Claue 9. — :(Amendment of Section 7 of Act of 1911.).

Orders of the Day — Old Age Pensions. – in the House of Commons on 19th December 1919.

Alert me about debates like this

For Sub-sections (8), (9), (10) and (11) of Section seven of the Small Landholders (Scotland) Act, 1911, in this Act referred to as the Act of 1911, there shall be substituted the following Sub-sections:

(Constitution of small holdings.)

(a) (8) Where the Board arc satisfied that there is a demand for small holdings and that suitable land is available for that purpose, it shall be the duty of the Board to prepare a scheme for the constitution of one or more new holdings on such land, to be occapied by new holders upon such terms and conditions not inconsistent with the L[...]ieuideis Acts as the Board think reasonable. (c) Where the Board are satisfied that there is not available on the land on which the new holdings are to be constituted a supply of water sufficient for the holdings, they may include in the scheme provision for taking and conveying from or through any part of the estate whereof such laud forms part such supply of water is may be necessary for the new holdings and is not requited for the remainder of the estate; and for the purposes of this Section any land from or through which such supply of water is to be taken en convoyed shall be deamed to he comprised in the scheme.

(11)…(b)The compensation payable under this Sub-section shall not include—

  1. (i) any allowance oh account of the constitution of new holdings being compulsory;
  2. (ii) any compensation for injury done to or depreciation in the selling value of the land comprised in the scheme, or of any estate where of the land forms part, except in so far as the same arises from injury done to or depreciation in the letting, value of the land or estate; or
  3. (iii) any compensation for injury done to the value of the spotting rights over such land or estate in so far as it exceeds the estimated value of such rights if the land or estate were pat to the full possible use for which it coed be let to agricultural or pastoral tenants.

Lords Amendment: In substituted Substitution (8), at end of paragraph (a), insert the words Provided that in co[...]deriug the relative suitability of land the Board shall have regard to the probable effect of a scheme upon the burden of rates in the locality concerned.

Photo of Mr Robert Munro Mr Robert Munro , Roxburghshire and Selkirkshire

I beg to move, "That this House cloth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

The history of this Amendment is very familiar to my hon. Friends from Scotland. It was inserted in Committee. On the Report stage of the Bill I suggested that, as it seemed to me an immaterial Amendment, that it might disappear. The first reason why I suggested its discontinuance was that the Board of Agriculture would be bound to consider the relative suitability of land, whether the directions which the Amendment contains were inserted or not. The second reason is that in no part of the Bill is there any direction given to the Board to consider any particular factor in the situation. They are bound to consider all the relevant factors, and to take out this one might lead to the possible exclusion or to the slighter consideration of other matters which it might be important to bear in mind. I have not altered my views which I expressed on the Report stage, but, looking to the attitude which I felt bound to take up previously, I think it will be consistent that this Amendment should disappear, and I suggest that we should disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment.

Lords Amendment: In substituted Subsection (8, c), leave out the words "is not required for," and insert instead thereof the words, "which can be taken without detriment to the requirements of."

Photo of Mr Robert Munro Mr Robert Munro , Roxburghshire and Selkirkshire

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

It is really of a drafting character, and no importance to the substance of the Bill.

Photo of Mr James Lowther Mr James Lowther , Penrith and Cockermouth

The next five Amendments, which go together, are all privilege Amendments dealing with the compensation provided by the Bill, but it is open to the house to waive their privilege.

Photo of Mr George Younger Mr George Younger , Ayr District of Burghs

The original measure granted compensation to the landlord for any capital losses realised by the establishment of small holdings on his property. These Amendments deal with the Agriculture Fund, which provides £235,000 a year. Surely it is only right that the whole House should have something to say on this point?

Photo of Mr James Lowther Mr James Lowther , Penrith and Cockermouth

It has always been open to this House to waive its right, and hon. Members can take such a line as they desire.

Photo of Mr Robert Munro Mr Robert Munro , Roxburghshire and Selkirkshire

I suggest that that would be the proper course to adopt. My suggestion is that privilege should be waived, and that we should discuss all these matters upon their merits. It would be much more satisfactory, rather than taking refuge on a technical objection. I am willing to do so, and I suggest that it would be the most satisfactory method. I hope the House will agree to that course.

Photo of Mr Donald Maclean Mr Donald Maclean , Peebles and Southern

I agree with my right hon. Friend that this is an occasion upon which we should not agree to waive our privilege. These Amendments directly affect the fund which this House, after very careful consideration upstairs and on the floor of the House, has settled, and I am quite sure that the Secretary for Scotland and the Lord Advocate will admit that this Bill receives very careful consideration. There was no obstruction and no slurring over of material parts, but the whole measure was considered, and especially these Financial Clauses.

Photo of Mr George Younger Mr George Younger , Ayr District of Burghs

They were not actually agreed to.

Photo of Mr Donald Maclean Mr Donald Maclean , Peebles and Southern

If there was any charge against the way in which the Bill was rushed through, or if it had not received full discussion, perhaps that would have been a reason for waiving privilege, but as no such charge was made, I object to waiving our rights.

Photo of Mr Robert Munro Mr Robert Munro , Roxburghshire and Selkirkshire

I make a serious appeal to my right hon. Friend (Sir D. Maclean) to reconsider his action. I am sure he would be the last person to imperil the fate of this Bill, and if this measure is to be decided upon a matter of privilege I am afraid of its fate, at the stage of the Session we now find ourselves. I have had the honour of making this Motion on more than one occasion on previous Bills. In regard to the Education Bill, I remember I earnestly appealed to my right hon Friend to adhere to this attitude, and it is really not in the interests of this Bill and the ex-Service men we hope to settle on the land to risk its fate. I cannot do more than make this appeal to my right hon. Friend, and I think he may trust me to do the fair thing on the merits with regard to all the ensuing Amendments. I do not think he need have any fear on that matter. If he insists, of course I cannot stop him, but I make one last appeal to him not to persist.

Photo of Mr James Hogge Mr James Hogge , Edinburgh East

We have not yet waived our objection.

Photo of Mr James Lowther Mr James Lowther , Penrith and Cockermouth

That is a question for the House to decide.

Photo of Mr Robert Munro Mr Robert Munro , Roxburghshire and Selkirkshire

I propose to invite the House to disagree with the first of these Amendments.

Photo of Mr James Hogge Mr James Hogge , Edinburgh East

This is a question of privilege and the House of Lords has nothing whatever to do with it. I would like to know if it is in order for us to discuss it at all in this way, and can a Minister get up and propose that we should accept it? I gathered that the Secretary for Scotland wishes to discuss certain Amendments in order that we may agree with certain things and disagree with others; but the position I take up is that we do not waive our privilege.

Photo of Mr James Lowther Mr James Lowther , Penrith and Cockermouth

My duty is to point out that certain Amendments are privilege Amendments, and it is open to the House to take whatever course it may think fit in regard to them. I understand that the right hon. Gentleman proposes to disagree with the first privilege Amendment, and on that I suppose there will be unanimity.

Photo of Mr James Hogge Mr James Hogge , Edinburgh East

But we do not desire to waive our privilege at all. We regard this as a. question of privilege, and we do not want to discuss these Amendments at all, because the House of Lords has nothing to do with them. The House of Commons has already decided these matters.

Photo of Mr James Lowther Mr James Lowther , Penrith and Cockermouth

I am afraid we are obliged to discuss them. What action the hon. Member (Mr. Hogge) will take is for him to decide. I do not think we can decide that we cannot discuss them, and the House must either decide to agree or disagree with them.

Photo of Mr James Hogge Mr James Hogge , Edinburgh East

That is the point. It is a question of privilege we are being asked to discuss one way or the other, and I am asking for information.

Photo of Mr James Lowther Mr James Lowther , Penrith and Cockermouth

I understand the Secretary for Scotland proposes to move in certain cases that this House waives its privilege, and we must conic to some conclusion. I cannot say when an Amendment comes down from the other place that I decline to submit it to the House on the ground that it is a question of privilege. My function is simply to warn the House that these are Amendments which violate the ordinary privilege of the House, and then it is for the House to decide whether they will accept them or whether, on the ground of privilege, they will reject them.

Lords Amendment: In substituted Subsection (11, b), leave out paragraph (ii.).

Photo of Mr Robert Munro Mr Robert Munro , Roxburghshire and Selkirkshire

I beg to move, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

4.0 P.M.

We are so familiar, those Members who sat in the Scottish Grand Committee, with it that I do not think I need trouble the House with the whole history of the matter. Under the former Act there were payments made in respect of depreciation of capital value. That was found to be subject to grave objections in the working of the Act, and, according y, a proposal was inserted in this Bill that, except in so far as the injury arose from depreciation in tile letting value, no compensation should he paid. In another place it was proposed to omit this paragraph, and it has, accordingly, disappeared. I suggesting that the Lords Amendment should be disagreed with, and I will state the reasons for that advice. In another place my Noble Friend the Lord Chancellor indicated that, in the view of the Government, it would be a fatal Amendment to the Hill. It has also to be remembered that this Amendment to leave out this paragraph was not proposed at any stage of the Bill by any representative of any party in this house, and to reintroduce this system of payment for loss of capital value would be to reintroduce the system which wellnigh wrecked the Bill of 1911, with the possible and even the probable result that this Bill in operation would also prove to be unworkable. The compensation which was payable under the old Clause was so prohibitive that the machinery of that Act was brought to a standstill. If it were reintroduced into this Bill, therefore, it would tend to abridge the operation of the Bill and hamper the Board in acquiring land for settling ex-Service taco upon it. The purchase price would be so excessive that land in many cases could not be obtained, and to that extent interests of ex-Service men would suffer. I venture to suggest that this Amendment should not be agreed with, but at the same time I suggest, for the consideration of the House, that a consequential Amendment, winch I shall move on Clause 9, might be inserted in these terms: Provided that. where any such landlord represents to the Secretary of Scotland that the Scheme ought not to be confirmed, the Secretary may, if he thinks lit, before giving his consent refer the scheme to the Land Court for inquiry and report. That may be regarded as a certain protection by those who are interested in the matter. If it be so regarded, then, speaking for the Government, I am quite willing that they should have it. Therefore, the advice which I give to the House very respectfully is to differ with the Amendment now under discussion arid to insert that proviso in Clause 9.

Photo of Hon. Alexander Shaw Hon. Alexander Shaw , Kilmarnock

I am very glad to hear the Secretary for Scotland move to disagree with the Lords Amendment. The position to-day in Scotland is this: There was a great influx of soldiers after the War for settlement on the land, and, in the second place, bound up with the problem of laud settlement, is the much larger problem of sweeping away the abuses of the existing Act of 1911. All who have been for years past in touch with the Scottish land problem will realise the damage which was done through the Act of 1911 by the attempts at compromise in the later stages of the passage of that measure, and they will also realise the great difficulty which would ensue if the Amendment made to the present Bill in another place is allowed by this House. I go so far as to say that the effect of the Amendment made in another place is to sweep away more than one-half of the useful character of this measure. The House will remember the essence of the abuses which exist under the Act of 1911. This measure, as it left this House, was intended to sweep away the abuse of fancy compensation for injurious affection and other matters. There were in the Act of 1911 provisions for compensation wide and sweeping and purely fancy in their character, which rendered the operation of the Act of 1911 largely a farce. Scottish Members will remember that the result, as instanced in the Lindean case, in which the letting value of land had been increased by the constitution of small holdings upon it, and there was payable to the landlord a very large sum in fancy compensation. The effect of that provision was that it acted as a barrier to land settlement.

It was quite truly said by the Lord Chancellor in another place that if similar principles to those which the House of Lords seeks to enshrine in this Act had been applied in the case of the railways or of any other great public undertakings in this country in the past, then this country., instead of leading the world in industrial enterprise, would have been far behind. We should all have been worse off, even the landlords, and therefore, it seems to me an extremely short-sighted view for the other place to take that they themselves, or those whose interests they represent, will be better off by reason of the course of action which they have proposed. There is another point which arises in this connection. I do not suppose that those who were present in the Scottish Standing Committee are under any illusion as to the effect this Amendment will have on the useful character of the Act. The Government at the last election gave certain pledges to the Scottish people, and on those pledges the Scottish people repose their trust in the Government. The proposal to carry out these pledges was, very properly, introduced by the Government into this Bill, which was considered with great care and in great detail by the Scottish Grand Committee. It represents great unanimity of opinion among all parties in Scotland, and this is illustrated by the fact that on the Report stage my hon. Friend the Member for Ayr Burghs (Sir G. Younger) did not propose an Amendment of this nature or press it to a Division.

Photo of Mr George Younger Mr George Younger , Ayr District of Burghs

I certainly never moved an Amendment of this kind, and I did not interfere in the Debate, except to propose seine small modification in one or two cases.

Photo of Hon. Alexander Shaw Hon. Alexander Shaw , Kilmarnock

Even the most reactionary elements in this House never ventured to go half so far as the other House has done, and I again repeat that, in view of the fact that the Scottish Grand Committee did consider this matter with care and in much detail, and arrive at its decisions with such unanimity, I hold that under the circumstances it would be not only a breach of faith to the Scottish people, but would be clearly lacking in dignity, if this House took up this reactionary attitude at the present time. The Government, on this matter, have really shown sincerity as a Coalition Government, for progressive legislation, and this Bill is one which is calculated to do enormous good to the Scottish population, while, from the point of view of political strategy, which, of course, my right hon. Friends on the Front Bench never consider, it is calculated to do enormous good to the Coalition Government. I therefore hope that my hon. Friend the Member for Ayr Burghs, who is perhaps the leading exponent in this House of the views embodied in this Amendment from the other place, will use his influence with his colleagues and induce them to back up the Government in assuming the dignified and the only proper attitude of supporting those who totally object to this reactionary Amendment.

Mr. GRAHAM:

I should like to ask whether, assuming that we disagree with this Amendment from another place, such disagreement will have the effect of ruling out a discussion on the subsequent proposal to insert another proviso in place of this Clause?

Photo of Mr James Lowther Mr James Lowther , Penrith and Cockermouth

I take it that if the House disagree with this Amendment, it will as a consequence agree to the one proposed to he substituted by the Government.

Photo of Mr Robert Munro Mr Robert Munro , Roxburghshire and Selkirkshire

May I be allowed to say that when we reach the Amendment to which my hon. Friend referred, I propose to move that the House disagree with the terms of that Amendment?

Mr. GRAHAM:

Could we not with the leave of the House consider the two Amendments together?

Photo of Mr James Lowther Mr James Lowther , Penrith and Cockermouth

I think the two matters do hang together, and, as I understand it, the Government propose to ask the House to disagree with both.

Photo of Mr George Younger Mr George Younger , Ayr District of Burghs

We shall have to be careful what action we take, because in dealing with this Clause, we may deprive the Bill of its very centre. I do not follow the argument of my hon. Friend behind me (Mr. Shaw), who has suggested that I represent a reactionary element in this House. I think the same view was expressed by his own father in the other House. It is all very amusing and interesting, but it is not correct. We are here up against what might be a serious difficulty between the two Houses. The Government has asked for an enormous concession in this Bill. They are alto gether changing the basis of compensation. It is true that no one in this House moved that the principle of capital value should be imposed in its entirety, but I did move an Amendment—to which the Lord Chancellor gave some consideration in the other House and was kind enough to say that it was a reasonable Annindment—mitigating to some extent what I thought to be the hardship of this change in the case of small proprietors. The Scottish Grand Committee and my right hon. Friend did not see their way to accept that, because, I suppose, it was thought that it offended some principle. I thought it fair and just, and another reactionary in the form of the Lord Chancellor apparently thought so, too, because he said that if it were introduced into the House of Lords he would consider it. It was not however, put forward.

I take it that the excision of this Clause is not intended so much to defeat the main principle of the Bill as to give the Government an opportunity of suggesting in what nay they propose to mitigate the hardship. When we are in the difficulty of a possible conflict between the two Houses, what is the best thing to do? One House tries to draw the other. Sometimes it succeeds and sometimes fails. In this case the other Rouse has not altogether failed, because my right hon. Friend has suggested a very moderate Amendment which would, at all events, give some kind of guarantee against grave mistakes or blunders being committed by the Board of Agriculture. The Board of Agriculture is a standing difficulty between my hon. Friend the Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Hogge) and myself. He likes people who have been proved to have made mistakes. I do not. That is why I distrust the people to whom the whole of this arrangement is going to be handed over. I am quite sure the Amendment suggested by the Secretary for Scotland will be an improvement. The very moderate provision that in certain cases the Secretary for Scotland may submit a scheme to the Land Court for its approval before it is carried out, does not in any way infringe the principle of the Bill, but it gives a certain measure of protection against mistakes which is desirable in view of our past experience. The whole difficulty has arisen because of the blunder of the Board of Agriculture in putting small holdings in unsuitable places and refusing offers of land which wins suitable for small holdings. We do not want to see these mistakes occur again. I hope the present Amendment will be disagreed with, and that the Amendment suggested by my right hon. Friend will be accepted.

Dr. MURRAY:

The hon. Baronet the Member for Ayr Burghs (Sir G. Younger) apparently has splendid opportunities of diagnosing the meaning of Amendments that come from the House of Lords. He told us that this Amendment was not meant seriously, but is a mere instrument for bargaining with the Secretary for Scotland as to what concession he will make. Therefore, I will not deal with it seriously, except to say that I agree with the Motion made by time Secretary for Scotland. I am seriously disturbed, however, about the concessions that the Secretary for Scotland seems disposed to make. It seriously affects one of the chief virtues of the Bill. The object of the Bill is to short-circuit the process of getting men settled on the land. Under the old Acts, after the Board of Agriculture had devised a scheme they had to submit it to the Land Court. In this Bill the Land Court is eliminated, and on that account especially we welcomed it. I do not object to the Land Court. I have much more faith in the Land Court and in the Board of Agriculture than the bon. Member for Ayr Burghs. It did, however, make for delay, with the consequence that before come of these schemes were approved the men who had applied for the land got so tired that they gave up the idea altogether. I am afraid that this is a retrograde step on the part of the Secretary for Scotland. It is a concession to influences brought to bear upon him in the House of Lords. I do not know whether the hon. Baronet; the Member for Ayr Burghs had anything to do with that or not. I admit that it is in the discretion of the Secretary for Scotland to decide whether a scheme shall be submitted to the Land Court. The hon. Baronet says he tracts the Land Court but not the Board of Agriculture. I believe he trusts the present Land Court but not all Land Courts. Similar Land Courts may come again.

Dr. MURRAY:

This House has already decided against taking chances, Premium Bonds and things of that sort. If the hon. Baronet is going to trust one Court he should trust another. The Board of Agriculture is just as likely to do the right thing in this matter to all concerned as is the Land Court. I object to this roundabout process, because resort will always be had to it. The landlords will always apply to the Secretary for Scotland against the Board of Agriculture, and the Secretary for Scotland will practically be forced to refer a scheme to the Land Court. That makes for delay in settling upon the land ex-soldiers and sailors who require small holdings. For that reason I strongly object to the modifications suggested by the Secretary for Scotland.

Photo of Mr Robert Munro Mr Robert Munro , Roxburghshire and Selkirkshire

May I say a few words in reply to what has been said by my hon. Friend opposite (Dr. Murray). Let us make no mistake about it if the concession is granted whereby capital value disappears, and it is replaced by letting value, it is a very large and important concession There can be no about that. If we can get rid of that drawback, which was the chief drawback to the Act of 1911, we get rid of a great deal. I am sure my hon. Friend will not differ from that. What is offered in exchange? This simple Amendment I am going to move at the end of this Clause. May I read to the House its terms, so, that its limitations may be appreciated' I have slightly altered it, and it will come in at a later point in the Bill instead of an earlier point. The Amendment is at the end of Clause 9 to add a new paragraph: (g) Where any landlord interested represents to the Secretary for Scotland that a proposed scheme ought not to tie confirmed, the Secretary for Scotland may, before giving his consent to the scheme, refer the same to the Land Con t for inquiry and report. The House will be kind enough to observe, the limitations contained in that proposal. In the first place there must be a report. My hon. Friend says there always will be. I do not agree with him, though there will be in certain cases. When it is made there is no binding obligation on the Secretary for Scotland to refer the matter to the Land Court. He is responsible to this House for his conduct.. If he thinks it is a proper case to refer, no doubt it will be referred. If on the other hand, in his judgment, it need not be referred the scheme will be forthwith confirmed. I am rather surprised that my hon. Friend should almost suggest distrust of the Land Court.

Dr. MURRAY:

On account of its delay.

Photo of Mr Robert Munro Mr Robert Munro , Roxburghshire and Selkirkshire

I think my hone Friend is making, too much of that. This is quite am exceptional case which will not often occur, and, so far as delay is concerned, I am not aware that the Land Court, with its new duties and functions as defined by this Act, will be open to the charge of delay as it might have been in the past with very different and much inure various, and numerous ditties. I do riot think that is a sound argument. I, therefore, put it to the House that a concession such as this, so carefully framed as to deal with exceptional cases, is one which they would be well advised to accept, and the concession gained in exchange for it is one of very great importance indeed.

Lords Amendment: In paragraph (b, iii.), Leave oat the word "possible," and insert instead thereof the word "reasonable."

Photo of Mr Robert Munro Mr Robert Munro , Roxburghshire and Selkirkshire

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

This and the next two Amendments relate to the same matter. They all deal with what is known as the sporting values Clause, and I propose to advise the House to agree with all three. I will read the terms of the Clause as it will run if these Amendments be accepted: Any compensation for injury done to the value of the sporting rights over such land or estate in so far as it exceeds the estimated value of such rights if the lands or estates were put to the full reasonable use for which it could be let under ordinary lease to ordinary agricultural or pastoral tenants. The alterations are really immaterial. In the preparation of the Clause as we intended to propose it, the words to be used varied from time to time. At one time the word "reasonable" was in the Clause instead of "possible." I think it is a very fair Amendment which does not unduly weaken the Clause.

Photo of Mr James Hogge Mr James Hogge , Edinburgh East

I very much hope we are not going to agree to this suggestion. I have moved more than once in Committee the very words which my right hon. Friend proposes to accept in regard to other definitions, and I have been continually met with the argument that no one can define what "reasonable" means. What we put in as the Bill left this House was "the full possible use for which it could be let to agricultural or pastoral tenants." This is a very old story. No one now wants to engage in the old controversy about deer forests, unless perhaps the Prime Minister does, having dealt with it many years ago. The difficulty that suggests itself to me is that it is surely much more easy to say what should be the full possible use of the land for agricultural purposes than it is to say what should be the reasonable use, and I would suggest that my right hon. Friend should adhere to the word we adopted in the Scottish Grand Committee. The difficulty will arise again further on with regard to compensation. If this is accepted it will surely interfere with the basis of compensation which is determined in another part of the Bill. It is perfectly easy to fix a maximum datum line of "full possible use." It is very difficult to express the connotation of the word "reasonable." What may be reasonable to the Board of Agriculture, for instance, might be quite unreasonable to the owner from whom the forest is being taken and there may be a very great difference between the two words "agricultural" and "pastoral," which is again modified by the insertion of the words "ordinary lease." I appeal to my right hon. Friend to leave the words as they stand as being much more comprehensible than the words which are proposed to be inserted. Someone will have to discuss this. It could be argued one way and the other as to what was reasonable and what was unreason able, and I can conceive easily the arguments which might be used on the one side and on the other to prove what might be reasonable and what might be unreasonable, say in one part of the Highlands of Scotland and in another part. Who is to decide it?

Photo of Mr Robert Munro Mr Robert Munro , Roxburghshire and Selkirkshire

The decision of the matter will rest with the Land Court. I think my hon. Friend trusts the Land Court.

Photo of Mr James Hogge Mr James Hogge , Edinburgh East

There have been certain Land Courts which I have trusted. I have trusted them all but a great many Members have not, and have had extraordinary difficulty as the result. In any case, it would be much easier for the Land Court, having decided what should be the fall possible use, to adhere to that than to waste their time by having discussed in front of them what is the reasonable use to which a certain tract of land should be put. Take one of the Highland counties, and assume that you are going to take land away from a number of deer forests. Before it could be done it has to he argued before the Land Court what is the reasonable use of that particular patch of land.

Photo of Mr George Younger Mr George Younger , Ayr District of Burghs

It is limited to agricultural land.

Photo of Mr James Hogge Mr James Hogge , Edinburgh East

It is covered; it is not limited. The only two objects for which we desire the land are for agricultural or pastoral tenants. My point is that we have had the Land Courts crowded over and over again with discussions of cases, and here you are going to add to the work of the Land Court. Supposing my hon. Friend (Sir G. Younger) was the owner of land and I was the person who was wishing to secure it for agricultural and pastoral use. We should go before the Land Court and bring arguments, by counsel or otherwise, as to whether the object for which it was being acquired was a reasonable use. We ought to have a Plimsoll line, and that line ought to be the full possible, which is a standard that can be defined and laid down by the Land Court. We ought to get rid of all these discussions. I suggest that the right hon. Gentleman is creating trouble by agreeing to these words.

Dr. MURRAY:

I cannot understand the word "ordinary." Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will explain it.

Photo of Mr Robert Munro Mr Robert Munro , Roxburghshire and Selkirkshire

The hon. Member (Mr. Hogge) chiefly objects because the word "reasonable" is substituted for the word "possible." He says the word "reasonable" is difficult of interpretation. It may be in some circumstances, but he knows as well as I do that that test is applied under countless Statutes and without the least difficulty in practically every single case that comes before the law. The word "possible" would be as difficult of interpretation under the varying circumstances as the word "reasonable." If anyone suffers by the insertion of the word "reasonable," I should think it would be the landlord. The Land Court is to decide, and the landlord, apparently, is willing to take his risk of the decision of the Land Court. Does my hon. Friend decline to do so? If so, I should be surprised.

Photo of Mr James Hogge Mr James Hogge , Edinburgh East

I think it is a waste of time.

Photo of Mr Robert Munro Mr Robert Munro , Roxburghshire and Selkirkshire

I do not think it would waste a single moment longer than would be the ease it the word "possible" were, inserted. The history of this matter in another place was that the whole Clause restricting sporting land disappeared at the Committee stage. It was restored substantially by agreement with the Government in the present form on Report stage, and I should be sorry at this stage to disturb what was really a compromise arrived at after consultation. That would lead to a great deal of trouble which we can will afford at this stage of the Session. The attitude taken up by those who moved to delete the Clause on the Committee stage was that they would be satisfied if we put in the language now proposed. I do not see that there is any material difference between the Clause as drafted and the Clause as amended in another place. The hon. Member says that these words admit of a sinister interpretation. So far as my opinion goes, there is no material difference between the Clause as originally drafted and the Clause now proposed. An agreement was arrived at between the Lord Chancellor and those interested in the matter, and I should be most unwilling to disturb that compromise. It is a good arrangement for the benefit of the Bill, and I respectfully ask my hon. Friend to withdraw any farther opposition.

Photo of Mr Joseph Johnstone Mr Joseph Johnstone , Renfrewshire Eastern

I supported my hon. Friend (Mr. Hogge) in Committee in regard to the sporting Clause, and I appeal to him, under the circumstances related by the right hon. Gentleman, to give way. I agree with him that the word "possible" is better than the word "reasonable," but in view of the compromise—and I presume there was some difficulty in obtaining that compromise—I think he might accept it.

Photo of Mr James Hogge Mr James Hogge , Edinburgh East

I do not want to be unreasonable. What troubles me is this: that if my right hon. Friend thinks there is no difference between the words supplied by the Lords and our own words, and if he finds that those who supported him on the Bill prefer our own Clause, personally I prefer infinitely to accept my right hon. Friend's words and phraseology rather than the phraseology of the Lords. Take the proposed insertion of the word "ordinary" before the words "agricultural or pastoral tenants." I may be stupid, but what is the object of introducing the word "ordinary" This Bill is to deal with the cases of ex-Service men and others. Supposing you have in some parts of the highlands a division of land for agricultural purposes. You may have a discharged soldier who is doing something else and who requires land, not for ordinary agricultural or pastoral purposes, but to enable him to make his livelihood. Will the word "ordinary" exclude that man? That is a fair point to put. "Ordinary," I presume, means tenants who at present are engaged in ordinary agricultural or pastoral pursuits. What is an extraordinary agricultural or pastoral tenant? Who is he? The discharged man for whom this Bill has been drafted is not an ordinary pastoral and agricultural tenant. He is in a different position.

Photo of Mr George Younger Mr George Younger , Ayr District of Burghs

It would exclude the market gardener.

Photo of Mr James Hogge Mr James Hogge , Edinburgh East

If so, I strongly oppose it, because in very many parts of Scotland it is just the little bit of market gardening that the discharged soldier can do in addition to other work, that makes it likely that he can maintain himself on the land. All those things have been the cause of litigation in Scottish Courts for many years and we have got no "forrader" with land legislation. The Smallholders Act is one instance. May I put it, as to whether tins new Clause is water-tight so as to allow ex-Service men to engage on any work on the land which will enable them to live? I do not like the word "ordinary" being inserted. I might agree to the others if my right hon. Friend would agree in this case to leave out the word "ordinary "before agricultural or pastoral. If my right hon. Friend agreed to that we might come to a decision.

Dr. MURRAY:

I was in doubt as to what these additional words mean. We have been told by the Prime Minister more than once to suspect even words coining from the House of Lords sometimes. I did think that there was some meaning in it and we have found one other interpretation from an hon. Friend (Sir G. Younger) who says, for instance, that an extraordinary use of the land would be for market gardening. That is to say if it could be proved that the land was capable for being used for market gardening purposes, the compensation should be three times higher.

Photo of Mr George Younger Mr George Younger , Ayr District of Burghs

Sporting rights and those sort of things. You could not have a market garden in a deer forest.

Dr. MURRAY:

I am sorry that I did not appreciate my right hon. Friend's joke. I thought he was in earnest when he said market garden. Even sporting rights arc not confined to deer forests. Sporting rights might apply to land quite suitable for market gardening, so that there is some significance in the word "ordinary" after all, and I am sorry that the Secretary for Scotland is inclined to accept this Amendment.

Photo of Major Murdoch Wood Major Murdoch Wood , Aberdeenshire and Kincardineshire Central

Is it not a fact that putting in the word "ordinary" before agricultural will exclude the tenant with a subsidiary occupation I In my opinion that is the only meaning that can he given to it. Whether it is the intention or not, it seems clearly to be the

effect of the Amendment, and oppose it as strenuously as I can. With regard to the insertion of these three words "under ordinary lease" after "let," it seems to me to exclude the tenant, who has any land not under lease, but holds on a year to year agreement. Why should he be excluded? I see no reason. While I might be prepared to compromise in accepting the word "reasonable" instead of "possible," I am not going to consent to the acceptance of the other two Amendments.

Photo of Mr Robert Munro Mr Robert Munro , Roxburghshire and Selkirkshire

My hon. Friends both persistently ignore the compromise which I have narrated to the House. This is really the only objection, which I have to some of the proposals which have been made ft I accept one of these proposals to omit the word "reasonable" or "ordinary," the result is that the Bill will go back to another place and may have to come back here. This is Friday afternoon and Prorogation is to be on Tuesday, and a great deal of work still has to be done.

Photo of Mr James Hogge Mr James Hogge , Edinburgh East

We can sit on Wednesday.

Photo of Mr Robert Munro Mr Robert Munro , Roxburghshire and Selkirkshire

My hon. Friend, as usual, is quite heroic. That is my only objection to accepting some of the suggestions made. The word "ordinary" does not matter one way or another You are to deal with a person bona bond fide engaged in agricultural or pastoral pursuits as distinguished from a person engaged in freak agricultural or pastoral pursuits, if there be such a person. With regard to the objection of my hon. and gallant Friend, that persons engaged in subsidiary occupations or persons holding a tenancy from year to year would be excluded, if that is his objection it is founded. The matter has been fully discussed. Seeing the stage of the Session in which we are, and the peril in which this Bill might be placed by further journeys between the two Houses, I hope that my hon. Friend will not press his Amendment.

Question put, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment"

The House divided Ayes, 120, Noes, 14.

Division No. [66.]AYRS.[4.53 p.m.
Adair, Rear-AdmiralBalfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, London)Borwick, Major G. O.
Allen. Lt. Col. William JamesBalfour, George (Hampstead)Boscawen, Sir Arthur Griffith-
Archdale Edward M.Barrie. Charles Coupar (Banff)Britton, G. B.
Archer-Shee. Lieut. -Colonel MartinBeck, Arthur CecilBruton, Sir J.
Astor, ViscountessBenn. Com Ian Hamilton (Greenwich)Buchanan. Lt.-Col A. L. H.
Baird. John LawrenceBetterton. H. B.Bull. Rt. Hon. Sir William J.
Baldwin, StanlayBlair, Major ReginaldBurn, Captain C. R. (Torquay)
Burn, T. H. (Bellast)Hopkins, J. W. W.Purchase, H. G.
Butcher, Sir J. G.Horne, Sir Robert (Hillhead)Raeourn, Sir William
Cautley, Henry StrotherHughes, Spencer LeighRaw, Lt.-Colonel Dr. N.
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord R. (Hitchin)Hurd, P. A.Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Birm., W.)Johnstone, J.Rees, Sir J. D.
Coales, Major Sir E. F. (Lewisham, W.)Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)Samuel, A. M. (Farnham, Surrey)
Coats, Sir StuartJones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen)Sanders, Colonel Robert Arthur
Conway, Sir W. MartinLewis, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Univ., Wales)Seager, Sir William
Coote, Colin R. (Isle of Ely)Lewis, T. A. (Pontypridd, Glam.)Seddon, James
Cozens-Hardy, Hon. W. H.Lindsay, William ArthurShaw, Hon. A. (Kilmarnock)
Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir HenryLloyd, George ButlerShaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)
Croft, Brig.-Gen. Henry PageLocker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)Sprot, Colonel Sir Alexander
Dixon, Captain H.Lonsdale. James R.Stephenson, Colonel H. K.
0Dockrell, Sir M.Lorden, John WilliamTaylor, J, (Dumbarton)
Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon)Lort-Williams, J.Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, S.)
Elliot, Captain W. E, (Lanark)Loseby, Captain C. E.Thorpe, Captain John Henry
Eyres-Monsell, Commander B, M.Macdonald, Rt. Hon. J. M. (Stirling)Tryon, Major George Clement
Farquharson, Major A. C.M'Lean, Lt.-Col. C. W. W. (Brigg)Wallace, J.
Fell, Sir ArthurMacpherson, Rt. Hon. James 1.Wardle, George J.
Ganzoni, Captain F. J. C.Moles, ThomasWatson, Captain John Bertrand
Gibbs, Col. George AbrahamMontagu, Rt. Hon. E. S.Weigall, Lt.-Colonel W. E. G. A.
Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel JohnMoore-Brabazon, Lt.-Col J. T. C.Whitla, Sir William
Goff, Sir ParkMunro, Rt. Hon. RobertWild, Sir Ernest Edward
Green. J. F. (Leicester)Murray, Hon. G. (St. Rollox)Williams, Lt.-Com. C. (Tavistock)
Greer. HarryMurray, William (Dumfries)Williams, Lt.-Col. Sir R. (Banbury)
Greig, Colonel James WilliamNewman, Sir R. H. S. D. (Exeter)Willoughby, Lt.-Col. Hon. Claud
Hall, Lt.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)Ormsby-Gore, Hon. WilliamWilson, Colonel Leslie (Reading)
Hambro, Angus ValdemarParker, JamesWood, Major S. Hill- (High Peak)
Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Luton, Beds-)Peel, Col. Hon. S. (Uxbridge, Mddx.)Yate, Col. Charles Edward
Harris, Sir Henry P. (Paddington, S.)Perkins, Walter FrankYoung, Sir F. W. (Swindon)
Henderson, Major Vivian L.(Tradest'n)Pollock, Sir Ernest M.Younger, Sir George
Henry, D. S. (Londonderry, S.)Pratt, John William
Hewart, Rt. Hon. Sir GordonPretyman, Rt. Hon. Ernest G.TELLERS FOR THE AYES.— Captain
Hinds, JohnPulley, Charles ThorntonGuest and Lord E. Talbot,
Hope, James Filzalan (Sheffield)
NOES.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. WilliamHarmsworth, Sir R. L. (Caithness-shire)Wedgwood, Colonel Josiah C.
Benn, Capt. W. (Leith)Irving, DanYoung, William (Perth and Kinross)
Bower man, Rt. Hon. C. W.Maclean, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (Midlothian)
Clynes. Rt. Hon. John R.Murray, Dr. D. (Western Isles)TELLERS FOR THE NOES. — Mr.
Graham, W. (Edinburgh)Rose, Frank H.Hogge and Maj. McKenzie Wood.
Griffiths, T. (Pontypool)Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)

Question put, and agreed to.

In paragraph (b, iii.), after the word "to" ["to agricultural or pastoral tenants "], insert the word "ordinary."—Agreed to.

Lords Amendment: At end of paragraph (b, iii.), insert (iii) Any compensation for injury done to or depreciation in the selling value of the remainder of the estate of which the land comprised in the scheme forms part, except in so far as the same arises from injury done to or depreciation in the letting value of such remainder".

—Disagreed with.

Amendment made: At end of Sub-section 11, insert new paragraph: (g) Where any landlord interested represents to the Secretary for Scotland that a proposed scheme ought not to be confirmed, the Secretary for Scotland may, before giving his consent to the scheme. refer the same to the Land Court for inquiry and report."— [Mr. Munro]

Lords Amendment: After Clause 9, insert Clause A, A. Where the Board make any Order for the constitution of new holdings they shall, if so requested by the landlord, he bound to erect and maintain, or cause to be erected and maintained, such march fence, or fences, as may be necessary to prevent the stock of the land holder straying beyond the limits of the land comprised in the scheme, any dispute as to the necessity for or the adequacy of such fence or fences to be settled failing agreement by the land Court.

Photo of Mr James Lowther Mr James Lowther , Penrith and Cockermouth

This Amendment also raises the question of privilege; it imposes an additional charge.

Photo of Mr Robert Munro Mr Robert Munro , Roxburghshire and Selkirkshire

I beg to move, "That the House doth waive its privilege, and agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

The purpose of the Amendment is to secure that where new holdings are situated, or where existing holdings are being enlarged, there may be an obligation placed upon the Board of Agriculture to erect and maintain fences. An Amendment something similar to this was moved in Committee, and I was unable to accept it as moved. That Amendment was in the following terms: Where the Board make any Order under the immediately preceding Section they shall, if so requested by the Land Court, be bound to erect arid maintain, or cause to be erected and maintained, to the satisfaction of the landlord of the land comprised in the scheme, and of any adjoining land, such march fence or fences as may be necessary to prevent the stock of the landholder straying beyond the limits of the land comprised in the scheme. Any dispute as to the adequacy of such fence or fences shall be settled, failing agreement, by the Land Court. I took objection to that proposal. The present proposal differs from that in three separate particulars. In the first place, under that Amendment it was proposed that the fencing must be maintained to the satisfaction of the landlord of the land comprised in the scheme. That disappeared from the Amendment which was inserted in another place. In the second place, it was provided that it must be to the satisfaction of the landlord of any adjoining land. That also disappears from the Amendment inesrted in another place. In the Amendment I refused to accept there was a proposal that any dispute as to the adequacy of such fence or fences should be settled by the Land Court. In the Amendment proposed to be accepted now the words "necessity for or adequacy of such "are inserted. That is to say, the Land Court is to be the judge as to whether there should be a fence at all, and, secondly, if there is to be a fence, to judge of its adequacy. The other Amendment postulated the existence of fences. These are the three differences between the Amendment not accepted and the Amendment which I advise the House to agree to, and which was inserted in another place. The fencing in question will be a very great convenience, not only to the landowner but to the landholder for his protection and benefit, and inasmuch as the whole matter is referred to the Land Court, which has to judge in the light of experience of particular circumstances, I suggest that it is an eminently fair and reasonable proposal to which assent might be given.

Photo of Mr James Hogge Mr James Hogge , Edinburgh East

I would like to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he does not think it is a mistake to agree with the Lords in this Amendment? Why should not the landowner or tenant of the, deer parks keep his deer clear of the land of the smallholder? That is the point. This Amendment suggests that you may impose upon the smallholder the altogether unnecessary and heavy burden of maintaining a fence to the satisfaction of somebody, the Land Court if you like, because there are deer outside that holding which insist upon coming on to it. The onus of protecting the smallholder from the ravages of the deer is not the business of the smallholder, but ought to be put on the tenant of the deer forest or the owner of it. Every attempt we make in Scotland to put people on the land off which they have been driven in the past meets with some difficulty of this kind. I see the Irish Secretary present, and I have listened to many speeches bf his on this very subject. He represents a Highland constituency, and is a member of the same Government as the Secretary for Scotland, who now says that he would have his support on this occasion. If that is so, all I can say is that it is marvellous how quickly office alters the view of a man who represents a Highland county, because both in writing and in speech he has made this point. I will not agree to this. It is perfectly monstrous that after all this effort and all this time the House of Lords should suggest an Amendment of this kind, which in many districts in Scotland will prevent the tenant having a fair chance of making good on his small holding.

Photo of Mr James Hogge Mr James Hogge , Edinburgh East

Because of the depredation caused by the incursion of deer on to the small holding.

Photo of Mr James Lowther Mr James Lowther , Penrith and Cockermouth

This Amendment does not refer to deer, but to the stock of the landholder straying beyond the limits of the land comprised in the scheme. A stock fence is not the same as a deer fence.

Photo of Mr James Hogge Mr James Hogge , Edinburgh East

May I suggest it has a very great deal to do with deer, and when the Amendment was introduced on the Report stage it was one of the arguments used. This Amendment does not mention cattle at all, but mentions stock. There is no use shutting our eyes to this difficulty, which is the one problem that is acute in many parts of the country. The smallholder dare not even shoot the deer which conies on to his holding because of the inadequate protection against the deer forests.

Photo of Mr William Graham Mr William Graham , Edinburgh Central

I wish to ask a question from a different point of view. As far as I understand the Amendment, it lays on the Board of Agriculture the obligation of erecting and maintaining this march fence. I quite agree with the right hon. Gentleman that the fence is as much in the interests of the smallholder as of the landowner. That being so, I am inclined to raise the question of mutual maintenance of such fences, and I think many of them are now so maintained. It seems to me reasonable to suggest that the landowner should at least be called on to make his contribution to a protection which, by consent of the Front Bench, is as much in his interests as in the interest of the smallholder. I do not quite see why the whole obligation should fall on the Board.

Dr. MURRAY:

Some of these fences might extend for miles and miles, and the Board of Agriculture might naturally be reluctant to engage in an undertaking which would involve so much cost. As to keeping sheep, the crofter is not anxious to have his sheep confined on his own side. He has absolutely no interest in erecting fences unless the right hon. Gentleman would propose to erect fences round the arable part of the croft, and that would be a very valuable addition.

Photo of Mr George Younger Mr George Younger , Ayr District of Burghs

Can the hon. Gentleman explain the different system which exists in other parts of the country on this subject I

Dr. MURRAY:

As a matter of fact, in many parts of the Highlands the sheep stock mingle together on the common moor. The chief objection to this proposal is the cost, and that in that way it may affect the action of the Board of Agriculture in constituting small holdings. The people who go to shoot deer and who have made their millions are perfectly well able to pay for any fences which require to be erected. It could be put on to the rents and easily got from them.

Photo of Mr Robert Munro Mr Robert Munro , Roxburghshire and Selkirkshire

In answer to the fair and relevant question as to whether there ought not to be a mutual obligation on the proprietors and on the Board to maintain the fences, it is true that, according to the laws of Scotland, when you have two properties side by side and there is a fence between them, the liability is mutual upon these adjoining proprietors to maintain the fence. But that is not the kind of case with which we are dealing here at all. We are here dealing with the case of one property. The Board comes, takes a part of that property for its own purposes, to settle ex-Service men, carves a piece of the property up, and thereby renders a fence necessary, and the justification for placing the obligation on the Board to maintain the fence is just that, that apart from the intervention of the Board, there would be no need for a fence at all. In these circumstances it seems to me that it is a perfectly. fair arrangement, having excised all the objectionable features of this Amendment as originally drawn, to give effect to the Amendment as it stands upon the Paper, and even the hon. Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Hogge), with all his ingenuity, was unable to put forward any real objection on the merits.