HC Deb 19 June 1941 vol 372 cc796-7
14. Mr. Glenvil Hall

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that at Llandrindod Wells £6 6s. per week was recently demanded for part only of a house; and whether, in view of the difficulty of adequately punishing persons letting furnished accommodation at excessive rentals, he will increase the powers of local authorities in this respect?

The Minister of Health (Mr. Ernest Brown)

The answer to the first part of the Question is "Yes." I cannot, however, accept the implication contained in the second part, since, as I recently stated, the majority of the prosecutions of which local authorities have informed me have been successful. I am sending my hon. Friend a copy of a circular which I sent to all local authorities last week asking them for a special report for the period 1st October, 1940–30th June, 1941.

Mr. Hall

Surely the right hon. Gentleman realises that there is an increase in the number of cases where local benches are refusing to convict in the most flagrant instances? Will he do something to take the power out of their hands and put it into the hands of other courts?

Mr. Brown

I would not accept that statement. There is one particular case, as the hon. Gentleman knows, where the council have asked the magistrates to state a case in respect of their decision.

Mr. Hall

But frequently these magistrates or their friends are interested in the case.

Mr. Brown

I asked for this report so that I might inform myself of the position.

Mr. Sorensen

Would it not be better to take drastic action of a statutory kind in order to prevent this profiteering?