§ 24. Mr. LONGBOTTOM
asked the Minister of Health whether local authorities administering the Housing (Rural Workers) Act, 1926, take into account the financial circumstances of applicants for assistance under this Act; and whether any county councils make grants or loans to applicants who are in a position to carry out improvements in their property without the aid of the Act?
The administration of the Housing (Rural Workers) Act, 1926, in regard to individual applications is a matter for the local authorities, and it is not necessary for them to consult me. I have, however, issued a circular to local authorities pointing out that the conditions of the Act are so devised as to ensure that the advantages of any assistance by way of grant are secured to the tenant and that while therefore a local authority should properly satisfy themselves that, in particular cases, there is no likelihood that the works in question will be carried out without assistance, the financial position of an applicant should not in 3201 itself preclude a local authority from dealing with an application which is in conformity with the conditions of their scheme, since the effect of such a decision might well be to deprive the tenant of an improvement in his house which can be secured by the Act and which would not in fact be secured otherwise. I will send the hon. Member a copy of the circular.
Will the Minister take every possible step to see that local authorities fully realise the position as stated in his answer and use every chance to put the Act into operation?
I hope local authorities will see the answer that I have given. I have no reason to suppose that they are not well aware of the considerations I have pointed out in the reply.