My Lords, I totally oppose Amendment 119B. I made a long contribution in Committee —I think it was 18 or 20 minutes—on the whole question of the compulsory purchase of land.
I want to ask the mover of this amendment and his supporters a very simple question. In Committee I drew attention to the value of agricultural land, and the value of that land when it is given full planning permission. If I go by memory, I quoted figures of £880,000 in west Cumberland, where my former constituency was; £4 million per hectare in Watford; and £7 million per hectare somewhere on the southern outskirts of London, although I cannot remember the place exactly. Why should a landowner have the value of his or her land transformed from between £15,000 and £20,000 a hectare to between £4 million and £7 million a hectare simply on the stroke of a pen designating a national infrastructure scheme somewhere in the UK? What right does he or she have to that increased value on land to which they have done absolutely nothing to secure that additional value apart from own it?
When our fathers went to war in the Second World War, they did not fight for a country where people could make vast fortunes simply by holding land. The cost of that land falls upon people all over the UK who now cannot afford to buy a home, particularly in our major cities. The price that they are paying for all that is to feed the landowners who own the land, who should be readily giving up that land to help to deal with the national housing crisis at the price of its worth to them in its existing use, but of course they do not want to do that.
If people outside reading Hansard think the amendment is complicated, it is actually quite simple: it would protect landowners and their wealth, and the people who would pay for that are the people who cannot afford to do so—young people throughout the country who cannot afford to buy a home.