some detail what we are doing. We do not say that the landlord will never be able to recover his farm when the tenant dies. If there is no successor, or not one who wants the farm, the position remains as it is at present. Further, if a legatee, or the only people entitled to succeed, are not near relatives of the deceased tenant, the landlord can still, if any such person succeeds to the holding, give him an incontestable notice to quit, and a near relative is defined as a wife or husband and a son and daughter. When the successor is a near relative we are providing for two sets of circumstances in which the landlord can, with the consent of the Land Court, repossess his land. In the first place, if he requires a holding to amalgamate with another holding to form a more satisfactory economic unit, the holding from which the successor is to be dispossessed must, in such a case, be smaller than to be capable of giving full-time employment to two men. As the right hon. Gentleman said, there might have been an argument for our going further, but this is one of the things where we are taking into account the possibility of amalgamation and the making of viable and economic units, and that is what the Government are seeking.
§ Mr. Alasdair Mackenzie
In that case, as the right hon. Gentleman says it would be a holding giving employment to two men, would it not be in order for a husband and wife to count, in this case, as two individuals?
§ Mr. Ross
Oh, yes. In this case man embraces woman, and so I think that answers the point of the hon. Gentleman.
Provided the holding is not already a satisfactory economic unit, the landlord may seek to repossess it for amalgamation with other land.
The other safeguard which we propose to introduce, and which is contained in Amendment No. 23, at page 16, line 11, is to provide that the landlord may seek the consent of the Land Court to dispossess a successor, even if that successor is a near relative, on the grounds that the person who has succeeded to the holding has neither sufficient training in 507 agriculture nor sufficient experience in farming to enable that person to farm the holding with reasonable efficiency. This was the point raised by more than one hon. Member in Committee.
§ I think that what we are doing is reasonable.
§ Mr. John Brewis (Galloway)
I know a case which worries me very much. The son of the tenant has been convicted of cattle stealing from his neighbour. He pleaded guilty and was convicted. Normally, no landlord would want to take somebody convicted in those circumstances. As I understand it, under the Bill he can become the tenant of the holding when his father, the tenant, dies. I cannot see anything in any of the legislation which would enable the landlord to put such a man out.
§ Mr. Emrys Hughes
I remind my right hon. Friend that cattle stealing was not regarded as so bad at the time when the land was acquired, and the right hon. Gentleman who was the last Conservative Prime Minister boasted that his family were the most successful cattle stealers on the Border.
§ Mr. Hawkinsrose—
§ Mr. Ross
We shall come back to particular points, I am sure, and the hon. Gentleman will make one of his very able speeches again.
What we have done is to protect the landlord from having to accept as a tenant anyone who has not sufficient qualification or sufficient experience of farming. Altogether, then, there are several different circumstances in which 508 a landlord may be able to repossess his land, and I cannot see that what we propose should make the change in the position of landlords as a whole so desperate as some hon. Members have suggested.
I do not think that there will be any drying up of the supply of tenanted farms because of what we are proposing. It may be that there will be a small reduction in the number to let, but it must be remembered that they will remain tenanted farms, and that is not unimportant. They will be tenanted by people who, according to the judgment of the Land Court, are fit and proper persons in terms of farming experience. Opposing this proposal must run counter to the great patriotic farming speeches which hon. Gentlemen opposite make time and time again. That is why I am glad that we have this opportunity for them to show clearly where they stand.
Often, in the past, a landlord has sold a holding rather than let it, but the number should not be exaggerated. Neither should we exaggerate the point made about landlords being reluctant to invest in holdings. Let us remember what the N.F.U. say about the reluctance of the tenant and the attitude which he takes to spending money on his farm. The present law discourages a tenant from investing in his holding and from giving of his best in the running of the farm in his later years.
It must be appreciated that though these hard cases are few in number, they have an influence which goes far beyond any one district. The hon. Member for Ross and Cromarty (Mr. Alasdair Mackenzie), the hon. Member for Inverness (Mr. Russell Johnston), my hon. Friend the Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan) and the hon. Member for Aberdeenshire, West (Mr. James Davidson) will all be able to tell us about one and the same case, because the effect that it had upon the Highlands of Scotland is something with which we have to reckon.
It is not unfair to say that we have now met in considerable measure, though not in full measure, the complaints made about the difficulties and dangers inherent in the change which was made by Section 6 of the Agriculture Act, 1958. It may be that there will be hard cases 509 left, and the right hon. Member for Argyll (Mr. Noble) has cited one. But what we have done merits the support and the congratulation of the House, because we have been able to meet a Scottish problem within the framework of our existing procedures. It may be that we have shown how unfair are some of the criticisms about getting the right thing done at the right time for purely Scottish problems.
§ Mr. Brewis
The Secretary of State might have produced some better reasons for this Amendment. In fact, he chose to make a political debating speech.
One of the strong points which he can put forward is that, in these days, the equipment of a farm is becoming more expensive. Very often it is necessary that, as part of a partnership, a tenant has to lay out considerable sums on equipment, and it is right that he should have a certain security of tenure in order to get back the money which he has invested. That is about the strongest point in favour of the Amendment. However, it can be dealt with by the compensation provisions in the principal Act. If they are not satisfactory, the right hon. Gentleman should have looked at them in order to set out more clearly that a tenant is entitled to suitable compensation.
§ 7.15 p.m.
§ I am sure that everyone will agree with the average farmer who wants one of his sorts to follow him in the tenancy of his holding. Quite often a farmer has two sons, and I know of one farmer who has four, all of whom now have farms of their own as tenants. The real danger of the Clause is that the number of farms to let will dry up, and that would be a very serious loss to the Scottish agricultural community. There is no doubt in my mind that a farm to let is very useful for the younger son of a farmer, for a young man wanting to come into the industry, or even for an older man who has been an agricultural worker and has saved, but who has not much capital.
§ In my constituency, the average dairy farm needs about £60 an acre of a tenant's capital. Land is selling for perhaps £100 an acre. Anyone going into a farm requiring £60 an acre to be spent on it may be able to raise it from a bank. If he buys and has to raise more like £160 an acre, it is quite impossible.510
§ For those who are better off, borrowing £100 an acre from a bank will result in their having to pay something like £8 per £100 in interest. If they are paying rent, it will probably be more like £4 an acre. There is a great economic advantage there. In addition, however bad the landowner is, he will do a little for a farm even if it is only to pay the fire insurance premium. A good landlord will do a lot. A banker will do nothing.
§ Mr. Emrys Hughes
But in Scotland, frequently a banker is the landlord. Often the landlord is chairman of the bank which lends the money.
§ Mr. Brewis
I am sure that we all agree that partnerships between everyone are very desirable, but perhaps I had better let the hon. Gentleman make his own speech.
We have had experience of what happened between 1949 and 1958, when there was a similar provision in the agricultural legislation. Very few farms were available to let. They tended to be sold, and farms with vacant possession were almost double the price of those with sitting tenants. All this affected the young man wanting to go into farming, because the price of farms became very much higher. A sitting tenant often could buy his farm at one price and, by giving up possession, could sell a short time after for a large profit. Landlords were bribing tenants to give up holdings so that they could sell them with vacant possession.
§ Mr. Buchan
Will the hon. Gentleman clarify that point? He talks about bribing tenants to give up possession. I thought that he was arguing just now for compensation. What is the difference between bribery to give up possession and compensation to give it up?
§ Mr. Brewis
I do not follow the hon. Gentleman's point. I was saying that, if there was an old man in a farm, it might be to the landlord's advantage to offer him £1,000 to give up the farm, so that it could be sold at double the price that would be realised with a tenant in it.
I remember having a farm to let in 1956. There were hundreds of applicants from all over Britain. The man 511 who eventually got it had made something like 27 different attempts to get a farm over five or six years. Among the applicants there were at least 20 local boys with experience who wanted a farm. After 1958, all 20 of them were fixed up with their own farms in about five years, and that would not have happened unless the 1958 Act had had the effect of bringing more farms on to the market.
By far the best farm would be one where there was a partnership between the landlord and the tenant. At present the tenant has security of tenure for life, with the compensation provision for improvements that he makes. If we make tenancies hereditary, we will turn farming into a closed shop, so that the second or third sons of farmers and young men who have gone through agricultural colleges like Auchincruive will have little chance of getting into the farming industry. Therefore, this Clause should not be allowed into the Bill.
§ Mr. Emrys Hughes
My only reason for troubling the House is that I played a prominent part in the Committee which studied this legislation in great detail in 1957. Mr. Tom Fraser and I were there and I have lively recollections of the proceedings. We had the Scottish N.F.U. lobbying us against the Conservative legislation of that time, because they said that it heavily overloaded the law in favour of the landlord. The Landlords' Federation was also there to back up the Conservative Government.
Large sums had been given away in largesse to the slum owners under the Rent Act, and the big country landlords said, "What about us?", and this was about the last thing that the Conservative Government did. We had a very long struggle contesting this legislation. We had the best arguments, but the Conservatives had a majority. The result was that the landlords got their pound of flesh in the form of this Act, which has been a grievance of the tenant farmers of Scotland ever since.
The right hon. Member for Argyll (Mr. Noble) was not there at the time. He understood he argument from the landlords' point of view. If he had taken part in the long protracted struggle that we had in Committee he would know that it was a struggle between the Conservative Party, which was solidly 512 behind the landlords, and those of us who wanted justice for the tenant farmers. We were not acting as Socialist propagandists; we were egged on by the Scottish National Farmers' Union. We were backed up by people who knew most about the law of tenant farming in Scotland. The right hon. Gentleman spoke about hundreds of years of good relations between the landlords in Scotland and their tenants. Where could he have learned that? Only at Eton.
Mr. Speaker is looking at me rather ominously, so I will not bother the House with any long protracted argument. However, I will mention my own immortal constituent, Robert Burns, whose father died after litigation with the local landlord at Lochlea Farm in Ayrshire. Robert Burns wrote some of his bitterest poetry about the landlords, with whom the tenant farmers were supposed to be living like brothers for hundreds of years.
Thomas Carlyle, who followed him, politely described the landlords of his time as a lot of hyenas. I would not dream of using the language of Thomas Carlyle or even of Ramsey Macdonald or even of Tom Johnston. I will leave that subject.
§ Mr. Emrys Hughes
I was provoked by the idyllic picture of the landlord and tenant getting on so well together. That is not historical fact and it would not pass as fact in any agricultural audience in Scotland.
The Bill will be welcomed by the farming community of Scotland because it does something practical to remedy the injustices under which farmers have suffered for so long.
Hon. Gentlemen opposite have spoken about the difficulties of the young farmer. One difficulty is that he has to borrow money at 8 per cent. I would point out that often he has to borrow it from a bank which is probably presided over by the Duke of Buccleuch, or families which I had better not mention in the House because of their historical political associations. All this bears heavily on the tenant farmer, but he will be delighted at getting justice from a Labour Government.
513 I read theScottish Farmerregularly. It is a very interesting paper. The most interesting and ablest journalist in the farming world in Great Britain is Mr. Willie Young whose column is read and appreciated in thousands of homes throughout Scotland. Mr. Willie Young is an ex-Conservative convener of the Ayrshire County Council. We were against each other politically. However, anyone who reads his column regularly—which I advise hon. Gentlemen opposite to do—will know that a very deep seated grievance of farmers is the subject of security of tenure.
It is right that there is a rush for farms by young men. I have an extract here about one of the very few sales of land in the West of Scotland. It is headed "Tenant buys a farm from Sir Alec". I do not know who Sir Alec is. I find this description of the sale:Sir Alec Douglas-Home auctioned off his 318 acres Newtonhead Farm yesterday for £25,000 to one of his own tenants.To see this sale along came several hundred farmers anxious to buy land, because so little was available. That is the position in Scotland.
Land has gone up in price because the Conservative Government overburdened the 1957 Act for the benefit of the landlords. If the second or third sons of a farmer cannot find an opportunity to make good in following their father, the handicap has been placed upon them fairly and squarely by the landlords of Scotland who are organised politically in the Conservative Party.
I have no quarrel with the right hon. Member for Argyll. He and I are very pleasant to each other when we meet. I thought that he had given up his interest in agriculture for fish. However, his conception of the relationship between landlords and tenants is simply a glimpse of unreality. Therefore, I hope that the farmers of Scotland will realise that the Labour Government is not their enemy. We are doing our utmost to get a fair deal for the honest, hardworking farmer who will perhaps not even vote for us at election time. I am sure that there will be gratitude in the hearts of many humble farming folk when they know that this Clause has been carried and the Bill is finally on the Statute Book.
§ 7.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Russell Johnston (Inverness)
I intend briefly to support the Minister's proposals and to oppose the Amendment. I find it remarkable that the Conservative Party feels itself far better informed about what is best for Scottish Agriculture than the Scottish N.F.U. This is clearly what hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House are saying.
The right hon. Member for Argyll (Mr. Noble) said that the N.F.U. was pressing this, but it was not pressing it very hard, that it was going softly, that it did not think it was very important, but what the Secretary of State said when he quoted Mr. Campbell represents the view which has always been held by the representative body of farmers in Scotland, and surely these people know something about the situation.
I am not quite clear what the right hon. Gentleman meant when he talked about this being rather a question of hard cases. Does the hon. Member for Glasgow, Hillhead (Mr. Galbraith) wish to intervene?
§ Mr. Galbraith
When reference was made to hard cases, I remarked, in parentheses as it were, that hard cases often make bad law.
§ Mr. Johnston
Still in parentheses, I think that hard cases ought to be dealt with in this House. There are hard cases, and this has been conceded by the right hon. Gentleman. I know of some, the Secretary of State knows of many more, and I think that a series of hard cases necessitates the introduction of legislation to deal with them in some radical form.
Farming is a long-term business. As the ex-Minister of State for Scotland said in asotto voceinterruption, it is not very important when or why, but when the Secretary of State for Scotland says that this is being done at the right time, I must say that I think the right time was some time ago.
§ Mr. Johnston
I thought that the Agriculture Act was equally a legislative vehicle which was ready for use, and that was considered some time ago. 515 I do not comprehend the argument advanced by the right hon. Member for Argyll about fixity of tenure. He says that this Measure will freeze land tenure. I do not think that this is true. I think that there are relevant "outs" at the land court. I am not a farmer, and the hon. Member for Edinburgh, West (Mr. Stodart) looks bleakly at me whenever I rise to speak on these matters. People say that we must improve the farming ladder, that we must provide more opportunities for young people to get farms, but this is difficult to do.
The right hon. Member for Argyll, and the hon. Member for Edinburgh, West, know more about farming than I do, but I am not sure that giving security of tenure to a proficient first-degree blood relationship relative, which is virtually what is being done, will make very much difference. In fact, I wonder what the argument is when someone says, "Very well. Here is a good son who may or may not secure the tenantship of his father's farm". We scrub the question of security of tenure so that the landlord may say that he does not want this bloke, but somebody else, or he wants to put the farm on the market. In terms of the efficient use of the farm, I am not sure that the fact that somebody else manages to get in, perhaps for financial reasons—as the hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes) said, we are engaged in an auction—that the right man will get the farm. Whoever takes over may transform the place, but he may not be as good as the person who, in normal circumstances, would have succeeded to the place which he knows, a place which, as in the case of Sandy Matheson, a case in my constituency of which the Secretary of State is fully aware, his family has farmed for three generations. I am not sure that this proposal will necessarily result in the better use of land.
§ Mr. George Willis (Edinburgh, East)
As my hon. Friend said, since we became the Government the N.F.U. has been pressing for this proposal, and certainly not in any casual manner. What the right hon. Member for Argyll (Mr. Noble) said about this being an occasional reminder is simply not true. The Scottish N.F.U. has been pressing for this for some time, the fact is that it 516 was impossible to reach any agreement with the landowners, and one was forced to the conclusion that they did not want to reach agreement.
It is significant of the case which has been deployed by the Opposition that the most exciting exchanges have taken place on whether it was right to introduce this provision by means of an Amendment to the Bill.
§ Mr. Stodartindicated dissent
§ Mr. Willis
The hon. Member for Edinburgh, West (Mr. Stodart) shakes his head. That was the most exciting part of the debate. Hon. Gentlemen opposite kept popping up to say that we should not have introduced this by way of an Amendment.
§ Mr. Noble
It is difficult to know what is going to excite the right hon. Gentleman. In my opening speech I specifically said that I regarded that issue as irrelevant, and the only person who excited the House was the Secretary of State for Scotland when he tried to explain why he had done it in this way.
§ Mr. Willis
I am easily excited, but the case that I have heard from the benches opposite has not excited me.
As I said sotto voceat the time, what does it matter how it is done? If it is a good thing to do, let us do it now, even by way of an Amendment. The House has not been prevented from debating the matter. In fact, we have had a better debate than we would have had if this provision had been in the Bill originally, because I am sure that English Members would have made scant reference to it during the Second Reading debate. I have never heard so much nonsense in all my life as I have heard tonight.
I listened to the hon. Gentleman making his case. I tried to find out what it was. As I understand it, he made two points. First, that it was not a good thing to base legislation on hard cases. If there are a number of hard cases, surely the thing to do is to alleviate the situation. This is what the House is for. We are wasting our time if we take the view that hard cases do not matter. If we do, we should not be here. We should be in Scotland taking it easy, and not trying to argue the toss here. Our purpose in 517 being here is to bring these things to the notice of the Government, and to try to persuade them to do something about them.
He said also that this was bad agriculture and quoted the case of two farms taken over during the war by the Government, the tenants of which were dispossessed. I do not know what that has to do with the argument. We were debating the merits of the principal Act of 1958 and the differences between the position before and that afterwards. I have heard nothing to show that agriculture and the state of the land is better and that more farms come on to the market for tenants. Some farms are coming up, but are not necessarily taken by tenant farmers. Representatives of the N.F.U. have several times complained to me that farms are sometimes taken over by the owners because it is profitable and in other cases are being sold. Once they are sold, they are not taken by tenant farmers—[An HON. MEMBER: "Not necessarily."] If not, they will be let by someone who is hoping to exploit the poor tenant farmer.
These are being sold to enlarge existing farms. This might be good, but there are not necessarily more farms for tenant farmers because of the 1958 Act. I have seen no evidence for this and none has been produced tonight. My hon. Friend the Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes) quoted the case of the right hon. Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Sir Alec Douglas-Home) selling a farm, in which case the tenant ceased to be a tenant and became an owner.
§ Mr. Emrys Hughes
It is likely that this farmer borrowed the money for the land from the bank in which the right hon. Member is interested.
§ Mr. Willis
When one of these farms comes on the market under the 1958 Act, it is generally for sale—
§ Mr. J. Bruce-Gardyne(South Angus)indicated dissent
§ Mr. Willis
Well, this is my information. The young farmer simply cannot take it. This is another complaint made to me by the N.F.U. Someone said that a person who is not a good farmer might culture. In all our dairying districts—I buy it.
518 A much better case than has been deployed so far would be necessary before we took the Amendment seriously. The hon. Member for Edinburgh, West did not produce a good case, though he took a long time. This is a good Clause, and I believe that it will be beneficial.
§ 7.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Alick Buchanan-Smith (North Angus and Mearns)
I had not intended to speak on the Amendment until I heard some of the arguments of hon. Members opposite. I was concerned first because in this landlord-tenant argument, the landlord is built up as an omnipotent ogre following the profit motive. In the last ten days, I have raised with the Under-Secretary the case of a small village joiner with an 18-acre croft of which he was the landlord and of which he could not get possession. We should also consider this kind of case.
I am concerned about the opportunity to enter farming of those from agricultural colleges or those who work their way up through the industry. With the growth in owner-occupation, it is very difficult for such people, because of the size of the financial commitment, to get in that way. At least the tenant system has provided this opportunity. The right hon. Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Willis) may say that we have not proved that there has been any improvement since 1958, but the Government must answer the genuine anxiety of those who feel that the proposal to increase security of tenure will give them less opportunity. Their only way is through tenancies and if the number is to be restricted, this will be serious.
In Committee, mentioning agricultural students, my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, West (Mr. Stodart) quoted a student at Aberdeen University who was concerned about opportunities once he had qualified and had some experience. We should consider the considerable output of these people in Scotland, who come from the colleges and the agricultural courses in universities and want to go into research or manufacturing and—many of them—to farm practically. Does the right hon. Gentleman think that this proposal will increase their opportunities? I doubt whether it will.
I am also concerned about those who have worked their way up through agriculture. In all our dairying districts—I 519 am sorry that the hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes) has left, since he is probably acquainted with this—there are people prepared to work extremely hard and long hours to earn generally good wages and amass a good deal of money. Their aim has been to get a farm, generally a tenanted one. I know, from talking to them, that they are concerned that, if there is too great a security of tenure, they will have even less opportunity of eventually farming on their own. The object of their hard work—they often work seven days a week, which is more than other agricultural workers—is becoming increasingly difficult for them to realise.
§ Mr. Russell Johnston
I do not follow the logic. Is the hon. Gentleman saying that, to give an opportunity to somebody who is working his way up in the industry—granted, we hope that there will be greater opportunities—he is prepared to dispossess the proficient son of a farmer who has perhaps been in possession for a long time and who is equally hard working?
§ Mr. Buchanan-Smith
That is not the point. [Hon. Members: "It is.''] I know what happened in the early 1950s. There are examples of people who stayed on, cases of hardship. I know the way that things worked out in practice. I have followed the Land Court cases. A member of my family was concerned in a Land Court case as a tenant. I know the way that this can work. The Secretary of State must tell us whether he believes that his proposal will increase the opportunities for the people I have mentioned—students from agricultural colleges and those who are working their way up in the industry.
My final point concerns a constituency case which I raised two or three years ago with Lord Hughes, who was then the Under-Secretary responsible for agriculture at the Scottish Office. A farmer in my constituency was a tenant holder of one of the holdings of the Department of Agriculture. A few years ago he wanted to write into the lease that he should be able to pass the lease on to his son. This request was refused by the Secretary of State on the grounds that when my constituent eventually gave up the tenancy the Secretary of State wanted to amalgamate the holding with a neighbouring 520 Department of Agriculture holding. In view of the White Paper which the Government had produced favouring the amalgamation of holdings, I had to explain the case to my constituent and convince him that it was not an isolated individual case but was part of Government policy and that he would have to accept it as such, no matter what his personal feelings were.
I was surprised to hear from the Secretary of State tonight that if a holding was sufficiently large as to justify the employment of two people the arguments for amalgamation would fail and the tenant would be allowed to continue or to pass the tenancy to his heir. This is what brought me to my feet originally. My constituent, who was the tenant of a 70–80 acre holding, was himself employed on that holding and employed his wife and son on it as well.
This occurred within the period in which the Secretary of State has been considering the whole question of security of tenure and preparing legislation for the House. Two years ago he was prepared to refuse a request from one of his tenants to include his heir in the lease. What has happened to change the right hon. Gentleman's view? Should I advise my constituent to reapply to have the name of his son, who is a competent young farmer and who takes an active part in the activities of the local young farmers' club, written into the lease? This is a precise example of the double talk which we get from the Government. I would respect what they are trying to do much more if they would show a greater degree of consistency in their arguments.
§ Mr. Maclennan
I listened with particular attention to the speech of the right hon. Member for Argyll (Mr. Noble), who speaks as one who has a special knowledge of this subject. He speaks as a landowner, as he said, and as a farmer. He prefaced his remarks by saying that he opposed the Clause on the ground that it was contrary to the interests of Scottish agriculture. For the rest of his speech I waited for the follow-up. It seemed clear from all that the right hon. Gentleman said that he equated the interests of the Scottish landowner with the interests of Scottish agriculture. I, who have no vested interests, not being a landowner, tenant or farmer, was unimpressed by that argument.
521 The right hon. Gentleman waited until the end of his speech to produce the ace of trumps with which to defeat the Government's case. It was nothing less than the opinion of the English National Farmers' Union. It would be hard to conceive anything more irrelevant to this debate.
It has been argued, I think more effectively by some of those behind the right hon. Gentleman, that what is at stake is the availability of land and that there should be a frequent changeover of ownership. This is a respectable argument. This measure will not greatly increase the availability of land, nor will it greatly diminish it. Hon. Members opposite have tried to have this argument both ways. They have argued, first, that there is little damage done and that only one or two cases crop up each year. Secondly, they have implied that this proposal will fundamentally alter the whole structure of land tenure in Scotland. I cannot reconcile these arguments. The Opposition, in speech after speech, have failed to reconcile them.
§ Mr. Noble
If I had spoken for much longer I might have got the point through to the hon. Gentleman's mind. The point which was made simply was that the key to the success is good relations between owner and tenant. As the Secretary of State said, for years owners realised that this was damaging to their relations with tenants. What extra arguments need be added to support the point of view of one very important partner in agriculture?
§ Mr. Maclennan
I entirely agree about the desirability of there being good relations between landlord and the tenant. As my hon. Friend the Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes) said, the right hon. Gentleman must move in a world of illusion if he thinks that this represents the position, particularly in the Highlands. The argument based on the broad notion of the general importance of agriculture of, as it were, dispossessing the tenant is not new in the Highlands. It was adduced as long ago as when James Lock and Patrick Sellar turned small tenants off my constituency. That is precisely the argument to which we are listening tonight.
This proposal is a simple act of justice towards the many small farmers in 522 particular who have lived in fear of dispossession and whose efficiency has been substantially diminished by the knowledge that their children would not be inheriting the holding. In consequence, they refrained from investing what was needed to make the farm a proper economic unit.
As one hon. Member opposite pointed out, farming today calls for considerable capital expenditure. When a farmer's security is threatened, as it has been in the last decade since the iniquitous Tory legislation of 1958, he is not likely to lay out large sums in capital expenditure, even if he has them available. What the Government propose is an act of justice, and they are to be thoroughly commended for it.
§ 8.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Dewar
The only observation in the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan) with which I disagreed came in his opening sentence when he called this a short debate. I shall take no more than a few minutes because the debate has already gone on long enough and it has largely covered ground which was very well ploughed, for one and a half days, in the Standing Committee.
§ Mr. Dewar
True, not on the Floor of the House. That point has been made. However, I hope that we can stick to the issues here and that the Conservative Opposition will not raise querulous complaints about procedure in order to rebut the Clause because they are frightened to attack it in principle. They do not want to be caught in open ground on a provision which covers an important matter of principle and which shows where general attitudes lie in relation to the whole of our agriculture and our system of land tenure in Scotland.
The issue here is simple. The Government have introduced a Clause which we regard as equitable and commendable by any reasonable standards. The question is whether the relative of a tenant farmer, who is adequately qualified in skill and who has had adequate experience, should be allowed to follow the tenant when he dies, or should he, at the whim or will of the landlord, no longer 523 have the right to continue? It is no good talking about amicable relations between landlord and tenant. It is easy to maintain amicable relations if one is the landlord who, by definition, holds the legal whip hand.
I should be prepared to accept the Opposition's case if the opening statement made by the right hon. Member for Argyll (Mr. Noble) could be substantiated. He said that the Clause would create considerable disruption in the whole pattern of farming in Scotland. If his subsequent arguments had proved the point, I should reluctantly, have accepted that we must look elsewhere, perhaps at schemes of adequate compensation, in order to make the best of a bad job for the people about whom we are concerned. In that case, I should regretfully have agreed that we ought to turn our back on the Clause, but there was nothing whatever in the right hon. Gentleman's following arguments to justify his sweeping statement. No such arguments have come from his hon. Friends. There have been a few points of varying worth, but it seemed to me that they could either be set aside or be regarded as of meagre importance.
The hon. Member for North Angus and Mearns (Mr. Buchanan-Smith)—I know that he speaks sincerely and feels deeply on this matter—talked about the problem of the man coming up through the agricultural college. A good deal has been made of the argument about the need to have a supply of tenant farms coming on the market. It was asked whether this Measure would do anything to produce more farms for people of that kind. But that is not the question which should be asked. It is a relevant factor, but it is not the fundamental question here. The question is: what is just and right for relatives of sitting tenants at the moment? This is a quite different consideration.
All we have to prove—it can easily be done—is that the interests of the people to whom the hon. Member for North Angus and Mearns referred will not be prejudiced by the passing of the Clause. Of course, they will not. Let us take the situation at its worst. As the hon. Member for Inverness (Mr. Russell Johnston) very properly said, it is simply a matter of a choice between 524 continuing as tenant the son or daughter who is properly qualified and allowing another tenant to be brought in. At worst, it is a balance of convenience, and it seems to me that, at the very least, there is, or there ought to be, an overriding prejudice in favour of the relatives of the tenant who has given so much and spent so much over the years on improving the property.
We can take consolation in knowing that if the Clause goes through and a new tenant is installed under its provisions, the farm will still be tenanted, and there will still be tenant farmers. We can take satisfaction in that if we believe in tenant farmers as a valuable section of the agricultural community. If a farm falls vacant, the landlord may well say, "I shall pick from a wide pool of appropriate people to fill the tenancy". But we all know that tenants are being squeezed out by hard economic circumstances. I do not expect any landlord to be a paragon of virtue. I do not expect him to say that he will in his case set aside all the long-term economic trends which are leading to the squeeze and that he will prejudice his own financial interests by putting in another tenant. The reason why farms are going out is that it is economically sensible for landlords to do it, and it would be to ignore human nature to expect many landlords not to act in that way.
Hon. Members opposite who have read the hand-out on these provisions from the Landowners' Federation will remember its eloquent and accurate argument that it is much cheaper at the moment to rent a farm as a tenant than it would be to finance the capital to buy it, interest rates being so high. The almost automatic corollary of that, certainly in a very large number of cases, is that, if one has the asset and has a choice between selling it and using the money on the market or re-letting, it is on one's financial interest to sell.
It seems to me, therefore, that in a negative or, so to speak, static sort of way, the balance of advantage in the effect of the Clause will definitely tend to preserve and not diminish the stock of tenant farms.
The right hon. Member for Argyll argued that capital would not be invested 525 by the landlord. Again, it is self-evident that that argument can he used the other way. The intelligent, progressive, forward-looking tenant will be held back in his turn, if he has not got security of tenure, from putting in really permanent and adequate improvements for the proper farming of his land.
The argument boils down to this. On both sides of the House, we are legislating for a few hard cases. The hon. Member for Glasgow, Hillhead (Mr. Galbraith) said that hard cases make bad law. This is a legal saw, so to speak, drawn from the judicial interpretation of Statutes by the courts. It does not relate to the original preparation of Statutes in the House of Commons. But that is by the way. The basic point is that, even if there is only a handful of these cases, only one or two, we can accept the argument that the average landlord allows the relative of the tenant to succeed. That is all very fair. But, if that is the position generally, hon. Members cannot, in logic, go on to say that there will be a fundamental disruption of the general pattern of agricultural life as a result of the Clause.
Either the Clause will change the habits of landlords, in which case, on grounds of sheer social justice we need it, or it will not, in which case there are only a few bad landlords and it cannot be said that there will be great disruption. In my view, because of the fundamental importance of this principle for the people concerned, we ought to give the Clause enthusiastic endorsement.
We have heard a lot about whether the Scottish N.F.U. is for or against what the Government propose. In fact, there can be no argument about it. I took the trouble to consult the local Aberdeen-Kincardine branch—the hon. Member for North Angus and Mearns will agree, as he was present at the meeting—and I was left in no doubt that the Government's proposal was supported. This was subsequently confirmed by letter from the local branch and later by the N.F.U.
I can offer no personal reminiscences about the habits of individual factors on the death of a tenant, but I am sure that, even if there are only four or five people a year involved, a rare sprinkling of cases where a landlord abuses his legal rights and prerogatives, this Measure will still 526 be worthy of support by the House of Commons. I hope that it gets it.
§ Mr. Stodart
We have had a very balanced debate with very few exaggerations, and with views which seemed to be sincerely held on both sides of the House in direct conflict with one another. With one exception, to which I hope the right hon. Gentleman will reply, concerning a point raised by my hon. Friend the Member for North Angus and Mearns (Mr. Buchanan-Smith), a fairly consistent point of view was expressed by hon. Members opposite.
In Committee, I said that I believed that the ruthless landlord is no more common than what I would describe as the bloody-minded tenant. As the hon. Member for Inverness (Mr. Russell Johnston) said, the N.F.U. are in favour of the Clause. I am a member of the N.F.U., and, incidentally, not a member of the Scottish Landowners' Federation, and therefore I hope that I can speak with reasonable dispassion. The N.F.U. did not ask for the provision; it asked that a competent son should be able to succeed, not a son, daughter, spouse or adopted son or daughter who is supposed to be only reasonably efficient. The N.F.U. has made no protest. Perhaps that would be asking too much, for if one asks for one course and is given three one does not usually refuse the other two. But I believe that the N.F.U. and many of its members will rue the day the legislation is passed.
§ Mr. Russell Johnston
Although the N.F.U. asked only for the son, the reason it did not ask for more was that it thought that it would not get it. It is delighted at having got much more than it expected.
§ Mr. Stodart
That is entering the realms of speculation.
I want to limit my arguments to one aspect of the question, the effect on the industry's efficiency, which is all that really matters. I very well appreciate the emotional upset for anyone who must leave a farm, because I have had to do it I shall not bore the House with the details. I was not the tenant, but I would merely say that pouring capital into buildings and stock is by no means the major thing. Farming is a very creative job, and one cannot farm for over a quarter of a century in one 527 farm, as I did, without becoming extremely devoted to it. I spent a miserable 18 months after I left it. Therefore I fully understand people's feelings when this happens.
The hon. Member for Inverness questioned what my right hon. Friend said about fixity as opposed to security. I think that security lies between a state in which one is at risk and somewhere where one has cast-iron certainty. I should have thought that if a tenant has his farm for life, because that is the present situation, if the lease runs out he can go on tacit relocation; he has his farm for life and his heir succeeds to the remainder of the lease. Nobody could say that that is not security. If it is to be said that a near relative shall succeed and that as the generations go on exactly the same thing will happen, I believe that that is no longer security but becomes fixity, although I accept that my view may not be shared.
What effect will the Clause have on the industry's efficiency? The hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan) referred to the difficulties of the industry over capital. What will happen in the sort of example, which I believe will be legion, in which a tenant has one son, or perhaps two, and a couple of daughters? The older son gets the farm, but the farmer may well say that he wants each of the others to have £2,000 or £3,000 apiece. Unless securities are available, and in many cases in farming they are not, the only place that that cash can come from is a bank overdraft.
§ 8.15 p.m.
§ I am so certain that one of the terribly inhibiting factors in farming today is the lack of capital with which to develop that anything that will aggravate that lack is a step which we should not take on any but the gravest account. The Under-Secretary of State summed up his arguments in Committee by saying that his interest in the matter was the future of Scottish agriculture and the protection of the tenant farmer in Scotland. He thus totally ignored the part to be played by those who contribute long-term capital, which is indispensible to agriculture.
§ I do not believe hon. Members opposite when they say that the fact that tenants know that they will be able to 528 pass farms on to their sons will encourage them to invest long-term capital. It is not the function of the tenant to invest long-term capital, and very well he knows it. I do not believe that the Clause will effect such a revolution that the tenants in Scotland will begin to say that they can now put vast sums of capital, which they have not got, into long-term equipment.
§ Mr. Maclennan
Does the hon. Gentleman agree that it is the function of the tenant farmer to maximise his profit and those of the successive tenants, and that if investment capital will contribute he, like any other businessman, will be likely to invest it?
§ Mr. Stodart
Even if the Clause is passed and the present tenant can look down the long, long trail awinding to the second, third and fourth generations, I am certain that if the Advisory Service suggests that he would get much greater output by putting up a new hay shed or installing grain-drying equipment or something like that he will still say that that is part of the landlord's job.
On the whole, the landlord and tenant system works pretty well. I do not believe that the bad landlord is more common than tenants who will not make the best use of their farms. Certain faults on either side are not enough to justify very drastic interference with such a system.
The future of Scottish agriculture depends on its efficiency, on its readiness to accept new methods and to adapt to change. The right hon. Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Willis) put a fair question. Has efficiency increased or decreased since 1958?
§ Mr. Willis
We have had two periods in which we have had two systems. I would like to have had a comparison.
§ Mr. Stodart
I have sought far and wide for some sort of statistics which would give the answer, but I do not think they exist. I do not believe that one can isolate any particular aspect of the efficiency which has taken place thanks to new plants, new fertilisers, new equipment and so on. But I am convinced that, for farming to accept new methods and adapt itself to new changes, there must be a steady flow in—I do not say 529 a flood—of new blood, enough of a flow to bring in the pioneer. I myself am a bad pioneer and when I look over a pioneer's hedge to see what he is doing, if he is successful I follow his example next year. Without such pioneers coming in, farming would be in a very bad way.
The question has been put as to whether the Clause will help or hinder that flow. Before the Committee Stage started, I determined to make no effort to exaggerate the case and all I have ever said is that the Clause is certain to make entry more difficult. That, I believe, cannot be denied. Indeed, the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland admitted to the fact.
I think that the giving of first refusal—and I think that I am interpreting the qualification Amendment correctly—to those who cannot be said not to be able to farm with reasonable efficiency in a sense bars the door a little and will narrow the gap through which new entrants can get in. When people say, "But the Land Court is there, so you can get a certificate for bad husbandry", I reply that this is extremely difficult to do. Farming has to be appallingly bad before one can get a certificate from the Land Court.
What concerns me is that we shall get just the words of that Amendment—" reasonably efficient "—which means, to me, going on in roughly the same way as farming is going at present. My right hon. Friend has been criticised for quoting the words of the English N.F.U. The right hon. Gentleman quoted a little from its observations as well. I shall quote them not because they are by the English N.F.U. but because this is an organisation whose views on any farming matter, no matter where it takes place, are of value. In that same paper it was stated:The day has passed when the mere fact of having been raised on a farm gives one enough experience to manage it efficiently. The fact of having been born a farmer's son does not of itself provide the degree of managerial capacity, business acumen, practical application and sound judgment which the more exacting demands of modern farming require of successful farmers.It goes on to make the point that it is extremely difficult to plead a special case now for having a pre-emption, as it were, by the son or any other relation of a farmer. 530 This matter was debated for 5 hours in Committee and we have had a good debate tonight, so the arguments have been well put. I say frankly, out of conviction and nothing else—no consideration of this Lobby or of that but solely out of conviction—that this Clause will not help Scottish farming to play its part as a major industry in future, to compete, as we have to, with places like New Zealand whose climatic conditions are vastly superior to ours and to get our wages up so that they are equivalent to those which can be earned in the town. This is a stupendous task and it is because this new Clause fails to meet it that I hope I have managed to convince my hon. Friends that we should vote against it.
§ Mr. Buchan
I have no doubt that the hon. Member for Edinburgh, West (Mr. Stodart) has convinced his hon. Friends that they should vote against this Clause. The problem faced by the Opposition is whether they can convince the farmers of Scotland that they are right in voting against it. I feel rather sorry for hon. Members opposite. The debate tonight has been much less vigorous than the debate in Committee on this subject. I suspect that this is because our debate here is more likely to be seen by the public gaze.
Of course, I accept the honesty and sincerity of the hon. Gentleman. We have known each other a long time throughout the proceedings on this Bill. But I think he is wrong in his view because he is suffering from the deeply engrained illusion, as are his hon. Friends—I do not accuse him of hypocrisy—that a landlord cannot make a bad choice, that for some reason his choice must be correct. An example was given by my hon. Friend the Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes), who is a great fount of wisdom in agricultural matters. He quoted from a newspaper and gave an example of a farm being sold regardless of who bought it. It was more than likely that the son of the deceased farmer knew the farm and could have farmed it better than the man who had most money at the auction.
§ 8.30 p.m.
§ Hon. Members opposite have asked whether our proposal will increase efficiency. I have been asked to prove that 531 it will on the basis of the increase in efficiency between 1949 and 1958 and between 1958 and now. But hon. Members themselves answered their own question. It is not possible to disentangle any single factor and to say that, for instance, because there was security of tenure between 1949 and 1958, there was more or less efficiency, any more than we can disentangle a particular lime subsidy and analyse its effects one way or the other. If we could exactly predict what kind of input would produce what output in agriculture, some of our problems in the Annual Price Review would be solved.
§ Mr. Emrys Hughes
Would not my hon. Friend agree that there could be no sillier method of testing the efficiency of a farmer than having a sale?
§ Mr. Buchan
I thank my hon. Friend for that comment.
The question is whether the capital investment and the consciousness of continuation which comes when a farmer knows that his son is to inherit will outweigh the apparent loss of capital which hon. Members opposite fear if we remove the landlord-tenant relationship in a certain number of cases. The hon. Member for Edinburgh, West (Mr. Stodart) defined fixity as being the position midway between being at risk and having cast iron security. He suggested that what we were giving was cast iron certainty, but it is nothing of the kind, for this proposal is to be subject to a number of provisions.
For instance, there is that dealing with the relative hardship of the landlord and tenant, the provision dealing with the agricultural training and experience of the tenant—
§ Mr. Hawkinsrose—
§ Mr. Hawkins
This is a new point. Will the Amendment dealing with qualifications include a consideration of whether there are sufficient capital resources?
§ Mr. Buchan
I have already analysed this. One consideration must be whether the efficiency resulting from capital investment by the tenant will outweigh the 532 efficiency resulting from capital investment by the landlord, but the number of farms coming up for letting will not be reduced. What we are saying is that sometimes the choice should be of the son or a near relative rather than an outsider, but there is no loss in the sense of the number of new entrants. Hon. Members opposite have spoken about a flood of applications for tenancies, but in many cases it will be sons of deceased tenants who will make up the flood. Our proposals will not reduce the number of farms available, but merely give security to the descendants of farmers and remove the possibility of the kind of thing which my hon. Friend the Member for South Ayrshire described.
I shall not deal with every argument, for my hon. Friends have crushed the general terms of the arguments of hon. Members opposite. However, there are one or two specific matters with which I should deal. The hon. Member for North Angus and Mearns (Mr. Buchanan-Smith) spoke of a farmer who was the tenant of the Secretary of State for Scotland, than whom there is no better landlord. He asked what his position was under the present law. As the hon. Gentleman knows, I do not know this case, but I have a hunch that it is not the simple proposition which the hon. Gentleman suggested. I take it that it concerns the assignation of the lease to the son before the death of the farmer and is not a request to name the son as a successor. This demonstrates that the hon. Gentleman should vote against the Amendment, because under our proposals security would be given if the son fulfilled the conditions about amalgamations.
§ Mr. Buchanan-Smithrose—
§ Mr. Buchan
I think that I do. I took the point exactly. The hon. Gentleman asked what the position would be if his constituent applied for his son to be his successor. The Secretary of State would be bound by these proposals as much as would any other landlord. If the hon. Gentleman has a particular matter to raise about a particular constituent, I 533 hope that he will write to me. He knows that I will give it, as always, my fullest consideration.
§ Mr. Buchan
I am sorry. In that case the hon. Gentleman should have put it better. It has been completely answered.
The hon. Member for Galloway (Mr. Brewis) asked whether a cattle stealer could become a tenant, especially if he had stolen cattle from landlords in the area. This was the point. I want to be sure that I have got the point in case I am accused of giving a wrong answer. In that case, as my right hon. Friend said, the landlord could object to him as a tenant. My right hon. Friend said that, and there were shouts of "No but my right hon. Friend was correct, according to the 1949 Act. If it was found that there were reasonable grounds for objection to the successor he would be dispossessed.
The other points raised by the hon. Member for North Angus and Mearns (Mr. Buchanan-Smith) dealt with entry to the industry. He put this better than most. There is a need to bring into the industry people with agricultural training. I doubt whether the number of agricultural tenants, for example obtaining tenancies to farms, will be affected to any great extent. In a few cases we will be changing the type of person who will be getting particular tenancies. This is a different matter.
It has been suggested that we are dealing with only a few hard cases. It has been said that hard cases can produce bad law but that is not always so. Hard cases may make good law, as a result
§ of the arousing of social conscience. This is what is happening in these circumstances. While we have been accused of rushing this through too quickly, I know that later this evening some of my hon. Friends and hon. Gentlemen opposite will be criticising us, saying that people have been suffering because we have not rushed things quickly enough.
§ The hon. Member for Perth and East Perthshire (Mr. MacArthur) sent me a letter which arrived on my desk this morning raising the question of a constituent, asking whether she will be covered by the new legislation.
§ Mr. MacArthur
If the hon. Gentleman sees fit to reveal correspondence before he has even discussed it with me, he will also take the point that I put this question to him in perfectly good faith, despite the fact that I do not support the proposals before the House, as my constituent knows. She came to me as her Member of Parliament, and I have dealt with the matter quite rightly and openly. The hon. Member has no business to make reference to the correspondence like that.
§ Mr. Buchan
I do not know why hon. Members are getting angry. I have made no suggestion that the hon. Member supported these proposals. He has made it quite clear that he did not in his letter. I thought that I was being considerate to him, but when I try to help I get clobbered. I have covered all the points raised. The Amendment must be rejected.
§ Question put, That the Amendment be made:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 114, Noes 205.
|Kirk, Peter||Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael||Stodart, Anthony|
|Kitson, Timothy||Osborn, John (Hal[...]am)||Taylor, Edward M.(G'gow, Cathcart)|
|Knight, Mrs. Jill||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)|
|Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Page, Graham (Crosby)||Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.|
|Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Peel, John||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Lloyd, Ian (P'tem'th, Langttone)||Pink, R. Bonner||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hn. Sir John|
|Loveys, W. H||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch||Vickers, Dame Joan|
|McAdden, Sir Stephen||Prior, J. M. L||Walker, Peter (Worcester)|
|MacArthur, Ian||Pym, Francis||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Maddan, Martin||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James||Weatherill, Bernard|
|Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David||Webster, David|
|May don, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C||Robson Brown, Sir William||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Mills, Peter (Torrington)||Royle, Anthony||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Miscampbell, Norman||Russell, Sir Ronald||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)||Scott-Hopkins, James||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|More, Jasper||Sharpies, Richard||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles||Silvester, Frederick||Younger, Hn. George|
|Murton, Oscar||Sinclair, Sir George|
|Neave, Airey||Smith, John||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Nicholls, Sir Harmar||Stainton, Keith||Mr. Hector Munro and Mr. Humphrey Atkins.|
|Abse, Leo||Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)||MacColl, James|
|Alldritt, Walter||Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||McGuire, Michael|
|Allen, Scholefield||Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Mackenzie, Alasdair(Ross & Crom'ty)|
|Anderson, Donald||Ford, Ben||Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen)|
|Archer, Peter||Forrester, John||Mackie, John|
|Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.)||Fowler, Gerry||Maclennan, Robert|
|Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham)||Galpern, Sir Myer||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)|
|Bacon, Rt. Hn. Alice||Garrett, W. E||McNamara, J. Kevin|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T||Ginsburg, David||MacPherson, Malcolm|
|Bence, Cyril||Gourlay, Harry||Mahon, Peter (Preston, S.)|
|Bennett, James (G'gow, Bridgeton)||Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth)||Manuel, Archie|
|Bessell, Peter||Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Mapp, Charles|
|Bishop, E. S.||Gregory, Arnold||Marks, Kenneth|
|Blackburn, F||Grey, Charles (Durham)||Marquand, David|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Griffiths, Will (Exchange)||Mendelson, J. J.|
|Boardman, H||Grimond, Rt. Hn. J||Millan, Bruce|
|Boston, Terence||Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Milne, Edward (Blyth)|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M||Hamilton,, William (Fife, W.)||Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)|
|Brooks, Edwin||Hannan, William||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)|
|Brown, Rt. Hn. George (Belper)||Harper, Joseph||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)|
|Brown, Bob(N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.)||Harrison., Walter (Wakefield)||Morris, John (Aberavon)|
|Brown, R. W. (Shoreditch & F'bury)||Hazell, Bert||Neal, Harold|
|Buchan, Norman||Henig, Stanley||Newens, Stan|
|Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)||Herbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Hooley, Frank||Norwood, Christopher|
|Cant, R. B||Hooson, Emlyn||Oakes, Gordon|
|Carmichael, Neil||Homer, John||Ogden, Eric|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||O'Malley, Brian|
|Chapman, Donald||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Orbach, Maurice|
|Coe, Denis||Hoy, James||Orme, Stanley|
|Coleman, Donald||Huckfield, Leslie||Oswald, Thomas|
|Concannon, J. D||Hughes, Emrys (Ayrshire, S.)||Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, S'tn)|
|Conlan, Bernard||Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Owen, Will (Morpeth)|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Hunter, Adam||Page, Derek (King's Lynn)|
|Cronin, John||Hynd, John||Park, Trevor|
|Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Parkyn, Brian (Bedford)|
|Cullen, Mrs. Alice||Jackson, Colin (B'h'se & Spenb'gh)||Pavitt, Laurence|
|Dalyell, Tam||Jackson, Peter M. (High Peak)||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)|
|Davidson, Arthur (Accrington)||Janner, Sir Barnett||Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred|
|Davidson, James(Aberdeenshire, W.)||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)||Pentland, Norman|
|Davies, Dr. Ernest (Stretford)||Johnston, Russell (Inverness)||Perry, Ernest G. (Battersea, S.)|
|Davies, Ednyfed Hudson (Conway)||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Perry, George H. (Nottingham, S.)|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Prentice, Rt. Hn. R. E.|
|de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey||Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, West)||Price, Thomas (Westhoughton)|
|Delargy, Hugh||Kelley, Richard||Price, William (Rugby)|
|Dempsey, James||Kenyon, Clifford||Probert, Arthur|
|Dewar, Donald||Lawson, George||Randall, Harry|
|Dickens, James||Leadbitter, Ted||Rankin, John|
|Dobson, Ray||Lee, Rt. Hn. Jennie (Cannock)||Rhodes, Geoffrey|
|Doig, Peter||Lestor, Miss Joan||Richard, Ivor|
|Dunn, James A||Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Dunnett, Jack||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Robinson, Rt. Hn. Kenneth(St.P'c'as)|
|Eadie, Alex||Lomas, Kenneth||Robinson, W. O. J. (Waith'stow, E.)|
|Edwards, Rt. Hn. Ness (Caerphilly)||Loughlin, Charles||Rose, Paul|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Lubbock, Eric||Ross, Rt. Hn. William|
|Ellis, John||Lyon, Alexander W. (York)||Rowlands, E. (Cardiff, N.)|
|English, Michael||Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)||Short, Rt. Hn. Edward(N'c'tle-u-Tyne)|
|Evans, loan L. (Birm'h'm, Yardley)||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Short, Mrs. Renee(W'hampton, N.E.)|
|Faulds, Andrew||McBride, Neil||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)|
|Fernyhough, E||McCann, John||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Slater, Joseph||Wainwright, Richard (Colne Valley)||Wilton, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)|
|Small, William||Walden, Brian (All Saints)||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)|
|Spriggs, Leslie||Walker, Harold (Doncader)||Winstanley, Dr. M. P.|
|Steel, David (Roxburgh)||Watkins, David (Consett)||Woof, Robert|
|Swain, Thomas||Wilkins, W. A.||Yates Victor|
|Swingler, Stephen||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|Thorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy||Williams, Alan Lee (Hornchurch)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Tinn, James||Williams, Clifford (Abertillery)||Mr. Ernest Armstrong and Mr. Eric G. Varley.|
|Urwin, T. W.||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)||Willis, George (Edinburgh, E.)|
§ Mr. Ross
I beg to move Amendment No. 23, in page 16, line 11, after ' subsection ', insert:
- (a) if they are satisfied that the near relative has neither sufficient training in agriculture nor sufficient experience in the farming of land to enable him to farm the holding to which the notice relates with reasonable efficiency, and if it is stated in the notice that it is given by reason of the matter aforesaid, or
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Sydney Irving)
With this Amendment we can take Amendments Nos. 24, 29, 30 and 32.
§ Mr. Ross
Yes, Mr. Deputy Speaker. When the Clause was discussed in Committee my hon. Friend the Joint Under-Secretary undertook to consider whether we should insert some qualification to limit a little further the class of successor to be protected against being given an incontestable notice to quit under Section 6 of the Agriculture Act, 1958.
It was pointed out that under our proposals as they stood, a near relative who succeeded to a holding might have no relevant agricultural experience, and it was suggested that we should apply some precise test, such as that he had worked for a number of years on a substantial holding or taken an approved course in agriculture. My hon. Friend discussed this question with me, but I thought that it was a little rigid. Experience on some other farm may be just as valuable, and it would be difficult to make out an exhaustive list of appropriate courses of training.
What, therefore, we are seeking to do in the Amendment is to ensure that a near relative shall not succeed to the holding if he or she has neither sufficient training in agriculture nor sufficient experience in the farming of land to enable him, or her, to farm the holding concerned with reasonable efficiency. Hon. Members will note that we have related this to the specific holding to which the notice to quit relates, so that experience on a small farm would not necessarily qualify 538 the successor to take over a much larger holding for which quite different experience might be required.
I think that we have proposed a reasonably flexible provision which will ensure that a landlord may obtain possession of a farm if a tenant who has inherited it has neither the experience nor the agricultural training to enable him to run it. We have made this alternative provision so that the successor must be qualified either by experience or by training. On the first case, the successor may have adequate experience, although he has had no formal training, which may indeed not be at all necessary to run a smallish farm. The reference to Auchincruive and the rest can be overdone. It cannot always be balanced against practical experience and we should not discount practical experience. On the second case, we cover a successor who has taken a course in agriculture but has, perhaps because of his father's early death, not had the opportunity of farming for any length of time.
I hope that hon. Members will agree that this is a fairly sensible provision. It adds a further ground on which the landlord may seek the consent of the Land Court to a notice to quit to a near relation who succeeds to a holding. If the tenant contests the notice, it will be for the Land Court to decide whether the tenant has neither the agricultural training nor the agricultural experience which would have enabled him to farm the holding with reasonable efficiency. I commend the Amendment to the House.
The other Amendments are consequential. In view of the time, I hope that the House will accept my assurance on that so that I should not have to go into further detail on them.
§ Mr. Stodart
This is better than nothing, but I cannot bring myself to enthuse about this qualification. I accept that the Amendment which we drafted in Committee probably went to the extreme of rigidity. We specified a 539 number of years on a farm. I remember that in moving the Amendment I made it clear that we would have no objection if the Government chose to amend our suggestion to take in another farm of a similar kind.
Although the Secretary of State has used the word with which we associate his right hon. Friend, "flexibility", which he is always urging on us, it will be extremely difficult to determine with any consistency what is meant by "sufficient training" or "sufficient experience" and what the norm of "reasonable efficiency" will be This could change enormously with each successor to the chair of the Land Court. People could have very different views. We might get into the same sort of difficulties as we had with the marginal agricultural production grant, which we improved with the winter keep scheme, by going all out to get a uniform standard throughout Scotland.
I can see considerable difficulties arising in assessing "reasonable efficiency" in different areas. "Reasonable efficiency" in the lowlands is very different from "reasonable efficiency" in a hard hill area. I should have thought that the Government's proposal went to the other extreme. However, I share the Secretary of State's view that we have had a fairly long run on this. The Amendment modifies the Clause to a certain extent. I accept that all the other Amendments are consequential.
The only thing which I confess I am baffled about—and I hope that the Secretary of State will explain it—is the reference in paragraph (b) of Amendment No. 30 tothe matters mentioned in paragraph (b)(1) to (iii)".As I understand it, paragraph (b)(i) to (iii) is supposed to be in Clause 18. It certainly has a paragraph (b), but it has no (i) to (iii). I have been trying to see what has gone wrong. There was a previous reference to this matter, and I could not then make out what 18(b)(i) to (iii) referred to. This may be a drafting error, but I should be obliged if the Secretary of State could give an answer to this point.
§ Mr. Hawkins
I want to ask the right hon. Gentleman one question about the 540 Clause and Amendment. I think it is important. When we were talking about this in Committee we were concerned lest the tenancy might be left to somebody who had no farming experience whatever, but there is one grave omission here. It does not appear that the successor has to have sufficient capital to work the farm. I hope the right hon. Gentleman is appreciating the point.
§ Mr. Hawkins
I am wondering whether the right hon. Gentleman thinks that by this Amendment the tribunal will be able to take into account whether the farmer has sufficient capital with which to run the holding. I believe it is important. I myself have sat for a number of years on a smallholdings committee where we choose tenants for smallholdings, small farms. We believe it is essential that the tenants should have sufficient capital as well as know-how and knowledge of how to farm the land. I shall be very glad to hear the right hon. Gentleman's reply on this point.
§ Mr. Ross
I noted the point, which the hon. Gentleman made in Committee more than once. I did not think it would be right to put this specifically into the guidance we shall give to the Land Court.
The answer to the question asked by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Edinburgh, West (Mr. Stodart) is that there are no sub-paragraphs (b)(i) to (iii) in the relevant subsection, that is Clause 18(2), but in addition to for paragraphs (a), (b), (c), we are introducing a new paragraph (a) by this Amendment, No. 23, which also has a reference to paragraph (b) and the paragraphs (a), (b), (c) in the subsection will become (i), (ii) and (iii) of paragraph (b). The hon. Gentleman was right in thinking that this might be drafting. It is for drafting reasons that those paragraphs now become (b)(i) to (iii).
§ Mr. Stodart
I must impress upon the right hon. Gentleman the hours of difficulty I have experienced in trying to understand what this means.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Is the hon. Member intervening only? Because if not he must have the leave of the House to speak again.
§ Mr. Stodart
I beg your pardon, Mr. Deputy Speaker. By leave of the House, may I just say that I have somewhat tender thoughts of what might have happened to me if I had been sitting in the right hon. Gentleman's place and putting in "paragraph (b)(i) to (iii)" and of the reaction of the right hon. Gentleman to that. He would probably have noticed the point more quickly than I did, and also detained us very much longer than I intend to detain the House now. I am grateful to him for his explanation. This is drafting, and there is no sinister reason for that Amendment, and I am perfectly prepared to allow the right hon. Gentleman to have it.
§ Mr. Ross
I apologise for giving the hon. Gentleman those hours of perplexity. He is right: I probably should have spotted the point. Indeed, I remember spotting something not dissimilar on a Bill in 1958 and demanding an explanation from the then Lord Advocate. But would not it have been very much better if the hon. Gentleman had come and asked the Scottish Office?
§ Amendment agreed to
Further Amendment made: Amendment No. 24, in page 16, line 39, at end insert:
' on the grounds mentioned in subsection (2)(b) of this section '.—[Mr. Ross]
§ 9.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Buchan
I beg to move Amendment No. 25, in page 17, line 14, after ' daughter ', insert or adopted son or daughter '.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Eric Fletcher)
I think that it would be for the convenience of the House to take with it Amendment No. 26.
§ Mr. Buchan
When the Bill was in Committee, this is another point that I undertook to look at again, and it concerns the definition of "near relative" in subsection (7) of the Clause. Hon. Members wanted to make sure that it would cover adopted children. At the time, we meant to cover them and thought that we had done so. However, a second look has shown that we, too, are in some doubt about the position.
Section 23 of the Succession (Scotland) Act, 1964, provides that the adopted child 542 is treated as the child of the adopter for the purposes of succession and the disposal of property. An adopted son or daughter may, therefore, succeed to a holding. The first of the two Amendments provides that he or she shall have the same protection under these Clauses as other near relatives of a deceased tenant. So we have taken care of that point.
The second Amendment is purely consequential and provides the necessary legal definition of the phrase "adopted son or daughter", and it does it by reference to the provisions of the Succession (Scotland) Act under which the rights of succession are conferred on adopted children.
§ Mr. Stodart
In Committee, the hon. Gentleman gave us the definite impression that the use of the words "son or daughter" included an adopted son or daughter. We accepted his explanation. However, this Amendment widens the field considerably. We now have an entirely different situation in that something which we suspected was covered by the Act was not covered at all. We are now faced with the widening of the range of near relations in a way that we had no reason to suspect. I have always maintained that this should be as narrow a range as possible. We now have a situation where a near relative will include not only a spouse, a son and a daughter, but someone else who could be adopted, provided that he or she is under 21.
It seems to me that that is going far beyond what we were prepared unwillingly to accept. It no longer means that a holding is necessarily being kept in the family. Presumably it would not be impossible for a tenant with no family, who was one of the small minority of bloody-minded tenants, to decide to ditch the landlord by adopting someone to perpetuate his tenancy. If that is the case, I have no hesitation in saying that we take great exception to it and will wish to register our protest in the Lobby
§ Mr. Maclennan
Within the argument advanced by the hon. Member for Edinburgh, West (Mr. Stodart) there is something of a contradiction. He led us to believe that he had understood originally from the wording of the Act that "son or daughter" included an adopted son or daughter, and he did not 543 register any protest in Committee about that understanding.
§ Mr. Stodart
Of course we protested in Committee against the whole concept, but we were assured that it made no difference and that, whether we liked it or not, a son included an adopted son. We realised that, if that were true, there was nothing we could say. That is very different from having the position forced upon us.
§ Mr. Maclennan
The hon. Member for Edinburgh, West (Mr. Stodart) has not really met the point. The Amendment does not widen the scope of the Bill as he originally conceived it; it clarifies the intention.
§ Mr. MacArthur
I would be grateful for more information from the Government on the point raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, West (Mr. Stodart). I am sure that the spirit behind the Amendment is acceptable if, in the Clause as it stands, the House decides that the adopted son or daughter of a tenant should succeed to the tenancy on his death. It is reasonable that a son or daughter genuinely adopted by the family and living in the same relationship with the tenant as a blood son or blood daughter should have the same standing in the family and in the eyes of the law as a blood son or blood daughter. To that extent the spirit of the Amendment is acceptable, although I still believe that the broadening of the succession to include daughters as well as sons is questionable.
I am concerned at the possibility, if only a theoretical one, which my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, West has described, namely, that a bloody-minded tenant might, to ensure the continuation of the farm beyond his death within a remoter branch of his own family, for example, provide artificially, as it were, for the adoption of a relative under 21 years of age to secure for that adopted child the succession which would otherwise be denied him.
This may be far-fetched, but I suggest that it is a real point. It is important that the Clause should be precise on this point. If there is room for a distortion of the spirit behind the Amendment, the Government would be well advised to produce a further Amendment at a later stage of the Bill.
§ Mr. Godber
I had not intended to intervene on this point, because we have had long debates on the Scottish Amendments. However, we must understand a little more clearly what the Under-Secretary has said before deciding what we should do.
Much as we on this side deplore the general line set out in Clauses 18 to 20, nevertheless, if it were felt only fair that an adopted son or daughter, meaning somebody equivalent to a close relation and having been adopted at a very early age, should be entitled to succession, we can understand that there might be a case in relation to the Clause. But if the position is as I understand it to have been announced, that in fact a tenant could adopt somebody at a very late stage for the purpose of enabling him to dictate in what way the holding should be left, that would be a very serious and damaging widening of the whole effect.
I ask the Secretary of State either to give us a clear indication about this or to undertake to have another look at it between now and its going to another place. If there is a widening, we would take that as a serious step which must be resisted. If he can assure us that it would be limited to someone adopted at a very tender age, we would acknowledge that he had a case for doing this. However, we would not be willing to allow it to go forward in the form in which we now understand it without registering our protest against it.
§ Mr. Ross
I wish that this point had been brought out when we discussed the matter in Committee, because there has been a considerable change of attitude about it. For quite some time it has been a generally accepted principle of law that an adopted child is treated for certain purposes in the same way as a natural child of the parents.
One of the most important Bills relating to succession is the Succession (Scotland) Act, 1964, in which this provision was specifically made in respect of an adopted child. He was given the same status as the son or daughter of the family, and I would be loth to depart from that principle in relation to a hypothetical and very theoretical likelihood, bearing in mind that there are other conditions in respect of which the notice to quit can be applied.
545 Hon. Gentlemen opposite asked whether the adopted child was covered. Having read the Committee proceedings, I thought that they wanted the adopted child to be covered, but now I gather that they do not. I regret this, because it runs counter to the much more enlightened attitude which has been in evidence in the application of Scottish law, and in relation to other children for whom provision is being made in the Law Reform Bill, the principle of which was given an unopposed Second Reading in the Scottish Committee. I suggest that we rest on this.
If there is something unreasonable in respect of an applicant to which objection is taken by the landowner, it may well be that the land court will have a discretion. I would not like to be dogmatic about this now, but I think that we are dealing with figments of the imagination when it is thought that for the purpose of getting round the law this kind of device will be used by people in Scotland.
Those who are most vociferously denying what I am saying are hon. Members from the agricultural areas of England. They may have special knowledge of the attributes and practices of English tenant farmers who wish to circumvent the will of the House of Commons, but I think that the Opposition are drawing pretty long bows when they read this possibility into the provision. I am prepared to look at anything to see whether there is a reasonable possibility of this happening, but for the moment I am satisfied that what we have done meets the wishes of the Committee, that we should ensure that the adopted child is covered.
§ Mr. MacArthur
Would the right hon. Gentleman agree that the spirit of the Amendment, and my objection, would be met if, at a later stage, the adoption were to relate to the adoption of the son or daughter in infancy?
§ Mr. Hawkinsrose—
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. I think that the hon. Gentleman has spoken once, and has, therefore, exhausted his right to speak again.
§ Mr. Hawkins
I agree with what has been said about an adopted child, but this is not a figment of the imagination. One can visualise an elderly tenant adopting a man of middle age for the payment of a sum of money. I do not think that this can be regarded as a figment of the imagination. There is no reason why the tenancy should not be saleable in this way by the adoption of somebody. This should not be written in, because it could lead to abuse.
§ 9.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
I should say that Mr. Speaker has deprecated an excessive use of second speeches, although, if the hon. Gentleman claims the leave of the House, I must put it to the House.
§ Mr. Stodart
I promise to be extremely brief, Mr. Deputy Speaker.
I would be the first to agree that it is not likely to arise often, but there could be a case in which a tenant had a flaming row with his landlord and was prepared to do this to ditch the landlord. We would accept my hon. Friend's proposition. If the right hon. Gentleman will undertake to consider this before a later stage, we would be content. If he ruled out this possibility because it was a figment of the imagination, we would be obliged to vote against the proposal.
§ Mr. Russell Johnston
This seems rather far-fetched, the idea conjured up by the hon. Member for Norfolk, South West (Mr. Hawkins), of a fairly old tenant virtually selling his concessions by adopting a middle-aged man. Even if this were possible, surely the landlord would be able to take the matter to the courts. Is that no so?
§ Mr. Ross
I should be very surprised, as I said, if the Land Court of Scotland, hardheaded as its members are, could not see through this. What we thought we had covered—from studying the Committee proceedings and talking to my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary, I thought that this was what the Opposition wanted—was the position of the adopted child under the general succession law of Scotland. The Amendment was designed to ensure this. I am surprised that this argument has been put to us.
547 It would be easy for me to say that I will look at it again. I always look at these things again, but I would be wrong to lead the hon. Gentleman to think that I should race to make some change—this is the proposal—in the law of succession in Scotland. One cannot do that in one
|Division No. 63.]||AYES||[9.19 p.m.|
|Alldritt, Walter||Gourlay, Harry||Morris, John (Aberavon)|
|Allen, Scholefield||Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth)||Neal, Harold|
|Anderson, Donald||Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Newens, Stan|
|Archer, Peter||Gregory, Arnold||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)|
|Armstrong, Emest||Grey, Charles (Durham)||Norwood, Christopher|
|Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.)||Griffiths, Will (Exchange)||Oakes, Gordon|
|Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham)||Grimond, Rt. Hn. J.||Ogden, Eric|
|Bacon, Rt. Hn. Alice||Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||O'Malley, Brian|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Hannan, William||Orbach, Maurice|
|Bence, Cyril||Harper, Joseph||Orme, Stanley|
|Bennett, James (G'gow, Bridgeton)||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Oswald, Thomas|
|Bessell, Peter||Hazell, Bert||Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, S'tn)|
|Bishop, E. S.||Henig, Stanley||Owen, Will (Morpeth)|
|Blackburn, F.||Harbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret||Page, Derek (King's Lynn)|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Hooley, Frank||Pardoe, John|
|Boardman, H.||Hooson, Emlyn||Park, Trevor|
|Boston, Terence||Horner, John||Parkyn, Brian (Bedford)|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Pavitt, Laurence|
|Bradley, Tom||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)|
|Brooks, Edwin||Hoy, James||Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred|
|Brown, Rt. Hn. George (Belper)||Huckfield, Leslie||Portland, Norman|
|Brown, Bob(N 'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.)||Hughes, Emrys (Ayrshire, S.)||Perry, Ernest G. (Battersea, S.)|
|Brown, R. W. (Shoreditch &F'bury)||Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Perry, George H. (Nottingham, S.)|
|Buchan, Norman||Hunter, Adam||Prentice, Rt. Hn. R. E.|
|Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)||Hynd, John||Price, Thomas (Westhoughton)|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Irvine, Sir Arthur||Price, William (Rugby)|
|Cant, R. B.||Jackson, Colin (B'h'se &Spenb'gh)||Probert, Arthur|
|Carmichael, Nell||Jackson, Peter M. (High Peak)||Randall, Harry|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis||Janner, Sir Barnett||Rankin, John|
|Chapman, Donald||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)||Rhodes, Geoffrey|
|Coe, Denis||Johnston, Russell (Inverness)||Richard, Ivor|
|Coleman, Donald||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Concannon, J. D.||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Robinson, Rt. Hn.Kenneth(St.P'c'as)|
|Conlan, Bernard||Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, West)||Robinson, W. O. J. (Walth'stow, E.)|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Kelley, Richard||Rose, Paul|
|Cronin, John||Kenyon, Clifford||Ross, Rt. Hn. William|
|Grossman, Rt. Hn. Richard||Lawson, George||Rowlands, E. (Cardiff, N.)|
|Cullen, Mrs. Alice||Leadbitter, Ted||Short, Rt. Hn. Edward(N'c'tle-u-Tyne)|
|Dalyell, Tam||Lee, Rt. Hn. Jennie (Cannock)||Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton,N.E.)|
|Davidson, Arthur (Accrington)||Lestor, Miss Joan||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)|
|Davidson. James (Aberdeenshire. W.)||Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Davies, Dr. Ernest (Stretford)||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Slater, Joseph|
|Davies, Ednyfed Hudson (Conway)||Lomas, Kenneth||Small, William|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Loughlin, Charles||Spriggs, Leslie|
|de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey||Lubbock, Eric||Steel, David (Roxburgh)|
|Delargy, Hugh||Lyon, Alexander W. (York)||Swain, Thomas|
|Dempsey, James||Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)||Swingler, Stephen|
|Dewar, Donald||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Thorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy|
|Dickens, James||McCann, John||Tinn, James|
|Dobson, Ray||MacColl, James||Urwin, T. W.|
|Doig, Peter||McGuire, Michael||Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)|
|Dunn, James A.||Mackenzie, Alasdair(Ross &Crom'ty)||Wainwright, Richard (Colne Valley)|
|Dunnett, Jack||Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen)||Walden, Brian (All Saints)|
|Eadie, Alex||Mackie, John||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Edwards, Rt. Hn. Ness (Caerphilly)||Maclennan, Robert||Watkins, David (Consett)|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Ellis, John||McNamara, J. Kevin||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|English, Michael||MacPherson, Malcolm||Williams, Alan Lee (Hornchurch)|
|Evans, loan L. (Birm'h'm, Yardley)||Mahon, Peter (Preston, S.)||Williams, Clifford (Abertillery)|
|Ferny hough, E.||Manuel, Archie||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)||Mapp, Charles||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)|
|Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||Marks, Kenneth||Winstanley, Dr. M. P.|
|Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Marquand, David||Woof, Robert|
|Ford, Ben||Mendelson, J. J.||Yates, Victor|
|Forrester, John||Millan, Bruce|
|Fowler, Gerry||Milne, Edward (B[...]yth)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Galpern, Sir Myer||Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)||Mr. Neil McBride and|
|Garrett, W. E.||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Mr. Eric G. Varley.|
|Ginsburg, David||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)|
§ Act and not in others. If the hon. Gentleman wants to vote against the adopted child getting these rights, we had better end in that way.
§ Question put, That the Amendment be made:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 202, Noes 107.
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Griffiths, Eidon (Bury St. Edmunds)||Osborn, John (Hallam)|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)|
|Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n)||Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||Page, Graham (Crosby)|
|Bakar, W. H. K.||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Peel, John|
|Balniel, Lord||Harvie Anderson, Miss||Pink, R. Bonner|
|Bell, Ronald||Hawkins, Paul||Powell, Rt. Hn. Enoch|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Heald, Rt. Hn. Sir Lionel||Prior, J. M. L.|
|Body, Richard||Heseltine, Michael||Pym, Francis|
|Bossom, Sir Clive||Hiley, Joseph||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James|
|Brewis, John||Holland, Philip||Renton, Rt. Hn. David|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Royle, Anthony|
|Buchanan-Smith, Alick(Angus,N&M)||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Russell, Sir Ronald|
|Burden, F. A.||Jennings, J. C. (Burton)||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Campbell, Gordon||Jopling, Michael||Silvester, Frederick|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Kaberry, Sir Donald||Sinclair, Sir George|
|Cooper-Key, Sir Neill||Kershaw, Anthony||Smith, John|
|Corfield, F. V.||King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)||Stainton, Keith|
|Costain, A. P.||Kirk, Peter||Stodart, Anthony|
|Cunningham, Sir Knox||Kitson, Timothy||Taylor. Edward M.(G'gow,Cathcart)|
|Currie, G. B H.||Knight, Mrs. Jill||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.|
|Dance, James||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Deedes, Rt. Hn. w. F. (Ashford)||Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langslor.e)||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hn. Sir John|
|du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward||Loveys, W. H.||Walker, Peter (Worcester)|
|Emery, Peter||McAdden, Sir Stephen||Wall, Patrick|
|Errington, Sir Eric||MacArthur, Ian||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Farr, John||Maddan, Martin||Weatherill, Bernard|
|Foster, Sir John||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Webster, David|
|Galbraith, Hon. T. G.||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Gil[...]our, Ian (Norfolk, c.)||Mills, Peter (Torrington)||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Gil[...]our, Sir John (Fife, E.)||Miscampbell, Norman||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Goodhew, Victor||Monro, Hector||Younger, Hn. George|
|Gower, Raymond||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles|
|Grant, Anthony||Murton, Oscar||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Grant-Ferris, R.||Neave, Airey||Mr. R. W. Elliott and Mr. Jasper More.|
|Gresham Cooke, R.||Nicholls, Sir Harmar|
Further Amendment mad: No. 26, in page 17, line 14, at end insert:
(8) In the last foregoing subsection, the reference to an adopted son or daughter of a deceased tenant shall be construed as a reference to a son or daughter adopted by him (whether lone or jointly with any other person) in pursuance of an adoption order within the meaning of section 23(5) of the Succession (Scotland) Act, 1964.—[Mr. Ross]