HC Deb 16 May 1938 vol 336 cc111-3

7.20 p.m.

Mr. Ridley

I beg to move, in page 5, line 6, at the end, to insert: Provided that no further assistance shall be given under this section unless the local authority are satisfied that upon the completion of the works the dwelling will cease to be overcrowded as aforesaid. The purpose of the Amendment is to give precision if not indeed meaning to the Clause. It will be seen from the Clause that a grant can be made where overcrowding exists within the provisions of the Housing Act of 1936, but the Clause does not, in our view, make sufficiently plain the extent to which, by the aid of the grant, the existing overcrowding is to be abated. I go further and say that the language of the Clause as it stands is so general as to have no precise meaning. It says: for the purpose of the abatement of the overcrowding without relating that language to any standard of overcrowding. The word "abate," by itself, means only to diminish, to reduce, to mitigate or to make less. Therefore the Clause as it stands would be satisfied if the existing

overcrowding were diminished even to a very inconsiderable and unsatisfactory extent. The Clause also provides that the grant shall be made where the standard is worse than that specified in the Act of 1936, but it does not require that the house in respect of which the grant is made shall be brought up to the standard defined in that Act.

7.22 p.m.

Sir K. Wood rose

Hon. Members

Hear, hear.

Mr. G. Griffiths

In which capacity is the right hon. Gentleman addressing the Committee?

Hon. Members

It is all in the air.

Sir K. Wood

I gather from the movement in the Committee that hon. Members have anticipated my purpose of advising the Committee to accept this Amendment. There may be some ambiguity about the Clause as it is drafted, but I think our intentions are the same as those of hon. Members opposite, and this Amendment seems to make abundantly clear what we all desire. For those reasons I suggest that the Committee should accept the Amendment and I wish to thank the hon. Member for Clay Cross (Mr. Ridley) for having brought it forward.

Mr. G. Griffiths

Treading on air.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.