HC Deb 14 February 1956 vol 548 cc2201-74
Mr. Julius Silverman (Birmingham, Aston)

I beg to move, in page 1, line 8, at the end to insert: (not being such a new dwelling as is mentioned in subsection (4) of this section)", This Amendment should be considered in conjunction with that in page 2, line 20, at the end to insert a new subsection (4). It seeks to provide for the continuation of the existing subsidies for houses provided by local authorities for overcrowding under Section 57 of the principal Act, which is the Housing Act, 1936.

Section 57 lays a duty on local authorities to make inspections to ascertain what dwelling houses in their areas are overcrowded and to prepare and submit reports to the Ministry to show the results of the inspections and the number of houses required to abate overcrowding in their areas and, having provided the Minister with the proposal, to proceed with the provision of those houses. Section 59 goes on to provide penalties in cases of overcrowding taking place after the appointed day.

The position of large local authorities in London is very serious. Local authorities are not complying with their statutory duties for the very obvious reason that if they were to prosecute in every case they would simply be turning into the street families for whom no provision can at present be made. Therefore, even with the present law and with present subsidies, overcrowding is flagrant. It is certainly flagrant in my own area of Birmingham. For instance, the City of Birmingham has more than 60,000 applicants on its housing register, and of those 40,000 are in acute need. Many thousands of these cases come within the provisions of the 1936 Act and prosecutions could be instigated.

5.0 p.m.

To my knowledge, there are houses in which 17, 18 or 19 people are living under shocking conditions of overcrowding. That is happening not merely in Birmingham, but in the areas of many large local authorities and in London. If we take away the housing subsidies it is obvious that the situation will become worse. I suggest to the Minister that the problem of overcrowding should receive equal treatment with that problem presented by the slums. In 1936, it was considered to be a serious problem which demanded the attention of the local authorities. Today, the situation is no better; indeed, in some places it is even worse.

Many hon. Members could testify from personal knowledge to the human misery caused by conditions of overcrowding. Two or three or even more families living in the same house presents a danger to health as great, if not greater, than that presented by the continuance of slums. Both problems must be dealt with and we should not give preference to one at the expense of the other. This Amendment provides that the Minister shall give assistance to local authorities to carry out their statutory duty, already laid down under the 1936 Act, to deal with the problem of overcrowding in the same way as they have to deal with the question of slum clearance.

If the Minister is seriously concerned about the question of slums, I ask him to consider that a new problem is arising in these areas which are not at present slums and do not attract the subsidies for slum clearance. In some cases, they are municipal houses built at a comparatively recent date. If overcrowding continues at the present rate—and probably it will be accentuated if this Bill becomes law— these houses will be converted into slums and it is only a matter of time before they will be an addition to the slum problem.

I ask the Minister to reconsider the question of providing subsidies for houses which may be dealt with by the provisions of Part IV of the principal Act. We are asking only for subsidies for municipal local authorities to perform their statutory duty of relieving what is a real human need.

Mr. Lindgren

I beg to second the Amendment.

As has been stated by my hon. Friend the Member for Aston (Mr. J. Silverman), in places such as Birmingham there are conditions which demand that this concession should be made. The Government may consider that Section 57 of the principal Act is restrictive and not an easy one to operate. We have had considerable discussion in Committee, but we did not derive much from it, and it is in an attempt at a solution of the problem of overcrowding which faces local authorities that we make this effort on Report.

Everyone will agree about the problem which arises from slums. It has been emphasised time and again by the Minister during the various stages of the Bill. Slum life is depressing. It has a detrimental effect on health. To live in overcrowded conditions is almost, if not equally, as depressing. Those who have been associated with local government will know that the effect of overcrowding on health is almost as bad as that of slum conditions. If we are to have proper treatment of the problem which is confronting local authorities, we must try to relieve overcrowding. I therefore hope that the Minister will be a little more forthcoming over this Amendment than he has proved to be on previous Amendments.

Mr. Sparks

I wish to support the Amendment, although its effect is not as great as would appear. The problem of overcrowding is serious, but Part IV of the 1936 Act lays down a standard of overcrowding so low that if any family can be designated as being overcrowded in those terms they must be in conditions worse than in some slums.

I think that the Minister could reasonably accept this Amendment. It is hedged round with so many conditions and restrictions, and while it is good so far as it goes, it does not approach the question of the general housing needs of the population. Many people are in dire need of accommodation but are not technically overcrowded according to the terms of Part IV of the 1936 Act, though they are very near to slum conditions. Part III of the Act deals with slum clearance and Part IV relates to overcrowding. When we pin-point precisely what cases would be regarded as cases of overcrowding under this Section, we find, for instance, that in a small room 10 feet by 11 feet—not very much longer than the table which stands on the Floor of the House—it is possible for two persons to live without being technically overcrowded. One will realise that any cases worse than that require to be dealt with.

But, in effect, the right hon. Gentleman says that nothing is to be done about it. In such a room as I have described— measuring 10 feet by 11 feet—more than two persons can live without their being deemed to live in overcrowded conditions —because, under the Act, the two persons concerned must be adult persons over ten years of age. One could have three or even four persons in such a room—one adult and two children below the age of ten, or one adult, one child below the age of ten, and two children below the age of one year—without their being deemed to be technically overcrowded. Part IV of the 1936 Act is so constructed that, in order for overcrowding to exist, the conditions must really be appalling.

The right hon. Gentleman will find that under Part IV of the Act there may be cases which, although not meeting the requirements of the definition of a slum, are far worse than slum cases. The object of the Amendment is to extend the subsidy to dwellings erected for the purpose of rehousing families of this type. The Amendment also places upon local authorities the responsibility—upon the direction of the Minister—to undertake surveys of their areas and to establish within those areas precisely where overcrowding exists, and also to indicate what they propose to do to abate it. In effect, that requirement really asks them what housing scheme or schemes they are proposing to develop in order to rehouse persons living in overcrowded conditions.

We regard Part IV of the 1936 Housing Act as every bit as important as Part III. We do not think that the right hon. Gentleman is doing the right thing in allowing overcrowded families to continue to exist, and in not providing for local authorities to receive the benefits of subsidy to provide for their re-housing. The right hon. Gentleman will no doubt put forward the usual stock argument, that he is not preventing local authorities from developing housing schemes for this purpose. Although they will not receive the benefit of the higher subsidy they will receive a temporary subsidy until it is withdrawn—because under the Bill as now worded the re-housing of persons living in overcrowded conditions will come under the heading of general housing need. We say that it is quite wrong to suggest that the need for rehousing these families should be treated as part of the general housing need.

5.15 p.m.

There is a great deal of distinction between the two categories. In many cases the re-housing of overcrowded families is a far more desperate and urgent matter than re-housing for the general need. The right hon. Gentleman should be willing to admit the urgency of these cases, because they occur mainly in built-up areas. Earlier this afternoon we were discussing the problem of overspill and over-population. Overcrowding exists primarily in over-populated and congested areas, where local authorities have no room for expansion—no more land which they can buy in order to develop housing schemes. In such cases they have to rely either upon new towns taking some of these overcrowded families, or upon other local authorities being prepared to come to an agreement with them under the Town Development Act.

Although the new towns are doing great work in their way, they are not providing a permanent solution to the problem of overcrowding or over-population. There is much which they are unable to do. The Town Development Act is certainly not working, and it is not likely to work when the Bill becomes an Act. Faced with overcrowding problems, local authorities will be able to do very little, if anything, within their boundaries, and must therefore look outside to develop housing schemes in order to relieve their burdens.

The Minister must know that some shocking overcrowding still exists in our great towns and cities. It is true that over 2 million new dwellings have been erected since 1945, but that has scarcely made up for the back-log of the war years, and in the towns and cities there is an ever-growing problem of overcrowding because more and more people are pressing into less accommodation. My constituency provides an example.

Earlier on the right hon. Gentleman said that if there was an industry in a certain area he would look very favourably upon the exportation of surplus population to man that industry. In my constituency and in many others in Greater London the position is the exact reverse; we have too many industries in the area and, because we are heavily industrialised, the housing problem is much more acute. There is a permanent shortage of labour in my constituency because there are so many factories there. Consequently, although people coming from all parts of the country to get work in the area are able to do so, they cannot find anywhere to live. They look all round the area and sometimes have to go into furnished accommodation.

We realise that under Part IV of the 1936 Act it is possible for two adult persons to have to sleep in one room 10 feet by 11 feet and not be legally overcrowded; in other words, we should have to have three adults sleeping in a room of that size before it would be overcrowded. Where, as in this case, we could have one adult, a child under ten and two children under one year of age, making four altogether, and the family still not be regarded as overcrowded, we realise that when there is a case of overcrowding it is far worse than the two illustrations which I have given.

That in itself ought to be a sufficient reason for the Government being prepared to do something to alleviate a social problem which is just as acute and just as bad a social evil as the conditions in slum clearance areas. In fact, it is very difficult to isolate the one from the other. Overcrowding and slum clearance are part and parcel of the same problem, and, for this reason, we are asking the right hon. Gentleman to extend the benefit of the subsidy to those buildings erected by local authorities—and of course approved by him—which have for their purpose the abatement of overcrowding in the area and the provision of better housing accommodation for people who are living in these deplorable conditions which I have done my best to describe.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government (Mr. J. Enoch Powell)

I would not disagree with the descriptions of the problem of overcrowding which have been given by those hon. Members who have spoken in the debate. They are familiar to all of us in our ordinary constituency work, and no one would disagree about their seriousness and the human misery involved.

I noticed that everyone who has spoken put the overcrowding and the slum clearance problem on an even footing. The hon. Member for Aston (Mr. J. Silverman) asked for an equal attack to be made upon the two, and the hon. Member for Acton (Mr. Sparks) said that in some cases people who are overcrowded are living in worse conditions than those who are living in the slums. Again, the hon. Member said that he regards Part IV of the principal Act as being no less important than Part III. But these two problems have not had equal attention in recent years. Recently, overcrowding has been substantially attended to and dealt with by the housing operations of the local authorities, while the slum problem has been virtually neglected even in the very recent past.

In practically any scheme whereby the local housing authorities allot their houses, overcrowding is a major factor. It certainly would be difficult for a house to be allotted by a local housing authority to a family which was not in some sense, though not, I agree, necessarily statutorily, overcrowded. At any rate overcrowding is the biggest single factor which by and large determines the allocation of local authority accommodation. That fact is reflected in the improvement in overcrowded conditions which came about in the years immediately before the war since the passage of the 1935 Act, which was only consolidated in 1936, and also since the war.

During the Committee stage on 31st January, I quoted—and I will not weary the House again with the details—the figures of the pre-war survey, the 1951 census and the housebuilding since the 1951 census, which strongly conveyed the fact—and it is one which one would have expected—that overcrowding in the last 20 years has yielded substantially to the attack which has been made upon it, and that it was still on the decline in these years.

Mr. J. Silverman

While there may be something in what the hon. Gentleman says, there are some areas—and 1 would mention my own area of Birmingham—in which there has been no improvement and in which overcrowding is probably as bad as, if not worse than, it was before, largely due to the influx of population or to other local circumstances and conditions.

Mr. Powell

We are of course legislating for the country at large, and I quite agree that there are areas in which the general housing problem is infinitely severer than in others. There may be areas where, due to exceptional circumstances—and they are exceptional—overcrowding as a single factor has become worse rather than better in recent years, but generally we are entitled to conclude that, as the result of housing operations continued over the last 20 years, overcrowding is yielding to our attack and that it will still be dealt with by the building of houses by local authorities for general need.

I hope the House will not be misled by the expression "general need," as though it implied something less than acute need. Of course, a local authority will continue to allot the houses they build by order of priority, and in the determination of that order of priority inevitably they will give weight to overcrowding, so that the attack on overcrowding will still continue.

When we turn to slum clearance, we have a great contrast. Unless the occupation of an unfit house is combined with overcrowding or other qualifying conditions, it is not usual for that occupation in itself to put the family concerned anywhere near the top of the housing waiting list. It may be an additional factor where there is overcrowding, separation of the family, sexes sleeping together and so on, but it has had so far, and probably rightly, relatively little weight in the allocation of houses built by the local authorities. The result of that has been that we have made slow progress in the last few years with slum clearance. Even in 1955 only about 10 per cent, of the houses which were built by local authorities went to the rehousing of families from demolished slum houses.

Mr. Sparks

The hon. Gentleman referred just now to slum houses demolished since 1945. I am sure he will appreciate that the number of families who have been rehoused is very much larger than that of the houses which have been demolished.

Mr. Powell

Yes, of course, but the problem of the slum is that it continues to be lived in until either a closing order is made, it is demolished or a compulsory purchase order is made in respect of it. Therefore, it is fair to count in terms of houses demolished in recording the impression which has been made on the problem.

It is the fact that in the last twelve months only one-tenth of the housebuilding of local housing authorities has been devoted to this problem. But if we are serious about slum clearance, we have to do something to bring the attack upon slums up to parity with the attack on overcrowding. It is still lagging behind, and it is the intention of this Bill—which will enable local authorities to continue to build, in their discretion and according to their circumstances, for general housing needs; among which that of overcrowding will undoubtedly have first place—to direct them, by the placing of the subsidy, to concentrate their attention far more than hitherto upon the rehousing of families from houses which can then be demolished and lived in no more.

5.30 p.m.

The hon. Member for Aston referred to the history of the pre-war years and to the 1935 Act which introduced subsidies specifically for the abatement of overcrowding. That history is instructive in another way. That Act came five years after the first Act, which was directed specifically to the problem of slum clearance. Only when there had been five years' progress in the attack upon the slums did we come to the next stage of switching the attack to overcrowding. Only then—and the hon. Member touched upon this point also—was it possible to take the inevitable concomitant action of prosecuting overcrowding wherever it occurred.

Hon. Members opposite in drafting their Amendment have recognised that the two things go together; that a premium cannot be put upon the rehousing of persons taken from overcrowded conditions unless and until we are prepared to prevent overcrowded conditions, and to prosecute overcrowding wherever it occurs. The hon. Member for Aston recognises that the time has not yet come when it is practicable for local authorities, which are the prosecuting authorities under Section 66 of the principal Act, to do this. That I take to be an indication that we are proceeding in the right order of events by attacking first the slums—through this Bill—continuing to deal with overcrowding as part of the building for general need, and reserving a specific attack, if need be, for a later stage——

Mr. J. Silverman

I am sorry to interrupt, but on this point I do not quite understand the hon. Gentleman's logic. How will this Bill, which takes housing subsidies from the provision of houses for overcrowding, help local authorities to provide houses in order to be able to prosecute, and to carry out their statutory duties?

Mr. Powell

I did not say that it will help local authorities to provide more houses, but it will have the result that, by and large, local authorities will devote more of the houses they build to the rehousing of persons displaced by slum clearance. That must happen if we are to get slum clearance even on to a level footing with the abatement of overcrowding. At present it is lagging far behind.

I should like to mention another practical point, and one which, I imagine, was one of the factors determining the order of events in the inter-war years. The same local authority staff—the same personnel—would be called upon to do the administrative work in connection with the slum clearance as would be called upon to carry out the very necessary survey mentioned in the Amendment. We should risk delaying, we should risk stultifying the slum clearance campaign, were we to heap further obligations upon necessarily the same people who would be involved in carrying out a survey and then enforcing standards of overcrowding.

If, as I believe, the House is serious in believing that slum clearance should have a higher priority now than it has had since the war, and if it is serious about wanting to see a slum clearance campaign initiated now, I would ask the House to reject the Amendment, which would inevitably have the effect of delaying and stultifying that campaign.

Mr. Lindgren

With permission, I would say that we on this side are very disappointed at the line which the Parliamentary Secretary has adopted. He is very diligent in preparing his replies to Amendments—and we compliment him on it—but to us he seems to be far more concerned with percentages than with the facts of local government administration.

It is perfectly true that since the war housing development has relieved overcrowding, but that has not been statutory overcrowding. The housing need that has been met has related very largely to those families which during the war and afterwards were living with in-laws or in rooms. It was nowhere near the statutory overcrowding that my hon. Friend the Member for Acton (Mr. Sparks) described as being defined in the Fifth Schedule of the principal Act. The fact is that in prewar years families had not effective purchasing power for accommodation, and where they had small incomes—and often no income because of unemployment— the tendency was for people to crowd into what houses there were. There might be five or six families in one house while in the same street three or four houses stood empty. There was overcrowding because of lack of purchasing power for accommodation. One big improvement has been that since the war people have had effective purchasing power and so have demanded not only better standards of furnishing, foodstuffs and the rest, but higher standards of housing.

That demand has been met on a basis of need. Let me assure the Parliamentary Secretary that in his visits to local authorities throughout the country— which I know he is undertaking, and 1 wish him well in them, because they will be an education for him—he will find that the worst standards of overcrowding still exist where the general standard of income tends to be lower. It is because of that that we seek acceptance of this Amendment. We are really not over-impressed by this problem of staff, because we can assure the hon. Gentleman that the whole basis of slum clearance work has already been completed by local government sanitary authorities. Schemes are all ready. In fact, much of the work would already have been done but for delay in his own Department in connection with clearance orders and inquiries necessary because certain landlords required that certain properties should be excluded. The result has been considerable delay. We feel that we have made out our case and that the Parliamentary Secretary has ignored it. We shall therefore have to press the matter to a Division.

Mr. Sparks

Perhaps I might have the leave of the House to put this additional point. The real burden of the Parliamentary Secretary's case was that the Government wanted to get on with slum clearance and, therefore, wanted to leave overcrowding to take care of itself to some extent. There are, however, a large number of authorities which, technically, have no slums and, therefore, cannot do what the hon. Gentleman is asking them to do. At the same time they have an overcrowding problem, and I should like to ask the hon. Gentleman whether he would regard favourably joint action by local authorities which have overcrowding problems but no slum clearance problems to develop rehousing schemes outside their boundaries on the basis of overpopulation and over-congestion about which he spoke favourably just now. It might be possible for a number of local authorities with overcrowding problems to pool their resources, acquire land outside their boundaries and develop a housing scheme. That might well be development of a comprehensive character, not the same as new town development but similar to development under the Town Development Act.

These local authorities working together might jointly be able to undertake such work with the assistance of the subsidy, but alone and isolated each local authority would be powerless to do much. The problem of overcrowding will grow worse as time passes because of the intense industrialisation in those areas which constantly attract people.

If the right hon. Gentleman would look at the situation from that point of view, it would be most helpful because, as I have said, in many of these areas where overcrowding is a serious problem there is technically no slum clearance problem.

Question put, That these words be there inserted in the Bill:—

The House divided: Ayes 224, Noes 272.

Division No. 104.] AYES [4.45 p.m.
Ainsley, J. W. Healey, Denis Parkin, B. T.
Albu, A. H. Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis) Paton, J.
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Herbison, Miss M. Pearson, A.
Allen, Arthur (Bosworh) Hobson, C. R. Peart, T. F.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Holman, P. Popplewell, E.
Anderson, Frank Holmes, Horace Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Awbery, S. S. Houghton, Douglas Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)
Baird, J. Howell, Charles (Perry Barr) Probert, A. R.
Balfour, A. Howell, Denis (All Saints) Proctor, W. T.
Bartley, P. Hoy, J. H. Pryde, D. J.
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Hubbard, T. F. Randall, H. E.
Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.) Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Rankin, John
Benn, Hn. Wedgwood (Bristol, S.E.) Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Reeves, J.
Benson. G. Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Reid, William
Beswick, F. Hunter, A. E. Rhodes, H.
Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale) Hynd, H. (Accrington) Robens, Rt. Hon. A.
Blackburn, F. Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Blyton, W. R. Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A. Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Boardman, H. Janner, B. Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T. Ross, William
Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.) Jeger, Mrs. Lena(Holbn & St.Pncs.S.) Royle, C.
Bowles, F. G. Johnson, James (Rugby) Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
Boyd, T. C. Johnston, Douglas (Paisley) Short, E. W.
Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Jones, David (The Hartlepools) Shurmer, P. L. E.
Brockway, A. F. Jones, Elwyn (W, Ham, S.) Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Jones, J, Idwal (Wrexham) Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)
Burke, W. A. Jones, T. w. (Merioneth) Skeffington, A. M.
Burton, Miss F. E. Kenyon, C. Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Slater, J. (Sedgefield)
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) King, Dr. H. M. Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Carmichael, J. Lawson, G. M. Snow, J. W.
Castle, Mrs. B. A. Ledger, R. J. Sorensen, R. W.
Champion, A. J. Lee, Frederick (Newton) Sparks, J. A.
Chapman, W. D. Lever, Leslie (Ardwick) Steele, T.
Clunie, J. Lewis, Arthur Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Coldrick, W. Lindgren, G. S. Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R. (Ipswich)
Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead) Lipton, Lt.-Col. M. Stones, W. (Consett)
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Logan, D. G. Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.
Cove, W. G. Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) MacColl, J. E. Stross,Dr.Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent,C.)
Cronin, J. D. McGhee, H. G. Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.
Crossman, R. H. S. McGovern, J. Swingler, S. T.
Cullen, Mrs. A. McInnes, J. Sylvester, G. O.
Daines, P. McKay, John (Wallsend) Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Darling, George (Hillsborough) McLeavy, Frank Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.) MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles) Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)
Davies, Stephen (Merthyr) MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Thornton, E.
Deer, G. Mahon, s. Timmons, J.
Dodds, N. N. Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Turner-Samuels, M.
Dye, S. Mallalieu, J. P. W.(Huddersfd, E.) Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Mann, Mrs. Jean Viant, S. P.
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A. Warbey, W. N.
Evans, Edward (Lowestoft) Mason, Roy Weitzman, D.
Fernyhough, E. Mayhew, C. P. Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Fienburgh, W. Messer, Sir F. Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Finch, H. J. Mitchison, G. R. West, D. G.
Fletcher, Eric Monslow, W. Wheeldon, W. E.
Forman, J. C. Moody, A. S. White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.) White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N. Morrison, Rt. Hn. Herbert (Lewis'm,S.) Wigg, George
Gibson, C. W. Moss, R. Willey, Frederick
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Moyle, A. Williams, David (Neath)
Greenwood, Anthony Mulley, F. W. Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R. Neal, Harold (Bolsover) Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Grey, C. F. Oliver, G. H. Williams, W. T. (Barons Court)
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Oram, A. E. Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Orbach, M. Winterbottom, Richard
Griffiths, William (Exchange) Oswald, T. Woof, R. E.
Hale, Leslie Owen, W. J. Yates, V. (Ladywood)
Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Padley, W. E. Younger, Rt. Hon. K.
Hamilton, W. W. Paling, Rt. Hon. w. (Dearne Valley) Zilliacus, K.
Hannan, W. Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)
Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.) Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Hastings, S. Pargiter, G. A. Mr. G. H. R. Rogers and
Hayman, F. H. Parker, J. Mr. John Taylor.
Agnew, cmdr. P. G. Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D. Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry
Aitken, W. T. Gammans, Sir David McKibbin, A. J.
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.) Garner-Evans, E. H. Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)
Alport, C. J. M. George, J. C. (Pollok) McLaughlin, Mrs. P.
Amery, Julian (Preston, N.) Glover, D. Maclean, Fitzroy (Lancaster)
Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton) Godber, J. S. McLean, Neil (Inverness)
Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J. Gomme-Duncan, Col. Sir Alan MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)
Arbuthnot, John Gower, H. R. Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)
Armstrong, C. W. Graham, Sir Fergus Maddan, Martin
Ashton, H. Grant, W. (Woodside) Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W. (Hornoastle)
Astor, Hon. J. J. Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich) Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.
Atkins, H. E. Green, A. Markham, Major Sir Frank
Baldook Lt.-Cmdr. J. M. Gresham Cooke, R. Marples, A. E.
Baldwin, A. E. Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury) Marshall, Douglas
Balniel, Lord Gurden, Harold Mathew, R.
Barber, Anthony Hall, John (Wycombe) Maudling, Rt. Hon. R.
Barlow, Sir John Hare, Rt. Hon. J. H. Mawby, R. L.
Barter, John Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.
Baxter, Sir Beverley Harris, Reader (Heston) Medlioott, Sir Frank
Beamish, Maj. Tufton Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon) Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R.
Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) Molson, A. H. E.
Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.) Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfd) Monckton, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter
Bennett, F. M. (Torquay) Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.) Moore, Sir Thomas
Bevlns, J. R. (Toxteth) Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.) Morrison, John (Salisbury)
Bidgood, J- C. Hay, John Nabarro, G. D. N.
Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Head, Rt. Hon. A. H. Nairn, D. L. S.
Bishop, F. P. Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Neave, Airey
Black, C. W. Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G. Nicholls, Harmar
Body, R. F. Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W. Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)
Boothby, Sir Robert Hill Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton) Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch)
Bossom, Sir A. C. Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe) Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A. Hill, John (S. Norfolk) Nugent, G. R. H.
Boyle, Sir Edward Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Nutting, Rt. Hon. Anthony
Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.) Holland-Martin, C. J. Oakshott, H. D.
Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P. O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)
Brooman-White, R. C. Horobin, Sir Ian Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.
Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton) Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence Orr, Capt. L. P. S.
Bryan, P. Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire) Page, R. G.
Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T. Howard, John (Test) Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)
Bullus, Wing-Commander E. E. Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.) Partridge, E.
Burden, F. F. A. Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.) Peyton, J. W. W.
Butcher, Sir Herbert Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J. Pickthorn, K. W. M.
Butler, Rt. Hn.R.A.(Saffron Walden) Hughes-Young, M. H. C. Pilkington, Capt. R. A.
Campbell, Sir David Hulbert, Sir Norman Pitman, I. J.
Carr, Robert Hurd, A. R. Pitt, Miss E. M.
Cary, Sir Robert Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'gh, W.) Pott, H. P.
Channon, H. Hutchison, Sir James Powell, J. Enoch
Chichester-Clark, R. Hyde, Montgomery Price, David (Eastleigh)
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Iremonger, T. L. Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.
Conant, Maj. Sir Roger Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Profumo, J. D.
Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert Jennings, J. C. (Burton) Raikes, Sir Victor
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Ramsden, J. E.
Corfield, Capt. F. V. Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Rawlinson, Peter
Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Johnson, Howard (Kemptown) Redmayne, M.
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Jones, Rt. Hn. Aubrey (Hall Green) Rees-Davies, W. R.
Crouch, R. F. Joseph, Capt. Sir Keith Sinjohn Remnant, Hon. P.
Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood) Joynson-Hicks, Hon. Sir Lancelot Remnant, Hon. P.
Currie, G. B. H. Keegan, D. Ridsdale, J. E.
Dance, J. C. G. Kerby, Capt. H. B. Rippon, A. G. F.
Davidson, Viscountess Kerr, H. W. Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)
D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Kershaw, J. A. Robertson, Sir David
Deedes, W. F. Lagden, G. w. Robson-Brown, W.
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA. Lambert, Hon. G. Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)
Doughty, C. J. A. Lambton, Viscount Roper, Sir Harold
Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond) Lancaster, Col. C. G. Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. Langford-Holt, J. A. Russell, R. S.
Duthie, W. S. Leather, E. H. C. Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.
Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David Leavey, J. A. Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.
Eden,Rt.Hn.SirA.(Warwick&L'm'tn) Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.
Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West) Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield) Sharpies, R. C.
Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.) Soames, Capt. C.
Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Lindsay, Martin (Sulihull) Spearman, A. C. M.
Errington, Sir Eric Linstead, Sir H. N. Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard
Erroll, F. J. Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.) Stevens, Geoffrey
Farey-Jones, F. W. Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral) Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Fell, A. Lloyd-George, Maj. Rt. Hon. G. Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)
Finlay, Graeme Longden, Gilbert Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Fisher, Nigel Low, Rt. Hon. A. R. W. Storey, S.
Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F. Lucas, P. B. (Brentford & Chiswick) Summers, G. S. (Aylesbury)
Fletoher-Cooke, C. Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington)
Fort, R. McAdden, S. J. Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
Freeth, D. K. Macdonald, Sir Peter Teeling, W.
Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury) Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H. Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)
Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway) Tweedsmuir, Lady Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)
Thompson, Kenneth (Walton) Vane, W. M. F. Whitelaw, W. S. I.(Penrith&Border)
Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R, (Croydon, S.) Vickers, Miss J. H. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Thornton-Kemsley, C. N. Vosper, D. F. Woollam, John Victor
Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.) Wade, D. W. Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Tilney John (Wavetree) Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Touohe, Sir Gordon Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Turner, H. F. L. Walker-Smith, D. C. Mr. Studholme and Mr. Wills.
Division No. 105.] AYES [5.41 p.m.
Ainsley, J. W. Healey, Denis Parker, J.
Albu, A. H. Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis) Parkin, B. T.
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Herbison, Miss M. Paton, J.
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Hobson, C. R. Pearson, A.
Allen, Soholefield (Crewe) Holman, P. Peart, T. F.
Anderson, Frank Holmes, Horace Popplewell, E.
Awbery, S. S. Houghton, Douglas Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Balfour, A. Howell, Charles (Perry Barr) Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)
Bartley, P. Howell, Denis (All Saints) Probert, A. R.
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Hoy, J. H. Proctor, W. T.
Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.) Hubbard, T. F. Pryde, D. J.
Benn, Hn. Wedgwood (Bristol, S.E.) Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Randall, H. E.
Benson, G. Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Rankin, John
Beswick, F. Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Reeves, J.
Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale) Hunter, A. E. Reid, William
Blackburn, F. Hynd, H. (Accrington) Rhodes, H.
Blyton, W. R. Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe) Robens, Rt. Hon. A.
Boardman, H. Isaacs, Rt, Hon. G. A. Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Bottomley, Rt. Hon, A. G. Janner, B. Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.) Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T. Robinson, Kenneth (St. Panoras, N.)
Bowles, F. G. Jeger, Mrs.Lena (Holbn & St. Pncs. S.) Ross, William
Boyd, T. C. Johnson, James (Rugby) Royle, C.
Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Johnston, Douglas (Paisley) Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
Brookway, A. F. Jones, Rt. Hon. A. Creech (Wakefield) Short, E. W.
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Jones, David (The Hartlepools) Shurmer, P. L. E.
Brown, Thomas (Inca) Jones, Elwyn (W. Ham, S.) Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Burke, W. A. Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Burton, Miss F. E. Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Skeffington, A. M.
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Kenyon, C. Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)
Carmichael, J. Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Slater, J. (Sedgefield)
Castle, Mrs. B. A. King, Dr. H. M. Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Champion, A. J. Lawson, G. M. Sorensen, R. W.
Chapman, W. D. Ledger, R. J. Sparks, J. A.
Clunie, J. Lee, Frederick (Newton) Steele, T.
Coldrick, W. Lever, Leslie (Ardwick) Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead) Lewis, Arthur Stones, W. (Consett)
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Lindgren, G. S. Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.
Cove, W. G. Lipton, Lt.-Col. M. Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Logan, D. G. Stross, Dr. Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent, C.)
Cronin, J. D. Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.
Crossman, R. H. S. MacColl, J. E. Swingler, S. T.
Cullen, Mrs. A. McGhee, H. G. Sylvester, G. O.
Daines, P. McGovern, J. Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Darling, George (Hillsborough) McInnes, J.
Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.) McKay, John (Wallsend) Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Davies, Stephen (Merthyr) McLeavy, Frank Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)
Deer, G. MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles) Thornton, E.
Dodds, N. N. MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Timmons, J.
Dye, S. Mahon, S. Turner-Samuels, M.
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Mallalleu, E. L. (Brigg) Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfd, E.) Usborne, H. C.
Evans, Edward (Lowestoft) Mann, Mrs. Jean Viant, S. P.
Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury) Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A. Warbey, W. N.
Fernyhough, E. Mason, Roy Weitzman, D.
Fienburgh, W. Mayhew, C. P. Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Finch, H. J. Messer, Sir F. Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Fletcher, Eric Mitchison, G. R. West, D. G.
Forman, J. C. Monslow, W. Wheeldon, W. E.
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Moody, A. S. White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N. Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.) White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Gibson, C. W. Morrison, Rt.Hn.Herbert(Lewis'm,S.) Willey, Frederick
Cordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Moss, R. Williams, David (Neath)
Greenwood, Anthony Moyle, A. Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R. Mulley, F. W. Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Grey, C. F. Neal, Harold (Bolsover) Williams, W. T. (Barons Court)
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Oliver, G. H. Williams, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Lianelly) Oram, A. E. Winterbottom, Richard
Griffiths, William (Exchange) Orbach, M. Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Hale, Leslie Oswald, T. Woof, R. E.
Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Owen, W. J. Yates, V. (Ladywood)
Hamilton, W. W. Padley, W. E. Younger, Rt. Hon. K.
Hannan, W. Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley) Zilliacus, K.
Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.) Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)
Hastings, S. Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Hayman, F. H. Pargiter, G. A. Mr. G. H. R. Rogers and
Mr. John Taylor.
Agnew, Cmdr. P. C. George, J. C. (Pollok) McLaughlin, Mrs. P.
Aitken, W. T. Clover, D. Maclean, Fitzroy (Lancaster)
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.) Godber, J. B. McLean, Neil (Inverness)
Alport, C. J. M. Gomme-Duncan, Col. Sir Alan MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)
Amery, Julian (Preston, N.) Gower, H. R. Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)
Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathooat (Tiverton) Graham, Sir Fergus Maddan, Martin
Anstruther-Cray, Major W. J. Grant, W. (Woodside) Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W.(Hornoastle)
Arbuthnot, John Grant-Ferris, Wg. Cdr. R. (Nantwlch) Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark)
Armstrong, C. W. Green, A. Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.
Ashton, H. Gresham Cooke, R. Markham, Major Sir Frank
Astor, Hon. J. J. Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury) Marlowe, A. A. H.
Atkins, H. E. Gurden, Harold Marples, A. E.
Baldook, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M. Hall, John (Wycombe) Marshall, Douglas
Baldwin, A. E. Hare, Rt. Hon. J. H. Mathew, R.
Balniel, Lord Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Maudling, Rt. Hon. R.
Barber, Anthony Harris, Reader (Heston) Mawby, R. L.
Barlow, Sir John Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon) Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.
Barter, John Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) Medlicott, Sir Frank
Baxter, Sir Beverley Harvey, Air Cdre, A. V. (Maccletfd) Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R.
Beamish, MaJ. Tufton Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.) Molson, A. H. E.
Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.) Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.) Monckton, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter
Bennett, F. M. (Torquay) Harvie-Watt, Sir George Moore, Sir Thomas
Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth) Hay, John Morrison, John (Salisbury)
Bidgood, J. C. Head, Rt. Hon. A. H. Nabarro, G. D. N.
Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Nairn, D. L. S.
Bishop, F. P. Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G. Neave, Airey
Black, C. W. Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W. Nicholls, Harmar
Body, R. F. Hill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton) Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)
Boothby, Sir Robert Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe) Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch)
Bossom, Sir A. C. Hill, John (S. Norfolk) Nield, Basil (Chester)
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A. Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.
Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.) Holland-Martin, C. J. Nugent, G. R. H.
Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P. Nutting, Rt. Hon. Anthony
Brooman-White, R. C. Horobin, Sir Ian Oakshott, H. D.
Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton) Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Fiorence O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)
Bryan, P. Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire) Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.
Bullus, Wing Commander E. E. Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives) Orr, Capt. L. P. S.
Burden, F. F. A. Howard, John (Test) Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)
Butcher, Sir Herbert Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.) Page, R. G.
Butler, Rt. Hn. R, A.(SaffronWalden) Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.) Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)
Campbell, Sir David Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J. Partridge, E.
Carr, Robert Hughes-Young, M. H. C. Peyton, J. W. W.
Cary, Sir Robert Hulbert, Sir Norman Pickthorn, K. W. M.
Channon, H. Hurd, A. R. Pilkington, Capt. R. A.
Chichester-Clark, R. Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'gh, W.) Pitman, I. J.
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Hutohison, Sir James Pitt, Miss E. M.
Conant, MaJ. Sir Roger Hyde, Montgomery Pott, H. P.
Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert Iremonger, T. L. Powell, J. Enoch
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Price, David (Eastleigh)
Corfield, Capt. F. V. Jennings, J. C. (Burton) Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.
Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Profumo, J. D.
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Raikes, Sir Victor
Crouch, R. F. Johnson, Howard (Kemptown) Ramsden, J. E.
Crowder, Petre (Ruisllp-Northwood) Jones, Rt. Hon. Aubrey (Hall Green) Rawlinson, Peter
Currie, G. B. H. Joseph, Capt. Sir Keith Sinjohn Redmayne, M.
Dance, J. C. G. Joynson-Hicks, Sir Leonard
Davidson, Viscountess Keegan, D. Rees-Davies, W. R.
Davies.Rt.Hon.Clement (Montgomery) Kerby, Capt. H. B. Remnant, Hon. P.
D'Avigdor-Coldsmld, Sir Henry Kerr, H. W. Renton, D. L. M.
Deedes, W. F. Kershaw, J. A. Ridsdale, J. E.
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA. Lagden, G. W. Rippon, A. G. F.
Doughty, C. J. A. Lambert, Hon. G. Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)
Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond) Lambton, Viscount. Robertson, Sir David
Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. Lancaster, Col. C. G. Robson-Brown, W.
Duthie, W. S. Langford-Holt, J. A. Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)
Eccies, Rt. Hon. Sir David Leather, E. H. C. Roper, Sir Harold
Eden,Rt.Hn.SirA.(Warwick&L'm'tn) Leavey, J. A. Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West) Legge-Bourke, MaJ. E. A. H. Russell, R. S.
Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersflald) Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.
Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.) Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.
Errington, Sir Eric Lindsay, Martin (Solihull) Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.
Enroll, F. J. Linstead, Sir H. N. Sharples, R. C.
Farey-Jones, F. W. Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.) Spearman, A. C. M.
Fell, A. Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral) Spence, H. R. (Aberdeen, W.)
Finlay, Graeme Longden, Gilbert Spans, Rt. Hn. Sir P. (Kens'gt'n, S.)
Fisher, Nigel Low, Rt. Hon. A. R. W. Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard
Fletcher-Cooke, C. Lucas, P. B. (Brentford & Chiswick) Stevens, Geoffrey
Fort, R. Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Freeth, D. K. Macdonald, Sir Peter Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)
Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D. Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Gammans, Sir David MeKibbin, A. J. Storey, S.
Garner-Evans, E. H. Mackie, J. H. (Galloway) Summers, G. S. (Aylesbury)
Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington) Touche, Sir Gordon Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)
Taylor, William (Bradford, N.) Turner, H. F. L. Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)
Teeling, W. Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H. Webbe, Sir H.
Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury) Tweedsmuir, Lady Whitelaw, W.S.I.(Penrith & Border)
Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway) Vane, W. M. F. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Thompson, Kenneth (Walton) Vickers, Miss J. H. Woollam, John Victor
Thompson, Lt.-Cdr.R.(Croydon, S.) Vosper, D. F. Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Thornton-Kemsley, C. N. Wade, D. W.
Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.) Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Tilney, John (Wavertree) Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone) Mr. Studholme and Mr. Wills.
Mr. James MacColl (Widnes)

I beg to move, in page 1, line 8, at the end to insert: (not being such a new dwelling as is mentioned in subsection (6) of this section)". I spoke at some considerable length on this subject in Committee, and I do not want to go over all the same kinds of argument that were deployed very amply then. However, this is, I think, a very important Amendment, which goes to the root of the difference between the two parties in their attitude towards housing policy; it exposes what is a fundamental difference of approach.

It is quite clear from the attitude adopted by the Minister in Committee when discussing this question that his primary interest is the demolition of unfit property. Put in that way, of course, it sounds very plausible and a very attractive programme. The snag about it is that it turns on the meaning attached to the words "unfit property."

One of the points at issue between us is that it is fairly generally recognised, not only on this side of the House, but also among those engaged in solving housing problems, who have experience of the difficulties of dealing with bad housing, that the definition of "unfit property," in the narrowest sense of the term, as in the 1936 Housing Act, is not adequate to meet modern ideas of what is required to meet the major housing needs, particularly of large and old industrial towns.

The emphasis the right hon. Gentleman has placed all through has been on demolition. He would be perfectly happy if he succeeded in getting through a demolition programme of one million unfit houses demolished in so many years. He would feel then, I think, that he had made all the contribution he was called upon to make towards housing, and he would be quite happy to shut down municipal housing activity and regard the job as achieved. We on this side of the House prefer to look, not so much and not only at the question of what is to be demolished, but also at the question of what is to be put in its place. That is the fundamental difference of approach. We are constructive in our approach to the problem; we look at it in terms of builders, not destroyers; we regard the destruction of unfit property as ancillary to the rebuilding of our towns, particularly the rebuilding and redevelopment of the core of our towns. That is the main difference between us on this part of the Bill, and I should like to confine myself to dealing with those two points.

Again and again in the course of our discussions, the argument put forward by the hon. Gentleman and his right hon. Friend has been, on the face of it, a very plausible one. He says, "We have got to start somewhere. The thing to do is to start with the worst property. The worst property is, by definition, the property to be found in a clearance area, and therefore we want to give a financial incentive to a housing authority to demolish property in clearance areas rather than in the wider areas of overcrowded, badly planned property."

The weakness in that approach, and what makes that approach extraordinarily academic and theoretical to the whole problem, is that the old-fashioned definition of "unfit property," which is based entirely on medical considerations, is not adequate for modern ideas of what is really wrong with housing. The problems of housing today are not primarily problems of injury to health. The problems of housing today are social problems, the problems of human family relationships, overcrowding, and of people having to live in mean streets where they have not got adequate open spaces, the problem of not having reasonable access to decent shops and decent industries—the problems of community living which are really inherent in bad housing.

The insistence of the Government on this approach is, as I say, academic and theoretical. It is the kind of insistence to be expected from people who do not know very much what the whole thing is about. The Government approach is to say, "We want to have a spectacular housing policy. How shall we have one? What will go down with the electorate? 'Slum clearance' is a very convenient slogan, therefore we will go all out for slum clearance, "and they barge into it without really understanding what they are doing, and without understanding the essential character of the problem. The Bill has revealed that that is the general approach of the Government to these problems.

As we said in Committee, practical experience has already shown over many, many years, an increased appreciation of the fact that mere insistence on the demolition of unhealthy property is by itself not an adequate contribution to the housing problem. That was realised twenty years ago when the original 1935 proposals for redevelopment areas were introduced, which, although they included a measure of clearance, also recognised that to solve the other side of the problem, the constructive side, the building side, the net must be cast a good deal wider than merely destroying. That was realised, as the right hon. Gentleman himself said, in a rather crude way perhaps, in the 1935 Housing Act. It was the beginning of an attempt to apply reconstruction to housing.

6.0 p.m.

In the Town and Country Development Acts of 1944 and 1947 there was a new emphasis on comprehensive development. That is no more than the working out of the appreciation which came to people trying to tackle the job as long ago as twenty years. In this policy of cutting out all assistance to the rehousing side of development the Government are putting the clock back twenty years and showing themselves to be out-of-date and old-fashioned on this question.

The first weakness is that the Government are insisting on the very narrow and —if not out-of-date—inadequate definition of what is an unfit house. They are not looking sufficiently at the wider planning and social implications of bad housing. That is the first criticism I make, and it is very odd in some ways that the right hon. Gentleman in this Bill should have taken that line.

The second criticism is on the question of redevelopment and rebuilding. Earlier, when speaking on an Amendment—he has done it in Committee stage before— he said a lot about the importance in tackling the problem of overspill of not merely taking people in large quantities and throwing them on to housing estates. He spoke of the need for comprehensive development of expanded towns, new towns and so on. The right hon. Gentleman has put his emphasis there. In his use of the subsidy he has put emphasis on comprehensive development, on developing not only housing estates and places for people to live, but also industries, shops and other services which a community requires. If it is right to do that when dealing with the question of putting people in a new area outside a town, it is equally right to do it when dealing with people in an existing town, where bad property is being demolished and the old town is being redeveloped.

I should have thought this was not a point of party bickering, but something on which in these days people generally agreed. I apologise in advance to the devotees of the garden city who may not share my views. Most people will agree that if there is a choice between leaving a dead core in a town and overspilling people to another area and putting new life into the town by rebuilding a decent modern centre and using the old community loyalties—the church, parish organisations and the existing sense of community in the old areas—the second choice would be preferable. The right hon. Gentleman, in the process of thinking about what he was trying to do as a Minister would, I should have thought, have reached that stage in view of his insistence on the importance of comprehension in considering the overspill problems. If he comprehends the importance of comprehension in the case of overspill, why can he not comprehend it in the case of redevelopment of existing areas? That bewilders me about his attitude to this question.

The purpose of this Amendment is simply to make it possible for the housing or town planning authority, when demolishing bad areas—I am using the term in a much wider sense than the Parliamentary Secretary was using it when he discussed the question in Committee before—to be given some measure of assistance in rehousing people displaced from those areas. The areas could then be redeveloped, with new roads—by which some problems of road safety could be tackled—with adequate recreational facilities, cinemas, pubs and the other central parts, if one may regard them as such, of modern living. There could be adequate provision of up-to-date schools, churches and other community buildings in the newly developed areas.

Is there a case for a subsidy when undertaking that kind of redevelopment? I imagine the Parliamentary Secretary may say "I can accept all this. It is rather platitudinous. We all believe in tackling these problems and recognise their importance, but they are not the important problem and do not require the financial aid of a subsidy." Whatever views people have about subsidies in general, it would be agreed that where a subsidy is particularly required is where the nature of the operation makes it so unlikely that it could be done without serious loss, in other words, if it is not possible to provide new housing as a going concern and cover the cost by rents.

It is generally recognised that overspill is a costly and difficult operation because it involves all these ancillary developments. Even more, redevelopment inside a town must always be a very costly thing to do. In overspill generally one is dealing with a virgin site and starting from scratch. It is a comparatively easy job compared with problems of redevelopment where one has to try to cope with the legacy of centuries of bad design, bad building and bad organisation. Obviously it must be much easier, in technical terms, to develop an outside area on new land and to provide for sewerage and necessary services than to redevelop an already built-up area with inadequate drainage, inadequate sewers and badly arranged roads. I think it most important to encourage local authorities not to flinch from the difficulties of this problem, but to regard it as one of the major contributions they have to make.

The weakness of this Bill is that the financial emphasis is on two things—on demolition and on building estates outside the area of the authority on virgin land. Those are the twin assumptions upon which the Bill rests, slum clearance subsidy and overspill subsidy, missing out what I suggest is the thing which above all should be encouraged—the very difficult, frustrating job of having to tackle the areas which are left and doing something about them.

That, I should have thought, was inherently far more costly, far more upsetting and far more likely to be shelved by an authority not alive to its responsibility than either of the other two objects. It is so easy to knock down rows and rows of houses and say, "What a wonderful job we have done! We have cleared so many slums" and then to leave derelict waste space as a blot on the town. That would turn some of our proudest and oldest industrial towns into derelict dumps and dust heaps. That is not the way to tackle the problem of slum clearance, but it will be the effect of this Bill.

I am moving this Amendment in the hope that the Government will see the importance of rebuilding and will be prepared to offer a subsidy to housing activity which is linked with comprehensive development. They accept the principle of comprehensive development. There is no argument about whether that is good or bad. That is in the Town and Country Planning Act which the Coalition Government passed and in the Town and Country Planning Act which the last Government passed. It is something which has been commonly approved of in development plans submitted by the planning authorities, and something which has got beyond the stage of argument and is an essential of housing and planning activity. If it is recognised as such, and it is also agreed that it is a difficult job and a costly job, it is essentially one which the Central Government ought to be inspiring, stimulating and encouraging local authorities to tackle, as they were inspired, stimulated and encouraged to tackle it by the Labour Government. If that is to be a major part of the contribution of the present Government, then they ought to link it with financial assistance and with a subsidy.

I know that there is a planning subsidy which local authorities can hope to get for the acquisition of land, but that is not meeting the major problem, which is the reconstructing of these areas so far as possible, the rehousing of people on sites in the places where their roots are deep in the soil of ancient communities from which their parents have been born and they were born. It is that kind of social planning which ought to be the proud boast of any authority trying to tackle the problem of urban living. I hope that the Government, even at this late stage, will see the essential reasonableness of this approach and be prepared to accept the Amendment.

Mr. Mitchison

I beg to second the Amendment.

The proposals as regards redevelopment, which is a Housing Act phrase, and comprehensive development under town and country planning legislation were moved separately in Committee, and they meet with a slightly different response. Redevelopment, as the right hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends quite correctly pointed out, was now a somewhat old-fashioned notion not used very much, and was really replaced in practice by the subsequent provisions with regard to comprehensive development, The right hon. Gentleman got out of that argument nicely.

As regards comprehensive development, the answer was substantially as follows: we have a very large number, let us say 1 million insanitary houses—to use a technical term—in the country. Let us deal with these first, and let us not encourage anyone to pull down a sound house until, generally speaking, all the unsound ones have been pulled down. That sounds all right. Let us see, first, what this language about "encouragement" amounts to. The right hon. Gentleman, by this Bill, is taking away existing subsidies. The only encouragement which he is giving to what he calls slum clearance is, in effect, not to take away existing subsidies from it so far as the Government subsidy is concerned. That is the form and limit of his encouragement.

The right hon. Gentleman reminds me of someone who, watching a number of horses racing, decides that one particular horse will go faster if he cuts the legs off all the others. I can assure him that it does not in fact speed up one horse to take the subsidy away from a whole lot of others; and it does not do so in the present state of the finances of local authorities.

6.15 p.m.

The question that we have to consider today is not whether it is right to deal with one of these objectives before another in any and every case, but whether the right hon. Gentleman is justified, on a broad and far-sighted view of the future of this country, in removing an existing subsidy from rehousing in connection with development, redevelopment, or comprehensive development. On that I entirely agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Widnes (Mr. MacColl). I should like to remind the right hon. Gentleman that there is some history attached to housing in this country.

It grew up, in the industrial towns at any rate, around factories and other sources of work and employment to house an industrial population which was considered by some circles in Victorian times as providing useful units for industry, and little more. It was that point of view which led to the growth, the heaping up and the piling up of what we now call slums in our industrial centres. In a different way, much the same has happened over a longer period in the countryside, where dwellings have been provided grudgingly and according to the needs for work and the opportunities of employment for those who were going to win their living by working on the land.

It was only within fairly recent times that we outgrew that conception of housing. We can date it from this kind of legislation. We were beginning to think about it in the 'thirties—I would not say very much earlier. It was only when we had a Labour Government after the war that we had real encouragement of what is, I believe, the proper attitude to housing—that we are not dealing with a number of industrial units housed in occupation units, but we are in fact dealing with the proper replanning and proper building of our cities and our country places as a whole.

It is in that spirit that we have had the kind of venture that took place in Poplar on Lansbury, the kind of thing that was done, in rather different circumstances, in the middle of Birmingham, and the kind of thing which was carried one stage further by new town development. That is modern housing. There is nothing to be particularly proud of about it. It is a somewhat belated recognition of something that has occurred in many other countries. If the right hon. Gentleman goes, as he no doubt has done or will do on some occasion, round some of the more advanced countries of Europe, he will find that conception of housing perfectly obvious in, for instance, any Scandinavian country.

What we are being asked to do in this Bill, by reason of the financial out which it imposes, is to give up that idea, to leave housing to the independent development of local authorities, to penalise them in so far as they are dealing with sound houses in a redevelopment area and to refrain from a substantial cut only in respect of the unfit and insanitary houses in these areas.

The plea which we are making to right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite—or such of them as think it of sufficient public interest to listen to the debate—is simply not to go back on the modern conception of housing, on the conception of planning, on the conception of the duties of local authorities in this country, on the whole idea of ordered, beautiful— I do not hesitate to use the word—and proper growth. The Government should not go back on that and use the wicked financial instrument which they have made for themselves in this Bill in order to take one step further back in their journey of reaction and treat the population of this country once again as individual industrial units living inside houses that ought to be made just fit for them and no more.

That is the spirit underlying the Bill, and the refusal of the Amendment is a refusal to accept the concept of a city as a city, an area as an area and a neighbourhood, to use the current term, as a neighbourhood. It is a refusal to accept the proposition that people are not merely living in individual houses, good or bad, but that they have to live as a community in a layout and under conditions that are appropriate for a community.

That concept, won in this country only comparatively recently as these things go, is in danger. The point and need for it has arisen out of the complication of modern life and modern times. In the old small town, there was not this sharp distinction, but now, when dealing with these large towns, or conurbations as they are called, surely it is the very worst time to take away the stimulus to deal with them properly, to take away the right of the local authority, the elected body, to choose for itself, without being hampered by financial considerations, whether to deal with the matter in small or in rather larger units—indeed, whether it shall plan about it at all.

Neither do I for one moment believe that the Government, by insisting to this unreasonable extent on demolition by units or by single dwellings, so far as their financial inducements go, or by means of the effect of what they are doing, will make any appreciable difference whatever to the progress of slum clearance if at the same time they omit to cut the subsidy as regards the sound houses in bad areas.

I do not believe that local government and local planning works that way. I do not think that local authorities either can or will look at the question unit by unit. They will continue to look at the bad areas, and if they are allowed to deal with them as areas, if the Government omit to make this anti-social cut that they propose as regards comprehensive development, I believe that the progress of proper redevelopment proper comprehensive development and proper slum clearance will all go on just as rapidly as before and that all that will happen will be that the Government will have failed to prevent local authorities building houses quite to the extent that the Government intend them not to build houses according to the Bill.

The object seems to me to be not merely to reduce Government subsidies but to cut and to restrict council building in favour of private house building. That is the plain object of it. I ask the Government to have a little heart and vision for a change, and in spite of that intention, wicked and reactionary as I believe it to be, none the less to let some planning and some dealing with comprehensive development go on without the discouragement that the Bill will otherwise give to it.

Mr. Sparks

I support my hon. Friend the Member for Widnes (Mr. MacColl) and my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison) in asking the Government to accept the Amendment. One of the greatest benefits that we have given to posterity is the series of planning Acts that have been placed upon the Statute Book since the Second World War, for it protects the young and growing towns from the evils now suffered by many of our older towns and cities.

The planning Acts were designed to eradicate the evils of the past and to protect the generations of the future against the mistakes already made. Therefore, it has become the statutory duty of all local authorities to prepare for the Minister development plans showing precisely how those authorities intend to overcome the evils already existing in their localities and how, in the case of young and growing towns, they intend to plan their development over, perhaps, the next thirty, forty or fifty years.

In the main, we are speaking this afternoon of the old towns and not the young towns, because they are not affected in the same way. We all know the condition of a large number—I would hesitate to say all, but undoubtedly the great majority—of our old towns and cities, with their narrow streets and bad layout and the conglomeration of factories, houses and all kinds of heraditaments of one kind and another mixed up together in an unholy mess.

Very often it is much more healthy to live in a slum house on the moors than in a well-appointed flat in some of the old towns and cities. Upon the moorland, there is plenty of fresh air, but in some of the old towns and cities there is very little. One gets plenty of good sunlight living on the moors, but in many of the towns and cities one does not see the sun at all. The medical profession say that two of the most important elements in a healthy life are plenty of good fresh air and plenty of sunlight. We are speaking for those people who live in the old towns and cities which are deficient of sunlight, air and open space. Many of them, therefore, cannot solve their local problems merely by the Minister saying that subsidies on slum clearance schemes will be continued.

Slum clearance is very important in its way, but this afternoon we are asking the Minister to extend the benefit of subsidies to redevelopment based upon development plans. My hon. and learned Friend was quite correct in saying that much of the redevelopment in the development plans is equivalent to new town development. Many redevelopment plans are precisely that, except that the operations are undertaken in the area of the local authority instead of the population being exported to a new town.

6.30 p.m.

It is quite true that the planning Acts provide financial assistance to local authorities for the acquisition of land to carry out their redevelopment plans. We are concerned in the main with the first stages of those plans. As a rule, plans are made to ensure redevelopment in stages. We are concerned with the first and second stages of redevelopment which may be carried out over a period of five years or ten years.

The Minister should envisage the problem of a local authority in an old, badly regulated and badly planned town or city. If the local authority is to deal with the worst area of congestion, where houses and living conditions, factories and transport and all the other factors are mixed together in an unregulated mass, the right hon. Gentleman will realise that it must deal with a number of problems at the same time. This is not a simple issue of slum clearance, because slum clearance is based in the main on each individual house being unfit for habitation, and I have said that one could have an unfit house on the moors. This problem means for the local authority a juggling about, as it were, with various types of town needs.

A local authority might have a congested area with narrow streets, badly laid out, and with houses, factories and workshops all mixed up together. It might have to consider part of that area and designate it as the site for factories and workshops, designate another part as the place where the people should live and designate a third part as an open space where the people could sit and enjoy some air and sunshine. The local authority cannot deal with an area on the basis of what the right hon. Gentleman said when we discussed this matter earlier. He said then that in that part of an area where there are individual unfit slum houses he is prepared to grant a subsidy, but he went on to say that in those cases where the houses were fit he was opposed to having them pulled down. If the Minister means that, he is saying that he is opposed to any redevelopment under the planning Acts.

These houses may not be technically slums, but most of them will be very ancient indeed, and they may well be situated at a point on the plan which is designated for industry. The sites of these houses might therefore be required for the accommodation of factories and industries at present sited next door to people's houses. The local authority cannot hope to redevelop the area in accordance with the plan unless it can have access to the sites upon which the factories and houses are to be placed and designated open sites. The local authority, therefore, is compelled to take the area as a whole.

The Amendment asks the right hon. Gentleman to recognise the special importance of this kind of redevelopment and to continue to give to the local authorities the benefits of the housing subsidies for all the dwellings which they have to pull down in order to redevelop an area as a whole in the way I have tried to outline. If the right hon. Gentleman is not going to do that, he will, first, make the financing of the burden so heavy, in addition to what the local authorities will shoulder under the town planning Acts, that for financial reasons the authority may find it impossible to proceed. Secondly, if the Minister says that no houses must be pulled down unless they are technically slums, it will mean that no further progress can be made with redevelopment in such an area.

We, on this side of the House, think that that is a very bad and reactionary attitude, because some of these old towns and cities contain festering sores—relics of the old days when people could put up any building they liked without concern as to who lived next door. They could erect a factory and emit all the smoke they liked. They could bring in machinery and make a noise all day and night. They could use chemicals and other things which create smells, and they could arrange for transport to and from their factories and leave lorries parked outside private houses. There are places where people are living in deplorable conditions and suffering all kinds of nuisances and inconveniences because of the irregular way in which our towns and cities have grown up in the past.

We appeal to the Minister to help forward the progressive job which the local authorities are trying to carry out under the planning Acts. If the right hon. Gentleman is prepared to extend the benefit of subsidy to these dwellings which must come down in order to reconstruct an area as a whole, he will be helping forward this work considerably. He need not think that he will be paying all the bills. He will not be paying them all by a long way, but it will be an incentive to local authorities to get on with this important work and make our towns and cities better places to live in, better regulated, better laid out, and with more sun and air, for the children in particular if for nobody else.

It should be part of the responsibility of Government to make our towns beautiful as well as to get rid of slums. I believe that the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues could do that if they felt so disposed, and I trust that the Government will accept the Amendment.

Mr. Denis Howell (Birmingham, All Saints)

We have heard many constituency speeches during the various stages of the Bill, and particularly in Committee. It is inconceivable that we should consider questions of comprehensive redevelopment without drawing upon the experience of my own city, Birmingham, which has played a pioneering part in that work since the war. It is because our experience in Birmingham has led us to the view which is embodied in the Amendment that I shall address the House for a few minutes.

My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison) spoke about the difficulties of selecting individual units. At one stage of our plans in Birmingham that is precisely what we did. Certain members of the city council advocated that each of the individual houses which we contemplated acquiring under the then Acts should be considered in isolation, not as a whole or as an area of development, and that a committee should examine each house and decide which it was proper to acquire.

I am happy to say that after putting this to the test for a short time the system, which apparently is still in the mind of the Minister, was jettisoned by every member of the city council. So I can help my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kettering by telling him that were that point pressed now, not a single member of the city council would put it forward as a feasible proposition. I hope, therefore, that the Minister will pay some regard to that fact.

It is impossible to divorce the general question of slum clearance from that of comprehensive development. In Birmingham, we have taken over since the war about 40,000 slum houses, and we have spent almost £5 million in repairing them, in making them a little better for people to live in than was the case previously. We do this by three methods. First, upon acquisition, we render first-aid repairs to them; that is to say, we do all the things which a sanitary inspector would normally try to get the landlord to do, but which landlords do not do if they know that the local authority is about to acquire the houses.

The next part of this work deals not with units but with complete blocks. The redevelopment areas are mapped out, and each is given a block number. By means of a block contract we make them wind and weather-proof. The effect of this work is that one can stand in parts of Birmingham and see whole streets where the roofs of houses have been ripped off and replaced, because it has been no use doing much else to the houses until the elements have been prevented from entering.

The final stage in our three-tier system of dealing with slum houses is completely to renovate them according to the life put upon the houses by the city surveyor. If they are to stand for more than five years, we do a certain amount of work. If they are to stand for more than ten years we put in new floors and cupboards.

Ultimately, of course, the houses will be demolished and the people will be rehoused, but in the situation in which Birmingham and many other local authorities find themselves it is impossible to suggest that we can demolish anything like 40,000 houses in a reasonable time. At the same time that we have been doing the work of which I have been speaking, we are demolishing houses in large areas, and we find that for every three houses which we demolish we have to rehouse five families. That is the average which our experience shows to be necessary, and it is a problem of general housing need which has to be met and which is dealt with elsewhere in this Bill.

We are immediately up against the problem of rent structure because we find that it is impossible to move people, whose whole economy has been geared to paying a small rent, say 10s. a week, from a bad house into one miles away out of the city—as under the contemplated overspill proposals—the rent of which is 40s. a week. The complete contrast between living in a slum house with a low rent and a new house with a high rent is one of the greatest social difficulties in meeting the present housing situation in Birmingham.

6.45 p.m.

Therefore, what we have to do if we want to move people from slum areas is to move them back into other areas of comprehensive redevelopment. In other words, having dealt with the inner ring of slum houses, the city council is now preparing itself for the massive step of moving these people to the middle ring in the city. To do this we must acquire 25,000 more houses in order properly to resettle the people moved from the original slum areas.

This may sound complicated but it is what our experience shows us must happen. Therefore we have to pay some regard to obtaining more houses when dealing with the social aspects of housing, and so the health committee of the city council is proceeding with the task of taking over another 25,000 houses. Houses in these new areas of comprehensive development must be regarded as slum houses, which is the point I mentioned earlier and about which I think the Parliamentary Secretary made a note. As a result, such areas must be regarded as areas of comprehensive re-development and must be acquired if we are to rehouse the people from the inner ring of slum houses.

We cannot solve our problem in Birmingham by applying the answer which we have been getting from the Front Bench opposite during this debate, namely, that of pooling rents. The pooling of rents is not the answer, although it is a help in some ways and although we have a rebate system of which I am sure the Minister would approve. In our housing department records there are the names of thousands of people whom we must rehouse if we are to get on with slum clearance. We cannot do so, however, because even with the help of the rebate scheme those people would be unable to afford the rents of new houses. Those are the plain facts of the matter.

I hope that regard will be had to the amount of money already spent by Birmingham in putting slum properties into a reasonable state; it has reached the astronomical figure of £5 million. Therefore the citizens of Birmingham are entitled to say to the Government, "The finances of our city have stood more than their fair share. In return we are entitled to ask you for the further areas of comprehensive re-development that we wish to acquire and for which we should have the full subsidy in order that there shall be complete equity between what the citizens of Birmingham have to bear and what ought to be provided by the Government."

This is not hypothetical talk but describes what is actually happening. We must have comprehensive redevelopment to meet the social problems in the City of Birmingham arising out of slum clearance. We must pay regard to the rent structure, and that means that the Government ought to think again about this subsidy. I say this because the Government are saying, even to our progressive city, "You can get on with your job of comprehensive redevelopment, you can try to rehouse your slum dwellers, but we shall not give you much financial assistance."

Mr. Powell

The hon. Member for Widnes (Mr. MacColl) complained that the arguments deployed on a previous occasion in answer to an Amendment substantially the same as this one were plausible, and that the policy for which we on this side of the House stand, namely, for a determined and concentrated slum clearance drive, is adopted because it is a popular one. An argument may often be plausible because it is sound and a policy may be popular because it is based on common sense. I believe that this one is based on common sense.

It is true that the definition of an unfit house which qualifies it for clearance, for closure or demolition is narrower than many of us would like to see applied, but there can be no dispute that houses which statutorily qualify as unfit houses are by and large worse than houses that do not so qualify. I suggest to the House that it is common sense to deal first with the worst houses and to encourage local authorities to concentrate upon them.

The hon. and learned Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison) has once again pointed out that in his view the retention of the subsidy for a particular purpose is not an encouragement to local authorities to concentrate upon the pursuit of that purpose, but, of course, that is inconsistent with asking that the subsidy should also be retained for some other purpose, in order that the pursuit of that other purpose may be encouraged.

Mr. Mitchison

I hope that the Parliamentary Secretary will explain what is the effect of this encouragement, since with it local authorities will do less slum clearance than they were doing without it.

Mr. Powell

If the hon. and learned Member does not think that retention of the existing subsidy for comprehensive redevelopment will be an encouragement to engage in comprehensive redevelopment, I fail to see the point of his or any argument put from the other side of the House.

Let us take it that the retention of the subsidy for slum clearance—I shall come to the definition shortly—is, and is accepted by both sides of the House to be, an encouragement to slum clearance; that does not mean that we are preventing local authorities from proceeding by way of redevelopment areas or comprehensive development. But it does mean that we refuse to put a premium upon the demolition of fit houses. Whatever is accepted in the House, I am sure that out of doors that would be thought to be common sense in 1956, in the light of the present housing situation.

Mr. Sparks

Is the hon. Member opposed to the principles of the Town and Country Planning Acts?

Mr. Powell

No. I have explained that the Bill in no way prevents, debars or inhibits a local authority from proceeding by way of redevelopment areas under the principal Act, which is the Housing Act, 1936, or by comprehensive development under the Town and Country Planning Acts. What it does do is to decline to put a premium, in the year 1956, upon the demolition of areas of fit houses in preference to the demolition of areas of unfit houses.

Mr. Mitchison

The hon. Member will remember that by definition neither a redevelopment area nor a comprehensive development area can be an area of fit houses.

Mr. Powell

I believe that, in fact, an area of comprehensive development can substantially include no technically unfit houses.

I now come to the definition of the houses which will attract the present rate of subsidy. The hon. Member for Widnes drew the definition much too tightly, and led the House to believe that that subsidy would apply only to individual unfit houses. The definition of a clearance area is in Section 25 of the principal Act. It says that a local authority must be satisfied …that the houses in that area are by reason of disrepair or sanitary defects unfit for human habitation… That is one ground of qualification. Another is: …by reason of their bad arrangement, or the narrowness or bad arrangement of the streets, dangerous or injurious to the health of the inhabitants of the area.… A clearance area may, therefore, include an area in which are houses which in themselves are fit, but which properly fall within the clearance area by reason of congestion. Replacements for all those houses will attract the continuing subsidy. It is therefore untrue to say that the Bill relates only to individual unfit houses.

Mr. Mitchison

Does the Parliamentary Secretary mean that houses which are dangerous or injurious to health are fit for habitation? Is that the considered view of the Tory Party?

Mr. Powell

That is not how the Statute is drawn, and I am pointing out that the definition of a clearance area in the principal Act, which is applied for purposes of subsidy, is much wider than that of individual unfit houses.

Mr. Sparks

This is a rather important point. The Parliamentary Secretary is telling us that the designation of a slum clearance area need not include houses that are unfit for human habitation. If that is so, it should be confirmed by the Minister, because what we are being told is that the Minister will regard as slums houses that are fit for human occupation.

Mr. Powell

I am afraid that I am only telling the House what is already twenty years old, because I am only reminding the House of the provisions of Section 25 of the principal Act, I have been merely reading the terminology of the principal Act in order to remind the House of the type of house and the type of area which may be declared a clearance area and in which every house will attract the continuing subsidy.

The hon. Member for Widnes said that by proceeding as we propose we shall leave a dead core—those were his words —of undeveloped areas in the centres of our towns which have not been rebuilt. There is no reason in the subsidy structure which the Bill creates why that should be so. There may be included in the clearance area, as the hon. Member well knows, houses which in the technical jargon are called "grey" or are, to quote Section 27 of the principal Act: …reasonably necessary for the purpose of securing a cleared area of convenient shape and dimensions, and any adjoining land the acquisition of which"— these are the important words— …is reasonably necessary for the satisfactory development or user of the cleared area. Of the houses involved, both those which are unfit, those which fall within the clearance area in the technical sense, and additional or "grey" houses, will attract the subsidy, so there is no deterrent to a local authority proceeding with a convenient area of re-development in which every house demolished will attract the continuing subsidy.

Mr. MacColl

As my hon. Friend the Member for Acton (Mr. Sparks) reminded us, it is the Minister, not the courts, who interprets the Act. It is, therefore, the Minister who will adjudicate on proposals for making a clearance order. Are we to understand that in interpreting the extent of the dimensions of the "grey" area he will interpret it on town planning considerations, looking at re-development from the town planning point of view, and in the modern sense of replanning, for example, streets and facilities for schools and open spaces, so that all that would be included in a clearance area under his interpretation?

Mr. Powell

We are dealing with the terms of a Statute which in turn relate to the terms of the principal Act. I am reminding the House of the terms of the principal Act which are designed to make it possible, when unfit and congested houses are cleared, for the area to be redeveloped by the local authority. All the houses cleared in an area so redeveloped will attract the continuing subsidy.

Mr. Mitchison

I am sorry to interrupt again, but this is very important. May we take it that the reading of the definition which the hon. Member has just given is a considered Ministerial policy? It is of considerable practical importance.

7.0 p.m.

Mr. Powell

I say again that there is nothing new in what I am telling the House. The application of the principle —the declaration of clearance areas, the confirmation of compulsory purchase orders—has been going on continuously since 1936. There is no change in the process involved. I am reminding the House, because several hon. Members appeared to have overlooked it, that the subsidy under the Bill will not adhere to individual unfit houses. It will adhere to every house in an area which is required as, again I am quoting from the words of the Statute, reasonably necessary for the satisfactory development…of the cleared area.

Mr. MacColl

I am sorry to press the hon. Gentleman but this is a very important point——

Mr. Speaker

Order. This is the Report stage and not the Committee stage of the Bill. We have had a number of interventions during the speech of the Parliamentary Secretary, and I hope that we may have fewer.

Mr. Powell

I was about to come to the interesting speech of the hon. Member

for Birmingham, All Saints (Mr. D. Howell) with whom I share a certain amount of "Brummagem" patriotism. He spoke of the large operations of the City of Birmingham in the patching of unfit houses. The hon. Gentleman will be aware that that operation is covered by the subsidy made available under the 1954 Act. When in the course of time these patched houses are demolished, they will still be unfit houses in the statutory sense of the term and will therefore qualify under the Bill for the continuing subsidy.

The hon. Gentleman also referred to the redevelopment necessary to make possible the rehousing of persons displaced from the slum areas in the inner ring. As those are housing operations for that purpose, they will attract subsidy in so far as—and this will be true of the majority of cases—they are for the rehousing of persons from areas as defined in Clause 11 of the Bill. Therefore the hon. Gentleman may rest assured that the greater part of the operations which he described will attract the continuing subsidy under the Bill.

But I must advise the House in general that it would be contrary to the underlying purpose of the Bill and it would be contrary to what, outside if not inside the House, would be regarded as common sense if, by making this Amendment, we were to attach to the demolition of fit houses in large numbers the same inducement that we desire to attach to the clearance of slums.

Question put, That those words be there inserted in the Bill: —

The House divided: Ayes 209, Noes 252.

Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) McKay, John (Wallsend) Royle, C.
Griffiths, William (Exchange) McLeavy, Frank Short, E. W.
Hale, Leslie MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles) Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley) MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Hamilton, W. W. Mahon, S. Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)
Hannan, w. Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Skeffington, A. M.
Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.) Mann, Mrs. Jean Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)
Hayman, F. H. Mason, Roy Slater, J. (Sedgefield)
Healey, Denis Mayhew, C. P. Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis) Messer, Sir F. Snow, J. W.
Herbison, Miss M, Mitchison, G. R. Sorensen, R. W.
Hewitson, Capt. M. Monslow, W. Sparks, J. A.
Hobson, C. R. Moody, A. S. Steele, T.
Holman, P. Morris, Peroy (Swansea, W.) Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Houghton, Douglas Morrison,Rt.Hn.Herbert(Lewis'm,S.) Stones, W. (Consett)
Howell, Charles (Perry Barr) Mort, D. L. Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.
Howell, Denis (All Saints) Moss, R. Stross,Dr.Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent,C.)
Hoy, J. H. Moyle, A. Swingler, S. T.
Hubbard, T. F. Mulley, F. W. Sylvester, G. O.
Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Neal, Harold (Bolsover) Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Oliver, G. H. Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Oram, A. E. Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Hynd, H. (Accrington) Orbach, M. Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)
Hynd, J. B. (Atteroliffe) Oswald, T. Thornton, E.
Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Owen, W. J. Timmons, J.
Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A. Padley, W. E. Usborne, H. C.
Janner, B. Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley) Viant, S. P.
Jeger, Mrs.Lena(Holbn & St.Pncs,S.) Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury) Warbey, W. N.
Johnson, James (Rugby) Palmer, A. M. F. Weitzman, D.
Johnston, Douglas (Paisley) Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.) Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Jones, Rt. Hn. A. Creech (Wakefield) Pargiter, G. A. Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Jones, David (The Hartlepools) Parker, J. West, D. G.
Jones, Elwyn (W. Ham, S.) Parkin, B. T. Wheeldon, W. E.
Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Paton, J. White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)
Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Pearson, A. White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Peart, T. F. Willey, Frederick
Kenyon, C. Popplewell, E. Williams, David (Neath)
Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)
King, Dr. H. M. Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.) Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Lawson, G. M. Probert, A. R. Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Ledger, R. J. Proctor, W. T. Williams, W. T. (Barons Court)
Lee, Frederick (Newton) Pryde, D. J. Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)
Lever, Leslie (Ardwick) Randall, H. E. Winterbottom, Richard
Lewis, Arthur Rankin, John Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Lipton, Lt.-Col. M. Rhodes, H. Woof, R. E.
Logan, D. G. Robens, Rt. Hon. A. Yates, V. (Ladywood)
Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Zilliacus, K.
MacColl, J. E. Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
McGhee, H. G. Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
McGovern, J. Rogers, George (Kensington, N.) Mr. Holmes and Mr. Deer.
Mclnnes, J. Ross, William
Division No. 106.] AYES [7.2 p.m.
Ainsley, J. W. Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Darling, George (Hillsborough)
Albu, A. H. Brown, Thomas (Ince) Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Burke, W. A. Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)
Allen, Scholetield (Crewe) Burton, Miss F. E. Dodds, N. N.
Anderson, Frank Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.
Awbery, S. S. Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)
Bartley, P. Carmichael, J. Edwards, Robert (Bilston)
Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.) Castle, Mrs. B. A. Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)
Benn, Hn. Wedgwood (Bristol, S.E.) Champion, A. J. Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)
Benson, G. Chapman, W. D. Fernyhough, E.
Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale) Clunie, J. Fienburgh, W.
Blackburn, F. Coldriok, W. Finch, H. J.
Blyton, W. R. Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead) Fletcher, Eric
Boardman, H. Corbet, Mrs. Freda Forman, J. C.
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Cove, W. G. Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)
Bowden, H. w. (Leicester, S.W.) Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.
Bowles, F. G. Cronin, J. D. Gibson, C. W.
Boyd, T. C. Crossman, R. H. S. Greenwood, Anthony
Brock way, A. F. Cullen, Mrs. A. Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Daines, P. Grey, C. F.
Agnew, Cmdr. P. G. Brooman-White, R. C. Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond)
Aitken, W. T. Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton) Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, s.) Bryan, P. Duthie, W. S.
Alport, C. J. M. Bullus, Wing Commander E. E. Eden.Rt.Hn.SirA.(Warwick&L'm'tn)
Amory,Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton) Burden, F. F. A. Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)
Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J. Butcher, Sir Herbert Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.
Arbuthnot, John Butler,Rt.Hn.R. A. (Saffron Walden) Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn
Armstrong, C. W. Campbell, Sir David Errington, Sir Eric
Ashton, H. Carr, Robert Farey-Jones, F. W.
Atkins, H. E. Cary, Sir Robert Fell, A.
Baldook, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M. Channon, H. Finlay, Graeme
Baldwin, A. E. Chichester-Clark, R. Fisher, Nigel
Balnlel, Lord Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.
Barber, Anthony Conant, Maj. Sir Roger Fletcher-Cooke, C.
Barlow, Sir John Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert Fort, R.
Barter, John Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Freeth, D. K.
Baxter, Sir Beverley Corfield, Capt. F. V. Calbraith, Hon. T. G. D.
Beamish, Maj. Tufton Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Gammans, L. D.
Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.) Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O.E. Garner-Evans, E. H.
Bennett, F. M. (Torquay) Crouch, R. F. George, J. C. (Pollok)
Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth) Crowder, Petre (Ruislip-Northwood) Glover, D.
Bidgood, J. C. Currie, G. B. H. Godber, J. B.
Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Dance, J. C. G. Gomme-Duncan, Co. A.
Bishop, F. P. Davidson, Viscountess Gough, C. F. H.
Body, R. F. Davies,Rt.Hon.Clement(Montgomery) Graham, Sir Fergus
Boothby, Sir Robert D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Grant, W. (Woodside)
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A. Deedes, W. F. Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich)
Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.) Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA. Green, A.
Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry Doughty, C. J. A. Gresham Cooke, R.
Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury) Longden, Gilbert Redmayne, M.
Gurden, Harold Low, Rt. Hon. A. R. W. Remnant, Hon. P,
Hall, John (Wycombe) Lucas, P. B. (Brentford & Chiswick) Renton, D. L. M.
Hare, Rt. Hon. J. H. Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Ridsdale, J. E.
Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Macdonald, Sir Peter Rippon, A. G. F.
Harris, Reader (Heston) Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry Robertson, Sir David
Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon) McKibbin, A. J. Robson-Brown, W.
Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfd) Mackie, J. H. (Galloway) Roper, Sir Harold
Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.) McLaughlin, Mrs. P. Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.) McLean, Neil (Inverness) Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.
Harvie-Watt, Sir George Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.) Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.
Hay, John MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty) Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.
Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G. Maddan, Martin Sharples, R. C.
Hicks-Beach, MaJ. W. W. Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle) Shepherd, William
Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe) Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark) Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)
Hill, John (S. Norfolk) Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R. Soames, Capt. C.
Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Markham, Major Sir Frank Spearman, A. C. M.
Holland-Martin, C. J. Marlowe, A. A. H. Spence, H. R. (Aberdeen, W.)
Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P. Marples, A. E. Spens, Rt. Hn. Sir P. (Kens'gt'n, S.)
Horobin, Sir Ian Marshall, Douglas Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard
Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence Mathew, R. Stevens, Geoffrey
Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire) Mawby, R. L. Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Howard, Hon. Creville (St. Ives) Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C. Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)
Howard, John (Test) Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R. Stoddart-scott, Col. M.
Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.) Molson, A. H. E. Storey, S.
Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J.<> Moore, Sir Thomas Summers G. S (Aylesbury)
Hughes-Young, M. H. C. Morrison, John (Salisbury) Sumner W. D. M. (Orpington)
Hurd, A. R. Nabarro, G. D. N. Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'gh.W.) Nairn, D. L. S. Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Hutchison, Sir James Neave, Airey Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)
Hyde, Montgomery Nicholls, Harmar Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Hylton-Foster, Sir H. B. H. Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham) Thompson, Lt.-Cdr.R.(Croydon-, S.)
Iremonger, T. L. Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch) Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.
Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Nield, Basil (Chester) Tiley, A (Bradford, W.)
Jennings, J. C. (Burton) Noble, Comdr. A. H. P. Touche, Sir Gordon
Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Nugent, G. R. H. Turner H. F. L.
Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Nutting, Rt. Hon. Anthony Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Johnson, Howard (Kemptown) Oakshott, H. D. Vane, W. M. F.
Jones, A. (Hall Green) O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.) Vickers, Miss J. H.
Joseph, Capt. Sir Keith Sinjohn Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D. Vosper, D. F.
Keegan, D. Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Wade, D. W.
Kerby, Capt. H. B. Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.) Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Kerr, H. W. Page, R. G. Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)
Kershaw, J. A. Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale) Walker-smith, D. C.
Lagden, G. W. Partridge, E. Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)
Lambert, Hon. G. Peyton, J. W. W. Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)
Lambton, Viscount Plokthorn, K. W. M. Webbe, Sir H.
Langford-Holt, J. A. Pitman, I. J. Whitelaw, W.S.I.(Penrith & Border)
Leavey, J. A. Pitt, Miss E. M. Wills, G. (Bridgwater)
Legge-Bourke, MaJ. E. A. H. Pott, H. P. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfleld). Powell, J. Enoch Woollam, John Victor
Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.) Price, David (Eastleigh) Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Lindsay, Martin (Solihull) Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.
Linstead, Sir H. N. Raikes, Sir Victor TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.) Ramadan, J. E. Mr. Studholme and
Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral) Rawlinson, Peter Colonel J. H. Harrison.
Mr. Herbert Butler (Hackney, Central)

I beg to move, in page 1, line 8, at the end, to insert: (not being such a new dwelling as is mentioned in subsection (7) of this section). I do not propose to detain the House for very long, because the principle of this matter has been discussed upon previous occasions. The debate this afternoon has made it more clear that the Bill is obviously designed for the purpose of stopping all housing except in respect of a certain amount of slum clearance. The Minister says that the giving of the same subsidy which now exists is an incentive. We say that the reduction in the subsidy is devised to retard housing development. We hope he will appreciate that the Act of Parliament of which he was the parent, forcing local authorities to derequisition requisitioned property, is creating a section of the community which is living in conditions as bad as those in slum areas.

Statutorily, just as people who live in slum property have to be rehoused because the property is declared unfit for human habitation, so, with the assistance of the Minister, people who were inhabiting requisitioned property and are now to be forced on to the streets by an Act of Parliament have a call upon local authorities. Local authorities will have the responsibility of rehousing people who have to leave property when it is derequisitioned. As has been said before, the main problem in London is not one of slum clearance. In my own area over 3,000 families are living in requisitioned property. The main problems are to rehouse people from requisitioned properties and also to deal with overcrowding. In those circumstances we feel that the Minister, in addition to asking local authorities to speed up slum clearance, should have regard to the fact that, just as slum dwellers do not live in slums from choice, those who are living in requisitioned property, are, in the main, those who have suffered very severely from the effects of the last war.

7.15 p.m.

They are the people who were bombed out; the people who lost all their chattels and suffered under intolerable conditions. In many cases they were rehoused in properties which in no way compare with local authority property. The Amendment provides that the Minister— especially in areas which were severely bombed—should retain the existing subsidy for those derequisitioned properties in respect of which the local authority has to house the tenants. I submit that this is a reasonable proposition, which should commend itself to the Minister. It will not even interfere with the Minister's evil intentions.

Mr. C. W. Key (Poplar)

I beg to second the Amendment.

Mr. Elwyn Jones (West Ham, South)

When this matter was last under discussion during the Committee stage, the Minister held out a faint hope that he would go some way towards meeting the representations made by my hon. Friends in regard to the problem imposed upon local authorities by the existence of a large number of requisitioned properties, especially in the London area. On that occasion the Minister said: I should feel inclined to consider whether something could be done if I felt that the result of it would be to increase the number of houses which local authorities were likely to make available for rehousing people from requisitioned dwellings."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 14th December, 1955; Vol. 547, c. 1345.] In our submission, one of the means by which local authorities would tend to increase the number of such houses would be by way of giving subsidies in respect of families rehoused from requisitioned dwellings. The method most calculated to discourage local authorities in this matter is that proposed in the Bill, namely, to do nothing about giving subsidies in those circumstances.

The Minister also said that he would read carefully what had been said in the debate. I hope that he did so and that that reading led him to a favourable conclusion. I confess that my hon. Friends were not impressed with the way in which he tended to brush aside the difficulties to which his earlier derequisitioned legislation gave rise.

In our view, he dealt far too little with the problem of the local authorities, and I hope that the faint hope contained in the words he used at the end of our discussion on this matter during the Committee stage will be realised, and that he really will do something to help the local authorities in the London area to face this difficult problem.

Mr. C. W. Gibson (Clapham)

I wish briefly to emphasise the importance of this Amendment from the point of view of families on the waiting list whose cases are admittedly very urgent.

In London, the L.C.C. has a waiting list of very urgent cases of nearly 50,000, and all the boroughs have similar lists, though they are not so large. If the authorities are to be compelled to use these houses for re-housing people when the time comes for them to give up requisitioned houses, in so far as they do that, they will very considerably lessen the chances of those families on the urgent list. I am sure that there is something wrong in the situation.

I find from the housing report issued by the Government that the number of requisitioned houses which have already been de-requisitioned up to 6th June last year was 37,859, and that between the 6th June last year and 31st December, no less than 5,465 additional houses had been de-requisitioned. I know that some of these have been de-requisitioned as the result of the landlords agreeing to accept the tenants as statutory tenants, but they are a very small number.

Mr. John Hay (Henley)

Will the hon. Gentleman allow me? My information is exactly the contrary—that there has been a very large number indeed. The House would like to know if that is so.

Mr. Gibson

As a matter of fact, in an earlier discussion on this Bill, I gave the House the figures for my own borough of Wandsworth which show—I forget the exact figures—that the council had approached some 1,000 landlords and had had no replies from any of them willing to accept the tenant as a statutory tenant. As far as I know, nothing has been done to try to ease that condition.

Mr. Elwyn Jones

By way of illustration, may I say that in West Ham 2,265 families are in requisitioned houses, and that in only 400 cases have the landlords agreed that the tenants should stay on.

Mr. Gibson

The landlords there must be more accommodating than they are in Wandsworth, because nothing like 400 have agreed so far to accept statutory tenants.

The point I am making is that the number of houses which have been derequisitioned and in which cases the landlords have not accepted the tenants as statutory tenants has involved the housing authority transferring those families into some other municipal accommodation. In the past six months, 5,465 of these cases have occurred. That means that 5,465 families on the waiting list and urgently waiting for accommodation have been denied the opportunity of getting it.

It is quite obvious that the local authorities, with the pressure upon them caused by the raising of the interest rates and now the cutting of the subsidies, will have difficulties in any case in building enough houses to meet the demands which will come by 1960 as the result of getting rid of all the de-requisitioned houses. It is even worse than that, because the housing report for 31st December shows that the number of houses under construction at the end of December was 10,552 less than it was on 30th September, so that we have reduced the number of houses under construction by over 10,000 and we have the additional pressure on the local housing authorities to re-house people from requisitioned houses so that they may hand those houses back to the owners.

Unless the housing authorities are given a substantial subsidy to encourage them—they will have difficulties enough in any case in finding sites for building—to build more houses, it will be quite impossible to solve this problem of the requisitioned houses and much more difficult to solve the problem of the tens of thousands of families now on the urgent waiting lists.

I do not want to weary the House by giving illustrations, but I am quite sure that all of us hear week after week of really tragic cases of families which ought to be re-housed but which we are told the local authority cannot re-house because they have to provide so many additional houses for slum clearance and so many to meet the demands for the de-requisitioning of requisitioned houses, and that is a direct result of the policy which lies behind this Bill.

Therefore, I most strongly urge the Minister to give a little more consideration than he gave during the earlier debates to this comparatively small section of the housing problem, and to give the local authorities a sufficient inducement by giving them the full subsidy to go on building much more quickly. If he does not do so, the housing situation, not only in London but, as far as I can see, all over the country, will seriously deteriorate in the next twelve months, and we might find ourselves up against really serious social discontent and trouble. I hope the Minister will give a much more sympathetic reply to this proposal than he did when we last discussed it.

Mr. Sandys

I find it very difficult to give a different reply to the debate on this Amendment than on the last occasion. Precisely the same arguments have been put forward, and it is not unnatural that precisely the same arguments will be advanced in reply.

I would remind hon. Members, because what was said on so many occasions previously does not seem to have been impressed on their minds, that the Requisitioned Houses and Housing (Amendment) Act, 1955, and the policy behind it, does not rest primarily, or even to a very large extent, upon the provision of new houses to re-accommodate persons now living in requisitioned property. From the very start, it was made perfectly clear that that was not the basis of the policy on that Bill. I said quite categorically that I was not expecting local authorities to make any large increases in the number of houses which they were already allocating for the re-housing of persons now living in requisitioned property.

Mr. Key

Did not the Minister say, when dealing with this matter during the Committee stage, that it was his hope that they would provide—and I quote— …at least as many council houses for this purpose as they have done in the past. I believe that many of them will increase the number as the building programme advances."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee A,3rd March, 1955; col. 44.]

7.30 p.m.

Mr. Sandys

I think that is entirely consistent with what I said. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Of course it is. The right hon. Gentleman has just read that I trusted they would continue to provide at least as many houses as they were already providing. He then went on to read a passage—which I accept as being correct —that I believed—I was not asking, but believed—that they would, in fact, increase that number.

Mr. Elwyn Jones

Without subsidies?

Mr. Sandys

They would increase that number. The point is not my belief in what local authorities will do. My point is that the policy behind the Requisitioned Houses and Housing (Amendment) Act does not rest upon the assumption that a very large contribution to the problem will be made by the building of new houses. The Act relies upon quite other methods. I have made it quite clear before that if we were to rely upon the building of new houses in order to re-accommodate all those now Irving in requisitioned houses it would take twenty years or more to do the job. That was, therefore, clearly quite out of the question. And to what use would we put the houses which are now accommodating these people? If they were all empty, who would live in them?

Mr. Sparks

What does the Minister rely on?

Mr. Sandys

Really, the hon. Member for Acton (Mr. Sparks) made numerous and interminable speeches at that time and must recall the whole basis of the Act. The Act relies primarily on other methods. First of all, it relies upon the owners being willing, in return for compensation, to accept the existing licensees as statutory tenants. It is too early to judge exactly how well that is going, but the results so far are better than I expected.

Mr. Sparks

Are they 25 per cent.?

Mr. Sandys

If they were 25 per cent. I would throw my cap in the air with delight. I do not expect that they will be 25 per cent., but if they were I would feel it really was a triumph for that part of the Act.

Mr. Sparks

It does not say much for the policy.

Mr. Sandys

That is only one of the methods which the Act provides. Another method is that when a requisitioned property becomes vacant it is released unless there are exceptional circumstances. That is because that was thought to be one way of releasing property with the least hardship to everyone concerned.

The Act provides, as a third method, financial assistance for local authorities in taking on the leases of these houses for a period of years, the period being of such length as the local authorities think will cover the time needed to provide additional houses. In some cases the leases may be for 10, 15 or 20 years. But we thought it right to place the occupancy of these houses upon a proper, peace-time, contractual basis rather than have it rest upon emergency war-time powers.

Mr. Key

Will not the Minister agree that the Act says that local authorities will get assistance towards the leasing of houses only for a period of 10 years after the requisitioning comes to an end?

Mr. Sandys

They will be taking on these leases before the end of the five years.

Mr. Key

But I am dealing with the provision which says that the Minister will contribute 75 per cent. of the cost for 10 years or for the length of the lease, whichever is the shorter.

Mr. Sandys

I will be quite frank with the right hon. Gentleman and say that I cannot, for the moment, recall exactly what the provision is. He may be right, but I am not quite sure that that is the fact—but I think that it is going quite a long way from the present Amendment.

Mr. Key

If the Minister says that he does not believe me——

Mr. Sandys

I did not say that.

Mr. Key

Perhaps I may be allowed to read Section 11 (2) of the Requisitioned Houses and Housing (Amendment) Act dealing with this very matter. It says: The contributions payable to a local authority under this section in respect of such a house shall be annual contribution for the following period, that is to say…in the case of a house taken on lease, the term of the lease or ten years beginning with the commencement of that term, whichever is the shorter.

Mr. Sandys

I did not say that the right hon. Gentleman was not correct but only that my memory did not serve me perhaps as well as the right hon. Gentleman's reference to the Act.

The fourth method provided by the Act——

Mr. Arthur Lewis (West Ham, North)

Could the right hon. Gentleman tell us, if not generally then in his own borough, how many landlords have accepted such leases? Neither of my hon. Friends who sit for Wandsworth constituencies knows of such a case.

Mr. Sandys

I am not giving out figures. I am only saying that the information given to me the other day at a meeting which I had with representatives of the Joint Standing Committee of Metropolitan Boroughs and of the London County Council—who came to see me about other matters—was, I thought, most encouraging. That is all I would say. I am not giving out figures—and I do not know why the hon. Member for West Ham, North should be so amused by the fact that I have been encouraged.

Mr. Lewis

I laughed because, as I say, neither of my hon. Friends whose constituency interests lie in Wandsworth can cite such a case, while the Minister, though knowing no facts or details at all, says that he is quite happy about the position.

Mr. Sandys

I have many facts and details, but I do not believe in giving figures to the House of Commons unless I have them before me. One only makes mistakes, and then one has to make a statement apologising for misleading the House and so forth, and it would really be a very foolish thing to do.

The fourth method—as I was saying when the hon. Member for West Ham, North interrupted me—is that of purchase. That is to say, if the houses are not released when they become vacant, if the licensee is not taken over as a statutory tenant and if the house is not leased then, in the last resort, the local authority can purchase the house either voluntarily or by compulsory powers.

Those are the methods upon which the Act primarily relies. I know the difficulties experienced by local authorities in an area like London. Though there are small authorities with a few requisitioned houses where the position is different I speak now of the major problem in London. I have not asked, I have not pressed, I do not expect the London authorities to provide any substantially increased number of houses to re-accommodate persons now living in requisitioned property. If they do, I shall, of course, be very glad indeed.

Mr. H. Butler

The right hon. Gentleman brought to the House an Act which told local authorities to derequisition property, but will he turn his attention to the fact that once the tenants of derequisitioned property are put on the streets the local authorities cannot escape the moral responsibility for rehousing them?

Mr. Sandys

I wish we could get away from this talk of putting people on the streets. We heard that at the beginning of our discussion on the Requisitioned Houses and Housing (Amendment) Act, but I hoped that by now hon. Members understood that there was no question of putting people on the streets. To the best of my recollection, the only circumstances in which anybody can be evicted under that Act is where the owner can show to the satisfaction of the courts that his hardship would be as great as, or greater than, that of the licensee through not being allowed possession of his house.

Mr. Butler

Or where there was incompatibility.

Mr. Sandys


There are likely to be very few cases, and in order that no hardship should be caused I provided in that Act that, with the Minister's agreement, local authorities should be entitled to retain a pool of requisitioned houses which had become vacant, and not to release them, in order that they could be used for accommodating persons evicted by the courts under this provision. I believe that the number of cases will be very few, and as far as I am aware no difficulty has so far arisen.

The Amendment is a request that the higher subsidy should be paid for houses built to accommodate people now living in requisitioned property. It is based on a different argument from that advanced for all the other Amendments which have been put forward. The other Amendments have been moved on the ground that it was very desirable to encourage the building of houses for old people or for miners, or to deal with overcrowding, for example, and it was argued that for that reason a higher subsidy should be given than for houses built for general need; in other words, that the higher subsidy should be given as an encouragement to local authorities to build houses for a certain purpose.

This Amendment is advanced on the ground that it will assist local authorities financially. No one has suggested that it is desirable to stimulate local authorities to build an increased number of houses for reaccommodating people from requisitioned property. The Amendment is put forward entirely on financial grounds.

I submit that the problem is a physical one—that of finding houses in which to accommodate those people. As I have indicated, by one means or another these families will in the main continue to live in these requisitioned houses for a great

number of years. All we are doing, in the main, is to put their occupancy on to a normal peace-time contractual basis.

Turning to the financial problem, the Act specifically provided a special grant to deal with cases where the local authority might have an exceptional financial burden to bear. That was fully debated and a formula was devised by agreement all round which has the effect of limiting the liability of any local authority to the product of a 3½d. rate. I think the precise figure of 3 .6d. The product of a 3.6d. rate is the maximum that any local authority can be called upon to pay for this purpose.

For a long time requisitioned houses have been treated as part of the general pool of houses of the local authority and I have no doubt that as long as they remain requisitioned they will continue to be treated in that way.

For these reasons, I feel that there is no justification for giving a special subsidy for this purpose.

Question put, That those words be there inserted in the Bill: —

The House divided: Ayes 207. Noes 248.

Division No. 107.] AYES [7.44 p.m.
Ainsley, J. w. Darling, George (Hillsborough) Howell, Charles (Perry Barr)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Davles, Stephen (Merthyr) Howell, Denis (All Saints)
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Deer, G. Hoy, J. H.
Anderson, Frank Dodds, N. N. Hubbard, T. F.
Awbery, S. S. Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)
Baird, J. Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)
Bartley, P. Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)
Benn, Hn. Wedgwood (Bristol, S.E.) Evans, Edward (Lowestoft) Hynd, H. (Accrington)
Benson, G. Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury) Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)
Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale) Fernyhough, E. Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)
Blackburn, F. Fienburgh, W. Irving, S. (Dartford)
Blyton, W. R. Finch, H. J. Isaacs, Rt, Hon. G. A.
Boardman, H. Fletcher, Erie Janner, B.
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Forman, J. C. Jeger, Mrs. Lena(Holbn & St.Pncs.S.)
Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.) Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Johnson, James (Rugby)
Bowles, F. G. Galtskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N. Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)
Boyd, T. C. Gibson, C. W. Jones, Rt. Hon. A. Creech (Wakefield)
Brockway, A. F. Greenwood, Anthony Jones, David (The Hartlepools)
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R. Jones, Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Grey, C. F. Jones, Jack (Rotherham)
Burke, W. A. Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)
Burton, Miss F. E. Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Griffiths, William (Exchange) Kenyon, C.
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Hale, Leslie Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.
Carmichael, J. Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne valley) King, Dr. H. M.
Castle, Mrs. B. A. Hamilton, W. W. Lawson, G. M.
Champion, A. J. Hannan, W. Ledger, R. J.
Chapman, W. D. Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.) Lee, Frederick (Newton)
Clunie, J. Hayman, F. H. Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)
Coldrick, W. Healey, Denis Lewis, Arthur
Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead) Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis) Lindgren, G. S.
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Herbison, Miss M. Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.
Cove, W. G. Hewitson, Capt. M. Logan, D. G.
Craddock, George (Bradford, 8.) Hobson, C. R. Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson
Crossman, R. H. S. Holman, P. MacColl, J. E.
Cullen, Mrs. A. Houghton, Douglas McGhee, H. G.
Daines, P.
McGovern, J. Parkin, B. T. Stross, Dr.Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent,C.)
McInnes, J. Paton, J. Swingler, S. T.
McKay, John (Wallsend) Pearson, A. Sylvester, G. O.
McLeavy, Frank Peart, T. F. Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
MacMillan, M. K. (Western lsles) Popplewell, E. Taylor, John (West Lothian)
MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.) Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Mahon, S. Probert, A. R. Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)
Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Proctor, W. T. Thornton, E.
Mann, Mrs. Jean Pryde, D. J. Usborne, H. C.
Mason, Roy Randall, H. E. Viant, S. P.
Mayhew, C. P. Rankin, John Warbey, W. N.
Messer, Sir F. Rhodes, H. Weitzman, D.
Mitchison, G. R. Robens, Rt. Hon. A. Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Monslow, w. Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Moody, A. S. Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon) West, D. G.
Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.) Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.) Wheeldon, W. E.
Morrison, Rt.Hn. Herbert (Lewis'm,S.) Rogers, George (Kensington, N.) White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)
Mort, D. L. Ross, William White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Moss, R. Royle, C. Willey, Frederick
Moyle, A. Short, E. W. Williams, David (Neath)
Mulley, F. W. Silverman, Julius (Aston) Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)
Neal, Harold (Bolsover) Silverman, Sydney (Nelson) Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Oliver, G. H. Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill) Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Oram, A. E. Skeffington, A. M. Williams, W. T. (Barons Court)
Orbach, M. Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.) Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)
Oswald, T. Slater, J. (Sedgefield) Winterbottom, Richard
Owen, W. J. Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.) Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Padley, W. E. Snow, J. W. Woof, R. E.
Paling, Rt. Hon. w. (Dearne Valley) Sorensen, R. W. Yates, V. (Ladywood)
Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury) Sparks, J. A. Zilliacus, K.
Palmer, A. M. F. Steele, T.
Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.) Stewart, Michael (Fulham) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Pargiter, G. A. Stones, W. (Consett) Mr. Holmes and Mr. J. T. Price.
Parker, J. Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.
Aitken, W. T. Crouch, R. F. Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.) Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood) Harvie-Watt, Sir George
Alport, C. J. M. Currie, G. B. H. Hay, John
Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton) Dance, J. C. G. Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel
Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J. Davidson, Viscountess Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G.
Arbuthnot, John Davies, Rt.Hn.Clement(Montgomery) Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W.
Armstrong, C. W. D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)
Ashton, H. Deedes, W. F. Hill, John (S. Norfolk)
Atkins, H. E. Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA. Hinchingbrooke, Viscount
Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M. Doughty, C. J. A. Holland-Martin, C. J.
Baldwin, A. E. Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Riohmond) Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.
Bafniel, Lord Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. Horobin, Sir Ian
Barber, Anthony Duthie, W. S. Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence
Barlow, Sir John Eden, Rt. Hn. Sir A.(Warwick&L'm'tn) Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)
Barter, John Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West) Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)
Baxter, Sir Beverley Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. Howard, John (Test)
Beamish, Maj. Tufton Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewlsham, N.)
Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.) Errington, Sir Eric Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J.
Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth) Farey-Jones, F. W. Hughes-Young, M. H. C.
Bidgood, J. C. Fell, A. Hurd, A. R.
Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Finlay, Graeme Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'gh, W.)
Bishop, F. P. Fisher, Nigel Hutchison, Sir James
Body, R. F. Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F. Hyde, Montgomery
Boothby, Sir Robert Fletcher-Cooke, C. Hylton-Foster, Sir H. B. H.
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A. Freeth, D. K. Iremonger, T. L.
Boyle, Sir Edward Gammans, Sir David Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)
Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.) Gamer-Evans, E. H. Jennings, J. C. (Burton)
Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry George, J. C. (Pollok) Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)
Brooman-White, R. C. Glover, D. Johnson, Eric (Blackley)
Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton) Gomme-Duncan, Col. Sir Aian Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)
Bryan, P. Gough, C. F. H. Jones, Rt. Hon. Aubrey (Hall Green)
Bullus, Wing Commander E. E. Craham, Sir Fergus Joseph, Capt. Sir Keith SinJohn
Butcher, Sir Herbert Grant, W. (Woodside) Joynson-Hicks, Sir Leonard
Butler, Rt. Hn.R.A.(Saffron Walden) Grant-Ferris, Wg.Cdr. R.(Nantwich) Keegan, D.
Campbell, Sir David Green, A. Kerby, Capt. H. B.
Carr, Robert Gresham Cooke, R. Kerr, H. W.
Cary, Sir Robert Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury) Kershaw, J. A.
Channon, H. Gurden, Harold Kirk, P. M.
Chichester-Clark, R. Hall, John (Wycombe) Lagden, G. W.
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Hare, Rt. Hon. J. H. Lambert, Hon. C.
Conant, Maj. Sir Roger Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Lambton, Viscount
Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert Harris, Reader (Heston) Langford-Holt, J. A.
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon) Leather, E. H. C.
Corfield, Capt. F. V. Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) Leavey, J. A.
Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfd) Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.) Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)
Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.) Nutting, Rt. Hon. Anthony Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard
Lindsay, Martin (Solihull) Oakshott, H. D. Stevens, Geoffrey
Linstead, Sir H. N. O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co.Antrim,N.) Steward, Harold (Stockport, S)
Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.) Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D. Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)
Longden, Gilbert Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Stoddart-Scott, Col- M.
Low, Rt. Hon. A. R. W. Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.) Storey, S.
Lucas, P. B. (Brentford & Chiswick) Page, R. G. Summers, G. S. (Aylesbury)
Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Pannell, N. A. (Kikdale) Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington)
Macdonald, Sir Peter Partridge, E. Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry Peyton, J. W. W. Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
MoKibbin, A. J. Pickthorn, K. W. M. Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)
Mackie, J. H. (Galloway) Pitman, I. J. Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
McLaughlin, Mrs. P. Pitt, Miss E. M. Thompson, Lt.-Cdr.R.(Croydon, S.)
McLean, Neil (Inverness) Pott, H. P. Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.
Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.) Powell, J. Enoch Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)
Maddan, Martin Price, David (Eastleigh) Touche, Sir Gordon
Maitland, Cdr. J. F. w. (Horncastle) Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L. Turner, H. F. L.
Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark) Raikes, Sir Victor Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Manningham-Buller Rt. Hn. Sir R. Ramsden, J. E. Vane, W. M. F.
Markham, Major Sir Frank Rawlinson, Peter Vickers, Miss J. H.
Marlowe, A. A. H. Redmayne, M. Vosper, D. F.
Marples, A. E. Remnant, Hon. P. Wade, D. W.
Marshall, Douglas Renton, D. L. M. Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Matthew, R. Ridsdale, J E. Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)
Mawby, R. L. Rippon, A. G. F. Walker-Smith, D. C.
Maydon, Lt.-Comdr, S. L. C. Robertson, Sir David Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)
Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R. Robson-Brown, W. Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)
Molson, A. H. E. Roper, Sir Harold Webbe, Sir H.
Morrison, John (Salisbury) Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard Whitelaw, W.S.I.(Penrith & Border)
Nabarro, G. D. N. Soholefield, Lt.-Col. W. Wills, C. (Bridgwater)
Nairn, D. L. S. Scott-Miller, Cdr. R. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Neave, Airey Sharpies, R. C. Wood, Hon. R.
Nicholls, Harmar Shepherd, William Woollam, John Victor
Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham) Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.) Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th,E.&Chr'ch) Soames, Capt. C.
Nield, Basil (Chester) Spearman, A. C. M. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Noble, Comdr. A. H. P. Spence, H. R. (Aberdeen, w.) Mr. Studholme and Mr. Godber
Nugent, G. R. H. Spens, Rt. Hn. Sir P. (Kens'gt'n, S.)
Mr. Bevan

I beg to move., in page 1, line 8, at the end to insert: (not being such a new dwelling as is mentioned in subsection (8) of this section). I am doing so in order to try to obtain from the Government a rather different reply from the one which we had in Committee. I think that hon. Members who were present on that occasion will recall that the proposal contained in this Amendment had support from representatives of the Liberal Party and from representatives of the party opposite. We are therefore encouraged to believe—or to hope, because perhaps "believe" is rather too strong a term—that in the meantime the Government have had second thoughts and will be prepared to make a concession on this occasion.

The purpose of the Amendment is to try to obtain an increase in the number of houses provided for aged persons, and to that end to try to get the existing Exchequer contribution made in respect of them. In Committee, the Parliamentary Secretary, answering our case, said: When one sets out to concentrate upon a particular purpose and establishes to that end one or, at most, two priorities, for every additional purpose one brings in and treats on the same footing, one weakens one's chance of achieving the primary aim and weakens the speed with which it will be arrived at. Every additional form of need which, under the Bill, is given a special subsidy reduces the emphasis upon the main purposes of the Bill."— [OFFICIAL REPORT, 25th January, 1956; Vol. 54S, c. 270.] When he was asked what the main purposes of the Bill were he answered, "Overspill and slum clearance." We have therefore already had from the spokesman of the Government an admission that in certain instances it is necessary to provide additional subsidies in order to get certain priorities established, and the priorities in the mind of the Government are overspill and slum clearance.

I am not going to repeat what has been said before, that the main purpose of the Bill, of course, is to reduce State expenditure on houses, to reduce the number of houses built by local authorities. I am also not going to repeat the established fact that if there had been no such Bill as many, and probably more, slum clearances would have been undertaken. Therefore, I am not accepting in that quotation the assumption that the purpose of the Bill is to deal with overspill and to produce more slum clearance.

I accept the argument, however, that the Government have a conception of priorities, and that, having decided to reduce and subsequently to abolish State subsidies on houses, they have come to the conclusion that that generally must be modified in two respects—one overspill and the other slum clearance. I am asking the Government to modify it in a third respect, and I think a very important one indeed.

I think very few people would deny— at least those who have spent any time studying the problem—that the difficulty of providing for aged persons is one of the central problems of civilisation.

Sir Frederick Messer (Tottenham)

Especially in this country.

8.0 p.m.

Mr. Bevan

Especially in this country.

Medical arts and sciences, thank goodness, are now able to prolong life; the average age of the population is rising; the number of people in the upper age groups increases. At the same time as that has been happening there has been a revolutionary change in the composition of the family. Whereas until quite recently the family would include grandfather, grandmother and grandchildren, all living under the same roof, today the family has completely changed.

When we speak of providing houses for families today, we find that the whole meaning of the term has undergone such a change that, as it is used today, it would not have been recognised in the early days of the nineteenth century. Then "family" would embrace far more relatives than it does today. Today when we speak of "family" we speak only of father, mother and children. I am not criticising that, but merely recording it as a fact that in modern society the family unit is entirely different from what it was. Therefore, it has been accepted that the State steps in to perform many of the functions for the old people which formerly were performed by the children.

Not only that, but the physical structure of the house has changed, and is nothing like it used to be. There is not as much room nowadays for all the various members of the family to live under one roof if grandfather, grandmother and grandchildren are taken in as well. In the Western world, particularly in this country, the care of old people has become a very special problem. As I said in Committee, and do not mind repeating now, it has been exacerbated by the emphasis the Government have laid on the provision of smaller houses, smaller not in the sense of fewer bedrooms, but of less cubic capacity and less superficial area.

The Parliamentary Secretary taunted me in Committee with the argument that I seemed to be assuming that people would be living in the halls of houses. He does not seem to realise that if the superficial area of the house is reduced, less space is provided for things such as coal scuttles, brushes and perambulators, and they have to be taken into the rooms in which people live. More than 80 per cent. of the houses which are being built now have less superficial area than those built before. That adds to the problem quite considerably.

There used to be an idea that the right thing to do with old people was to provide separate old people's colonies. I have spoken about this before, and I do not want to add very much to it now. We have replaced that idea by the notion that old people's houses must be provided as much as possible where all the other age-groups of the population live. I do not want to mention actual names, but the so-called philanthropic idea that little villages ought to be built in which old people could live out the end of then-days is in my opinion anti-social and cruel. It is absolutely essential that old people should be able to see around them the full kaleidoscope of social life.

Therefore, local authorities were urged—I urged them on many occasions—to make provision on their housing estates for old people's houses. Quite often the same sort of house which old people would require and in which they would not have to climb many steps, would be the same sort of house as that occupied by paraplegics. One can go around the country and see where local authorities, in a considerable number of cases, have rounded off corners of streets and provided little places where one sees old people going in, where also ex-Service men who have been paralysed and also other paraplegics who, as a result of poliomyelitis and accidents in industry, can wheel themselves into bungalows or the ground floor of flats without any unnecessary exertion.

There is a cross-section of the population which has first claim on a community which regards itself as civilised—old persons, invalids and paraplegics. I should have thought it ought to have been one of the principal aims of Government policy to try to induce local authorities to make as much provision as possible for persons in those classes. I therefore consider that in the order of priorities that sort of house should occupy a place equal to that of provision for slum clearance and overspill. In fact I would go as far as to say that in some respects it should be even ahead of slums because when we have full employment and better wages the slum is not so slummy as it was.

The slum is very often a sign of underpayment and under-employment. I could take hon. Members to rural villages in Great Britain where cottages are being occupied which on any normal test before the war should have been pulled down: but, because they are occupied by persons of comfortable incomes, are habitable. We all know that many have been rescued from dereliction by persons who have taken them as weekend cottages. Some members of the farming industry make quite a considerable amount of money by reconditioning those cottages and selling them at high prices with vacant possession. If the ordinary farm worker occupied them they would be slums, but when people with comparatively good incomes occupy them they are all right.

This is not a defence of the continuation of slums. I do not want to be taunted with that. I am merely pointing out that, in the case of slums, whereas before the war they would occupy the highest possible priority, that priority is modified by the fact that in conditions of full employment they are not so intolerable as they were. I would lift this category of old persons and paraplegics to a higher position, and say that if the Government are to advance public money in order to induce local authorities to build houses for certain purposes, old people should come very high on the list.

I advance another argument, which I put forward in Committee. I do not apologise for doing so again. It is a very serious argument. The Government have just received a Report from the Guillebaud Committee. That Report recommends that a very large amount of additional money should be spent on hospitals. Everyone who knows this problem knows that a very considerable amount of money would be saved every year if some of the old hospitals were pulled down and modern hospitals put in their place. Large numbers of staff are employed in those old hospitals scrubbing stone floors and long corridors and doing all kinds of work which would be absolutely unnecessary in a hospital designed on modern lines.

A large number of nurses and other staff are employed in looking after old people. It is a fact which is being established more and more that if old people could be kept active for as long as possible many hospital beds occupied by old people would be freed. I think that is absolutely undeniable.

Many local authorities have made provision for old persons, but I know of many authorities which have made no provision at all. I could take the Parliamentary Secretary to the areas of many housing authorities in Great Britain which have not built a single house for old people. I think that is a grave dereliction of duty. I mention it here in order to give as much publicity as possible to the fact; but when local authorities are faced with long lists of applicants for houses they are always inclined to build the sort of houses which will give the greatest relief to the housing lists. The building of houses for old people does not in fact make the most impact upon the waiting lists.

As I have said before, when we build a house for old people we provide accommodation for only one or two persons, whereas when we build a bigger house we provide accommodation for four, five or six. Therefore, a local authority is sometimes inclined to build houses which will give it the most relief from applicants for houses. It seems to me that on financial and humanitarian grounds there is a good case for arguing that if it is right that the Government should modify their programme in respect of overspill and slums, they should also modify it in respect of old people's houses.

The Parliamentary Secretary tried to defend himself by saying, "If we give way here and make this additional modification, where do we stop?" The answer is, of course, that the hon. Member can stop where he likes. It is not really a good argument at all. It is within his power to stop. If he starts running, he does not need to go on running all the time. Because he makes one concession there is no reason why he should make more, unless he wants to do so. It is a weak argument to say, "If we agree in this case, others will come along and say: You have given this, why not give us the same?" Of course they will do so.

Anyone with any experience of Government knows what to do about that. We say that the Government have stopped too early, and that, having made modifications about slums and overspill, they ought to have made similar modifications about old people's houses. One of the great advantages of providing old people's houses on modern housing estates is the fact that very often these houses are near the homes of their own children.

As we all know, the home visiting service of a local authority is very expensive. Therefore, nothing is better from the social point of view, and nothing cheaper from a national point of view, than to have houses so near that the children can call and see their parents from time to time. That is the whole point. If we have them too far away, then we find that the old people cannot be visited by their children, and sick visitors have to be appointed to visit them. The difficulty is that when old people continue to live in overcrowded houses, there is a natural disposition on the part of their children to get the old people into hospital as soon as possible.

Sir F. Messer

Or welfare homes.

Mr. Bevan

In one of the emergency hospital exchanges I have listened to messages coming through, and I have heard over and over again conversations with a general practitioner in which it is said, "The daughter wants her mother to be taken to hospital". Quite often that happens because there is gross overcrowding. We know that there is nothing more miserable than having to nurse old people in the midst of overcrowded conditions, where the old people themselves are led to believe that they are not wanted. Acrimonious personal relationships are brought about, and a family life which ought to end in amity, mutual regard and kindness is sometimes destroyed by acrimony and bitterness.

Therefore, I would say that here is a particular case in which a local authority should have every encouragement to establish the sort of houses which would give the most relief to this section of the community. If I had been the Minister this reduction in the housing subsidy would not have been made. This is the one single reduction which I should have resisted, because I know from my own experience, both as a Minister and otherwise, that this is one of the central problems in modern society which is most likely to be neglected, and is one to which the Government ought to give their attention.

8.15 p.m.

Sir F. Messer

Of all the Amendments which have appeared on the Order Paper this is perhaps the one with the deepest social implications. This is a question from which many consequences grow. I remember that some years ago a committee was set up under the chairmanship of Mr. Seebohm Rowntree to investigate the housing of old people. That committee came to the conclusion that the main single issue which affected not only old people but also their relatives was the housing of old people. What my right hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) has said is quite true, that there was a reception of the idea years ago that young people should care for the old people—that the grandfather and grandmother should stay usually with the eldest son who had the largest family. Experience has taught us that that is wrong for many reasons.

One reason is that old and young psychology does not mix. Every one knows that it is a nice thing for grandparents to see their grandchildren. Indeed, when grandchildren visit their grandparents it is the happiest day in the grandparents' lives. The only thing that is happier is when they go home again. We can endure certain things for part of the time, but not for all the time. I remember presiding over a conference when the question was addressed to me, "Why is it that someone who in middle age was sweet and good tempered has developed such bitterness in old age living with their relatives?" It is not difficult to understand why. One who was at one time the senior authority in the home has been dispossessed. Now the decisions for the running of the home are on other shoulders. It is a good thing when there are just husband and wife and perhaps one child, but when many children are there it is a state of unhappiness. I will not argue that there are not exceptions to this.

My point is that old people may very well be a reason for congestion in housing, and in that congestion we get a condition which has been described as a slum condition for no other reason than that it is congestion. If this Amendment were accepted and, as a consequence, it would be possible to rehouse old people, we should find two things happen. One is that the congestion would be reduced because there was less priority in that case for rehousing, and the other would be an economic consequence. Young people, alas, especially if both of them are working, find it impossible to give the attention that is required.

Here is the difficulty. The old persons are not ill. They are not suffering from any specific disease, they are not hospital cases. Sometimes they get into hospital by a cute general practitioner describing a condition that appears or sounds alarming over the telephone but is really simply physical debilitation and mental weakness. There are many old people in hospital today who have been admitted into an observation ward and, once in that observation ward, have not gone back to their homes. They have remained in hospital although there is no real disease.

The economic point is that in hospital it may cost up to £20 to keep a patient. It would be cheaper if these people were kept in an ordinary house. If they do not go to hospital, they might go to a welfare home, which again is very expensive. But apart altogether from expense, the truth is that old people have as much right to a normal life as anybody else.

That normality of life is a most important thing, and old people can have it in their flatlet or two-roomed bungalow. They do not want too many rooms, for this implies work. They do not want too much work, nor do they want other people coming in to do it for them while they can do it themselves. If the Government discourage the building of special houses for old people, the old people will be forced to live an artificial life.

We should not merely encourage length of life. The truth, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale mentioned, is that as long as it is possible to retain activity, the longer one lives. The longer a person has an interest in life, the longer he or she lives. We have no right to deny these old people that degree of happiness that they can get out of life by living their own life, getting up late in the morning when they feel like it and going early to bed, not having to conform to the regulations of the house, the home or the hospital in which they may happen to be.

From a human standpoint, there is no answer to the Amendment. I believe that from an economic standpoint there is no answer to it, for these old people must be kept. The only question is whether we will keep them decently and give them the chance to live their lives as they have the right to live them, or whether we will force them to live a life which costs us more in the long run and will not conduce either to the happiness of the old people themselves or of those with whom they live.

Mr. Barnett Janner (Leicester, North-West)

The Minister ought, in fairness, not only to the party on this side of the House but to his own party, to reconsider his decision on this matter in Committee. On a number of occasions the question of old age and the treatment of the aged sick has been raised in the House. On a number of occasions Ministers on the Government benches have stated that they are prepared to do everything they possibly can to alleviate the position.

The question of geriatrics has been raised time after time. Medical authorities and social workers have pointed out how difficult matters are at present in that the proper treatment is not available for aged persons and they are not enabled to return to their respective homes, where they would be much better off than in hospital, and when the hospitals would be saved considerable expense.

As hon. Members know, every attempt is being made to fit the aged person so that he may be able to leave hospital and return home. It is no earthly use for this type of treatment to be available —and, indeed, to be successful—if eventually the patient does not have the home to go to. I cannot see the sense of Ministers assuring the House that they are prepared to give this kind of assistance if ultimately housing is not available for the person who leaves the hospital.

We have heard this afternoon that the result will be the relief of overcrowding, but there is another issue. I do not know if the Minister, in the course of his wanderings around the country, has noticed that there is a large number of houses in which aged people occupy only a few rooms. If proper accommodation were available for the aged—if bungalows were built—those who live in these houses with a large number of rooms would not be compelled to do so. It might be said that they could let off the rest of the house or allow the landlord to do so. The truth is that old persons do not want other people hanging around their house; they do not find it easy to accommodate themselves to persons who occupy rooms in the same house. The answer might be made that that attitude is unreasonable in view of the fact that the aged persons should to some extent meet the present prevailing difficulties in general housing, but I do not think it is fair to a person who has lived in a house for many years to be asked to leave that house and obtain alternative accommodation in another house where there are people who might not be congenial.

The only way in which these people can be dispossessed under the Rent Acts is when suitable accommodation is available and it is reasonable to make an order. Suitable alternative accommodation may be available to the older people in a house of that description, but I should like to find the judge who would say that it was reasonable in those circumstances to put other tenants into a house when a man and his wife who were well on in years would not be able to tolerate the other people in the house, It is done in some cases, but I do not think that it is a reasonable thing to do. Therefore, in my view, in addition to all the other arguments which have been adduced, it would be an advantage to the country for bungalows to be provided so that those houses in which aged people are living in these conditions should be available for letting to younger people who perhaps could tolerate each other much more easily.

8.30 p.m.

I should like to go back to the emotional side of this matter, for it has an emotional side. All of us who have seen the houses and bungalows in which aged people are accommodated by local authorities feel very happy indeed not only at the surroundings in which these people find themselves but at the fact that these old people are themselves happy. I do not think that my experience has been exceptional, but I have yet to come across a case in which an elderly person who has been housed in a bungalow has complained or has wanted to go back to previous conditions.

On the contrary it is a pleasurable thing to meet the people who are accommodated in the bungalows. They have a new spirit. They feel that they are part and parcel of the neighbourhood in which they live. There is the old neighbourly feeling which they experienced in their younger days. They do not feel strange or as if they were not wanted. They know very well that their neighbours regard them as being in the same state as themselves and living in the same age and in the same circumstances. All this means that in their mellowing years these people are leading a tolerable and enjoyable life.

This matter does not involve a considerable amount of money. Indeed, if it were weighed up in hard figures against the advantages of doing otherwise, I doubt whether there would not be a balance on the right side. If a long-term view were taken of the matter, I believe that the Minister would find that in terms of the health of old people and indeed of the country's finances the advantage would be on the side of providing these bungalows. If the Minister had a talk with his colleagues and tried to find out whether this provision cannot be made on a practical basis, I am sure that he would find it advantageous to the Exchequer and certainly to the local rates.

I ask the Minister, for the sake of a little humanity, for the sake of making these people happy and of giving the younger people the opportunity of enjoying the companionship of their parents in their parents' own homes, and for the sake of the finances of the country, to reconsider his decision and to support the Amendment.

Mr. Powell

This brief debate has touched chords of experience and of sentiment which vibrate in all of us. As the hon. Member for Leicester, North-West (Mr. Janner) has said, this is a subject which cannot be discussed without emotion, since we all have personal associations which are bound up in it.

I would not disagree with either the medical or social side of the analysis with which the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) opened the debate. Indeed, I would accept his proposition that the appropriate housing of the old ought to share an equal priority with the two priorities already in the Bill to which he referred. But there are differences when we come to look at the application of these three priorities—and I now put them in a row as the three priorities. If the overspill subsidies were not available in the Bill then, because the authorities concerned have ex hypothesi not the means of pooling existing subsidies over the large numbers of anticipated houses, the work of de-congestion would be seriously imperilled.

I pointed out to the House a few hours ago that the work of slum clearance is lagging seriously at present and that in the last twelve months only about one-tenth of the houses built by local authorities have gone to this first priority purpose—equal first, but still priority—so that a differential was called for there to point the way and to give emphasis to the purpose.

When we come to the third priority the situation is different. There is already a strong financial advantage and incentive to a local authority to provide the type of house of which the old person's bungalow is representative, for while it attracts the same subsidy as any other type of house, its cost is less than two-thirds of the average normal local authority house. So that the more old people's bungalows a local authority builds, the more favourable is the relationship between its outgoings and its revenue in the housing revenue account.

There is, therefore, in the nature of things a strong financial advantage. There is the financial incentive already there in the cost structure to provide these houses. When I say that, I am not ignoring the fact that on the whole the rents of these houses will require to be fixed below the average rents of the local authority's entire stock of houses. But even when allowance has been made for that, the fact remains that the greater the propor- tion of this type of house in the total stock belonging to the local authority, the more favourable will be the ratio between its revenue and its outgoings.

Mr. Bevan

This is the argument which we had in Committee. I recognise it. If it be the case that local authorities can build more of these houses, does he think that local authorities have built as many as they could have built?

Mr. Powell

I was just coming to that point. We have no statistics of houses specifically for old persons. One therefore has to use the rather blunt instrument of the one-bedroom house as a criterion of the kind of rate at which these houses are being provided since, although the one-bedroom house is by no means exclusively an old person's house, it will be within this group that the old persons' houses will be found. If that group is relatively increasing, it is a fair assumption, and the best we can make with the material available, that the proportion of old persons' houses is increasing.

Mr. Bevan

This is an extremely blunt instrument, because a visit to London flats will show a large number of one-bedroom flats provided on the second, third and fourth floors for spinsters and bachelors. I agree that the hon. Gentleman has not got statistics, but when we know that the housing authorities have not built any houses for old people, we know that the inducements of which the hon. Gentleman speaks have not operated.

Mr. Lindgren

Before replying, will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind local authority experience that the normal cost to an authority of an old person's bungalow is two-thirds of that of the normal villa, but that the actual rent which the local authority can charge, because of the basis of income, is one-third of the rent of the normal villa? Therefore the local authority gets two-thirds of the actual cost and an income of only one-third of the rent of the normal villa. That is the problem.

Mr. Powell

I would not accept the statement of the hon. Gentleman about rent without further investigation, and I will return to the point made by the right hon. Gentleman. Of course it is true that at the best the statistics of one-bedroom houses can only be a guide, and a not very reliable one, to the production of old persons' houses, but I suggest that if one finds a sweeping increase in the proportion of one-bedroom dwellings being provided, it is a reasonable assumption, in default of any evidence to the contrary, that the provision of old persons' dwellings is trending upwards— I put it no more strongly than that.

In fact, the upward trend in one-bedroom dwellings is very marked. Of the total number of houses built since the war, 7½per cent. have been one-bedroom dwellings. Recent tenders, which can show the picture of the trend for the immediate future, show that that figure has gone up to 11.3 per cent., so there is a very sharp increase in the total of one-bedroom dwellings and it is reasonable to suppose that that implies an appreciable increase in the provision of such dwellings which are being occupied by old persons. That, of course, will not be so where these dwellings are in blocks of flats, but where the authorities providing them are authorities which are not building blocks of flats, many of the one-bedroom dwellings will go to old persons.

Mr. Sparks

When we talk about aged persons, the Parliamentary Secretary

should realise that many local authorities are increasing the number of one-bedroom dwellings, bungalows or flats, for transferring from their existing house a man and his wife whose children have grown up and gone away. In some cases they will be elderly people, but in others they will not be that type of aged person about whom we are now talking.

Mr. Powell

But it will still be a dwelling which in itself is suitable for the accommodation of an aged person or an aged couple. So, although I would agree with the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale that this particular form of provision has a social importance equal to that of the other two priorities in the Bill, I would say that it does not require to be provided for in the same manner by differential subsidy, because there is a financial incentive in the nature of things to the provision of this need and because the evidence which we have is such as to indicate that by and large local authorities are not falling down on their obligations in this respect.

Question put, That those words be there inserted in the Bill:—

The House divided: Ayes 207, Noes 245.

Division No. 108.] AYES [8.42 p.m.
Ainsley, J. W. Daines, P. Howell, Charles (Perry Barr)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E) Darling, George (Hillsborough) Howell, Denis (All Saints)
Alien, Scholefield (Crewe) Davies, Rt.Hn.Clement(Montgomery) Hoy, J. H.
Anderson, Frank Davies, Stephen (Merthyr) Hubbard, T. F.
Awbery, S. S. Deer, G. Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)
Baird, J. Dodds, N. N. Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)
Bartley, P. Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)
Benn, Hn. Wedgwood (Bristol, S.E.) Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Hynd, H. (Accrington)
Benson, G. Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)
Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale) Evans, Edward (Lowestoft) Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)
Blackburn, F. Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury) Irving, S. (Dartford)
Blyton, W. R. Fernyhough, E. Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.
Boardman, H. Fienburgh, W. Janner, B.
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Finch, H. J. Jeger, Mrs.Lena(Holbn & St.Pncs.S.)
Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.) Fletcher, Eric Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)
Bowles, F. G. Forman, J, C. Jones, Rt. Hn. A. Creech (Wakefield)
Boyd, T. C. Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Jones, David (The Hartlepools)
Brockway, A. F. Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N. Jones, Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Gibson, C. W. Jones, Jack (Rotherham)
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Greenwood, Anthony Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Grey, C. F. Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)
Burke, W. A. Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Kenyon, C.
Burton, Miss F. E. Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Griffiths, William (Exchange) King, Dr. H. M.
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Hale, Leslie Lawson, G. M.
Carmichael, J. Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Ledger, R. J.
Castle, Mrs. B. A. Hamilton, W. W. Lee, Frederick (Newton)
Champion, A. J. Hannan, W. Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)
Chapman, W. D. Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.) Lewis, Arthur
Clunie, J. Hayman, F. H. Lindgren, G. S.
Coldrick W. Healey, Denis Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.
Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead) Herbison, Miss M. Logan, D. G.
Cove, W. G. Hewitson, Capt. M. Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Hobson, C. R. MacColl, J. E.
Cronin, J. D. Holman, P. McGhee, H. G.
Crossman, R. H. S. Holmes, Horace McGovern, J.
Culien, Mrs. A. Houghton, Douglas McInnes, J.
McKay, John (Wallsend) Paton, J, Swingler, S. T.
McLeavy, Frank Peart, T. F. Sylvester, G. 0.
MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles) Popplewell, E. Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Mahon, S. Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.) Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Probert, A. R. Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)
Mann, Mrs. Jean Proctor, W. T. Thornton, E.
Mason, Roy Pryde, D. J. Usborne, H. C.
Mayhew, C. P. Randall, H. E, Viant, S. P.
Messer, Sir F. Rankin, John Wade, D. W.
Mitchison, G. R. Rhodes, H. Warbey, W. N.
Monslow, W. Robens, Rt. Hon. A. Weitzman, D.
Moody, A. S. Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.) Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon) Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Morrison,Rt.Hn.Herbert(Lewis'm,S.) Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.) West, D. G.
Mort, D. L. Rogers, George (Kensington, H.) Wheeldon, W. E.
Moss, R. Ross, William White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)
Moyle, A. Royle, C. White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Mulley, F. W. Short, E. W. Willey, Frederick
Neal, Harold (Bolsover) Silverman, Julius (Aston) Williams, David (Neath)
Oliver, G. H. Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill) Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)
Oram, A. E. Skeffington, A. M. Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Orbach, M. Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.) Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Oswald, T. Slater, J. (Sedgefield) Williams, W. T. (Barons Court)
Owen, W. J. Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.) Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)
Padley W. E. Snow, J. W. Winterbottom, Richard
Paling, Rt. Hon. w. (Dearne Yalley) Sorensen, R. W. Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury) Sparks, J. A. Woof, R. E.
Palmer, A. M, F. Steele, T. Yates, V. (Ladywood)
Panned, Charles (Leeds, W.) Stewart, Michael (Fulham) Zilliacus, K.
Pargiter, G. A. Stones, W. (Consett)
Parker, J. Strachey, Rt. Hon. J. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Parkin, B. T. Stross,Dr.Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent,C.) Mr. Pearson and Mr. James Johnson
Aitken, W. T. Currie, G. B. H. Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G.
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, s.) Dance, J. C. G. Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W.
Alport, C. J. M. Davidson, Viscountess Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)
Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton) D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Hill, John (S. Norfolk)
Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J. Deedes, W. F. Hinchingbrooke, Viscount
Arbuthnot, John Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA. Holland-Martin, C. J.
Armstrong, C. W. Doughty, C. J. A. Hornsby-Smlth, Miss M. P.
Ashton, H. Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond) Horobin, Sir Ian
Atkins, H. E. Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence
Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M. Duthie, W. S. Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)
Balniel, Lord Eden.Rt.Kn.SirA.fWarwIck&L'm'tn) Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)
Barber, Anthony Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West) Howard, John (Test)
Barlow, Sir John Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)
Barter, John Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J.
Baxter, Sir Beverley Errington, Sir Eric Hughes-Young, M. H. C.
Beamish, Maj. Tufton Farey-Jones, F. W. Hurd, A. R.
Bell, Ronald (Bucks, s.) Fell, A. Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'gh.W.)
Bennett, F. M. (Torquay) Finlay, Graeme Hutchison, Sir James
Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth) Fisher, Nigel Hyde, Montgomery
Bidgood, J. C. Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F. Hylton-Foster, Sir H. B. H.
Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Fletcher-Cooke, C. Iremonger, T. L.
Bishop, F. P- Freeth, D. K. Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)
Body, R. F. Gammans, Sir David Jennings, J. C. (Burton)
Boothby, Sir Robert Garner-Evans, E. H. Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A, George, J. C. (Pollok) Johnson, Eric (Blaokley)
Boyle, Sir Edward Glover, D. Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)
Bralthwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.) Gomme-Duncan, Col. Sir Aian Jones, Rt. Hon. Aubrey (Hall Green)
Brooke, Rt Hon. Henry Cough, C. F. H. Joseph, Capt. Sir Keith Sinjohn
Brooman-White, R. C. Graham, Sir Fergus Joynson-Hicks, Hon. Sir Lanoelot
Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton) Grant, W. (Woodside) Keegan, D.
Bryan, P. Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich) Kerby, Capt. H. B.
Bullus, Wing Commander E. E. Green, A. Kerr, H. W.
Burden, F. F. A. Gresham Cooke, R. Kershaw, J. A.
Butcher, Sir Herbert Crimston, Sir Robert (Westbury) Kirk, P. M.
Butler, Rt. Hn. R.A.(Saffron Walden) Gurden, Harold Lagden, G. W.
Campbell, Sir David Hall, John (Wycombe) Lambert, Hon. G.
Carr, Robert Hare, Rt. Hon. J. H. Lambton, Viscount
Cary, Sir Robert Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Langford-Holt, J. A.
Channon, H. Harris, Reader (Heston) Leather, E. H. C.
Chichester-Clark, R.
Clarke, Brig, Terence (Portsmth, W.) Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon) Leavey, J. A.
Conant, Maj. Sir Roger Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfd) Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)
Corfield, Capt. F. V Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.) Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)
Craddock, Beresford (Spelthome) Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.) Lindsay, Martin (Solihull)
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Harvie-Watt, Sir George Linstead, Sir H. N.
Crouch, R. F. Hay, John Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)
Crowder, Petre (Ruislip-Northwood) Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Longden, Gilbert
Low, Rt. Hon. A. R. W. O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.) Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard
Lucas, p. B. (Brentford & Chiswick) Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D. Stevens, Geoffrey
Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Macdonald, Sir Peter Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.) Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)
Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry Page, R. G. Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
McKibbin, A. J. Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale) Storey, S.
Mackie, J. H. (Galloway) Partridge, E. Summers, G. S. (Aylesbury)
McLaughlin, Mrs. P. Peyton, J. W. W. Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington)
McLean, Neil (Inverness) Pickthorn, K. W. M. Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.) Pitman, I. J. Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Maddan, Martin Pitt, Miss E. M. Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)
Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W. (Hornoastle) Pott, H. P. Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark) Powell, J. Enoch Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, S.)
Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R. Price, David (Eastleigh) Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.
Markham, Major Sir Frank Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L. Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)
Marlowe, A. A. H. Raikes, Sir Victor Touche, Sir Gordon
Marples, A. E. Ramsden, J. E. Turner, H. F. L.
Marshall, Douglas Rawlinson, Peter Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Mathew, R. Redmayne, M. Vane, W. M. F.
Mawby, R. L. Remnant, Hon. P. Vickers, Miss J. H.
Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C. Ronton, D. L. M. Vosper, D. F.
Medlicott, Sir Frank Ridsdale, J. E. Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Mllligan, Rt. Hon. W. R. Rippon, A. G. F. Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)
Molson, A. H. E. Robertson, Sir David Walker-Smith, D. C.
Morrison, John (Salisbury) Robson-Brown, W. Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)
Nabarro, G. D. N. Roper, Sir Harold Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)
Nairn, D. L. S. Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard Webbe, Sir H.
Neave, Airey Schofield, Lt.-Col. W. Whitelaw, W. S. I. (Penrith&Border)
Nicholls, Harmar Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R. Wills, G. (Bridgwater)
Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham) Sharples, R. C. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E & Chr'ch) Shepherd, William Wood, Hon. R.
Nield, Basil (Chester) Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.) Woollam, John Victor
Noble, Comdr. A. H. P. Spearman, A. C. M. Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Nugent, G. R. H. Spence, H. R. (Aberdeen, W.)
Oakshott, H. D. Spens, Rt. Hn. Sir P. (Kens'gt'n, S.) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Mr. Studhoime and Mr. Godber.

Question put and agreed to.

Mr. Powell

I beg to move, in page 2, line 3, at the end to insert: and where on approving any authorised arrangements made on or after the said third day of November, the Minister is satisfied that the substantial effect of those arrangements had been agreed between the parties before that day, those arrangements shall be deemed for the purposes of this subsection to have been made before that day. As the Clause is at present drafted, the material event which determines whether a house will attract the old or the new rate of subsidy is, in the case of a local authority house, the acceptance of a tender by a formal resolution of the local authority and, in the case of a house built by a development corporation or housing association, the making of arrangements with the local authority. The making of such arrangements is the last event in a long series, and is preceded by the giving of the Minister's approval. Before the Minister's approval is sought a tender has normally been obtained and approved. The effect of the Clause as at present worded, therefore, would be unfair to development corporations or housing associations, because it would exclude houses which are, so to speak, at a stage of incubation which would include them were they local authority houses. The Amendment puts that matter right.

Mr. Mitchison

We agree that it is something to remark upon that the Government can make even this small concession to impersonal bodies. I only hope that the Chancellor will not unduly punish the Parliamentary Secretary.

Amendment agreed to.