HC Deb 20 March 1934 vol 287 cc1035-6

asked the Minister of Health whether, in view of the heavy burden on the taxpayer involved in housing subsidies and the insufficiency everywhere of the supply of subsidised houses to suit the means of the poorer tenants, he will consider taking steps to enforce on local authorities who disregard his circulars the principle that rent subsidies must be so used as to benefit those who need them?


According to my hon. Friend's information this principle is generally observed. The question whether any particular method of rent differentiation should be adopted is a matter which is left under the Housing Acts to the discretion of the local authority.


Will the hon. Member say why the method is left to the local authorities, and are the local authorities justified in using no method whatever to see that the rent relief is not given to those who do not need it, in view of the fact that by far the greater part of the money comes not from the rates, but from the taxes?


Parliament laid down certain conditions which fixed the level of rents under various Acts, but it is left to the discretion of local authorities to carry out the principle of differentiation, and, What being so, I cannot wear a black shirt and enforce a principle which was left to the discretion of local authorities.