HC Deb 23 January 1902 vol 101 cc672-3
MR. HAY (Shoreditch, Hoxton)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether he has taken any measures to secure the re-housing of the persons of the labouring class already displaced, or likely to be displaced, by the London and North Western Railway Company in connection with the acquistion by that company of Broad Street Dwellings, White cross Place, Wilson Street, Finsbury, occupied by several hundred of the poorer labouring class; and whether he is aware that the purchase of these lands by that Railway Company through a secret agent enables the Company to evade their statutory obligations in contravention of Standing Order 183A; and what measures he proposes in order to mitigate the hardships which eviction inflicts on the working class tenants concerned, and to prevent further overcrowding in an already congested district.


When my hon. friend brought this case forward last session I expressed my opinion plainly as to the action of the London and North-Western Railway Company, and I adhere to it; but I have no power to take any steps in this particular case. My hon. friend will recollect that my powers are confined to cases within definite Acts of Parliament, and that in this case the dishousing does not appear to have been done under statutory powers which give me any jurisdiction. It will be remembered that a Joint Committee was appointed last session to inquire into the whole question of the rehousing requirements under which persons or companies with powers of displacing persons of the labour class should be brought, but that there was not sufficient time for the Committee to get to work. I hope there will be better opportunity this session.

MR. MACARTNEY (Antrim, S.)

Are we to understand that my right hon. friend lends his authority to the statements in the Question that the London and North-Western Railway Company purchased this property through a secret agent to evade their statutory obligations?


No, Sir. I do not pledge myself to the correctness of all the particular statements in the Question, but I remember perfectly well that when this case came before the House last session it was shown clearly that the railway company had acquired property (which was to be utilized for their purposes) in such a manner as to leave them free from the usual requirements of their Acts as to rehousing.


I must ask my right hon. friend whether it was not the case that the Speaker ruled out the whole matter from discussion.


My recollection is that it was discussed.†