HC Deb 05 June 1924 vol 174 cc1562-4

Resolution reported, That it is expedient—

  1. (a) to authorise the payment, out of moneys provided by Parliament, of contributions towards the expenses incurred in connection with the provision of houses of the type and size mentioned in Sub-section (2) of Section one of the Housing, Etc., Act, 1923, which are completed before the first day of October, nineteen hundred and thirty-nine, not exceeding in the case of any house which is subject to special conditions. whether as regards rent or lettings or disposal or otherwise, a sum of nine pounds, or (if the house is situated in an agricultural parish in England or Wales, or in a rural area in Scotland) a sum of twelve pounds ten shillings, payable annually for a period not exceeding forty years, and in the case of any house which is not subject to such special conditions a sum of six pounds payable annually for a period not exceeding twenty years; and
  2. (b) to make provision as to such special conditions and; in the case of houses which are subject to special conditions, to provide for the reduction or variation of the contributions in the event of any of the special conditions not being complied with; and
  3. (c) to make provision in the absence of adequate arrangements for the necessary increase in the supply of labour and materials at reasonable prices for the withholding of contributions or the reduction or variation of contributions except in the case of houses completed before certain dates; and
  4. (d) to make provision for the amendment of the financial provisions of the Housing, Etc., Act, 1923, and for other purposes incidental thereto or connected therewith."

The MINISTER of HEALTH (Mr. Wheatley)

I beg to move, in line 18, after the word "in," to insert the words certain contingencies, including contingencies which may arise from. I wish to have this Amendment made in view of the Amendment to the Resolution to which the House agreed last night. If we were to proceed on the Resolution as it now stands, it would exclude certain contingencies under which we wanted to suspend the operation of the Act. I have submitted the words of my Amendment to the Mover of the Amendment last night and to the right hon. Member for Lady-wood (Mr. N. Chamberlain), and they have agreed to it, and I therefore hope that the House will accept it. The effect of the Amendment is that our powers will not be confined to the shortage of labour and materials, but to leave them in the wider sense.


I have consulted my hon. Friend the Member for Stirling and Falkirk (Sir G. McCrae) and others, and I quite agree with the Minister of Health that a change in phraseology such as he suggests will have the effect which was intended by those who moved the Amendment last night. The insertion of the words of the Amendment moved last night might have had a limiting effect, whereas our intention and the intention of the Committee was to secure an enlarging effect. The change in phraseology now suggested would secure the desired result.


So far as I am concerned, and so far as my right hon. Friend is concerned, we see no reason to object to the change. I understand that the fear was expressed by certain authorities whom the right hon. Gentleman consulted on the application of the old legal principle

Inclusio unius est exclusio alterius,

that the Resolution, as amended last night, might lead to a ridiculous result. In the circumstances, I offer no opposition to the Amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution as amended."

Captain ELLIOT

I wish to raise a point which is of vital importance to the proper understanding of this Bill. We were discussing, last night, the position of the guarantee as it would arise, supposing that the local authorities for one reason or another exercised their undoubted power to suspend building at any time, as the Minister stated in a letter that they had power to do. I ask the attention of Liberal Members to a point which, so far, has been insufficiently appreciated. I will refer to a passage in a publication which, I am sure, the Minister will regard as in no way biased in favour of my party or, indeed, in favour of the capitalistic system of society in general. I refer to the Monthly Circular of the Labour Research Department for the current month of June. The journal refers to the letter of the Minister of Health to the local authorities giving his guarantee that they may suspend building at any time for any reason, and on that account suffer no penalty or burden in the rates. The journal says: This statement leaves a good deal to be further explained. In particular it is not clear how, under these proposals, the fifteen years' guaranteed programme suggested by the House-Building Committee is to be maintained if the local authorities are to be empowered to stop their programme at any time—unless the State is in that event to continue to bear the cost alone—and with the guaranteed programme is bound up the question of augmentation of labour. The Minister of Health stated that he would have power to carry through a building programme under Section (4) of the Housing and Town Planning Act, 1919. Let me read to him what the Section really points out. [HON. MEMBERS: "Divide, divide!"] This is a point of great importance to the local authorities of the country. [HON MEMBERS: "Divide, divide!"]

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill ordered to be brought in upon the said Resolution, as amended, by Mr. Wheatley, Mr. William Adamson, Mr. Arthur Greenwood, Mr. James Stewart and Mr. Attorney-General.