HC Deb 16 March 1943 vol 387 cc1015-6
9. Mr. McNeil

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will ensure that in bombed areas house factors, when re-letting vacant private houses and flats, give preference to bombed-out families who are at present homeless?

Mr. Johnston

I have no power to require property owners to let empty houses to families who have been rendered homeless by enemy action, but I understand that in at least one area the local authority have been able to come to an arrangement with the property owners under which a preference is given to such families. I welcome arrangements of this kind, and I hope that the publicity which will be given to my hon. Friend's Question will serve to encourage such arrangements in other areas. In addition, I have given all local authorities powers to find accommodation for homeless persons by billeting or by the requisitioning of empty houses.

Mr. McNeil

Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that he might seek powers for this purpose, in view of the fact that the arrangements have broken down in so many bombed-out areas?

Mr. Johnston

This is a matter that can hardly be considered by Question and answer. There are very serious difficulties.