HC Deb 11 May 1950 vol 475 cc548-50
20. Colonel Heath

asked the Minister of Health if he will issue a circular to local authorities requesting them, when they are allocating housing accommodation, to count the years of service of an ex-member of the Regular Forces as years of residence in the area of the local authority to which application is made for a position on the housing list.

71. Mr. De la Bère

asked the Minister of Health whether, in connection with the hardship which arises as a result of the residential qualification which the local authorities stipulate must be observed as regards the housing and provision of homes for the public, special consideration can be given in the case of those who, owing to conditions of service life overseas, cannot fulfil these residential qualifications, with special reference to ex-members of the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force.

Mr. Bevan

I am sending the hon. Members a copy of a circular issued to all housing authorities covering a report by my Central Housing Advisory Committee.

Colonel Heath

Can the Minister say whether his circular embodied the suggestion contained in the Question; and, if it does, will he send the circular to the local authorities again?

Mr. Bevan

The circular was issued a very long time ago. It covers the point raised.

Captain Ryder

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that Service personnel, particularly long-term Service personnel, very often find themselves at a grave disadvantage in this matter? Will he give this further consideration?

Mr. Bevan

I cannot accept the implication of that supplementary question. Service personnel do not suffer any greater disability than people who move from one part of the country to another. We have asked local authorities to consider modifying the residential qualification in this respect for all persons, including Service personnel.

Earl Winterton

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the predecessor of the present Secretary of State for War, the Minister of Defence, said that uncertainty in regard to housing, both in and out of the Forces, was a deterrent to recruiting? And will the Minister give this matter further sympathetic consideration?

Mr. Bevan

As I have said, this matter has already been considered by the Central Housing Advisory Committee on which there are various political opinions represented, and a circular was sent out to the local authorities directing their attention to this matter.

72. Major Conant

asked the Minister of Health whether he will allow local housing authorities to exceed their building quotas to the extent needed to meet the requirements of men who, on their discharge from the Armed Forces, have been turned out of married quarters.

Mr. Bevan

It is not possible to add to local authorities allocations in this way, but the various requirements are taken into account in making these allocations.

Major Conant

Could the right hon. Gentleman say how the local authorities can possibly find out how many men are to be discharged from married quarters? Is there not very real hardship in cases of this kind?

Mr. Bevan

If it is not possible to find out then it is not possible to carry out the hon. and gallant Member's suggestion.

Brigadier Head

Is the Minister aware that in many cases these unfortunate men are nobody's baby, that they are homeless and, consequently, are a great deterrent to recruiting?

Mr. Bevan

We do not know where men are proposing to live until they have made up their minds where they wish to try to live. In those cases we take local allocations and local needs into account.

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