The MINISTER of AGRICULTURE (Sir Arthur Boscawen):
I beg to move, "That this House doth not insist upon its Amendment to which the Lords have disagreed."
If that Motion be agreed to, I propose to move an Amendment to the Bill in lieu thereof. I may be allowed to explain that under the Land Settlement Facilities Act, power was taken to enable local authorities to acquire land without confirmation, in view of the necessity of getting land quickly for the purpose of small holdings and allotments. In view of the fact that there will be a necessity for acquiring a good deal of land for allotments in the next few months, because land, under the D.O.R.A. Regulations, will have to be given up next March, it was proposed in this Hill, as originally introduced, that this power of acquiring land without confirmation, as regards allotments, should be extended for one year. In another place, this Clause was deleted. When the Bill came to this House, on my Motion it was re-inserted, but with a limitation that the extension should be only for six months instead of one year. In another place this new proposal has also been deleted. In the circumstances there are three courses which I might adopt. I might agree with the Lords in their Amendment. In that case, we should throw away altogether a power which, although I do not attach very much importance to it, will be useful as minimising the delay in acquiring land in the next few months. I might disagree with the action taken in another place. If I did that, and if the other place insisted on what they had done, there would be a complete deadlock between the two Houses, and the Bill would be lost. There is a third course which I propose to adopt and that is to ask the House to send back the Clause with an Amendment, and the Amendment is that instead of extending the time to six months from the passing of the Measure, that is to say to next February, the extension should be to 31st December of this year. That does not give us quite as much time as I had hoped for, but at the same time it will give local authorities sufficient time to exercise their powers.