HC Deb 13 March 1946 vol 420 cc1094-5
47. Mr. Kirk-wood

asked the Prime Minister whether it is his intention to nationalise the land of Britain without further delay, in view of the fact that the difficulty of getting land is the chief obstacle to the speedy building of houses for the people, and that the cost of purchasing the necessary land makes the building unreasonably expensive.

The Prime Minister

No, Sir, but a Bill to provide a more speedy procedure for acquiring land is now before the House. Meanwhile powers for compulsory acquisition of land required for housing already exist and the Government do not accept the suggestion that difficulty in getting land is the chief obstacle to the speedy building of houses. So far as cost is concerned, the land compulsorily acquired for housing is acquired at the 1939 value by virtue of Section 57 of the Town and Country Planning Act, 1944.

Mr. Gallacher

Is not the Minister aware that in many cases land is being requisitioned which would be of great value for agriculture, and is it not desirable that this step should be taken in order to provide land for houses and at the same time have the best land for agriculture?

The Prime Minister

Care is taken in land planning work generally to see that a proper division is made between land fit for agriculture and land used for building. I do not think that the suggestion made by the hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood) would accelerate matters.

Mr. Stokes

While being in complete sympathy with the intention of the questioner, may I ask the Prime Minister whether he will bear in mind, in considering this matter, that there is another most efficacious way of arriving at the same conclusion, namely, by putting a comprehensive tax on site values?

Mr. Kirkwood

Does not the Prime Minister believe that '' A robber band has seized our land "?

Mr. Baldwin

Is the Prime Minister aware that enough land has been purchased up to the present time to fulfil the building programme for the next two years?

Hon. Members