HC Deb 21 October 1943 vol 392 cc1519-22
67. Sir Cyril Entwistle

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that the corporation of Bolton has been refused sanction by his Department to acquire land necessary for the purpose of their Post-war housing programme; that the housing committee views the position with great concern and that the matter is arousing considerable public indignation; and what action he proposes to take?

Mr. E. Brown

I am giving further consideration to this matter in the light of the council's representations.

Sir C. Entwistle

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a Circular has been issued by his Department, but that when the local people take action on it they get nothing but a slap in the face?

Mr. Brown

I should not like to endorse that conclusion. Perhaps my hon. Friend and his fellow Member will discuss it with me.

Mr. Gallacher

As the provision of housing will be the big question after the war, will the right hon. Gentleman press the Prime Minister to undertake the nationalization of the land.

Mr. Brown

That question does not arise out of this one.

68. Sir C. Entwistle

asked the Minister of Health whether he is now in a position to announce the conditions governing the building of houses by local authorities and particularly as regards the number of houses to the acre, the floor space to be allowed and the subsidy to be granted, so as to enable the local authorities to proceed with their post-war building plans?

Mr. Brown

On the question of the type of house to be built, I am awaiting the report of the Sub-committee of my Central Housing Advisory Committee which is considering the design of dwellings under the chairmanship of Lord Dudley. I hope that this report will be ready by the end of the year. On the reply by the subsidy, I would refer to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) on 22nd July, when I pointed out that, while I should be happy to discuss the matter with the Associations of Local Authorities whenever they wished, the main factors to be taken into account were the cost of house-building and rent-paying capacity in the post-war period. I therefore think that a discussion at the present time might be premature. I believe that my views are shared by the Associations.

Mr. McEntee

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the committee who are considering this aspect of housing have concluded their inquiry, and if a report has been made will he make it available to Members?

Mr. Brown

I said that I hoped to receive the report at the end of the year.

69. Mr. Leslie

asked the Minister of Town and Country Planning whether local authorities will be granted compulsory powers to acquire what land may be required for housing and other public purposes based on the 1939 ceiling?

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

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer which I gave to the hon. Member for East Birkenhead (Mr. Graham White) on 21st September, 1943, of which I am sending him a copy. I have nothing at present to add to that answer.

Mr. Leslie

If a local authority needs to purchase land that has already been purchased by land speculators, will the local authority be able to get the land at the 1939 valuation?

Mr. Morrison

I would repeat the Government declaration that the price of land which is acquired or controlled for the public will be based upon the 1939 valuation.

Major York

Is it not also a fact that because of the uncertainty of this matter owners may only be compensated upon the 1939 valuation basis, but that if they die in the meantime the estate is called upon to pay Death Duties on the present inflated values?

Mr. Morrison

I understand that Death Duties are governed by an existing Act of Parliament and I am afraid that I cannot deal with that.

Mr. Stokes

Will the right hon. Gentleman explain how he proposes to operate on a 1939 valuation which was never taken?

Mr. Morrison

That would take too long to explain to my hon. Friend.

Mr. Moelwyn Hughes

Can the right hon. Gentleman say when he proposes to introduce legislation to make this possible?

Mr. Morrison

As soon as possible, but there are other claims on the time of the House.