HC Deb 26 July 1955 vol 544 cc964-7
2. Sir I. Fraser

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether he will make a statement on the progress of slum clearance.

Mr. Sandys

I will make a statement to the House after the Recess, by which time I hope to have received the slum clearance programmes of local authorities.

Sir I. Fraser

Will my right hon. Friend have in mind, in the public interest and in the interest of persons who want houses, that the total amount of building, including slum clearance, local authority building and private building, should not be increased, because, if it is, it will clearly raise prices and create a demand which cannot be met?

Mr. Sandys

No Government has ever accepted the view that the number of houses which it was desirable to build is altogether unlimited. The Labour Government fixed a firm ceiling of 200,000. We find that under private enterprise conditions it is possible to manage about 50 per cent. more than under Socialism.

Mr. Mitchison

Is it not a fact that the number of council houses is still falling steadily, and in view of the urgent need that these council houses represent, is the Minister not going to take any action about it?

Mr. E. Fletcher

Would the Minister say whether it is intended to hold up progress on slum clearance as a result of the Chancellor's appeal yesterday to local authorities to cut back their capital expenditure as much as they can?

Mr. Sandys

Not at all.

12. Mr. Blenkinsop

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what proposals he has received during the last 12 months from the Newcastle-upon-Tyne City Council for slum clearance under Parts II and III of the Housing Act, 1936.

Mr. Sandys

I have not yet received from the city council its complete proposals for slum clearance. It has, however, submitted a compulsory purchase order covering 226 dwellings in five clearance areas, and this is now being considered.

Mr. Blenkinsop

What is the right hon. Gentleman's date-line for submission of the major slum clearance proposals, and has it been affected by the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer yesterday?

Mr. Sandys

The answer to the first part of that supplementary question is, "31st August," and to the second part, "No."

19. Mr. P. Roberts

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether he will instruct those councils which do not submit their slum clearance proposals under the Housing Repairs and Rents Act, 1954, by 31st August, 1955, being the appointed date, that they must complete these returns by, at the latest, 31st September, 1955, in order to ensure that there is no delay in dealing with this problem.

Mr. Sandys

No, Sir. I hope this will not be necessary.

Mr. Roberts

May I ask my right hon. Friend two questions? First, will he bear in mind that some councils—I am referring particularly to the Sheffield Council —may not have their schemes ready by August, and as they have taken over a year to consider these, will he see that there is no delay in this matter? Secondly, is the Minister aware that the statement he has made today will give a great deal of satisfaction in the country, namely, that the slum clearance programme of Her Majesty's Government will not in any way be affected by the statement made by the Chancellor yesterday?

Mr. Sandys

I am as anxious as my hon. Friend to give this information about the slum clearance proposals of all local authorities, but I do not think it would hurry them up to fix a later date, thus making them feel that they need not submit their schemes by the end of August. I am proposing to send out a reminder to all local authorities who have not yet submitted their proposals.

26. Mr. Mitchison

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether he will publish as an appendix to the housing returns or otherwise as soon as possible after the 30th August, 1955, the estimated number of unfit houses stated by each housing authority in their proposals under Section 1 of the Housing Repairs and Rents Act, 1954.

Mr. Sandys

Yes, Sir.

27. Mr. Mitchison

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government how he intends to publicise, nationally and locally, the proposals of housing authorities under Section 1 of the Housing Repairs and Rents Act, 1954.

Mr. Sandys

A copy of the approved proposals will be deposited for inspection at the council's offices.

Mr. Mitchison

Will they be deposited soon after they have been received?

Mr. Sandys

As soon as they have been approved.