Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied that professional men and others will have adequate time to study and to understand the immensely complicated provisions of the Bill in the very limited interval which there must be between Royal Assent and his appointed day? Would he not give his Bill a better chance if he postponed the appointed day till the autumn?
The right hon. Gentleman will recognise the difficulty of any interim period, but I am fully satisfied that professional bodies will have opportunity fully to understand the Bill.
Does not the right hon. Gentleman realise he is going to cause chaos by bringing the Bill into operation as soon as this? Would he take the advice of his noble Friend, Lord Silkin, and postpone it to 1st January, 1968?
In view of the complications of the Bill, does the Minister think this is adequate? Since his specialist advisers can hardly understand it, how can the public understand it? It will require enormous expenditure to get this across to the public and to the interested bodies. Would it not be better to drop the Bill than to incur the expenditure of this amount of money?
The hon. Member will not expect me to answer the purely political points in the latter part of his supplementary question, but I am quite satisfied that the three publications which the Ministry is preparing will be adequate. Indeed, there is very much greater understanding of the Bill than is sometimes suggested.
Perhaps I may remind the hon. Member of the information I gave him about this at an earlier stage. There will be a general leaflet for the public, a leaflet for builders and surveyors and a third one for other practitioners, including solicitors.
asked the Minister of Land and Natural Resources whether he will make a statement about the implications of the proposed postponement from 1st March to 6th April of the first appointed day under the Land Commission Bill on land transactions where the completion date falls between 1st March and 6th April.
The postponement of the first appointed day will simplify the problems of dealing with the interaction of betterment levy and taxes, as that date is the start of the tax year.
Is not the hon. Gentleman aware that this change of the date will inflict hardship on many parties who have already contracted, on the assurances given by the Government that the appointed day would be 1st March? Purchasers have agreed prices on the basis that they would not have to pay a development levy, which the change in the date will now make them have to pay. Will not the Minister make up his mind and try to do something that will alleviate hardship and not create it?
The hon. Member will, in fairness, realise that the selection of any date usually disadvantages some, just as the postponement of the date by a few weeks will advantage others. This is inevitable when one chooses a date, but it does not mean that one does not choose one.
The yield from the levy is a factor of which general account has been taken in considering the support which the Government is giving to local authorities under various measures. It would be impracticable and inequitable to relate this assistance directly to the levy raised in particular authorities' areas, rather than to the needs and resources of the authorities.
May we take that as an assurance that the Government intend to devote the proceeds of the levy mainly to this purpose and also that this will be additional to the limited subsidy for expensive sites given under the Housing Subsidies Bill?