HC Deb 06 March 1947 vol 434 cc637-8
35. Colonel Clarke

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power how many cottages are owned by the Coal Board; and are there any occupational or other restrictions of tenure upon their occupants.

Mr. Shinwell

I am informed by the National Coal Board that no statistics are yet available as to the number of cottages owned by the Board because collieries have not yet completed their statements of interests. It is usually a condition that a workman who obtains a colliery house must vacate it on the termination of colliery employment.

Colonel Clarke

May I ask the Minister what difference there is between the restrictions of tenure on the houses about which we have been talking, which are State-owned, and those upon what are called tied cottages in the agricultural community?

Mr. Shinwell

These cottages were formerly owned by private undertakings, and under the Coal Industry Nationalisation Act large numbers are transferred—and others will be as the result of option and arbitration—to the National Coal Board. At the present moment we cannot say how many have been transferred.

Mr. R. S. Hudson

Will the right hon. Gentleman say as a matter of policy whether he proposes to continue the system under which a man retains a cottage so long as he is employed and loses it when he is no longer employed?

Mr. Shinwell

That is a matter within the jurisdiction of the National Coal Board—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—but if as a result of the activities of the National Coal Board some acute controversial issue arises affecting the public interest, I may have to intervene.

Mr. Driberg

Is there not, in any case, an essential difference between a house attached to a public undertaking whose tenant has the protection ultimately of this House—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—and a tied cottage in which the tenant is at the mercy of the caprice of the private owner?

Mr. J. Lang ford-Holt

Is it not becoming increasingly obvious in the case of the National Coal Board that the employees have no protection from this House?

Mr. Shinwell

What is the hon. Member's opinion against the opinion of the National Union of Mineworkers?

Mr. Alpass

Is not the right hon. Gentleman of the opinion that tenants under the National Coal Board will have far greater security than they have had under private colliery undertakings?

Mr. Shinwell

That is our expectation.

Colonel Clarke

Are we to understand that there will be one law for State-owned property and another law for privately-owned property?

Mr. Shinwell

I should not be surprised, because it is going to be a better one.

Back to
Forward to