HC Deb 17 July 1940 vol 363 cc209-10
44. Mr. Parker

asked the Minister of Health whether in order to reduce the danger of air raids in overcrowded houses, he will give local authorities general powers to requisition empty houses for rehousing when this appears desirable?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Miss Horsbrugh)

In a circular of yesterday to local authorities, of which my right hon. Friend is sending the hon. Member a copy, he pointed out that where there was a shortage of accommodation due to destruction by air raids, one of the appropriate remedies might be to requisition empty property not already available for letting, and accordingly the power to requisition in such circumstances was conferred on them. If air raids result in the loss of an appreciable amount of accommodation, there must necessarily be a greater use of existing occupied houses, and all available accommodation will be required. In these circumstances, my right hon. Friend does not think it necessary to take special steps such as the hon. Member contemplates to move persons already housed.

Mr. Logan

Will this requisitioning be without payment of rent?

Miss Horsbrugh

It will come under the same procedure as the requisitioning that is being done at present.

Mr. Pethick-Lawrence

Will the power of requisitioning be used to relieve cases where villages are overcrowded with evacuees?

Miss Horsbrugh

There is power with the billeting authority to requisition where necessary.