(1) Except as otherwise provided by this Section and Part VIII of the Requisitioned Land and War Works Act, 1945, the value of any interest in requisitioned land shall be assessed in accordance with the foregoing provisions of this Part of this Act as if the land were not requisitioned land; and in particular an interest in such land shall be deemed for the purposes of Section (Temporary provisions for eliminating special value attributable to vacant possession) of this Act to carry the right to vacant possession of the land or the right to obtain such possession before the first day of January, nineteen hundred and fifty-four, if it would carry that right if the land were not requisitioned land.
(2) Where an interest in land the value of which falls to be ascertained in accordance with the foregoing provisions of this Part of this Act is acquired compulsorily in such circumstances that Part VIII of the Requisitioned Land and War Works Act, 1945, applies to the acquisition, then—
Provided that for the purposes of Subsection (2) of the said Section (Compensation for compulsory purchase of land attracting converted value payments) no account shall be taken of any such works as are mentioned in paragraph (b) of Subsection (1) of the said Section forty-one.
(3) Where, by virtue of paragraph (a) of the last foregoing Subsection, the Third Schedule to this Act applies in relation to the assessment of compensation for the compulsory acquisition of an interest in land being requisitioned land as if the beginning of the period of requisition were substituted therein for the appointed day, then if any buildings or works have been erected or constructed on the land during the period of requisition, and either—
those buildings or works shall be treated for the purposes of the said Third Schedule as having been erected or constructed immediately before the beginning of the period of requisition.—[ 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 compulsory acquisition of requisitioned land, and broadly speaking, its effect is that the price payable is the current restricted value of the land, excluding, on the one hand, any enhancement due to buildings erected during the requisitioning, unless the owner has himself paid for those buildings, and, on the other hand, any diminution of value due to the requisitioning, so that in assessing the compensation to be paid the requisitioning will be ignored, except in the case where buildings have been put up, otherwise than at the expense of the owner
This Clause raises a question of considerable difficulty and intricacy We are entitled to ask the right hon. Gentleman for a fuller explanation of what it does. He said that, broadly speaking, those affected would get the current restricted values. What exactly does he mean by that? Does he mean that where there is a compulsory acquisition of requisitioned land, no matter when that acquisition takes place, the development values attached to that land, assuming that it was derequisitioned, will be ignored when payment is made? I am not clear, from his explanation, what interpretation he seeks to put on the phrase "current restricted values." I have endeavoured to work out this Clause, and particularly Subsection (2) with the Requisitioned Land and War Works Act, 1945, Part VIII, which, according to my recollection of that Measure when it was under discussion in the House, endeavoured to provide a code for compensation on the acquisition of requisitioned land. I am not clear to what extent this Clause varies that part of that Act, particularly when one finds that Subsection (1) is subject to the provisions of Part VIII of the Requisitioned Land and War Works Act, 1945. Bearing in mind that so much property is still held under requisition in 1947—houses, aerodromes, and a wide variety of properties—we are titled to ask the Minister to tell us a little more in detail, precisely what is the object of this extremely complicated Clause. I daresay it is all right, but his explanation has not resolved the difficulties which I found when I read this Clause with the Act of 1945.
I have not altogether appreciated the hon. and learned Member's difficulties. The current restricted value of the land is the value of the land in the ordinary market without the development value in respect of which compensation will be paid out of the £300 million, and on the assumption that there was a notional lease in existence which expires in 1954, at the current rent. That is the meaning of "current restricted value" of the land. Then I dealt with the position of buildings on the land. They are governed by the Requisitioned Land and War Works Act. Again, very broadly, if the buildings were put up at the expense of the owner, then the value of those buildings will be taken into account in valuing the land; if they were not it will not. The hon. and learned Gentleman will appreciate that it is sometimes necessary to have simple things explained in very complicated language.
There is one question I would like to ask the right hon. Gentleman, as we have no Law Officer on the Government Front Bench to help us. On Subsection (3) in regard to the compensation for buildings, I am anxious to know what the position is if building goes on after the acquisition. As I understand it, there is then precisely the same form of compensation as there would be if the building had taken place before the acquisition. Everyone will admit the need for carrying on the building, and I want to be sure that nothing is done due to the taking over of the land which might hold up building. That would be a rather serious matter. Will the Minister assure me that he will try to exercise his authority over Departments, so that they do not either delay or hold up building by means of this new Clause on compensation, which is difficult to understand?
I am grateful to the Minister for his explanation. There is one point on which I should like further information. The Minister has dealt with the meaning of current restricted values. In regard to the compulsory purchase of requisitioned land, do I understand that we are not to have the three different scales of assessment of the value dependent on the date of service of notice to treat? That is to say, if the notice to treat is given before the Bill, becomes an Act, the basis is the 1939 values; if it is between the passing of the Act and the appointed day, it is 1947 values; and, if after 1947, it is current values. Are those distinctions eliminated in the case of compulsory acquisition of requisitioned land? If they are not eliminated, where are the words which make the Clause subject to the earlier Clauses in that regard?
"the value of any interest in requisitioned land shall be assessed in accordance with the foregoing provisions of this Part of this Act as if the land were not requisitioned land
May I have an answer to my question?
I can give the hon. Member a complete assurance on that point. This has nothing to do with the case of building actually in progress on the land. Certainly, if what he suggested were conceivable, I give him the assurance that everything would be done to prevent any delay.
If it does not affect building, what does the Subsection mean?
It does not affect building or development which is continuing.
Question put, and agreed to.
Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.