HC Deb 08 March 1948 vol 448 cc785-6
45. Mr. Teeling

asked the Prime Minister what is the policy of His Majesty's Government with regard to the purchase by Departments of properties which can be shown to be capable of being used for housing purposes; and if he will direct the Ministers concerned to impose that policy upon the nationalised boards for which they are responsible.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Attlec)

In view of housing needs the Government are anxious that, accommodation capable of being used for housing purposes should not be purchased by Government Departments and other bodies and used for other than housing purposes where this can be avoided. Defence Regulation 68C.A. covers this by providing that, consent must be obtained to the diversion to other purposes of any housing accommodation which has been so used at any time since 31st December, 1938, and this extends to hotels and similar accommodation. The Regulation applies equally to nationalised industries and to private individuals, and the present arrangements should ensure that such accommodation is used for living purposes where this is practicable.

Mr. Teeling

If I bring to the right hon. Gentleman's notice the position of the Princes Hotel, Hove, and prove to him that that could have been used for housing purposes, will he recommend to the British Electricity Authority that they should not go on with taking it over?

The Prime Minister

I understand that in this matter the Hove Council have agreed, and the hon. Member would seem to be almost "more royalist than the king."

Sir W. Wakefield

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in St. Marylebone, contrary to the wishes of the local authority, the old Great Central Hotel and the Salvation Army Hostel have been taken over as offices, when housing accommodation is most urgently needed?

The Prime Minister

The hon. Member will not expect me to know all the details of his own locality.