HC Deb 06 June 1946 vol 423 cc2148-9
39. Mr. Sparks

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware of the difficulty experienced by families in securing storage accommodation for their furniture, when compelled to enter rest centres and institutions as a result of court orders for possession made against them in the Metropolitan Police district; and if he will give powers to local authorities to make arrangements for the temporary storage of furniture belonging to such families until they are able to be rehoused.

Mr. Key

General allegations have been made, but my right hon. Friend has no direct evidence. If my hon. Friend has any evidence that he can give him, he will be happy to consider it.

Mr. Sparks

I do not quite understand that reply. I do not know whether it is really in reply to my Question, which refers to the granting of powers to local authorities temporarily to store furniture of families who have been dispossessed from their homes and who have to resort to rest centres. Will the Minister give the local authorities power to store the furniture of these, families until they can get rehoused?

Mr. Key

We know of no case, after investigation, in which people turned out as a result of a court order, have had difficulty in storing furniture as a result. As I have said, we have no direct evidence that there is a need for this, but if there is any evidence, we shall be glad to consider it in dealing with the problem.

Mr. G. Wallace

I submit that the reply my hon. Friend has given, which is obviously Departmental, is utter nonsense. I have evidence with which I can convince him that that is so. I would like to refer him to Sidcup Council where we are at our wits' end to obtain accommodation.

Mr. Gallacher

Is not the Minister aware that people are continually coming to hon. Members and drawing attention to the fact that their furniture is going to waste where it is stored, and that it will be almost impossible for them to get new furniture when they get new houses?

Mr. Key

That is not dealing with the problem with which we are asked to deal here. We are asked to deal with the problem of families dispossessed, and for whom furniture storage accommodation cannot be found, and we have been unable to find any such case in the London area.

Mr. Sparks

Is my hon. Friend aware that his regional officers have declined to allow some local authorities to undertake the temporary storage of furniture of families made homeless by court orders?

Mr. Key

The truth is that the local authorities have no power to store furniture in the ordinary way.

Mr. S. Silverman

Is not the important question how such a family comes, under existing legislation, to be dispossessed at all? Will not the hon. Gentleman make an inquiry to see how the legislation is being worked, when it results in families being dispossessed of their homes and having to put their furniture in store and go to rest centres?

Mr. Key

I repeat that we have not had particulars of such a case.

Mr. Lipson

What is the objection to giving the local authorities such power?