HC Deb 31 May 1945 vol 411 cc343-4
32. 32. Flight-Lieutenant Teeling

asked the Minister of Health why he has not been able to authorise the Brighton Council to requisition the flats known as Embassy Court; whether he is aware that 20 out of 69 flats there come under the Rent Restrictions Act and of the extreme hardship the unreasonable raising of the rent and the refusal to accept less than a seven years' agreement is causing the wives and children of men serving abroad and recently demobilised and invalided soldiers.

Mr. Willink

I do not consider that it would be proper to exercise the powers of the Defence Regulations in a case of this kind. The tenants of such of the flats as fall within the scope of the Rent Restrictions Acts have the protection given them by those Acts. To requisition the building in order to control the rents and lettings of the remaining flats would be in effect to extend the limits of the Acts as fixed by Parliament. I may remind my hon. Friend that the report of the Ridley Committee does not recommend any such extension.

Flight-Lieutenant Teeling

Does the answer mean that it is impossible to requisition particular flats without requisitioning the whole building, even though they come within the Rent Restrictions Act?

Mr. Willink

There would be no point, in this connection, in requisitioning flats that are within the Rent Restrictions Acts, as their rents are controlled. With regard to the other point, I see considerable difficulty in requisitioning, at high cost to the community, blocks of flats of the nature referred to, in order to allow those who obtained the flats when rents were low to have continued occupation.