(1) Where an interest in land the value of which is to be ascertained in accordance with the provisions of Section (Compensation for compulsory purchase after appointed day) of this Act is an interest in a hereditament or part of a hereditament which has sustained war damage, and any of that damage has not been made good at the date of the notice to treat, then if the appropriate payment under the War Damage Act, 1943, would, apart from the compulsory purchase or apart from any direction given by the Treasury under Section twenty of that Act, be a payment of cost of works—
(2) Where, under Subsection (1) of this Section, the value of any interest in land comprised in a hereditament is required to be taken to be the value which that interest would have if war damage sustained by that hereditament had been made good before the date of the notice to treat, and any works, other than works for making good the war damage, have been carried out on the land since the occurrence of the war damage, then if the making good of the war damage would involve the removal of those works, the value of the said interest shall be taken to be—
whichever is the higher.
(3) Where an interest in land is acquired by agreement in pursuance of a contract made after the appointed day by a person authorised by virtue of any enactment to acquire 'it compulsorily, being an interest in a hereditament or part of a hereditament which has sustained war damage any of which has not been made good before the date of the contract, then if the appropriate payment under the War Damage Act, 1943, would, apart from the acquisition or apart from any direction given by the Treasury under Section twenty of that Act be a payment of cost of works, the right to receive any value payment or share of the value payment which, under that Act, is payable in respect of the interst so acquired (including any interest payable thereon) shall, notwith-standing anything in that Act, vest in the person by whom the interest is acquired as aforesaid.
(4) Where, by virtue of paragraph ( b) of Subsection (1) of this Section or of the last foregoing Subsection, the right to receive a value payment or share of a value payment becomes vested in the person by whom an interest in land is acquired, whether compulsorily or by agreement, the amount of that payment or share (including any interest thereon) shall not exceed the sum paid by that person by way of compensation or consideration in respect of the interest so acquired.—[ Mr. Silkin.]
Brought up, and read the First time.
I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."This Clause deals with the case of land which is to be publicly acquired, either by compulsion or agreement, which has suffered war damage, and which has attracted the converted value payment. In that case, the acquisition will be made on the assumption that the land was in the state in which it was immediately before the damage, compensation being paid on the same basis as that on which it is paid in respect of other property, namely at market value which is subject to the notional lease. The amount of the converted value payment which would have been payable to the owner will be paid to the acquiring authority, so that the owner will not get both compensation and value payment. The acquiring authority will also be entitled to the interest on the purchase price. This new Clause will put an end to the considerable feeling which has been aroused in all the blitzed areas about what is commonly known as the portable cost of works payment. The Committee will remember that there was a strong feeling that owners of war-damaged property would have been entitled to cost of works payment, but on account of necessary re-development in the blitzed areas they had their cost of works payment converted to a value payment and in such cases were suffering an injustice which was felt acutely by the local authorities themselves. Under this Clause, such persons will become entitled to compensation on the same basis as if that property had been in the condition in which it was before the damage.
; I intend to support the right hon. Gentleman in this new Clause, particularly in regard to the beneficial effect mentioned in the last part of his speech. It was very evident to me when I was in his place, that the provisions of the War Damage Act had a very prejudicial effect on proper planning, in that property which had suffered damage would have attracted cost of works payment, which was necessary for acquirement, but the mere act of acquisition excluded the owners from receiving this measure of compensation and that caused a reluctance on the part of the owner, and even a reluctance on the part of the local authority to enforce the full rigour of the law, which they felt to be unfair. I am glad to hear from the right hon. Gentleman that this formidable obstacle to the planning of our bombed cities has been overcome.
I welcome this new Clause. As I indicated in a Question to the Minister yesterday, I wish that the 1939 standard could also be replaced for the people who are to get the original value payments, as well as those who will get the converted value payments. I agree with the Minister that this new Clause will end the dispute which has been raging ever since it was announced that the cost of works payments in reconstruction areas would be converted to value payments, and that it will end a great sense of injustice in all cur bombed cities. I wish to ask how long the people who will get the converted value payment will have to wait for pay- ment of their claims. I understood my right hon. Friend to say that the converted payment will be met in toto to the local Authorities, and that the local authority will be responsible for compensating the people whose properties they are acquiring. But in badly 'blitzed cities such as Plymouth, Hull and Bristol, the acquisition will be spread over a consider-able period. In some cases it would create great hardship if people had to wait perhaps for a period of years, before they could get the compensation due to them on account of properties which had been destroyed. I am sure that if the Minister can reassure us on that point—that where money is needed by the people who will be the recipients of these payments, the money will be available—everyone will welcome the fact that the new Clause is being introduced.
I should like to join the hon. Lady the Member for Sutton (Mrs. Middleton) in pressing on the Minister the necessity for not delaying the payment of these people. They have experienced considerable delay and they are people who have already undergone considerable suffering. The new Clause goes a long way to meet a plea which has been put mainly from this side of the Committee, and I am sure the Minister must realise that a strong case can be made on behalf of these people.
I have no responsibility for payments under the War Damage Act. The Chancellor has stated that these value payments will be made, I believe, this year. It is only in cases where the local authorities desire to acquire the property that this adjustment will be made, and payment made to the local authority instead of the owner. This provision is not intended in any way to delay payments to the owner, of the value payments to which he is entitled. He will either get that, or the amount to which he is entitled in respect of acquisition.
If I may press the point further, I think I am right in saying that converted payments are only made within reconstruction areas. There are no converted value payments outside those areas, and therefore all the properties which attract the converted value payments will be those acquired by local authorities.
Yes, but that is not exactly the point. People who become entitled to value payments will get them, unless their property is acquired at the time when the payments are being made.
But there is some element of doubt in this matter. I am not arguing the technical details but I suggest that the right hon. Gentleman should look into this matter again. If there is any difficulty or doubt, will he get it put right in another place? If he will give that assurance, I shall be happy.
There is no doubt about it.
Question put, and agreed to.
Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.