HC Deb 06 December 1945 vol 416 cc2500-2
10. Lieut.-Colonel Hare

asked the Minister of Health why his Department has given instructions for the rent of certain of the people evacuated from the Sudbourne battle area, Suffolk, to be raised, in view of the fact that, before they were evacuated, his Department gave an under taking that they would not be charged a higher rent than they had previously been paying.

Mr. Bevan

A revised Circular is being issued on the question of rents to be charged for requisitioned premises, and I will send the hon. Member a copy. I can not say precisely what will be the effect on the people to whom he refers; but the local authority will consider this, and no doubt if they think that there is a case for a still further discretion than is given by the revised Circular, they will communicate with my Department.

Lieut.-Colonel Hare

Will the right hon. Gentleman give prior consideration to cases in which his Ministry gave written undertakings that the rent would not be raised?

Mr. Bevan

I would like to have particulars of those undertakings, because they are very rarely given in this form. I would appreciate it if the hon. and gallant Member would let me know what they are.

14. Major Legge-Bourke

asked the Minister of Health what will be the effect on the rateable value of a house in which the local authority compulsorily extends accommodation by providing extra necessary kitchen and other facilities.

Mr. Bevan

It is assumed that the question arises out of Defence Regulation 68cb which empowers local housing authorities to carry out works and to provide fittings, furniture and equipment in accommodation registered under the Regulation. I do not on this score anticipate proposals for increases in rateable values.

15. Major Legge-Bourke

asked the Minister of Health what role is to be played by the W.V.S. in connection with his plans for the requisitioning of rooms in private houses; and whether this role has been discussed with the authorities of the W.V.S. and has now been made plain to members.

Mr. Bevan

I have no plans for the requisitioning of rooms in private houses. I have asked local authorities to appeal to householders in their areas to make spare rooms available. By agreement with the Headquarters of the W.V.S., that organisation is willing, where possible, to help to bring the appeal to the notice of individual householders by exhibiting posters and, where necessary, by house to house visits. Should it ever be necessary to requisition an under- occupied house, the W.V.S. would be in no way concerned. The position is being made plain to their members.

16. Major Legge-Bourke

asked the Minister of Health how many local authorities have received an order from his Department insisting on the payment by tenants who have been directed to the premises in question of full rents under the Rents Act with the alternative of eviction; and how many tenants are affected by these orders.

Mr. Bevan

The circular on the subject of rents to be paid for premises requisitioned or taken for housing purposes, which was issued to all local authorities on 22nd October, has now been revised, and I will send the hon. Member a copy. I am unable to say how many tenants may have their rents affected by the revised circular, but the hon. and gallant Member will see that plenty of time is being allowed for any necessary adjustments to take effect..

Major Legge-Bourke

Will the Minister say why local councils were not consulted before the original order was made, and does he not realise that this order has imposed a means test on all the families concerned?

Mr. Bevan

It is not always possible to consult everybody before issuing a circular. If we did hon. Members would be accusing the Government of undue delay. It is perfectly true that there has been some misunderstanding about the terms of the circular, and I have hastened to revise it.