Russel Wallace : Alfred Russell Wallace (sic)
Dear Mr. Hyder,
Now that "Land Reform" is promised us I think it is time to urge our members to use effort to have two great injustices amended, which were advocated by many advanced Liberals before our Society was formed, but which are now almost forgotten. One is the Law of Inheritance of Land, as distinct from other forms of property; the other, the absorption of all improvements made by the tenant at the termination of "building leases." A case of the first kind has just come to my personal knowledge, of a mechanic whose whole property was a leasehold house and its furniture. He died intestate leaving a son and daughter by his first wife, and his widow, who was his second wife. The furniture is equally divided, but the house and garden, of much greater value, goes to the son only leaving the widow a pauper.
The usual building lease is in every way unjust and contrary to public policy. It could be best amended by giving the tenant a legal right to buy the reversion in the early years of the lease, at its fair official valuation; while in the other case the law of inheritance of real and personal property should be made the same.
Whenever the "Land" question comes up in the House of Commons Mr. Lloyd George should be asked if he is going to deal with these two recognised abuses of Landlordism, and if he is vague on the points, a discussion should be forced whenever possible. He should know that there is a very strong feeling upon them, and has been this thirty or forty years.