HC Deb 27 April 1950 vol 474 cc1121-4
37. Mr. Watkinson

asked the Minister of Health whether he will now grant local authorities the right to issue additional building licences where they are satisfied that the licence is for an owner-occupier and that the site, materials and labour are readily available.

38. Brigadier Clarke

asked the Minister of Health whether, in view of the fact that approximately 7,000 houses in Portsmouth were completely destroyed in the war, most of which were private houses, he will relax the existing one in nine rule, and allow the building of private houses to proceed in accordance with the requirements of this city.

44. Mr. Marples

asked the Minister of Health whether, in view of the increase in the housing programme, he proposes to alter the ratio between local authority and private enterprise building.

89 and 90. Mr. Alport

asked the Minister of Health (1) whether he will grant licences to people prepared to build houses for their own occupation without employing other labour and where the material used makes only a very limited demand upon resources of building material, additional to the normal allocation to local authorities;

(2) whether, in view of the increased number of houses to be built during the year 1950-51, he is prepared to restore the ratio between local authority houses and private enterprise houses to the previous figure of four to one.

91. Mr. M. Philips Price

asked the Minister of Health whether he will consider, where a local authority's housing programme is well advanced, relaxing the order that only one house may be built by a private person for every ten built by the councils to let.

94. Mr. Black

asked the Minister of Health whether, in view of the fact that the housing target has been reinstated at 200,000 houses per year, he will now reinstate the quota of houses which may be built privately under licence at one to every four houses built by the local authorities.

106. Mr. Hurd

asked the Minister of Health if, after consideration of the representations made to him by housing authorities in rural areas, he is now prepared to modify the rule that in no district may more than one house in ten be built by private enterprise.

The Minister of Health (Mr. Aneurin Bevan)

I have this matter under consideration and hope to make an announcement soon.

Mr. Watkinson

When does the Minister hope to be in a position to make an announcement?

Mr. Bevan

I hope next week.

Mr. Marples

Will the Minister bear in mind that the Government axe, which fell in September, provided that the cuts should fall entirely on private enterprise building? That being so, is it not fair that the restoration should be made to private enterprise?

Mr. Bevan

I thought the Opposition was against retrospective legislation.

Brigadier Clarke

Does the Minister realise that building resources are being wasted upon putting up cold frames, greenhouses and other things because we cannot afford his nine in one housing ratio?

Mr. Bevan

I understand the hon. and gallant Member is now expressing a rebuff to the way in which private enterprise wastes the nation's resources.

Several Hon. Members


Mr. Speaker

As these eight Questions are being taken together it is only right that each hon. Member who put a Question down should have the right to ask one supplementary question before those not on the list.

Mr. Alport

Is the Minister aware that Question No. 89 is not identical with Question No. 37, and raises quite a different point? Question No. 89 is a request to the Minister to consider whether he will allow those who are able and willing to build their own houses, with their own labour, to get the licences which we believe they are entitled to have. Will the Minister not consider these as special cases, regardless of any decision on the apportionment to private enterprise?

Mr. Bevan

It raises exactly the same point as to whether licences are to be given in greater proportion for the erection of houses under private ownership, and I hope to make a statement next week.

Mr. M. Philips Price

Where the completion of a local authority programme is well advanced, will not the Minister allow a little more latitude in connection with private housing than has been allowed hitherto?

Mr. Bevan

The reason why I am not able to make an announcement at once is because I am not only hoping to revise the relationship between local authority housing and private licences. I am also hoping to introduce some refinements which will give greater flexibility to the licensing system, but I must find out whether, administratively, they are generally practicable.

Mr. Hurd

Will the Minister allow discretion to rural authorities, to whom this problem is one of particular urgency?

Mr. Bevan

I must also consider that in the rural areas there would be very often a far smaller proportion of persons able to afford to build privately.

Mr. Gibson

Is it not a fact that private enterprise in many large towns has not taken up the full allocation already given to it?

Mr. Bevan

That is the case. That is why it is necessary to have flexibility in the matter. It has already been realised that there are some areas where the ratio of one in ten is far too high a proportion for the area to take up.

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