Orders of the Day — Land Commission

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th July 1968.

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Photo of Mr Niall MacDermot Mr Niall MacDermot , Derby North 12:00 am, 24th July 1968

I repeat, the size of the transaction referred to by the hon. Gentleman is hardly typical of transactions in the sale of land that are taking place.

The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Northwich recognised that whatever one draws as the dividing line and says that it is not worth collecting sums below that amount, one gets cases at the borderline where there will be nuisance involved for people in having to fill up forms to establish which side of the borderline a particular transaction falls. I do not know what the hon. and learned Gentleman suggests should be the appropriate borderline, but he indicated that the Land Commission does not proceed to levy in cases where it appears that the amount concerned will be less than £5. I think that is a fairly reasonable approach. If there is any evidence of hardship being caused by having a figure at that level, certainly I will be prepared to consider that evidence. I do not feel that the particular case to which the hon. and learned Gentleman drew the attention of the House is likely to cause any hardship or would support an argument for altering that level.

On the more important and major issues, the hon. Member for Hornsey (Mr. Rossi) said that from the start the Opposition had challenged the objectives of the Land Commission and doubted whether the Land Commission would be able to help to realise those objectives.

The first objective was to secure for the community a share of the realised betterment in land, that betterment having been created by the community rather than by the land owner. We are still not clear whether the Opposition accept that as a laudable objective that should be maintained. We know that some hon. Gentlemen opposite have expressed support for it and have said that they thought it right, but we have not yet had any official statement from the Opposition. If the hon. Gentleman is in a position to state now and commit his party on whether they believe that it is right to have a system of collection of betterment, I will gladly give way.