HC Deb 23 June 1949 vol 466 cc438-9
55. Mr. John E. Haire

asked the Minister of Health if he will instruct local authorities not to include private building licences granted for agricultural purposes in the normal ratio of licences for private building.

Mr. Bevan

The discretion given to local authorities to issue licences up to one-fifth of their allocation is the utmost concession that can be made at this time consistently with the housing policy of the Government that houses should be available at reasonable rents to those in the greatest need.

Mr. Haire

Is my right hon. Friend aware than in certain rural areas agricultural priorities absorb all the available licences, to the great vexation of nonagricultural people? Could there not be a fairer apportionment?

Mr. Bevan

Priority has been given to agriculture and to mining. To give further houses would be at the expense of other people's needs in other parts of the country.

Mr. Baldwin

Is the Minister aware that it is not only private houses, but houses for agricultural workers that are held up, in the submission of schemes by councils, before they can get past the various authorities?

Mr. Bevan

The fact that the housing schemes now in operation are the utmost that our physical resources admit is the complete answer to the hon. Gentleman's statement.