Consequential Amendments

Part of Orders of the Day — Agricultural Tenancies Bill [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 6:50 pm on 19th April 1995.

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Photo of Michael Jack Michael Jack , Fylde 6:50 pm, 19th April 1995

I hope that the hon. Gentleman will forgive me if I do not give way. There is not much time left, and I want to deal with some of the other points that have been made.

The hon. Gentleman expressed misgivings about the length of tenancies, and about the environment. I refer him to an excellent article by Marie Skinner in Farmers Weekly, to which I referred in Committee. Marie Skinner said that there was no direct relationship between the length of a tenancy and the quality of farming. I think that, if the hon. Gentleman looks at the terms of the type of agreement that can be reached between landlord and tenant, he will see that some of those environmental matters can be properly agreed.

As usual, the hon. Member for Hemsworth took up points of detail. Let me pick up a failing that the hon. Gentleman revealed. He persisted in describing my right hon. Friend the Minister as "the Secretary of State"; let me refer him to section 1 of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Act 1919, which he will find singularly good reading. It gives the history of why we have a Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. Let me also point out to the hon. Gentleman that it was David Archer who wanted to become a tenant of the adjoining estate land, and Simon Pemberton who denied him that right. I, too, am an "Archers" fan.

Finally, let me deal with what was said by the hon. Member for Edinburgh, East (Dr. Strang). This week, The Daily Telegraph, of all newspapers, told us: Labour seeks to capture 'Tory shires—. I read on with keen interest. The report said: Labour launched a new attempt to capture the 'Tory shires' yesterday with plans to boost wages, business investment and jobs. The Labour rural millennium beckoned; but only new Labour could, with that in mind, then decide to vote against the very Bill that adds a great new dynamic to the rural economy.

It is the farm business tenancy that gives the real opportunity for innovation, initiative and youth, and allows the farm to be a centre for new business in a rural economy. It is what will enable the Tory party to sustain its support for that rural economy.

The hon. Gentleman talked of security. He ought to read the Bill carefully. The termination of tenancies, rent reviews and compensation are all dealt with in exact terms. There is no doubt that there is security of tenure for anyone entering a farm business tenancy. Without this reform, we should have only an endless succession of Gladstone v. Bower short-term tenancies.

This is a revoloutionary piece of legislation, which will ensure new lifeblood in rural England and in agriculture. I commend it to the House.