We are well aware of, and by no means insensitive to, the concerns raised in the debate, and we fully appreciate the difficulties that many businesses face. We must consider carefully any suggestions that could upset the balance of rights and obligations for tenants and landlords set out in the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954, and whether we shall help or hinder by upsetting that balance and interfering with the freedom to negotiate the terms of business leases in the market place.
My hon. Friends can rest assured that Government Ministers with responsibility for such matters, including my right hon. and noble Friend the Lord Chancellor and others—will take careful note of what my hon. Friends have said. The Law Commission has made several recommendations in a number of areas and will consider those with care. We must recognise that the 1954 Act has endured well for more than 40 years and has provided a framework of rights and obligations which has served the business community extremely well for many years.