HC Deb 03 March 1938 vol 332 cc1406-8

10.0 p.m.

Mr. E. Smith

I beg to move, in page 10, line 20, to leave out, "if the Minister thinks fit so to determine."

I am moving this Amendment after a careful examination by several local authorities who are concerned about this aspect of the Bill, and desire that these words should be deleted.

Sir K. Wood

The Amendment is so reasonable that I must accept it.

Mr. Mathers

Is there not some error here? Should not the word "thinks" be altered to the word "is"?

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendments made:

In page 10, line 36, after "under," insert "Section one or Section two of."

In line 40, leave out "and by the Eighth Schedule thereto."—[Sir K. Wood.]

Question proposed, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

10.2 p.m.

Mr. Maxwell

The Clause deals with the amount which those who are building new houses will gain by the subsidy under the Bill, and I desire to put one point to the Minister. On the Second Reading he dealt with the difference between the subsidy under the old Act and the subsidy as it is proposed under this Bill, and said: There is at present payable a fixed subsidy of £2 5s. in respect of slum clearance and a possible subsidy but rarely admissible … not exceeding £5 for 20 years in respect of the abatement of overcrowding."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 15th February, 1938; col. 1732, Vol. 331.] By that I imagine that under the old Act in respect of overcrowding the subsidy is possible but improbable. We have heard about the difficulty of those local authorities who have hurried up with then-overcrowding programme and who are being penalised to a certain extent by having done so, in that they will not rank for the new subsidy under the Bill, while those who have not been so quick in their overcrowding programme will rank for the new subsidy. I appeal to the Minister, if he cannot make the Bill more retrospective, to consider favourably his option to give a subsidy under the old Act. When dealing with local authorities it is our duty to try and encourage them to help the Minister by carrying out the Act to the best of their ability, and our task will not be made any easier if they tell us that because they have hurried up as they were requested to do with their over- crowding programme they are being penalised for so doing. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will give us an assurance that he will consider favourably requests that he should grant a subsidy not exceeding £5 for 20 years under the old Act. In King's Lynn, which I represent, the local authority, just before this Bill was brought forward, undertook a very considerable building programme to rehouse people living in overcrowded conditions. It seems to me that it will be very unfortunate if, because they undertook this programme when they did, in good faith and in order to implement the spirit of the old Act, they are debarred from getting the subsidy when other authorities, which have not been so prompt, are going to get it.

10.6 p.m.

Sir K. Wood

This matter was discussed earlier in the evening. Perhaps my hon. Friend will read the OFFICIAL REPORT to-morrow, and, if necessary, have a word with me between now and the Report stage.

Clauses 11 and 12 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

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