HC Deb 05 August 1943 vol 391 cc2436-7
23. Mr. Mander

asked the Minister of Town and Country Planning when he will be in a position to announce the Government's policy with regard to the proposals of the Uthwatt, Scott and Barlow Reports?

24. Mr. Moelwyn Hughes

asked the Minister of Town and Country Planning the results of his close and prolonged examination of the payment of compensation, and the recovery of betterment, in respect of the public control of the use of land?

The Minister of Town and Country Planning (Mr. W. S. Morrison)

I am not at present in a position to state when it will be possible to announce further decisions on the recommendations in the Uthwatt and Scott Reports. As regards the Barlow Report, I would refer the Hon. Member to the answer given on 3rd August by my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade to the Hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths), of which I am sending him a copy.

Mr. Mander

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the failure of the Government to make up their mind about these Reports is producing alarm and despondency in the country, and can he give an assurance that when the House resumes he will be able to give some clear guidance on these matters?

Mr. Morrison

I am aware of my hon Friend's opinion on this matter, but there are other factors in the situation to which I have to pay attention.

Mr. Hughes

Does the right hon. Gentleman not appreciate that until a policy has been worked out upon the matters dealt with, particularly those in the Uthwatt Report, there can be no town and country planning, and if the Ministry of Town and Country Planning cannot do any town and country planning, what is the use of the Ministry of Town and Country Planning?

Mr. Morrison

The answer to the first part of my hon. Friend's supplementary question is that a great deal of very useful work in town planning is being done by the local authorities and by my Ministry, and, that being the answer to the first part of the question, the second part does not arise.

Mr. de Rothschild

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that those concerned in local government all over the country require some pronouncement on the Uthwatt Report from the Government, and may I ask why the Government and the right hon. Gentleman's Ministry ask for reports if they cannot fulfil them?

Mr. Morrison

I know that, like myself, local authorities are anxious to get on with these matters, but at the same time I should not like it to go out from here that there is no useful work that can be done in the meantime, and I am aware from my personal knowledge that local authorities are putting in a lot of very useful work in town planning.

Mr. Shinwell

Can the right hon. Gentleman explain the delay in coming to a decision on all these matters? What is the trouble? Is it with my right hon. Friend himself or somebody else on the opposite benches?

Mr. Morrison

It is a question of time. There is no delay in the solution of these matters, but they are of a very complicated character, and it is of immense importance that the results which are to be achieved should be founded upon sound policy.

Mr. Keeling

On a point of Order. I beg to give notice that unless the Government's decision is announced immediately after the Recess, I shall raise this matter on the Adjournment.