HC Deb 06 February 1939 vol 343 c638
74. Mr. Poole

asked the Minister of Health whether his attention has been drawn to the proposal of the Birmingham City Council to impose a means test on the tenants of their municipal houses, which will result in large increases in rents to many of these tenants; whether he is aware of the large amount of discontent which exists among the tenants in consequence; and whether he is prepared to receive a representative deputation from the tenants with a view to their being enabled to put their point of view before him with the object of alteration or amendment of the proposed scheme?

Mr. Bernays

The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. I am making inquiries, but I may say generally that the fixing of rents of council houses is by statute a matter for the discretion of the local authority. With regard to the latter part of the question, the hon. Member will perhaps allow me to defer replying until the inquiries are complete.

Mr. Cartland

Is it not the case that this scheme is going to result in lower rents to a large number of tenants, that in fact there is no general means test at all, and that the scheme is being very much prejudiced by the inaccurate propaganda of Members of the Opposition?

Mr. Gallacher

In all these schemes, while there is a reduction in rent in some cases, is there not an increase of rent in many others?