HC Deb 24 February 1921 vol 138 cc1145-6

(by Private Notice) asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Munitions whether he is aware that the Ministry of Munitions has raised the rent of certain munitions huts in Dudley by 1s. 10d. per week, with only a fortnight's notice; that the rent of each of these small huts now totals 11s. per week; whether this illegal action on the part of his Department has received his sanction; and whether he will make further inquiries into the matter?


I have been asked to answer this question. These huts have been taken over by my Department and I have ascertained that, without any interest on capital or allowance for depreciation, there has actually been a deficit of £700 per annum. The local rates have recently been increased and to the extent of this increase it has been necessary to raise the rents of these and similar huts under my control in the United Kingdom. This increase, so far as Dudley is concerned, will bring the 6s. 6d. weekly rents up to 8s. 4d.; and the 5s. rents up to 6s., and not to 11s. as the hon. Member suggests. As regards the notice the hon. Member is evidently mistaken, as a fortnight's notice was given although only a week was legally required. The actual increase in rent is authorised under the Increase of Rents Act.


Is it not a fact that the Act of Parliament provides for four clear weeks' notice before an increase of rent can be claimed by the landlord, and in this case was it not a violation of the law to enforce an increase without a legal notice?


I have just informed the hon. Member that a fortnight's notice was given, which is one week more than is necessary.


Is it not the rule, Mr. Speaker, that only questions of urgency are put by private notice? Has this question any urgency except the fact that there is an election going on at Dudley?