HC Deb 14 April 1953 vol 514 cc5-6
4. Mr. Turner-Samuels

asked the Minister of Labour whether he will make an early statement regarding the recent increases in charges at Brockworth Hostel, Gloucester, of 7s. per week, as from 13th April, 1953, and also regarding the discontinuance of the lodging allowance; and whether he has considered the effect of the representations made to him recently by the hostel residents that hardship will result for them, particularly for the lower wage groups, and that it will force a number of them to give up their present employment, with the consequence of creating further unemployment.

Mr. Watkinson

As regards hostel charges, I would refer the hon. and learned Member to the reply given by my right hon. and learned Friend to my hon. Friend the Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Renton) on 26th March. As regards lodging allowances, a decision of general application was taken over a year ago to limit the periods for which such allowances should be continued. My right hon. and learned Friend has examined sympathetically the representations from the hostel residents, but the decisions in question were arrived at only after the most careful consideration of all the circumstances, and I can hold out no hope of their being reversed.

Mr. Turner-Samuels

While thanking the Minister for that answer, may I ask him to take into consideration the financial difficulty and even the domestic hardship imposed on the residents at the hostel and to see whether he cannot take steps to relieve the situation?

Mr. Watkinson

We have looked into the matter very carefully. On the other side of the question is the point that we still have to subsidise these hostels to the tune of £1 million a year.

Mr. Philips Price

Seeing that this situation is likely to continue, may I ask the Minister to consider whether what he is doing may not have serious effects upon men working a long way from their homes?

Mr. Watkinson

The charges are still below the comparative charges for private lodgings.

Mr. G. Thomas

Mr. Speaker, for good or ill, it is quite impossible to hear what hon. Members are saying. I am not sure whether the amplifier apparatus is working.

Mr. Speaker

Some of the difficulty in hearing is due no doubt to hon. Gentlemen themselves carrying on conversations which, though they may sound quiet enough to the hon. Members individually concerned, amount in the aggregate to a considerable noise. To that extent hon. Members have the remedy in their own hands.