HC Deb 23 September 1943 vol 392 cc381-2
84. Mr. Brooke

asked the Minister of Health whether he has considered a letter forwarded to him by the honourable Member for West Lewisham, written by a firm of owners or owners agents offering particulars of certain small empty houses in Camberwell to a possible weekly tenant, but stipulating that they do not desire any children on the property; and what action he proposes to take about stipulations of this character in relation to the public interest and the needs of a nation at war?

Mr. Brown

Yes, Sir, and I am much obliged to my hon. Friend for bringing this correspondence to my notice. My attention has been drawn from time to time to similar instances of landlords who refuse to let their premises to tenants with children. Restrictions of this kind are obviously not in the national interest, especially at the present time when there is a heavy demand. for housing accommodation in most parts of the country. If they are to be maintained, private rights must be exercised with a full sense of responsibility, and if the practice referred to spreads, I shall certainly consider a drastic increase in the powers which I have recently delegated to local authorities to requisition empty houses to provide accommodation for families inadequately housed.

Major Sir Derrick Gunston

Is it not in the national interest that the name of this firm should be published?

Mr. Brown

I will confer with my hon. Friend about that.

Mr. Cluse

Would it be possible for the Minister to acquaint these house agents that actually they are acting as agents for birth control?

Mr. Brown

My hon. Friend will see that the Question and answer may help in forming public opinion about it.

Mr. Walter Edwards

How many cases of this description have to take place before the Minister decides to take any action?

Mr. Sorensen

Is not the Minister aware that the refusal of factors to let houses to people with children is widespread, and cannot he take action immediately?

Mr. Brown

We must see how the present plans develop.

Mr. R. J. Taylor

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that even men in the Services with children are unable to get houses?