HC Deb 16 April 1946 vol 421 cc2592-4

Order read for consideration of Lords Amendments.

Ordered: "That the Lords Amendments be now considered."

Lords Amendments considered accordingly.

CLAUSE 4.—(Standard amount of Exchequer contributions for flats etc., on expensive sites.)

Lords Amendment: In page 3, line 28, leave out from "Schedule ", to the end of line 37.

6.58 p.m.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Mr. Key)

I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

This Amendment really results in the omission from Clause 4 of the proviso which limits the discretion of the Minister with regard to the granting of increased moneys for the erection of flats and houses upon land of high value. It was felt when we introduced this Bill that the extra money given for flats might possibly be extended to houses if a mixed development could be made to result, but the proviso limits the power of the Minister to do that in cases where the mixed development would result in the provision of accommodation equivalent to an average three storey flat over the whole of the area concerned. It has been felt that in the lower ranges of the values set out ir. Part II of the First Schedule—that is land valued from £1,500 to £6,000 an acre —it might be even more economical to put on that land only houses and not a mixture of houses and flats. For that reason it is desired to agree that this proviso shall be taken out. I must, however, say that so far as the central areas of large cities are concerned, in order to provide the necessary accommodation in proximity to the places where people work, we shall have to insist upon the erection of flats. It is felt that a wider discretion should be given to the Minister in this matter.

7.0 p.m

Captain Crookshank (Gainsborough)

I think the Minister has persuaded me and my hon. Friends that it is right to take out this proviso. In his speech he said the Amendment "really" resulted in taking out the proviso. Of course it does. It does not do anything else. That is the object of the Amendment. Whether or not he need say it "really" results in that I do not know. That is all it does. It is quite true, as I read it—and I hope I am right—it gives the Minister a much wider discretion in the use of this expensive land. To that extent I suppose it is a minor triumph for the town and country planning Members, who are not here at the moment, so we need not expect any speeches from them. At the time the Bill was being discussed they urged that there should be more mixed development than seemed to be the case under the Clause when we had it before us. In the end, of course, it must rest with the Minister as the Bill is drawn. As a result of the removal of this proviso I presume the Minister will feel himself more free, in certain circumstances, to allow houses to be built as well as flats, which, we all agree, will be the predominant development of the expensive sites in the central areas. If I may say so, I think the Minister has been very well advised in accepting this Amendment in another place, and in asking the House to approve of it. So far as we are concerned, we take no exception at all.

Remaining Lords Amendments agreed to. [One with Special Entry.]