39. Mr. TREVELYAN THOMSON
asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that the shortage of housing accommodation is aggravated in many industrial areas by owners purposely keeping houses unoccupied; and is he prepared to deal with this matter by immediate legislation, either in the new Rents Restriction Amendment Act or by a special Act empowering local authorities to require the immediate usage of all such buildings as domestic dwellings?
§ Dr. ADDISON
As I have stated in reply to previous questions, the Housing Town Planning, etc., Act, 1919, already empowers local authorities to deal with this matter, and I do not think that further legislation is necessary. Effective local action would meet the necessities, of the case.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the powers they have are only powers of purchase, which means a considerable cost and delay? Is he aware that if the procedure suggested 385 of compelling usage, were adopted, it would give an immediate supply of a large number of houses at present kept empty?