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Clause 9—(Putting Into Effect Of Reorganisation Schemes)

Volume 643: debated on Wednesday 5 July 1961

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I beg to move, in page 9, line 41, to leave out "or the last foregoing section" and to insert "Act".

This is a drafting Amendment, but, to respond to the wishes of the hon. Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Willis), perhaps I had better say a few words about it.

Clause 9 (2) enables the Commission to appoint different dates on which different provisions of a reorganisation scheme shall come into effect. It is envisaged that it may be necessary for such a scheme to be put into effect in phases, particularly if the bringing in of land for the enlargement of crofts is involved.

Clause 9 (2) states that for the purposes of Clauses 8 and 9 the effective date of a reorganisation scheme in relation to any land shall be the date fixed by the Commission—
"the date on which the provisions of that scheme which apply to such land are put into effect."
There is, however, reference to the date on which a reorganisation scheme is put into effect elsewhere in the Bill apart from Clauses 8 and 9—for example, in Clause 2 (3). It is, therefore, necessary that the reference in Clause 9 (2) to the effective date of a reorganisation scheme should apply to all the provisions of the Bill and not simply to Clauses 8 and 9. This is the change achieved by the Amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I beg to move, in page 10, line 28, to leave out from crofter "to the end of the subsection and to insert:

"for a period of seven years from the term at which it first became payable".
The Bill provides that when a crofting township is reorganised under Clauses 8 and 9 the existing rental of the township shall be reallocated by the Land Court between the reorganised crofts. When this aspect of township reorganisation was discussed in Standing Committee we had a considerable debate and a useful exchange of views. Hon. Members on both sides of the Committee were of opinion that it would be an advantage if, following a reorganisation scheme, there should be a fixed period during which the rents of the crofts should remain stable. The purpose of this Amendment is to provide such a period of stability lasting for seven years unless both the landlord and crofter agree otherwise.

I do not think I need say more about it. The over-ruling interest is to encourage crofters to take part in a reorganisation scheme and one of the things which might discourage them in this matter would be if they had not known that their rent would be fixed for some period of years. One might argue whether it ought to be ten or five years, but on balance seven years was chosen as being the period which at the moment is the time which must elapse from one period of rent revision to another. The period of seven years seems reasonable, as I hope the House will agree.

Amendment agreed to.