HC Deb 07 March 1945 vol 408 cc2025-6
68. Sir Leonard Lyle

asked the Minister of Works how many persons in southeastern England have so far been prosecuted for carrying out repairs to their premises themselves and for exceeding the—10 limit by reason of the value of materials and their own labour involved; and what action he proposes to take to ensure that this regulation is not applied with undue rigidity.

Mr. Sandys

No prosecutions have been undertaken in the circumstances referred to. I have been considering methods of ensuring that the £10 licensing limit is not too rigidly applied in cases where the householder carries out repairs with his own labour. As a result, I have arranged for the issue of specific guidance to local authorities on this point. In future, applications for licences for repairs and essential maintenance will be freely granted in cases where the only labour to be employed is that of the occupier of the property and members of his family or household. Provided that scarce materials or components on the controlled list are excluded, no limitation will be placed on the materials which may be used. Applications for the repair of small shops will be treated in the same way.

Sir L. Lyle

May I ask the Minister whether that does not still mean that licences will have to be obtained, with all the attendant delay; and whether it would not be better, taking everything into consideration, to do away with this trivial and petty regulation?

Mr. Sandys

I shall send my hon. Friend a copy of the instructions that have been issued. I think he will see that they represent a very considerable relaxation for this class of repairers, and will, I believe, go a very long way to meet the objections to which he has referred.

Lieut.-Colonel Dower

Can the Minister answer my hon. Friend's Question about the difficulty of delay? Very frequently, two or three months are taken in the reply of certain local authorities to the application, and that is what we want to avoid.

Mr. Sandys

I am not prepared, at the moment, to abandon, for this particular clas of work, the use of licences altogether. It would make it only too easy to drive a coach-and-four through the regulations if I am not a little careful.