HC Deb 29 June 1954 vol 529 cc1104-6
47 Commander Maitland

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government (1) if he will fix a date after which no local authority may use wartime hutted camps to assist in discharging its housing duties;

(2) if he will consider increasing the allocation of houses and giving financial assistance to local authorities who still have to use hutted camps for housing purposes, in order to enable them to discontinue their use.

(3) what steps he is taking to abolish the slums created by the continued use of wartime hutted camps for housing purposes.

50. Mr. Bullard

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what action he proposes to take on the Third and Final Report of the Working Party on Requisitioned Properties in Use for Housing.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government (Mr. Ernest Marples)

My right hon. Friend has already asked housing authorities to close down these camps as soon as possible. The number of families which have to be rehoused from camps is taken into account together with all the other relevant factors when settling a housing authority's programme. Houses built to replace hutted camps qualify for subsidy.

Commander Maitland

Does my hon. Friend realise that these hutted camps "cannot be tolerated any longer" and that this is a quotation from a report recently made on them? Will he not seriously consider setting a date by which no local authority will be allowed to use these camps for this purpose? Will he also bear in mind the condition of the children in them, realising that this is a matter of national importance?

Mr. Marples

I realise the seriousness of this problem. It was on 22nd March that the local authorities were asked to discuss this matter with the principal regional officers. Generally speaking, the hope is that these camps will be closed within three years.

Mr. Patrick Maitland

Will my hon. Friend use his influence with the Secretary of State for Scotland to make sure

that a similar policy is pursued in Scotland and that the scandal is understood and appreciated there?

Mr. Marples

I would hesitate to say that my right hon. Friend would give any advice to the Secretary of State for Scotland.

Mr. Bullard

May I ask my hon. Friend whether, as some local authorities took on a very big job in providing these camps, and have done a great deal of work in connection with them, a special financial arrangement will not be requires to enable them to build enough houses to rehouse those living in the camps when they are closed?

Mr. Marples

If my hon. Friend has any specific case in mind of a local authority being swamped in this connection, and will send it to me, I would like to look at it.