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New Clause—(Application Of Part Viii Of Act Of 1945 To Compensation To Tenants In Northern Ireland)

Volume 446: debated on Wednesday 28 January 1948

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In the case of a notice to quit given under Section seven of the Northern Ireland Land Act, 1929 (which provides for the giving of notice to tenants in certain cases subject to the payment of compensation of an amount calculated by reference to the rateable value of the holding and any buildings thereon) at any time during the period during which, on the compulsory acquisition of land by a Minister, compensation falls to be adjusted in accordance with Part VIII of the Act of 5945 (which provides for adjusting compensation to offset changes in value due to government war work and other circumstances arising while a Minister or person acting under him is in occupation of land) the said Part VIII shall apply in assessing the compensation under the said Section seven as if references in the said Part VIII to the compulsory acquisition of land as therein mentioned were references to the service of notice to quit under the said Section seven, and as if references to the land acquired were references to the holding or part of the holding to which the notice to quit relates:
Provided that this Section shall not have effect where the amount of the compensation in consequence of a notice to quit given before the commencement of this Act has been agreed or determined before the seventeenth day of January, nineteen hundred and forty-eight.—[The Solicitor-General.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

10.15 p.m.

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

This Clause looks rather formidable at first sight, but it is in fact designed to deal with a very limited category of cases in Northern Ireland. Under Section 7 of the Northern Ireland Land Act, 1929, in certain cases, if a tenant is given notice, he is entitled to compensation at the rate of 35 times the rateable value of his holding and of any buildings on the holding, that is, in the case of tenancies which are outside the scheme centring upon the Land Purchase Commission.

It might very well have been possible to make the Amendment which I now seek to make when the Requisitioned Land and War Works Act, 1945, was passed. It was, in fact, not done then largely owing to an omission. At any rate, the 1945 Act did not deal with it. What we seek to do is to say that in those cases, in the period, now extended, during which Part VIII of the 1945 Act operates, that Part VIII shall apply so as to adjust that compensation by excluding any computation of 35 times the rateable value attributable to any Government war works on the holding. Otherwise, the situation may be that if a tenant were in occupation of land on which a Government factory stood, if the land is then acquired by the Government, the tenant, if he receives notice to quit, would be entitled to compensation at the rate of 35 times the rateable value of the holding—the rateable value being assessed not merely by reference to its ordinary value without the factory, but on the full amount of the extra value of the Government factory.

Of course, it was never intended that a tenant should receive, in effect, 35 times the rateable value of the factory erected on the land by the Government. That is an oversight, and the new Clause is designed to cure that oversight. It does not affect any settlements which were made before the new Clause was put down on 17th January, but it will affect any settlements after that date. I feel sure that common sense requires that. The matter has actually been brought to light, and that is why the opportunity is now taken to introduce this new Clause to set this position right and to put an end to a quite unjustifiable and rather absurd anomaly.

Question put, and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

With reference to the new Clause standing in the names of my right hon. Friend the Member for North Leeds (Mr. Peake) and myself, and other hon. Gentlemen—(Compensation for injurious affection)—in view of the fact that the Government are considering the whole question of compensation, we think it would be preferable to consider the result of their deliberations before formally moving that Clause.