Shop Premises Tenure

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 20th January 1948.

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Lieut.-Commander Hutchison:

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he intends to introduce legislation to implement the suggestions contained in the Report of the Committee of Inquiry into the Tenure of Shop Premises in Scotland.

Photo of Mr Arthur Woodburn Mr Arthur Woodburn , Clackmannan and Eastern

The Committee of Inquiry into the tenure of shop premises in Scotland did not recommend any immediate legislative action and I am not aware of any change in circumstances since the Committee reported. The matter is, however, being kept under review.

Lieut.-Commander Hutchison:

Has the Secretary of State considered the suggestion that there might be legislation of a temporary character?

Photo of Mr Arthur Woodburn Mr Arthur Woodburn , Clackmannan and Eastern

If the hon. and gallant Member will read the Report, he will see that there is really no justification for legislation at the moment, and that unless something does arise, it could not justifiably be brought before the House of Commons.

Photo of Mr John McGovern Mr John McGovern , Glasgow Shettleston

In view of the agitation that went on regarding these shops, and the Report which has now been presented, is there any likelihood of a Debate, as some of us have strong opinions on the matter?

Photo of Mr Arthur Woodburn Mr Arthur Woodburn , Clackmannan and Eastern

If anyone can produce facts which would justify any action, we would consider action, but the Committee was very broad and well-informed, and it could not find justification for action.

Photo of Mr Neil Maclean Mr Neil Maclean , Glasgow Govan

Is not my right hon. Friend aware that just now threats are being made in Scotland, particularly in industrial centres like Glasgow, to put out people who have built up businesses, because the premises in which those businesses are situated have been bought, and those people are being asked to pay a high figure for the purchase of their shops?

Photo of Mr Arthur Woodburn Mr Arthur Woodburn , Clackmannan and Eastern

I am aware of reports of that kind, but the Committee which was set up to inquire into this matter took all the evidence, and the proposals were not such as to justify a general conclusion being drawn.

Photo of Mrs Jean Mann Mrs Jean Mann , Coatbridge

Did not that Committee recommend, where tenants were being asked to buy, that if the price was extortionate the tenant should have recourse to the sheriff, who would fix a reasonable rent? Did not they also recommend that in the event of the sale of business premises, the tenant should have preference in buying—

Photo of Mr Douglas Clifton Brown Mr Douglas Clifton Brown , Hexham

The hon. Lady cannot discuss the whole Report on a Question which only asked about whether legislation is to be introduced.

Photo of Mrs Jean Mann Mrs Jean Mann , Coatbridge

I am sorry. Did not those recommendations indicate that the Committee recommended legislation?

Photo of Mr Arthur Woodburn Mr Arthur Woodburn , Clackmannan and Eastern

As I replied before to my hon. Friend, the Committee did not recommend legislation. That was the Committee's conclusion.