§ 22. Mr. Frankel
asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that in various localities where there have been increases in the population as the result of transfer of civil servants and others, there is a continual rise in rent charges; and whether steps will be taken to prevent unjustifiable increases of this nature?
§ Mr. E. Brown
I am aware that high rents are being charged for furnished let-tings in some parts of the country. Persons who charge extortionate rents for furnished lettings are liable under the Rent Restrictions Acts to a fine not exceeding 100. I have urged local authorities to make the utmost use of their statutory power to prosecute in these cases and a number of prosecutions are impending. If my hon. Friend will let me have details of any cases which have come to his notice, I will at once take them up with the local authorities concerned.
§ Mr. Frankel
Is the Minister taking any action with regard to those local authorities which are not using the powers that they now possess?
§ Mr. Frankel
But that was in 1940. Does the right hon. Gentleman propose taking any further action with regard to the local authorities who still take no action arising out of that circular?
§ Mr. G. Macdonald
Does the Minister give any guidance to local authorities as to what are extortionate rents?
§ Mr. Silverman
Will not the Minister consider that point? Under the Rent Restrictions Acts, where houses are empty, a standard rent is fixed, and the 680 other protection is bound to be abortive if there is no measure by which to judge whether rents are exorbitant or not.