HC Deb 05 December 1946 vol 431 cc483-4
32. Mr. George Jeger

asked the Minister of Health whether his attention has been drawn to the recent eviction of a family from a tied cottage in Swanmore, Hampshire, under conditions of extreme distress; and whether he proposes to take any action to bring security of tenure to rural workers.

Mr. Bevan

Yes, Sir, and inquiries have been made. The general question of security for rural workers must depend on the forthcoming review of the Rent Restrictions Acts. As I have already stated, there is no prospect of early legislation.

Mr. Jeger

Is my right hon. Friend aware that this question of tied cottages in rural areas is becoming a greater scandal month by month, with a greater number of evictions, and cannot he do something to expedite action?

Mr. Bevan

I am aware that there is very great resentment at a practice which arouses general indignation, but, at the moment, we have no opportunity for further legislation.

Major Guy Lloyd

Is the Minister aware that the absence of sufficient cottages in rural areas is a far bigger scandal?

Mr. Bevan

I accept that entirely: it is a scandal of very long duration.

Mr. R. S. Hudson

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the biggest scandal of all is his failure to build new cottages?

Mr. Bevan

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there are more rural authorities building houses at the present time than for the last 30 years?