HC Deb 22 February 1945 vol 408 cc928-9
13. Mr. Pritt

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that dwelling-houses and flats suitable for occupation as such are being used in various parts of London for storage purposes; and whether he will introduce a regulation to make it possible for Metropolitan borough councils to requisition such premises for the housing of bombed-out persons.

14. Mr. Butcher

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that many buildings designed and erected for residential purposes are being used, or are being acquired with intention to use, for office and commercial purposes; and whether, in view of grave housing short age, he will encourage local authorities to requisition such buildings for the use of homeless citizens.

Mr. Willink

I am aware that a number of buildings erected for residential purposes are being used for other purposes. It would not be appropriate that requisitioning powers should be applied to such properties generally, but if my hon. Friends have any particular case in mind and will let me have details I will have inquiries made.

Mr. Pritt

I will let the right hon. and learned Gentleman have details. Is he aware that what is happening is that a flat becomes vacant, and before anybody can come along and live in it, the landlord fills it with stored goods, and when the council are asked to requisition it, they say that the landlord has already occupied it?

Mr. Willink

I shall be glad to look into cases of that kind, but many of these houses are large old-fashioned houses which are not suitable for rehousing homeless persons.

Mr. Butcher

Will my right hon. and learned Friend bear in mind that one of these large old-fashioned houses can be converted into two or four smaller dwellings which give housing accommodation, whereas if it is used for office accommodation there is actually a loss of housing accommodation?

Mr. Willink

There is a case for the sort of conversion my hon. Friend has in mind, but that is not the sort of work we are able to do much this year.

Mr. Pritt

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman accept my assurance that there was no collusion between the hon. Member for Holland with Boston (Mr. Butcher) and myself in putting these Questions?

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