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Commutation Of Smallholdings Payments

Volume 129: debated on Wednesday 9 March 1988

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Lords amendment: No. 15, after clause 33, insert new clause—

".Any annual or other periodic payments under the terms of any settlement in respect of amounts payable under section 27 of the Land Settlement (Facilities) Act 1919 which, apart from this section, would fall to be made to a county council or district council by the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food or the Secretary of State may be commuted by him into a single payment, either by agreement with that council or, in default of agreement, by an order made by him in that behalf."

Read a Second time.

I must inform the House that this amendment involves privilege.

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.

This new clause will enable Agriculture Ministers in England and Wales to commute into a single payment, either by agreement with the individual councils or, in default of agreement, by order, payments made under the Land Settlement (Facilities) Act 1919 for the losses they incurred in first establishing smallholding estates for the settlement of demobilised ex-service men after the first world war.

Payments are currently made in half-yearly instalments on a diminishing scale. It is generally recognised that commutation of those payments would be an administrative convenience.

The House will recall that when we last debated this matter I said that I hoped that the other place would show a little more sense than we had demonstrated at that time. I am grateful to my hon. Friend for accepting the amendment in the spirit in which it was tabled in the other place.

There are five prerequisites for a registration scheme—

Order. I think that the hon. Gentleman has anticipated the next Lords amendment.

Question put and agreed to. [Special Entry.]