HC Deb 22 June 1954 vol 529 cc233-4
51. Sir W. Wakefield

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what arrangements he is making to make the practical demonstration, now on view in St. Marylebone, of the improvement and conversion of older houses, known to people outside London.

Mr. Marples

A circular was sent to every local authority in England and Wales on 9th June. This explained the purpose of the "New homes from old houses" exhibition, and invited authorities to send representatives to see it. The leaders of national organisations concerned with the provision, ownership, or management of house property were. I am pleased to say, present at the opening ceremony. My right hon. Friend looks to them to influence their members throughout the country to come and see what can be done with the help of improvement grants.

The exhibition will be open to all every weekday till the end of August. Hon. Members will find descriptive literature in the Library. I hope they will make a point of seeing the exhibition and of persuading representative constituents to do so. The Ministry will make special arrangements for parties giving due notice.

Sir W. Wakefield

Is the Minister aware that his statement will cause great satisfaction in the House? Will he take every possible step to follow up the publicity which he is proposing to direct to local authorities in various parts of the country, as the necessity may arise?

Mr. Marples

My right hon. Friend is most anxious that local authorities should stage similar exhibitions in their own areas, and I hope that hon. Members in all parts of the House will try to influence their local authorities to do so.

Mr. Hargreaves

Is the Minister yet in a position to report to the House the result of his attempt to stimulate local authorities to make use of the 1949 Act in the way of progress reports at intervals to this House?

Mr. Marples

This is only the start of the campaign, and, if local authorities will hold similar exhibitions in their own areas. I think they could persuade quite a number of private landlords and tenants that it is in their own interests that they should convert old property. I hope that, if the hon. Gentleman has in mind any particular local authority, he will write to me, when we will arrange for them to see the exhibition.