HC Deb 13 November 1950 vol 480 cc1352-3
6. Mrs. Braddock

asked the Minister of Works whether there is any arrangement whereby hon. Members can ascertain the requests for licences to build, other than housing, before the licences are actually granted.

Mr. Stokes

No, Sir, but I am always ready to consider representations made to me by hon. Members about individual cases or particular types of cases.

Mrs. Braddock

Is the Minister aware that there is no possible way of hon. Members getting to know who has made a request for a licence—either through the local authority or through his regional departments? Can he take some steps to see that some of us, at any rate, are aware of who are making applications for licences, so that we can make some reference to it if necessary?

Mr. Stokes

I should explain to the hon. Lady that the whole thing is somewhat formidable. As over 15,000 applications are received every month, I should need an army corps to do what the hon. Lady wants.

Mr. Llewellyn

Is the Minister aware that the attempt of the hon. Lady to catch his eye before he issues licences is regarded as most unbecoming on this side of the House?

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

To avoid what happened to the Lambeth Borough Council, which only found out, by accident, the intention of the Minister to grant a £300,000 licence for shops and offices in Brixton, would my right hon. Friend ensure that at least the local authorities concerned should be informed of these applications or of the intentions of the Minister in relation to them?

Mr. Stokes

Where large projects are involved, to the best of my knowledge local authorities are informed, but I will certainly look into it and see what can be done.

Mr. Nicholson

Would the Minister say whether he thinks it is desirable that these applications should be disclosed to hon. Members? Is there not something confidential in them?

Mr. Stokes

No, I do not think so.