§ The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Glenvil Hall)
I have no desire to evade saying anything that will help the House. The Adjournment was asked for by the hon. Baronet the Member for Sutton Coldfield (Sir J. Mellor), and his speech has been very fully replied to by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Town and Country Planning. In my view, my hon. friend has given the House a very clear and definite explanation of how this thing happened. He has indicated first that there are on the Statute Book two Acts, to one of which at least hon. Members opposite gave approval, and that it is essential for his Ministry to watch advertisements of this kind, because in certain areas land which may have been 418 bought by some people may well become leasehold instead of freehold. On this occasion they did not see this advertisement, and there is no reason why they should. It was issued by the National Savings movement, which is a non-political movement. It worked in close liaison with the Treasury. The Treasury saw the advertisement, and it was not contrary to Government policy. We do believe in people buying houses of their own if they wish, and owning their own piece of land.
I answered a Question which was put to me by the hon. Baronet, and what I said was quite true. He asked me in a supplementary question whether I was aware that the Ministry of Town and Country Planning admitted that they had requested the withdrawal of this advertisement. I said that my advice—it was the information which I had had given to me—was that the Ministry of Town and Country Planning did no such thing, and that the matter was wrongly reported in the Press. I do not know what report the hon. Baronet saw, but if the report in the Press to which he called attention was paraphrased in the supplementary question he put to me—namely, whether I knew that the Ministry of Town and Country Planning admitted that they had requested the withdrawal—the answer is, as the Parliamentary Secretary has told the House, that the Ministry did not request its withdrawal. They rang up and pointed out that from their point of view, it might be inadvisable in certain localities, but they did not request its withdrawal and, therefore, what I said was true.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Adjourned accordingly at Twenty-nine minutes past Ten o'Clock.