HC Deb 01 July 1948 vol 452 cc2349-50
26. Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

asked the Minister of Health whether, without requiring applications from individual local authorities, he will delegate powers generally to all local authorities to requisition the unoccupied portions of residential property offered for sale with part-vacant possession.

Mr. Bevan

I feel unable to accept this suggestion.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Is my right hon. Friend aware that he has expressed his willingness to consider applications from local authorities for these powers? Why impose that condition instead of granting these powers generally?

Mr. Bevan

Because these powers are conferred by statute upon the Minister of Health, and they are very wide and unusual powers. They were devolved by me upon the clerks to local authorities in exceptional conditions. The conditions are not now so exceptional, but where there are circumstances in which those powers could be used, I can be asked, and the powers can be exercised quickly.

Mr. Sparks

Why has my right hon. Friend withdrawn from the clerks to local authorities the delegated powers to requisition vacant accommodation for housing purposes?

Mr. Bevan

For the reasons which I have already given. It is not now necessary to exercise these powers as widely and as frequently as was the case a few years ago. Therefore, we can exercise them through the clerks to the local authorities by delegation.