HC Deb 14 November 1928 vol 222 cc884-6

asked the Prime Minister whether, in order to prevent hardship to owners whose sound properties situate in insanitary areas are acquired by local authorities under slum-clearance schemes, without such owners being paid real compensation, he will give facilities for the consideration and passing into Law during the present Parliament of a Bill providing that adequate compensation shall be given by local authorities to such owners and to business men who lose the goodwill of their businesses in consequence of the carrying out of slum-clearance schemes?


As my right hon. Friend stated in reply to a question by the hon. Member for Nottingham Central (Mr. Bennett), it is the intention of the Government to introduce at the earliest practicable moment, legislation dealing with slum areas, which will provide for an amendment in certain respects of Section 46 of the Housing Act, 1925, but I cannot hold out any hope that it will be possible to deal with this matter in the present Session of Parliament.


In the desire to proceed with slum clearances, will the right hon. Gentleman remember the fact that certain local authorities, so it is stated, have declined to proceed with slum clearances in view of the inadequacy of the compensation that is paid under Section 30?


When he is considering this question, will the right hon. Gentleman also remember that some unscrupulous persons buy up slum property, in order to get extortionate compensation when the local authority clears the slums?

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Will the right hon. Gentleman also take advice as to the position of small shopkeepers in these scheduled areas, many of whom have been absolutely ruined whereas the slum landlords are very often able to get compensation out of the ground landlords?


Under the existing law, where such property has to come down as slum property in clearance areas, authorised by the Minister, is any compensation payable in respect of the property pulled down, in addition to the site value?


is it not possible in this Session of Parliament to bring in a Bill to deal with Clause 46 of the Act of 1925, and nothing else, seeing that great injustice is being done and that there is hindrance to slum clearance?


Perhaps hon. Members will put a detailed question on this matter to the Minister of Health. I have been asked to reply to a Question dealing with the legislation before the House of Commons.


The Prime Minister has stated that he can hold out no hope of dealing with it in this Parliamentary Session. Has he forgotten the definite pledge given in his own manifesto that if he was returned to power this question would be dealt with effectively in the next Parliament?


My right hon. Friend the Minister of Health has done all in his power in this Parliament with the other reforms which have been carried out in regard to housing.