HC Deb 14 October 1952 vol 505 cc24-5
44. Mr. Walker-Smith

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what steps he proposes to take to, arrest the danger of decay and disrepair to dwelling houses coming within the provisions of the Rent Restrictions Acts.

49. Mr. Wade

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what steps he proposes to take to check the serious wastage of housing accommodation resulting from the inability of many owners of rent-restricted properties to-afford the expense of carrying out necessary repairs.

The Minister of Housing and Local Government (Mr. Harold Macmillan)

The problem of maintaining the important national asset represented by older houses is one of great importance. I cannot make any statement of broad policy at present.

Mr. Walker-Smith

Will my right hon. Friend keep constantly in mind this important factor—that even the anticipated provision of 300,000 houses a year represents an annual replacement of just over 2 per cent.? Will he therefore have in mind that the successful solution of the housing problem can only be achieved by measures for preserving existing houses as well as providing new ones?

Mr. Wade

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that this is a matter for great urgency? Does he agree that the deterioration of property resulting from disrepair is most serious during winter months, and another winter will be shortly upon us? In view of that, can he give some assurance that some action will be taken?

Mr. Macmillan

I agree that it is important, but I am afraid that I cannot deal with it in this Session.

Mr. Janner

When he is dealing with this matter, will the right hon. Gentleman take into consideration the fact that some millions of pounds have been paid by tenants under the Rents Act in respect of repairs which the landlords should have tackled but which they have neglected? Will he therefore see that some return will be given to the tenants of these houses should any steps be taken?

Mr. Macmillan

I shall try to keep all relevant considerations in mind.