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Clause 1. — (Rent Limit of Controlled Houses.)

Part of Orders of the Day — Rent Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 26th March 1957.

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Photo of Mr Reginald Bevins Mr Reginald Bevins , Liverpool Toxteth 12:00 am, 26th March 1957

This Amendment is also a reasonable proposition, although, perhaps, less simple than that which I last moved. Subsection (3) of the Clause says, in substance, that where the present rent exceeds the rent limit fixed under subsection (1), then the rent shall be the rent current at the commencement of the Act as distinct from the rent limit provided for in subsection (1). To read that as meaning the rent limit set out in subsection (1) would render subsection (3) meaningless. I am advised that no court of law would construe it in that way. It is the case that there has been a good deal of heart-searching on both sides of the House as to exactly what was meant by this provision and whether it was expressed in the right way. My right hon. Friend has two Amendments on the Order Paper—this and an Amendment in line 13—which remove all possible ambiguities.

The end of subsection (3) will read, allowing for these Amendments, the rent limit shall be the rent recoverable as aforesaid subject however to the provisions of the foregoing subsection. The words "as aforesaid" clearly refer to what goes before in subsection (3); that is to say, to …the rent recoverable for the basic rental period… The word "foregoing" clearly refers back to subsection (2). I appreciate that my hon. Friend the Member for Henley (Mr. Hay), and perhaps one or two other hon. Members, are not entirely happy with the wording as it was—or even, maybe, as it is now proposed—but my right hon. Friend has been into this on more than one occasion—indeed, during the last twelve hours—and I am assured that the wording as now presented does convey what we mean to say.