HC Deb 23 March 1944 vol 398 cc1026-8
30. Mr. Sutcliffe

asked the Minister of Health what is the policy of his Department when a local authority, not wishing to build on unsuitable land which it owns, is anxious to acquire new and more suitable land; and whether all such applications for permission to buy are specially investigated before they are refused.

Mr. Willink

If I am satisfied that land owned by a local authority is unsuitable for housing purposes I am prepared to entertain proposals for the purchase of suitable land which the authority may require in order to carry out a two-year building programme. The answer to the second part of the Question is "Yes, Sir."

Mr. Sutcliffe

Will my right hon. and learned Friend allow local authorities in such cases greater freedom to select land which they know to be most suitable for them? Great delay is being caused in some cases owing to the attitude of the Ministry.

Mr. Willink

If my hon. Friend will bring to my notice any case of unnecessary delay, I shall be most happy to look into it.

32. Mr. Keeling

asked the Minister of Town and Country Planning whether, pending further Government decisions on the Barlow, Scott and Uthwatt recommendations, he intends to give any guidance to local authorities about the selection of sites for houses.

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

Yes, Sir. I have given, and shall continue to give, the necessary guidance to Planning Authorities through my Regional Planning Officers and otherwise, and my right hon. Friend, the Minister of Health, has instructed Housing Authorities to consult the Planning Authority and my Regional Planning Officer in every case.

Mr. Shinwell

When does the right hon. Gentleman hope to convey what is the Government's decision on these Reports to the House?

Mr. Morrison

This matter has been discussed in another place and I have nothing to add to what was said there yesterday.

Mr. Shinwell

Are we to understand that we are to await a discussion and a statement in another place before we hear from the representative of the Government in this Assembly what the Government's decision is?

Mr. Morrison

I did not intend to convey that at all. The real answer is that I have nothing to add to what I said on the matter last Thursday.

Mr. Shinwell

Is it not a great pity that the Government have nothing to add on a very important matter of this sort? How long are they going to take before they reach a decision?

Mr. Mander

Does the right hon. Gentleman confirm the statement made in another place that the Government's declaration will be made after Easter, and does that mean Easter, 1944?

Mr. Morrison

I understand that the year referred to is 1944.

Viscountess Astor

Will the right hon. Gentleman resign unless his recommendations are carried out by the Government?

Mr. Morrison

I hope I shall be allowed to decide these personal questions myself. I ask the House to have the generosity to believe that I am not actuated by personal motives.

Mr. Maxton

Does the right hon. Gentleman remember that, when he took on this job, I said he would have a sticky time?

Mr. Morrison

I realised that myself, without the gipsy's warning.