§ Mr. MILLS
(by Private Notice) asked the Leader of the House whether he is aware that on the 2nd July, under the provisions of the Increase of Rent (Restrictions) Act, landlords of working-class dwelling-houses will be empowered to charge further increases of 10 per cent. on rents; and whether, having regard to the decrease in the bank rate, the high rate of unemployment, and the reduction in unemployment insurance benefit, he will consider the advisability of taking legislative steps to defer for 12 months any further increase in house rent?
A question which was in substance the same was put to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on the 26th May last, and I cannot add anything to the answer which he then gave.
§ Mr. MILLS
May I ask the Leader of the House if he is aware that the rate of interest, which was one of the basic points in the argument of the Minister of Health for bringing in the Bill last year, has decreased twice since the Bill was brought in, and further if the Ministry of Health itself has issued instructions to local authorities to refuse to schedule inside repairs—a further justification for the 1920 Act, and having regard to these two circumstances and the fact of the reduction of the unemployment benefit, can he not see his way clear to make this concession.
The Government are of opinion that it would not be in the public interest to prolong the period.
§ Sir W. SEAGER
May I ask if the right hon. Gentleman is aware that many of these landlords are working men them- 2493 selves, who have suffered very great hardship by these rent restrictions, and should they not have an economic return?
That is so, and so long as there is no economic return on money invested in this way it cannot be hoped that private enterprise will provide us with the houses we need.