HC Deb 08 June 1943 vol 390 cc530-1
46. Sir Leonard Lyle

asked the Prime Minister whether, to ensure that on the close of hostilities the building trade may be in a position to start operations immediately, he will take an early opportunity of indicating the Government policy in relation to siting, acquisition of land and density of construction?

Mr. Attlee

As regards the acquisition of land, the Government have already announced acceptance of the principle that planning authorities should be given extended powers of compulsory acquisition of land in war-damaged and other reconstruction areas required to be developed as a whole; and legislation for this purpose will be introduced in due course. Siting and density of construction are matters for the consideration of the planning authorities in the first instance, and for determination by them and my right hon. Friend, the Minister of Town and Country Planning. In so far as my hon. Friend has wider questions in mind, I would refer him to the reply given to the Member for Central Leeds (Mr. Denman) on 10th March, 1943, by the Leader of the House, and to the statement by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Town and Country Planning in the Debate on the Second Reading of the Town and Country Planning (Interim Development) Bill on 11th May, 1943.

Sir L. Lyle

Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that if, by some miracle, the war were to end to-night, there would be vast unemployment for many months?

Mr. Gallacher

If the principle is to operate and the land is taken away from the landlords, will the right hon. Gentleman see that the landlords get a sympathetic hearing before the public assistance committees?

Mr. Bossom

Is it not the case that it will probably take about a year between the introduction of the proposed measures and the possibility of starting construction? If that is so, will not the right hon. Gentleman endeavour to introduce speed into the consideration of the matter?

Mr. Attlee

The necessity for speed is aiready recognised.

Mr. Kirkwood

Are we to understand from the last reply that this is an attempt by the Government to carry out what the Labour Party has always stood for—nationalisation of the land?

Viscountess Astor

You have stood for it but have never done it.