HC Deb 28 July 1953 vol 518 cc1084-5
36 Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government (1) if he will consider the special circumstances that arise from mining subsidence in the city of Stoke-on-Trent and treat all applications made by the city as questions of urgency when they arise from mining subsidence;

(2) what recent action he has taken with county boroughs who suffer from the effects of mining subsidence:

(3) if he intends to arrange financial assistance to aid local authorities who are seriously affected by mining subsidence.

Mr. Marples

I cannot add to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Fuel and Power on 13th July.

Mr. Ellis Smith

Would the Minister agree that that is a very disappointing reply in view of the fact that he must be familiar with the terrible circumstances in these areas? Is he aware that the whole sewerage and drainage is collapsing and that unless urgent attention is given to it a very serious situation may arise? In view of that, will he see early attention is given to it?

Mr. Marples

This mining subsidence affects all sorts of properties as well as new houses. New houses are covered by a special subsidy which can be given for foundation purposes. In 1950 the previous Government passed the Coal Mining (Subsidence) Act which dealt with new houses, small houses, only, and presumably they were not able to go into the larger question. This Government do not think they can alter that view.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that we then promised the implementation of the Turner Report and that if it were implemented grave injustice could be avoided to certain areas where there is mining subsidence at very low cost to the Treasury?

Mr. Marples

Economic circumstances now are just as difficult as they were in 1950 while the loss due to subsidence has taken place over a number of years. The right bon. Gentleman will agree that the previous Government could not undertake the commitment in 1950, and I do not think he can expect this Government to undertake it now.

Mr. Speaker

This matter is to be debated on the Adjournment on Friday.