HC Deb 27 July 1944 vol 402 cc867-8
36. Mr. Pritt

asked the Minister of Health how many dwellings in habitable condition in the County of London have been unoccupied for three months or more up to some recent date for which a return can conveniently be made; whether he will encourage and facilitate the requisition of such dwellings by the Metropolitan borough councils in order to diminish the housing shortage; and whether he will seek additional powers of requisition to deal with such dwellings in cases where the owner or tenant cannot be traced.

Mr. Willink

Statistics are not available in the form required by my hon. and learned Friend in the first part of the Question. I am informed, however, that unoccupied accommodation in the London area which can be regarded as suitable for the types of persons to be rehoused has already been requisitioned, or is under consideration for requisitioning at the present time. If my hon. and learned Friend is aware of any property which is apparently unused, and he will give me particulars I will have inquiries made. In regard to the third part of the question, I am advised that the existing powers enable the competent authority to requisition in the circumstances envisaged.

Mr. Pritt

Is the Minister aware that a certain number of local authorities have power but cannot proceed with requisitioning, because they cannot find anyone on whom to serve the necessary notices? Will he consult with the Attorney-General to see that that part of the law is altered?

Mr. Willink

I will look into the question of whether there is any misconception among local authorities, but I think my answer covers that point. I am advised in such cases the competent authority has power to requisition.