HC Deb 31 January 1956 vol 548 cc761-805

3.33 p.m.

Mr. James MacColl (Widnes)

I beg to move, in page 1, line 8, at the end to insert: (other than the new dwellings mentioned in subsection (15) of this section)

The Chairman

I think it would be for the convenience of the Committee to discuss at the same time the following Amendment, in line 8, and the second and third Amendments in page 1155 of the Notice Paper.

Mr. MacColl

I think it will be for the convenience of the Committee to follow your advice, Sir Charles, and to discuss the Amendments together, but I propose to confine my attention to the Amendment I have moved and the first of the two Amendments in page 2, line 20, in the names of some of my hon. Friends and myself, which gives a detailed account of what the Amendment is about. The other group of Amendments deals with the closely associated problem of areas of extensive war damage. The point with which I want to deal is the more general one of what is commonly known as blighted areas.

The Amendment, although rather technical, is of great importance. In fact, it goes right to the root of the intentions of the Bill. So far, we have been discussing various ways in which we think the scope of the Bill ought to have been widened. It ought to have included houses provided for old people, houses provided for agricultural workers, and so on. The Amendment accepts the assumption behind the Bill that it is concerned broadly with slum clearance and with the attempt to get rid of bad areas of property. It endeavours to persuade the Government to widen the definition of "slum" to be more in line with modern ideas of what is required when getting rid of obsolete property.

When I read the Bill and saw the Government's definition of "slum" in Clause 11, I thought I understood what had happened. I imagined the Minister, with his advisers, trying to compile the Bill and reaching the decision that what they were trying to do was to give a subsidy for slum clearance as defined in the Housing Acts. Then, I imagined the right hon. Gentleman's advisers saying to him, "What do you want to do about town and country planning?" One could understand the reaction of the right hon. Gentleman as being something like saying, "Oh, you mean Silkin and all that. We do not want to have anything to do with it. We do not want anything of that sort." I hope to address my argument to the Minister on that basis.

I have noticed, however, that since the Bill was published the Minister has tabled an official Amendment to Clause 11, which I should not be in order in discussing at this stage, which, so far from extending the definition of "slum," narrows it and puts back the clock 20 years. My arguments, therefore, might have been irrelevant to the right hon. Gentleman's state of mind. He is apparently now so narrow in argument and so lacks any appreciation of what slum clearance is all about that he is actually going in the wrong direction instead of being led gently along in the direction in which I hope to lead him. I should, therefore, like to detain the Committee for a moment or two to indicate the development of the practice of clearing away obsolete areas.

The definition of "slum" in the normal use of the word for an unfit house in a clearance area, which is to be found in the Housing Acts, goes back at least to the Torrens Act of 1868 and is based wholly on the danger or injury to health. The test which has been applied is the very narrow test of whether a medical officer of health can represent a house or group of houses as being dangerous or injurious to health. That test, which is a purely physical test, was found to be inadequate for the purpose as long ago as 1935, and in the Housing Bill, 1935, the definition was extended to cover what was then known as a development area—that is to say, an area of property which was not simply injurious to health but which was overcrowded and which because of its general arrangement required to be demolished and rebuilt. In the Bill that is the existing definition of a slum.

In the 1944 Town and Country Planning Act, however, which was passed not by the Labour Government but by the Coalition Government, a new conception was introduced. Again, it extended the definition of unfit property, and there became known generally what were termed blighted areas: that is, areas which were not simply dangerous to health or overcrowded, but which, in the words of Section 9 (1) of the 1944 Act, because of conditions of bad lay-out and obsolete development…should be laid out afresh and re-developed as a whole. That is the clue to the whole argument.

If we are to tackle the problem of bad housing and bad properties generally, an essential part of the procedure is to lay out an area as a whole and to re-develop it. That conception, which was introduced in the Town and Country Planning Act, 1944 and continued in the Labour Government's Town and Country Planning Act, 1947, has been widely adopted by local authorities and has been accepted as part of development plans by planning authorities. It is that which we are seeking to introduce in the Bill.

We do it with considerable support from hon. Members opposite, because there is a further Amendment on the Notice Paper, to Clause 11, page 8, line 32, in the names of the hon. Member for Dulwich (Mr. Robert Jenkins), the hon. and gallant Member for Rochdale (Lieut.-Colonel Schofield), the hon. Member for Oldham, East (Sir I. Horobin) and the hon. Member for Solihull (Mr. M. Lindsay), all members of the party opposite. That Amendment is very much on the lines of ours. I certainly hope that later in the debate we shall have their support. [HON. MEMBERS: "Where are they?"] I would hazard a guess that they are so ashamed that they are not proposing to put in an appearance in these discussions. On the whole, next to a formal act of suicide, the most reasonable thing that they can do is to keep out of the Chamber altogether while this really shocking Bill is being carried through.

The people have accepted from the Government the idea that the Bill is to advance slum clearance but, of course, that is a very misleading statement unless we are told what is meant by a slum. When the public talk about slum clearance they do not think of it in terms of any narrow, medical definition but in terms of getting rid of bad property. I found two definitions of slums in the dictionary. The first was: A street alley court etc. situated in a crowded district of a town or city and inhabited by people of a low class or by the very poor; a number of these streets or courts forming a thickly populated neighbourhood or district of a squalid and wretched character. In other words, the emphasis is on overcrowding, thick population and on the squalid and wretched character of the whole area. Another definition seems to be more strictly associated with the Government. It is: Nonsensical talk or writing; gammon, blarney. However, I do not think that that is probably the one the Government had in mind when they made these proposals.

I can imagine that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, who, presumably, will be offered as a lamb to the slaughter, as usual, to make a lame reply to the Amendment, will say that, of course, there is nothing to stop local authorities who want to redevelop and rebuild the whole area from doing so. He will probably say that there is nothing in the Bill to forbid it. That is typical of the kind of arguments which we have had recently from the Parliamentary Secretary.

I have had feelings of considerable sympathy for the hon. Gentleman since he reached the Front Bench. The hon. Gentleman used to make many contributions to our discussions about housing. They were speeches which were hardly impregnated with uncontrolled gaiety but they had a cold, ruthless if rather superficial logic about them. But nobody can accuse the hon. Gentleman of logic since he reached the Front Bench. He has used three quite inconsistent arguments in defence of the Bill.

When anybody says that the trouble about the Bill is that it will cut out any housing activity except his definition of slum clearance, the hon. Gentleman says, "No, because the loss of these subsidies will not matter at all. It will be spread over pooled rents and the local authorities will hardly notice any change. It will be just what they did before. There is no reason for agricultural workers and old people to get worried at all. "When the hon. Gentleman is called upon to make a great defence of slum clearance he says that the "concentrated object" is slum clearance and that everything else must be thrown aside in order to concentrate. If the Bill works better than has the Housing Repairs and Rents Act, obviously the effect must be to cut down any form of building except slum clearance.

3.45 p.m.

When the hon. Gentleman finds that he is in a corner and neither of these two completely conflicting arguments will meet the case, he prays in aid the discretionary powers of the Minister and says, "You need not worry about the contents of the Bill. The Minister will be able to dole out subsidies at his absolute discretion and it does not matter what is in the Bill." I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman intends to employ any of those arguments in meeting the Amendment.

Authorities faced with the problem of redeveloping their towns will be able to act only in the narrow field of unfit property within the meaning of the Housing Act, 1936. They will not be able to take a wider view and carry out decent planning and rebuilding of their areas on a scale which will make a notable improvement in the sphere of their responsibilities. This problem has arisen already in the case of a number of authorities. I would quote two only as an illustration, because they concern two different types of authorities.

One is the case of the East Kilburn development scheme, in Willesden, which was quoted by my hon. Friend the Member for Willesden, West (Mr. Viant) on Second Reading. In that case the specific question was put to the Minister, "Will this kind of work which Willesden Council has been doing in redeveloping rank for subsidy? Will houses provided for rehousing people in that area rank for subsidy?" The Minister made a perfectly categorical and plain statement that it would not rank for subsidy, in so far as he said in a letter to my hon. Friend the Member for Willesden, West that the authority must deal with the houses under the Housing Act, …either as a redevelopment area or as a piece of slum clearance. But from what I gather of the right hon. Gentleman's intentions, if his Amendment is to be taken seriously, that letter is misleading, because he is to cut out redevelopment from subsidy and contribute it only to slum clearance. That is an illustration of a particular practical problem of a certain local authority.

There is another case in the City of Coventry, where there are two schemes. In the one case the area is primarily a housing scheme mainly consisting of overcrowded and unfit property. In that case, as the Bill stands, it is possible to clear the people from the area and collect a subsidy. In the other case it will not be possible, because the other area is one which will be treated under the Town and Country Planning Acts and not under the Housing Acts. I am not sure whether even in the first case, if the Minister has his way, when the Bill is passed it will be possible to secure a subsidy.

This is not vague, frothy talk. These are actual cases where local authorities, faced with the problem of a terrible inheritance of bad, obsolete property, want to rebuild the area as a whole—?because the whole emphasis of redevelopment in terms of town and country planning is comprehensive development of the area as a whole. In other words, it is not piecemeal development where one knocks down a few houses and rebuilds them. It is a case of taking the whole area and planning and rebulding it.

Quite recently there was a very interesting illustration of this in a newspaper dealing with New York where a whole area is being taken over, bad property is being demolished and a university campus is being built. An opera house is to be built together with housing development. That kind of comprehensive, balanced development, which people who take a pride in their city want to do, is to be completely killed by this Bill. The emphasis all the time is to be on little isolated blocks of unfit property, knocking that down, rehousing the people on the periphery and leaving the area because there will not be sufficient financial support for redevelopment.

Contradictory things can and do happen. In London, where the land is extremely expensive, people are not anxious to leave sites, however small and undeveloped. We see all over London, in areas too small to be workable units, a few houses which have been knocked down and replaced by blocks of flats to rehouse the people so that the land may be used in thoroughly bad places, often sandwiched between the main road and the railway, and the people rehoused find themselves even in new flats in areas which are not really suitable for housing development.

In places where land is fairly cheap we gat the opposite. There we get failure to use the land at all because the area is so small that it is not worth building upon. I imagine that the unhappy story of what happens is within the experience of hon. Members as it is within my experience in my own constituency. The local authority, with the best will in the world, will order the demolition of two or three unfit houses. That is all it can do because the rest of the area does not come within the powers of the medical officer. These houses are knocked down and there is a ghastly mess of brick and rubble lying about, creating a resting place for dead cats and tin cans, while a long argument goes on between the council and the owner about the clearing away of the rubble. Sometimes there are threats of legal proceedings, which go on for several months. What is left is a vacant site. Houses which are rapidly deteriorating are often a potential source of trouble and financial wastage.

These are two evils which can and should be avoided if there is proper redevelopment. The Minister ought to bring pressure on the local authorities so that when they look at an area they always have in mind the thought of what is to happen if they demolish houses and what is to be created in their place.

Housing and town planning are creative, not things purely of demolition. The whole point is that we are trying to build better-looking cities, and the emphasis of the Government in this Bill is to encourage the local authorities to tackle only sites where they are to get subsidies to rehouse the people. Therefore, I beg the right hon. Gentleman to look at this problem, not just from the point of view of saving a little money, but from the point of view of encouraging a really creative attitude towards the housing sites and the overcrowded, derelict and badly-planned urban centres of many of our towns.

I should have thought that one could have expected the Government to be sympathetic to that sort of thing. I am quite prepared to believe that they are not likely to be very sympathetic to the appeals made for the old people. They are not likely to be sympathetic to the appeals made for agricultural workers. But even the Fascists believed in planning their cities and I should have thought that one could have at least expected the Government to take some pride in wanting to see new towns and new centres of our towns grow up.

I cannot understand the motive behind this proposal. It will not make a tremendous difference in terms of cost. It will leave with the local authorities the difficulty of deciding which of the Acts of Parliament on the Statute Book they should use—not new Acts of Parliament. The powers are there. They have grown up in the course of history, starting with the demolition of the single house, the clearance area and the development area. Stage by stage these powers have developed because the practical experience of the people doing the job was that they were necessary. Why now try to put the clock back?

The hon. Member for Dulwich has wide experience of local government. I know of his practical acquaintanceship with this problem and of his connection with a very powerful local authority association. From all those points of view I am convinced that he meant business when he tabled the Amendment standing in his name, the effect of which is precisely the same as mine, except that mine is probably in order and I very much doubt whether his is in order. There is some virtue in making one's protest effective, and not merely impressive on paper. Therefore, I am claiming a little credit for the Amendment standing in my name, and in being able to bring this matter before the Committee.

I suggest to the hon. Gentleman that a moral obligation lies on him to make an approach to all local authorities which have imagination and ideas of how to recreate their cities. People who really care for a creative approach to redevelopment want to see areas developed as a whole and not piecemeal. It is that kind of spirit, whether Conservative or Socialist, that we want. The Government in their unimaginative, cheeseparing, narrow attitude, are breaking people's hearts, disillusioning them and making them feel that there is no future in the work which they are trying to do.

Mrs. Lena Jeger (Holborn and St. Pancras, South)

Although I rise to support the Amendment so ably moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Widnes (Mr. MacColl), I do so with the most forlorn hope. What we are asking this afternoon is that the Minister will allow a little imaginative improvement to what is a thoroughly bad Bill. I cannot share any hope, judging the right hon. Gentleman by his previous form in debates on this disgraceful piece of legislation, that we can expect anything useful or helpful from him.

It may be that he is right. It may be that this is such a bad piece of legislation that there is nothing to be done with it but to hurry it through as quickly as possible. I think that his hon. Friends must agree with him. There are just about eleven hon. Members opposite of whom six are in some way or another connected with the Government. That leaves five passionately interested in the problem of the housing of the people of this country. I think that is a measure of the contempt in which not only hon. Members opposite but many people in this country hold this Bill.

We have put down this Amendment for two reasons. There are two main categories of housing which we feel are particularly badly treated by the Bill. I want for a moment to concentrate on the blitzed areas to which the Minister seems so strangely unsympathetic at the present time. Frankly, I cannot understand his lack of sympathy, particularly towards areas in London and other big cities which took the full blast of the war. Accordingly, I should have thought it would not have been beyond the sympathies of the right hon. Gentleman to try to help in the rebuilding of those areas which have suffered so much from the vicissitudes of the war. Yet I cannot find anywhere in the Bill, or in anything which the right hon. Gentleman has said, any intention on the part of the Government to try to help local authorities which are still burdened by the problem of making good the damage from bombardment.

4.0 p.m.

I know it is tedious constantly to use local examples, and so, for example, I will give the figures for only one district of London, and I hope the right hon. Gentleman will consider the problem seriously. When we know that in a small borough such as Holborn 650 homes were completely destroyed in the blitz, that since the war ended only 300 have been rebuilt, and that as a result of this Bill subsequent building to catch up with that war damage will not qualify for the highest rate of subsidy, we are entitled to ask from what source a local authority in the position of that of Holborn is to make up the money it will lose on that subsidy.

The right hon. Gentleman may dismiss the entire problem quickly by saying that this is a subject for the rates. In that case he is saying that the local authority which has already suffered most from the war must now, out of the pockets of its own ratepayers, make good what was a national disaster. Yet it was no fault of the people in one district that more of their homes were destroyed than the homes of other people anywhere else. I should have thought that would have been a reason for the Government to have poured help into such a district. I have looked carefully through the Bill, as have my hon. Friends, and I can conclude only that the Minister is completely unmoved and unconcerned, and is tossing back to the local authority the responsibility for clearing up the havoc and damage of the bombardment of the war years.

I should have thought that one of the few Amendments which might have been acceptable even to the Minister would have been one to allow the full rate of subsidy up to the number of homes that were destroyed in the blitz. It is very little to ask that a local authority should continue to receive the full rale of subsidy until it has at least overtaken its war damage. In the case of authorities which have been able to get on quickly, no doubt the previous procedure is all right, but for local authorities which have not been able as yet to complete a programme equivalent to the number of houses destroyed, it is a small thing to ask. I am not making a party point This is a national concern, for which there should have been a sympathetic response from the right hon. Gentleman. I hope that at least he will consider this Amendment favourably.

The other main category which we find is being neglected, and which we feel sure will cause much hardship, has been referred to as that of the "blighted areas," the near-slums which all of us in the big cities know so well. Under the present definition of a slum the qualifications which have to be fulfilled before a property can be formally represented as a slum are so strict, so narrow, that there are large numbers of dwellings which do not so qualify, although in human terminology they are slums and should be written off as slums.

Every local authority, particularly in the big cities, has a large number of such properties, which were not slums originally. Many of them were not bad buildings once upon a time, but because of multiple occupation, and the lack in them of facilities for the many families now living in them, many, perhaps, in a single building, they have been reduced to slums. I submit seriously to the right hon. Gentleman that the definition of a slum should not be narrowed to the material and architectural faults of a dwelling. What are the things that make a slum? There are all sorts of circumstances which so impinge on the lives of the human beings in such houses that they make a slum of their lives, whatever the medical officer of health says about the building in which they live.

I wonder whether hon. Gentlemen opposite have often been into the kind of houses of which I am speaking? In them a family lives in one room, washing drying above the heads of the family as they try to eat their supper, coal in a box next to the table off which they are eating, children having to move their homework off the only table because their mother wants to do the ironing. A woman living in such circumstances has to take her children out for a walk on a snowy day like today so that the husband who is on night duty can get some quiet in order to sleep. Then there is the misery of shared lavatories, of the shared tap on the landing, the shared sink, the one gas cooker in the house which many women must share. These are the everyday realities of life which build up a slum existence for families who live in those overcrowded conditions, whatever the officials of the Minister describe as a slum.

That is the biggest problem now for local authorities. What can we do for these people, many of whom come to us sick, disabled? They bring their hopeless, pathetic medical certificates which we can only pass on. Many of them are ex-Service men who are often the most bitter of all. People living in basements with rising damp come to us with their complaints. We can take their addresses, contact the medical officer of health but, time after time, we find that these dwellings are not represented as slums.

For instance, in Holborn only 36 dwellings have been represented as slums to the Minister within the present definition. I have been in touch with the right hon. Gentleman and with our medical officer of health about tenement blocks where there are living conditions which would have been a disgrace to this country 100 years ago. Yet I find that for some technicality they are just outside the definition, and for our next five year programme we can get only thirty-six dwellings considered within the terms of this Bill. Unless the Minister is prepared to be helpful on this Amendment, any other building which this councils wants to undertake to assist people living in what to any fair-minded person are disgraceful and slum conditions, will become a burden entirely for the rates—a matter which does not interest the right hon. Gentleman.

If we look a little further afield we find that the London County Council, with 165,000 families on its waiting list, of whom 50,000 are in the highest category of urgency, has a slum clearance programme for the next five years of only 18,500. What about the rest? The 50,000 families in the A category of urgency are not there on frivolous grounds. Anyone who deals day by day with these cases knows that to get into category A with the L.C.C. there has to be such a total combination of circumstances of misery that one often wonders how people can exist.

Of the 50,000 London families in A category, 18,000 will, we hope, be helped by the slum clearance proposals, but for the rest, apart from any possible consideration of the Amendment, the Minister seems to be shrugging his shoulders and throwing the problem back to the local authorities. That is very unfair not only to the thousands of families which have to live in miserable and disgraceful conditions but to the local authorities. The local authorities which comprise a majority of people who are interested in these things and have some social conscience will spend the most money and make the greatest effort.

However, for the local authority whose main preoccupation is to keep down the rates and who does not show great interest in the welfare of its people, the Minister is providing a wonderful alibi. We have already read reports in the Press about local authorities who have said that they will not continue council house building. If the financing of council house building is to be left entirely to local authorities, the Minister will be putting such irresponsible authorities in a position where they can justifiably take that stand.

By the terms of the Bill, the local authority which wants to take a broad and hopeful view of its responsibilities, which will want to clear not only the tiny proportion of slums which passes through the very fine sieve of the present definition, but will want to clear its near-slums and build worthy homes for people living in difficult and overcrowded conditions, will get no help from the Minister.

It is because we feel that there are local authorities, in areas where there was a great deal of war-damage, which, out of considerations of ordinary humanity and decency, want in their rebuilding programmes to go further than deal merely with the actual slums, that my hon. Friends and I have put forward our Amendment. It is all too little to ask, but it provides at least some small opportunity in the midst of a thoroughly bad Bill to encourage local authorities to do a little towards the re-housing of people in their areas in a worthy and dignified way.

Without the Amendment, the Bill is a naked example of the Tory attitude towards the housing of our people. I cannot think why my hon. Friends and I are trying to help hon. Gentlemen opposite, but for the sake of the people who will be suffering as a result of the Bill, we felt that our Amendment should receive the serious consideration of the Minister and his hon. Friends. I very much hope that such consideration will be given to the Amendment, for it provides an opportunity for the right hon. Gentleman to show that he is not completely indifferent to the fate of people whose homes were bombed and who are living in circumstances which are a disgrace to the country.

4.15 p.m.

Dr. Horace King (Southampton, Itchen)

I support the plea that the Minister should maintain subsidies in respect of blitzed towns. While the Opposition is fundamentally opposed to the Bill, I would appeal to the Minister in a non-party way and plead the case of the blitzed towns as, incidentally, I did in my maiden speech in the House six years ago, for I believe their special case to be unanswerable and irresistible.

Unlike my hon. Friend the Member for Holborn and St. Pancras, South (Mrs. L. Jeger), I am a little encouraged by the sympathy which the Minister showed late last year when he promised to look into the question of prefabricated houses. If I speak particularly about Southampton today, all that I have to say goes for Plymouth, Coventry, Liverpool, Hull, West Ham, many other London boroughs, and, indeed, the City of London itself.

Our general case is simply that on every aspect of post-war development the blitzed city starts not from scratch, but under a handicap. Because of lost rates due to the destruction of factories and houses, and the damage done to local economic life, the blitzed towns are behind the rest of the country in dealing with their problems. It is double burden of the rate finance of a blitzed city and the housing programme of a blitzed city which the Amendment seeks to alleviate.

I will illustrate this with reference to Southampton's figures. Southampton thinks itself to be a good housing authority. It built 4,700 council houses before the war, but in the blitz it lost 4,795 houses totally destroyed. Nearly every other house in Southampton was damaged and thousands of them were so seriously damaged as to be uninhabitable. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) will remember, Southampton's first job was to do first-aid work to the seriously damaged uninhabitable houses.

For Southampton, the blitz wiped out more than twenty years of housing achievements in the inter-war years. It is true that it was not actually the council houses which were blitzed, for they are usually on the perimeter of a town; it was the houses in the centre of the town which were damaged and destroyed. We lost nearly 5,000 houses, and we lost their rateable value, just as we lost the rateable value of shops and factories to the tune of more than £100,000 per year.

Our first job after the war was to fill the gap in houses which had been caused by the enemy. We think that we have done a good job of post-war re-construction in our blitzed city. First, with the help of the Government, we built 1,750 prefabs, and subsequently we have built 6,568 houses and flats, being council dwellings and private enterprise dwellings. This achievement would make Southampton compare favourably with other authorities in the post-war housing of its citizens if it had not been for the blitz. But the first 4,700 houses which were erected in Southampton merely filled the holes that Hitler had made.

Instead of today being about 8,000 housing units—I dislike that expression—better off than in 1945, we are about 4,000 units better off, and of that number 1,700 are "prefabs" and "prefabs" have a short life. Incidentally, the prefabricated dwellings have done much better than anybody in the country anticipated. They have stood up to wear and tear beyond our dreams. However, in the long run, and possibly not so many years ahead of us, every blitzed city with prefabricated houses will find their replacement a liability. Actually, Southampton is only about 2,000 permanent houses better off after ten years of keen and gigantic effort. That has meant a persistence of the grave housing shortage in Southampton.

During our various debates, many hon. Members have commented upon the number of people in housing trouble still approaching them. If that is true of normal constituencies, it is even more true of a blitzed city. My own experience —that of every hon. Member representing every blitzed city—has been that three out of four people who come to my "surgery" every week are people in housing difficulties. I hope that the day will come when the person who comes to "surgery" with a housing problem is coming merely because of discomfort, merely because of minor hardship. But the kind of case with which I have to grapple week-end after week-end is that of people living in a couple of rooms, or people who, for years and years, have lived with their in-laws. A young married couple in Southampton have practically no hope of getting a council house and I wish sometimes that the country would realise the tragedy of any two families having to live under one roof. Many of the people who come to me week-end after week-end have been on the waiting list in Southampton for years. The official figures for Southampton are that we have an active waiting list of 4,500 and what is called a deferred waiting list of about 3,250—and all this apart from our proposed slum clearance of 3,760 houses.

No blitzed city can let its housing programme dry up. If the general purpose of the Bill, as I have no doubt it is, is a disincentive to local authorities to go on with house building, no blitzed city dare dry up on its council house building programme with all the cases of human need to satisfy. But the Bill without the Amendment will make the cost of future large programmes crippling, if not prohibitive, and, therefore, seriously jeopardise the future housing prospects for blitzed towns.

All the houses Southampton built up to 1952, excluding "prefabs," merely replaced blitzed houses. We did not really start on a level with other cities until six or eight years after the war. It is worth reminding the Committee that at the same time a blitzed city has had its shopping centres and factories to replace. A quarter of Southampton's docks were destroyed in the war and many of its offices, shops and schools damaged or destroyed. Those are burdens which a blitzed city has also to bear, whilst coping with housing.

In the Amendment we are asking the Minister to look at the problem of blitzed cities in something of the spirit that I took him to promise that he would have in looking into the question of new towns and "prefabs." The blitzed city carries an inequitable rate burden. For instance, Southampton gets no relief from Exchequer equalisation grants, not even the latest proposals. I reckon that the blitz cost Southampton about £1 million in rates since the war, after knocking off the trickle of relief which we got from Governments after the war, after accounting for all that Britain did for Southampton in post-war relief. That was borne in extra rate burden by the citizens of Southampton. That was an unjust burden.

Southampton citizens do not mind what they bear in common with other British citizens because of the war, but they have a right to feel aggrieved if on top of the national burden they carry an additional burden merely because Southampton was a valuable port in the war and Hitler tried to destroy it. If the Minister will accept the Amendment and retain the subsidy for houses built by blitzed cities in years ahead, he will be doing no more than an act of justice to the towns which bore the brunt of Hitler's attack during the war.

I need hardly remind the Parliamentary Secretary and the Minister of those war days when His late Majesty, the former Prime Minister, the right hon. Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill) and my right hon. Friend the Member for Lewis-ham, South (Mr. H. Morrison) wandered through the smoking ruins of cities whose damage hurt Britain, but hurt even more intensely the people whose homes and shops and offices were being destroyed. What promises were made in those days of justice for the blitzed cities! Blitzed towns have grumbled a lot, but they have never whined. They have always borne their scars proudly. They have tackled the excessive burdens which Britain has compelled them to shoulder, but they feel that they have certain moral claims on the nation.

I am certain that this afternoon I am expressing the views of citizens of both political parties in Southampton, and of both sides of the Southampton Borough Council. I believe that this demand for maintaining the subsidies will have the support of Labour and Conservative local authorities in all of the blitzed towns and I therefore ask the Minister to accept the Amendment.

Mr. J. A. Sparks (Acton)

I should like to support the Amendment. I feel sure that if the Minister will only consider the factors which are responsible for the creation of slum areas he will find that precisely the same factors apply to areas of comprehensive development under the Town and Country Planning Acts. There are slum areas in our towns and cities because of unregulated development, lack of control by any authority, because of our allowing the law of the jungle to operate, allowing people to build houses without damp courses and back-to-back houses without the necessary modern standards of sanitation and convenience. As the result of decades of development without any form of control, we have slum areas throughout our towns and cities. Very largely on that account, too, the slum areas are being increased year by year to the extent of about 200,000 houses a year.

The definition of an area of comprehensive development under the Town and Country Planning Acts is, as it were, the twin brother of the designation slum clearance. There is merely a slightly different aspect of the same problem. The Town and Country Planning Acts were designed to put an end to slum areas by regulating development and by preventing the further development of dwellings and factories of the type built during the generations of unregulated development. Those Acts were designed not only to prevent a recurrence of slums, but properly to designate the parts in an area which were to be residential, and which industrial, and which were to be of parks and open spaces.

Local authorities have a statutory responsibility to provide what are known as development plans. They have been instructed by the Minister to prepare development plans to show precisely what they intend to do with slum areas and with areas which are near-slums and which are known as areas of comprehensive development in which there are small houses amid factories, warehouses, workshops and laundries, and where one finds even private houses adapted for use by small industrial undertakings.

4.30 p.m.

People living in the areas of comprehensive development can produce a catalogue of complaints, not only about the conditions of their own dwellings, but about noise, nuisance, smell, dust and filth which are often the accompaniments of these small factories and workshops. In the southern part of my constituency there is an area of comprehensive development where the local authority is engaged in rebuilding in accordance with modern planning standards. There for generations my constituents and their families have had to live amid factories, laundries and workshops, and to put up with the noise and dust and other evils, and the local authority has been powerless to do anything about it.

The planning Acts, which have placed an obligation on local authorities, require them to submit to the Minister plans of their proposals to get rid of these social evils. Many plans are in the possession of the Minister, and perhaps he will tell us what he proposes to do about them. I know that he has had the plan for Middlesex for a long time, but, so far as I can see, he is doing nothing about it. Local authorities have the right to expect that the right hon. Gentleman will approve any general proposals in a development plan. It is his duty and responsibility to give effect to the planning Acts, and as quickly as possible to approve the development plans in his possession.

The first of these Amendments asks the right hon. Gentleman to continue the general rate of subsidy for dwellings erected in an area of comprehensive development. In effect, that means that the Minister shall continue to permit the rate of housing subsidy on newly erected housing where a local authority carries out the provisions of its development plan, and undertakes to clear an area of bad housing, so that there will be a residential part as distinct from an industrial part, with provision for parks and open spaces. There is little difference between this kind of work and slum clearance. Most dwellings in such an area are near-slums. If the right hon. Gentleman is anxious to support a progressive housing policy, and carry out his functions as the Minister responsible for town and country planning as well as for housing, I cannot see how he can refuse to permit the continuance of subsidies on dwellings provided in areas of comprehensive development.

Suppose that he does not. I imagine that will be his answer, that he will try to minimise the problem which I have attempted to outline, and that he will say that it is merely part of the general housing scheme for which he intends to make no provision for subsidies after a year or so. If that be the case, the right hon.

Gentleman will completely destroy the development plans of local authorities and the spirit and intention of the Town and Country Planning Acts. It is impossible for local authorities to undertake redevelopment under those Acts without some sort of subsidy for rehousing. We shall have the anomalous situation in which local authorities may be permitted to clear an area, to knock down old houses and ramshackle factories and workshops and to clear the site, but in which there will be no financial assistance for them, and so they will be unable to undertake any rebuilding.

What is such a local authority to do for the people whose houses have been knocked down? Many of those people are not on the housing lists of local authorities. Are we to have the anomalous position—

Mr. Victor Collins (Shoreditch and Finsbury)

On a point of order. You will observe, Sir Norman, that on the Government benches there is one Junior Minister, one Government Whip and a Parliamentary Private Secretary. May I appeal to you to arrange for my hon. Friend to have the attention of at least the Parliamentary Private Secretary?

The Temporary Chairman (Sir Norman Hulbert)

That is not a point of order.

Mr. G. Lindgren (Wellingborough)

Can we not be shown some respect from the Government side of the Committee? Cannot you request that at least there should be some interest taken by the Government in the proceedings? May I put it to you, Sir Norman, that if hon. Members on this side of the Committee walk out, the Committee will cease to function?

The Temporary Chairman

The hon. Gentleman will know that that is not a point of order. I am not responsible for asking members of the Government to attend.

Mr. Sparks

I was saying that local authorities will find themselves—[Interruption.]Now that the Minister has come into the Chamber I hope that his hon. Friend will be able to tell him what I have said. I do not wish to detain the Committee by repeating what I have said. I appeal to the Minister to say that this is a matter of first-class importance to local authorities and to people who live in the areas which I have described. If he is not prepared to permit the continuance of subsidies for the erection of dwellings in areas of comprehensive development, in effect he will bring to an end the purpose and intent of the development plans already produced under the Town and Country Planning Acts. Local authorities would find it impossible to proceed with their work in areas of comprehensive development under the Town and Country Planning Acts if they were to have no financial assistance by way of subsidy for redevelopment on those clearance areas. The whole object of planning and the creation of better layouts in our towns and cities would be brought completely to a standstill.

Once again I urge the right hon. Gentleman to give his favourable consideration to this point, and I remind him—I first mentioned this when he was not present —that he is responsible for town and country planning as well as housing. He has responsibility for the good development of our towns and cities, to see that the old evils of the past, such as unregulated development, which have created the slums, are banished for ever, and to see that we do not, in the present generation, lay the foundations for future slum areas in the next fifty or sixty years. The Town and Country Planning Acts are designed to prevent a recurrence of slum areas, and areas of blight and bad development. For that reason the Minister would be well advised to extend the subsidies to areas of comprehensive development under the Town and Country Planning Acts. If he does that the Bill will be less objectionable than it appears at present.

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

Several hon. Members have pointed out how narrow is the dividing line between an unfit house, represented by a medical officer of health, and a house which he decides, perhaps reluctantly, not so to represent. Nevertheless, according to returns made by local authorities, there are very nearly 1 million unfit houses—unfit in the narrower sense of the term—in this country today.

That is a fact which the Committee should bear clearly in mind in considering this and other Amendments. It ought not to go out from this Committee that we want to see the removal of those unfit houses placed upon an exactly even footing with the replacement of other houses which, however undesirable in some respects, are somewhat better. I do not believe that our people want any obstacles placed in the way of the removal of the worst houses first.

Mr. Albert Evans (Islington, South-West)

The two go together.

Mr. Powell

As the hon. Member has just interjected, the unfit houses are very often found in areas which require redevelopment as a whole. That is the thought which underlies the Amendment.

Under the Bill as it stands, in such areas of comprehensive development under the Town and Country Planning Acts, the houses which are unfit will attract the slum clearance subsidy, and the Amendment to Clause 11, to which the hon. Member for Widnes (Mr. MacColl) drew attention in passing, will have the effect of ensuring that fit houses now qualifying in an area of redevelopment will not be eligible for a slum clearance subsidy. Beyond those houses, the remainder of the area will attract a planning subsidy, relating to comprehensive redevelopment, towards the cost of acquiring the site of the whole area. Beyond that, again, it is the function of the local housing authority, as part of its general housing programme, to deal with houses in the area which are not unfit.

4.45 p.m.

I do not believe that that will mean that local authorities will simply deal with the unfit houses in those areas, and that we shall see the sort of situation which the hon. Member for Widnes described, in which technically unfit houses are, so to speak, picked out, and aching voids in an area of comprehensive redevelopment are left behind. What we can reasonably expect to see is that local authorities will select for earliest attention areas of comprehensive redevelopment which include the largest number of unfit houses, and will phase their operations in dealing with these areas in such a way that those parts where unfit houses are in the greatest majority will be dealt with first.

Mr. Sparks

Surely the hon. Member is aware that his right hon. Friend already has in his Department the development plans of the area. When those plans were provided they were based not merely upon how many unfit houses existed in the area, but also upon questions of industry and open spaces.

Mr. Powell

I appreciate that, and I also appreciate that those development plans cannot be carried out all at once. Those areas cannot be comprehensively redeveloped except over a period of years, and one of the things which we want to secure by the Bill is that the literally unfit houses—the worst houses in the country —are dealt with upon a massive scale at the earliest possible time.

Mr. MacColl

The Minister has all the powers he needs—by way of control of loan sanction and all the rest—for phasing development. If his Bill means anything it can only mean that he wishes to forbid development which is not based upon the removal of unfit houses. Otherwise, there is no need for the Bill; he could do it all administratively through his financial control.

Mr. Powell

The hon. Member is now asking that local authorities should not be left discretion as to the way in which they proceed with their areas, but should be ruled and governed in that respect by the Ministry. He is under a misapprehension as to the effect and intention of the Bill. Because one wishes to emphasise a certain purpose and induce local authorities to give preference to a certain purpose, that does not mean that they are expected to neglect all other operations, or that all other operations must stop; in fact, hon. Members on both sides of the Committee—and not least hon. Members opposite—recognise that the general housing operations of local authorities will continue, but that within those operations the intention is that, as far as possible, preference and priority should be given to the clearance of unfit houses and to dealing with comprehensive development areas in such a way that the unfit houses get the earliest attention.

Mr. Aneurin Bevan (Ebbw Vale)

The hon. Member puts an extremely plausible case. As I understand, he suggests that the worst slums should be dealt with first, and that redevelopment should be carried out later. He said that redevelopment would take some years. In fact, he is suggesting that the worst cases will be dealt with last. I can tell him why. On his own argument, an unfit house in a bad area will be left to the very last, because the local authority will not pick out a house here and there and leave jagged holes about. Those houses will, therefore, be left. They will not only be slums; they will be made worse by virtue of the fact that they will be in slum areas.

Mr. Powell

No one can escape from the fact that redevelopment of these areas will take place in phases. It cannot all happen at once. Therefore, some priority has to be determined according to which of these areas will be dealt with. I am saying that the priority will be guided by the Bill so that the areas in which there are the most unfit houses calling for attention will be dealt with earliest instead of in some other way. It is the intention of the Government and the desire of the people generally that everything should now be done to ensure that the very first priority is the removal of unfit houses.

Connected with this case is the case put forward on behalf of the blitzed cities. The blitzed cities have one characteristic in common, at any rate from the point of view from which we are dealing with them this afternoon. They have suffered a loss of rateable value out of proportion to the reduction in the burdens which they had to meet with the rateable value. Their resources were reduced more quickly and severely than were the demands upon those resources. Therefore, measures have been taken both under the previous Administration and under the present one to meet that disparity of means and needs.

Of course, the equalisation grant under the 1948 Local Government Act equalised the rateable value per head up to the national average and many, though not all, of the blitzed cities have qualified for equalisation grant. I understand that, after revaluation, not all will qualify. The Government paid to authorities which acquired large blitzed areas for redevelopment a much higher rate of subsidy than the normal planning subsidy in the initial period, when their rateable value resources might be expected to be lower. In addition, there have been special war distress grants, of which the last has actually not quite run out. Measures to meet the rateable value conditions and problems of the blitzed cities have continually been taken since the end of the war.

The hon. Member for Itchen (Dr. King) pointed out that these towns may also have special housing needs by virtue of their war history. That will be true undoubtedly of some of them though naturally to an extent which lessens as the war years recede into the past. It will not be true of all. In so far as, in 1956 and the years following, the rateable value problems of a blitzed city in relation to its housing needs are so acute that they produce an undue burden upon the rates, or would, as an alternative, involve the charging of unreasonable rents, the city, upon the facts of the case, would qualify for consideration under Clause 5. This Clause is designed precisely as a net to catch the cases where it proves, upon actual experience in the event, that the circumstances of the local authority, in regard to its rateable value and its housing need, place it at a disadvantage compared with local authorities generally.

The blitzed cities are not asking for any special preference but only that when their peculiar circumstances and their history result in a position in which, to meet their housing needs, they are faced with an undue rate burden, account shall be taken of it. That is the request. The machinery for meeting the request, on the basis of the facts as they are elicited, exists in Clause 5 of the Bill. I would, therefore, ask the Committee to resist the temptation to make any general provision in advance for a whole new class of case, and so to weaken the force and intention of the Bill, which are to concentrate local authorities upon the two main tasks of slum clearance and overspill.

Mr. G. R. Mitchison (Kettering)

The Parliamentary Secretary will recall that Odysseus, unwilling to be tempted by the voice of the Sirens, filled his ears with cotton wool. I think that is right.

Mr. Powell

The hon. and learned Gentleman is quite wrong. That is what his companions did. He himself, desiring to hear the voice of the Sirens—as I have myself most attentively listened to the voice of the Sirens opposite—lashed him-selft to the mast.

Mr. Mitchison

The hon. Member is perfectly right. He, too, of course, is lashed to the mast at the moment. I desired to observe that his hon. Friends had taken the far simpler course. They had neither lashed themselves to the mast nor filled their ears with cotton wool. They had simply gone away. On this occasion, on this somewhat important proposal, the Tory benches present an appearance of emptiness which testifies to the attitude which the Tory Party adopts towards housing difficulties which its members do not themselves experience.

Let us see what we are trying to do. There is no doubt that the Bill allows for the continuance of subsidies on what are commonly called insanitary houses, that is to say houses that are not fit to live in and cannot be made fit at any reasonable cost. That is just about all that the Bill does in this respect. When we look at the clearance area and the redevelopment area provisions, as they are proposed to be modified, we find that the Minister has taken every care to limit them in that sense.

The question raised by these Amendments is this. Is it the right way of dealing with slums and—I will quote from the Town and Country Planning Actwith areas which have been extensively war damaged or which have conditions of bad layout or obsolete development simply to pull down the bad houses in those areas and to leave the other houses, as at one point the hon. Member appeared to suggest might be done as the result of the Bill? I cannot believe that that suggestion, if indeed it was made, was seriously intended.

What are dealt with in the Town and Country Planning Act as areas of comprehensive development are areas which will, no doubt, include some bad houses but will include other houses. The kind of thing which was commonly known as a slum in Birmingham was dealt with by the Birmingham Council when the Labour Government were in power in such a way that its scheme paid very largely for the clearance of the slums. It took a bad area or, to use the more formal phrase, an area of comprehensive development, even though it was not proceeding under that Act, and redeveloped it as a whole. It pulled down the houses that were bad, patched others up, and took over at the same time the good property and dealt with the area as a whole.

Assume that we have a bad area in London or another large city. Surely the right and reasonable thing to do is to deal with the whole area at the same time. The difficulty about the Bill is that, because it is a housing Bill, the right hon. Gentleman has shut his eyes to what actually has happened and to what is required by good and sensible planning, and has refused to deal with areas; he has refused to deal with overcrowding, and is dealing with the position house by house.

5.0 p.m.

The Minister of Housing and Local Government (Mr. Duncan Sandys)

I did not mean to intervene, but I must correct the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison). No one has suggested—and certainly not my hon. Friend—that we wish to encourage local authorities to pick odd houses here and there out of an area which is calling for redevelopment. Our only reason for not proposing the higher rate of subsidy for all houses whether fit or unfit in redevelopment areas is that we do not believe it desirable, in a period of housing shortage, to give an additional stimulus to accelerating the rate at which houses at present fit are pulled down. Local authorities will, no doubt, continue their plans for the redevelopment of areas, but we do not wish to give additional stimulus to the pulling down of fit houses at this time.

Mr. Mitchison

I may say that the right hon. Gentleman's additional stimulus is no additional stimulus at all. It is simply a question of whether or not he is to cut the existing subsidy in certain respects. That is the first point.

The next is that he disclaims any intention of not having areas of comprehensive development—slums—dealt with as areas. He wants them to be dealt with as areas. He wants local authorities to do as any sensible authority would, which is to take an area, pull down the bad houses, leave the good houses—if that is possible, though it is more probable that some of them will have to be dealt with at the same time—and rehouse the people elsewhere. That is the whole idea underlying the new towns and the overspills, with which we shall deal later.

What will be the effect of what he is doing? He will discourage local authorities from doing exactly what he thinks they should do. He will encourage them to deal piecemeal with house after house instead of dealing with areas. In the case of the blitzed towns he proposes to cut the subsidy where that subsidy has been rendered necessary not merely by "bad layout or obsolete development" but by enemy action. Let us make no bones about it—that is what he is doing if he refuses this Amendment or one like it.

What are we suggesting? We merely say that in exceptionally bad areas, bad whether as a result of enemy action or as a result of the sins and omissions of the past, a wholesale plan of redevelopment, of laying out—whatever the term— has necessarily to be adopted, as the right hon. Gentleman knows as well as we, and to attempt anything else is foolish and short-sighted to a degree. Nevertheless, the financial steps which the right hon. Gentleman is taking are such as to encourage local authorities to be as shortsighted as they possibly can be, to go picking and choosing, and never to deal with an area as a whole but always to look at it house by house.

The suggestion made by this Amendment is simply this: "You are being ruthless in the Bill. Be a little less ruthless when dealing with areas which are as bad as areas of comprehensive redevelopment must be." We hear stories about encouragement, about the timing of this, that and the other, the phasing of this thing and that, but the question is, "Do you insist so far as this financial Measure goes, on the local authorities' treating these very bad areas house by house, or are you willing, as you should be in view of previous legislation on the subject and the whole policy put forward by this party when it was in office, to give proper encouragement to local authorities to treat the city as a city, a part as a whole part and an area as an area, and to refuse to be bound any longer by the single house point of view so dear to people in the days when single houses nearly always had a single owner?"

It is for those sorts of reasons that I trust the Minister will consider what is proposed in this Amendment and confine his cuts, if he can, to cases where there is at any rate some ground for saying that local authorities might be asked to carry the additional burden. This is not that sort of case. It is a question of proper planning of our cities, and if that planning is to be given the kind of financial blow threatened by the Bill then, if the Minister's ghost ever haunts those places, it will find them in a much nastier mess than they would have been had this Bill not been passed.

Mr. Elwyn Jones (West Ham, South)

The Parliamentary Secretary's reply has been miserably unsatisfactory. It is all very well to pay lip-service to the needs of the blitzed areas. That was done in moving terms during the war. The Prime Minister and other Ministers used to come to my constituency and say that they would regard it as a personal duty to make good the losses suffered, but the hon. Gentleman's attitude to the problem is one, I fear, of cynicism.

Does he really mean Clause 5 to be considered as a net, as he called it? Is he seriously encouraging blitzed areas to pin their faith in that Clause? During an earlier stage in the consideration of this Bill some of us on this side sought to secure from the Government some idea of the amount they had in mind to make available for the purposes of Clause 5. A figure would give us some idea of how seriously the Clause is intended to fulfil the purpose of a net. Not a word of information has been forthcoming. Can we have it now? If there were an indication that f X million was potentially available we might perhaps be willing to take the undertaking of the Parliamentary Secretary on behalf of his Minister more seriously.

We have had this kind of provision in earlier legislation. It might not be entirely in order for me now to go into the details of Clause 5—we will argue them in due course—but its conditions are highly restricted. In view of the terms which must be fulfilled before a payment becomes available, I doubt very much whether it will help the constituency, for instance, of my hon. Friend the Member for Itchen (Dr. King).

Dr. King

It certainly will not.

Mr. Elwyn Jones

There is a faint hope that in West Ham, with one quarter of the houses blitzed, something may be done.

Mr. Mitchison

And it has no rates from the outfall sewer.

Mr. Elwyn Jones

I wish that my hon. and learned Friend's "King Charles's head" would not keep cropping up with such relentless regularity—especially when I am speaking.

This is a very serious matter for the blitzed areas. My hon. Friend the Member for Itchen see med rather to dissociate himself from us in his attitude to this debate. He thought that an attitude of polite, earnest, sincere, friendly persuasion of the Minister would work. Does he really think that that works with this Tory Government? There was a very good opportunity for the Minister to divide the ranks on this by showing that the sweet reasonableness of my hon. Friend was the right way of getting something out of the Tory Front Bench. The Parliamentary Secretary's speech has been thoroughly reactionary, thoroughly unsatisfactory and, I fear, will prove to have been thoroughly cynical.

Mr. Bevan

I warned the Committee on several occasions that we should hear about Clause 5 over and over again, because when the Minister gets into difficulties in Committee, instead of answering the debate he says, "That will be dealt with under Clause 5."Clause 5 is to be the universal umbrella under which all those who fear that they will be caught in the downpour are asked to take shelter. We shall, of course, discuss Clause 5 when we come to it, but I must say that it is a bit of a temptation to anticipate the meaning of Clause 5 when every time the Government are in trouble the Clause is invoked. We have the invocation of a Clause without the explanation of it.

There is one aspect of the matter upon which I sympathise very much with what the Parliamentary Secretary said, because I have given the same answer on many occasions. That is, when a blitzed city comes forward to the Government for help it has, quite properly, to show, as the hon. Member said, that its resources are inadequate to meet its needs, having regard to the same resources and needs of other local authorities. I think that that is a perfectly proper answer. No local authority is entitled to have any additional assistance from the State unless it can show that, because of circumstances over which it has no control, the provision of the same local authority functions costs the local ratepayers a substantially higher rate than other ratepayers have to pay for the same functions elsewhere.

That is a perfectly proper answer, but unfortunately it has not very much to do with this debate. The point which my hon. Friends are making is a different one: that although we might not be able to show in any objective sense that a blitzed city has to carry a higher rate as a consequence of having been blitzed, nevertheless that blitzed city will have to live with the scars of war much longer than it would have had to live with them were it not for the Bill.

In other words, what this Bill does, as my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison) has pointed out, is discourage local authorities from comprehensive redevelopment schemes. The blitzed cities are to be victimised, not so much financially as aesthetically; not so much because the local ratepayers will necessarily have to carry a heavier financial burden, but because they will have to live with ugliness longer. That is the way they will be victimised. That will happen in London and in Plymouth—rather less in Plymouth, perhaps, but certainly in Hull and areas like that. The charge we are making against the right hon. Gentleman is that in reducing, or almost wiping out, the subsidy for general housing needs he is making it more difficult for those areas and those cities to have decent planning and decent redevelopment.

I thought that was what the hon. Member for Dulwich (Mr. Robert Jenkins) had in mind, and I was hoping we would receive some help from that side of the Committee. After all, the provision of gracious surroundings and proper town planning has received some enthusiastic support from hon. Members opposite in many areas where they are members of local authorities. How can they divorce what they require to have done, and what many passionately want to have done, in the local town hall from what they are now doing in Parliament? Do they not realise that what the right hon. Gentleman is doing is putting statutory inhibitions on proper development in their towns and cities?

5.15 p.m.

The Parliamentary Secretary did not deal with the point I made. What the Minister has done is to make a sort of academic distinction in his Department between general housing need and slum clearance. He has said, "I want to encourage slum clearance; I can do that only at the expense of meeting general housing needs. Therefore, I will make it more profitable for local authorities to pull down slums than to add to their general accommodation." This is the Minister's argument.

Academically and abstractly, it is possible to see the antithesis between them. It is possible to see, if one lives in Whitehall and does not go down the streets at all, an administrative quarrel between the claims of general housing needs and the claims of slum clearance. When the distinction is made in Parliament, therefore, it looks logical and plausible and it sounds nice on a public platform, but when one looks at the situation in practice and on the ground, one sees that slums exist in certain places. They do not exist on the drawing boards of Whitehall; they are in certain places on the ground.

What the hon. Gentleman has said—and this is the point to which I have not had a reply—is,"If the slum houses are in an area scheduled for redevelopment, they will be dealt with last." He has said that to use the resources for redevelopment is to use resources which might otherwise be devoted to clearing slums; so that, on his own showing, the worst will be dealt with last. People living in slum houses which are in an area scheduled for redevelopment will have to put up with slums as well as bad surroundings.

The hon. Gentleman has not yet answered the question. He started by saying, "Of course, we want those in the greatest need to be dealt with first." That was the argument for dealing with slums ahead of meeting general housing needs. We end with an admission that those whose circumstances are worst are to be dealt with last. The right hon. Gentleman shakes his head. He has already said that it is undesirable—and no local authority would do it—to pick out houses in isolation, leaving gaps. The only alternative to doing that is to redevelop the area as well.

Hon. Members

Or leave it where it is.

Mr. Sandys

I should like to clear up this point. The effect of this Amendment would be to encourage local authorities to give priority to the pulling down of fit houses in these redevelopment areas. [HON. MEMBERS: "NO."] If the redevelopment area is composed solely of unfit houses this issue does not arise. Then it becomes a slum clearance area and attracts the higher subsidy. This Amendment would not be necessary. If this Amendment were adopted it would have the effect of encouraging local authorities to pull down fit houses in redevelopment areas. I am not saying that those areas do not require to be redeveloped; but it would encourage them to give priority to pulling them down in preference to building new houses somewhere else for general needs. That is the only possible effect of this Amendment.

Mr. Bevan: There must be something wrong with me, because I do not seem to have conveyed to the right hon. Gentleman the sense of what the Parliamentary Secretary said, although the Minister has to some extent underlined it. The slums about which we are talking are in an area scheduled for redevelopment. Let us start there. That is a simple proposition, is it not? It is the area for redevelopment as a general rule because under the Town and Country Planning Act the area is badly planned. It is a bad area. Is that agreed? So there are slum houses in a bad area. There may be slum houses in a good area. That happens quite frequently. I wish the right hon. Gentleman would listen to me, because he may understand this time. He has said that if he encouraged redevelopment schemes good houses might be pulled down for redevelopment which would divert resources from slum clearance.

Mr. Sandys

From general needs.

Mr. Bevan

And from slum clearance.

Mr. Sandysindicated dissent.

Mr. Bevan

The right hon. Gentleman cannot have it both ways. He said on Second Reading, and has said all the time since, that the whole purpose of the Bill was to lay the greatest emphasis on slum clearance and that that is being done by making it financially more advantageous to clear slums than to meet general housing needs. I am pointing out that if it is desirable, as it obviously is, when slums are pulled down in a redevelopment area to proceed with redevelopment of the whole area, and if it is being discouraged by the Bill, on that logic alone those in the worst position will be dealt with last. Does the right hon. Gentleman deny that?

Mr. Sandys

Why does the right hon. Member assume that the unfit houses in a redevelopment area are necessarily the worst houses? Why are they worse than slum houses in a slum area? He has talked about a redevelopment area being a bad area, but the very fact that it is a redevelopment area and not a slum clearance area implies that the houses in the main are not slum houses. A slum clearance area invariably contains a certain number of houses which are fit and have to be pulled down, but a redevelopment area is an area not primarily a slum area but which no doubt contains a proportion of slum houses. Therefore, by the very definition it is not such a bad area as a slum clearance area. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Of course it is not; otherwise, it would be a clum clearance area.

Mr. Bevan

The right hon. Gentleman is once more airing this and point of view, which does not take into consideration the actual facts as they are. The hon. Member for Barry (Mr. Gower) should really open his eyes when he goes about the country. Quite often the area is scheduled as a redevelopment area not only because it has a great number of bad houses in it but because those slums are in close juxtaposition to industry of various kinds and of high density. The actual houses may be all right, but it quite often happens that they are in close proximity to a very high density of industrial and other buildings. What I am pointing out to the Committee is that slum houses and slum dwellers existing in circumstances of that sort by definition will be dealt with last.

What my hon. and learned Friend said which is also important was that local authorities will be financially discouraged from developing their cities properly. We regard that as most serious. The planners are beginning to be alarmed by the circumstances—

Mr. Raymond Gower (Barry)

As the right hon. Member has referred to me, perhaps I may interrupt to say that I do not think we are at issue on this. My right hon. Friend would agree to some extent with what the right hon. Member has said, but what he has said in addition is that there are even worse areas than the areas referred to by the right hon. Member.

Mr. Bevan

Do not talk about a worse area but talk about individual men and women. When talking about areas we are always forgetting the individual men and women living there. We should think of the individual slum dwellers living in an area which is scheduled for redevelopment for reasons we have already mentioned in quoting the Act.

When the Parliamentary Secretary said that the local authority would not take down houses and leave gaps here and there he was actually saying that people in those areas can expect to have success from slums after everybody else has been dealt with.

Mr. Collins

I want to raise one question. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] This is a matter of importance, I have been sitting here through the whole debate and I want to ask a question of the Minister which has an immediate bearing on what has been discussed.

The Parliamentary Secretary will remember that I wrote to him about a problem in my constituency. It concerned a clearance area under Part V of the 936 Act. The local authority was anxious to know whether flats built on that site would qualify for the slum subsidy despite the fact that it was a Part V area. The proposal was subsequently to build flats there and to rehouse in them people from the slum clearance area. The Parliamentary Secretary wrote to me on 10th January saying: The answer in general terms is that whether or not the higher rate of subsidy is given for any particular houses or flats that are built does not depend on whether the site was acquired under Part III or Part V of the Housing Act, 1936. What matters is that the houses or flats should need to be provided as a result of the council's slum clearance proposal's. That tacitly says that, other things being equal, approval will be given to a scheme for building on a re-development area, not a slum clearance area, flats in which people now living in slums will be housed and, since they will be needed in connection with the slum clearance proposals of the council, the flats will qualify under Part V for the slum clearance subsidy. If that is so, it implies that despite this Bill the Minister will be prepared to approve a scheme from a local authority which

envisages comprehensive development—the acquisition of a site under Part V and rehousing on that site of people from slum properties—and give the local authority the full slum clearance subsidy.

I should like to know whether that is correct because, if so, in part it relieves what has been said on this side of the Committee. Secondly, if it is correct, why cannot the Minister accept this Amendment? The Parliamentary Secretary said: The Minister will…be sending out later a circular to local authorities explaining the arrangements in detail. If that can be done by circular, why cannot it be done by this Amendment?

Mr. Sandys

I believe the Committee wishes to bring this debate to a close, but I should like to say a few words in reply to the hon. Member for Shoreditch and Finsbury (Mr. Collins). One always hesitates to say that an hon. Member is quite correct when that might be given an interpretation which might be used in evidence against one afterwards, but, broadly speaking, what the hon. Member said is correct. That is to say, the higher subsidy of £22 will be available—in the case of flats it will be correspondingly higher—in respect of every family that is rehoused from a slum dwelling. It does not matter where they are housed.

5.30 p.m.

There is all the difference in the world between that and the purpose of the Amendment. The Amendment would enable the higher subsidy to be payable not only in respect of the families out of the redevelopment area who are living in unfit houses and are rehoused there or elsewhere, but it would also make the higher subsidy payable in respect of all other families whose houses were demolished in the course of redeveloping the area. That is something altogether wider.

Question put, That those words be there inserted: —

The Committee divided: Ayes 221, Noes 271.

Division No. 91.] AYES [5.31 p.m.
Ainsley, J. W. Awbery, S. S. Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.)
Allaun, F. (Salford, E.) Bacon, Miss Alice Benn, Hn. Wedgwood (Bristol, S.E.)
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Balfour, A. Benson, G.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Bartley, P. Beswick, F.
Anderson, Frank Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)
Blackburn, F. Houghton, Douglas Parkin, B. T.
Blenkinsop, A. Howell, Charles (Perry Barr) Paton, J.
Boardman, H. Howell, Denis (All Saints) Pearson, A.
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Hoy, J. H. Plummer, Sir Leslie
Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.) Hubbard, T. F. Popplewell, E.
Bowles, F. G. Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Boyd, T. C. Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)
Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Probert, A. R.
Brockway, A. F. Hunter, A. E. Proctor, W. T.
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe) Pryde, D. J.
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Rankin, John
Burke, W. A. Irving, S. (Dartford) Reeves, J.
Burton, Miss F. E. Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A. Reid, William
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Janner, B. Rhodes, H.
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T. Robens, Rt. Hon. A.
Callaghan, L. J. Jeger, George (Goole) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Carmichael, J. Jeger, Mrs.Lena(Holbn & St.Pncs.S.) Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Castle, Mrs. B. A. Jenkins, Roy (Stechford) Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Champion, A. J. Jones, David (The Hartlepools) Ross, William
Chapman, W. D. Jones, Elwyn (W. Ham, S.) Royle, C.
Chetwynd, G. R. Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
Clunie, J. Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Short, E. W.
Coldrick, W. Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Shurmer, P. L. E.
Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead) Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.
Collins, V. J.(Shoreditch & Finsbury) King, Dr. H. M. Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Lawson, G. M. Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Cove, W. G. Ledger, R. J. Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Lee, Frederick (Newton) Skeffington, A. M.
Cronin, J. D. Lever, Leslie (Ardwick Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)
Cullen, Mrs. A. Lindgren, G. S. Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Daines, P. Lipton, Lt.-Col. M. Sorensen, R. W.
Dalton, Rt. Hon. H. Logan, D. G. Sparks, J. A.
Darling, George (Hillsborough) Mabon, Dr. J. D. Steele, T.
Deer, G. MacColl, J. E. Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
de Freitas, Geoffrey McGhee, H. G. Stones, W. (Consett)
Dodds, N. N. McInnes, J. Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.
Dye, S. McKay, John (Wallsend) Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. c. McLeavy, Frank Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.
Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse) MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles) Swingler, S. T.
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Sylvester, G. O.
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Mahon, S. Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Edwards, W. J. (Stepney) Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Thomas, lorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.) Mallalieu, J. p. W. (Huddersfd, E.) Thornton, E.
Evans, Edward (Lowestoft) Mann, Mrs. Jean Timmons, J.
Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury) Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A. Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
Fernyhough, E. Mason, Roy Usborne, H. C.
Fienburgh, W. Mayhew, C. P. Warbey, W. N.
Finch, H. J. Mellish, R. J. Weitzman, D.
Fletcher, Eric Messer, Sir F. Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Forman, J. C. Mikardo, Ian West, D. G.
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Mitchison, G. R. Wheeldon, W. E.
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N. Monslow, W.
Gibson, C. W. Moody A. S white, Mrs.Eirene(E.Fllnt)
Greenwood, Anthony Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.) White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R. Mort, D. L. Wigg, George
Grey, C. F. Moss, R. Wilkins, W. A.
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Moyle, A. Williams, David (Neath)
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Mulley, F. W. Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)
Griffiths, William (Exchange) Neal, Harold (Bolsover) Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Hale, Leslie Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon) Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Coine Valley) Oliver, G. H Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)
Hamilton, W. W. Oram, A. E. Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Hannan, W. Winterbottom, Richard
Harrlson, J. (Nottingham, N.) Orbach, M. Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Hastings, S. Oswald, T. Yates, V. (Ladywood)
Hayman, F. H. Owen, W. J. Younger, Rt. Hon. K.
Healey, Denis Padiey, W. E. Zilliacus, K.
Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis) Palmer, A. M. F.
Herbison, Miss M. Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Holman, P. Pargiter, G. A. Mr. J. Taylor and
Holmes, Horace Parker, J. Mr. G. H. R. Rogers.
Agnew, Cmdr. p. G. Banks, Col. C. Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)
Aitken, W. T. Barber, Anthony Bidgood, J. C.
Alport, C. J. M. Barlow, Sir John Biggs-Davison, J. A.
Amery, Julian (Preston, N.) Barter, John Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel
Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton) Baxter, Sir Beverley Bishop, F. P.
Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J. Beamish, MaJ. Tufton Black, C. W.
Armstrong, C. W. Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Body, R. F.
Ashton, H. Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.) Bossom, Sir A. C.
Atkins, H. E. Bennett, F. M. (Torquay) Bowen, E. R. (Cardigan)
Balniel, Lord Bennett, Dr. Reginald Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.
Braithwalte, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.) Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe) Nugent, C. R. H.
Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry Hill, John (S. Norfolk) Nutting, Rt. Hon. Anthony
Brooman-White, R. C. Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Oakshott, H. D.
Browne, J. Nixon (Cralgton) Hirst, Geoffrey O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)
Bryan, P. Holland-Martin, C. J. Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.
Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T. Holt, A. F. Orr, Capt. L. P. S.
Bullus, Wing Commander E. E. Hope, Lord John Osborne, C.
Burden, F. F. A. Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P. Page, R. G.
Butcher, Sir Herbert Horobin, Sir Ian Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)
Butler,Rt.Hn.R.A.(SaffronWalden) Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence Peyton, J. W. w.
Carr, Robert Howard, Hon. Creville (St. Ives) Pickthorn, K. W. M.
Cary, Sir Robert Howard, John (Test) Pilkington, Capt. R. A.
Chichester-Clark, R. Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.) Pitman, I. J.
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.) Pitt, Miss E. M.
Cole, Norman Hughes-Young, M. H. C. Pott, H. P.
Conant, Maj, Sir Roger Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'gh, W.) Powell, J. Enoch
Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert Hutchison, James (Scotstoun) Price, David (Eastleigh)
Cordeaux, Lt.-Coi. J. K. Hyde, Montgomery Profumo, J. D.
Corfield, Capt. F. V. Iremonger, T. L. Raikes, Sir Victor
Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Ramsden, J. E.
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Rawlinson, Peter
Crouch, R. F. Jennings, J. C. (Burton) Redmayne, M.
Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood) Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Rees-Davies, W. R.
Cunningham, Knox Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Remnant, Hon. P.
Currle, C. B. H. Johnson, Howard (Kemp town) Ronton, D. L. M.
Dance, J. C. G. Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L, W. Ridsdale, J. E.
Davidson, Viscountess Kaberry, D.
Davies, Rt.Hon. Clement (Montgomery) Keegan, D. Roberts, Peter (Heeley)
D'Avigdor-ColdsmId, Sir Henry Kerby, Capt. H. B. Robertson, Sir David
Deedes, W. F Kerr, H. W. Rob nson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)
Digby, Simon Wingfield Kershaw, J. A. Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)
Dodds-Parker, A. D. Kirk, P. M. Roper, Sir Harold
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA. Lagden, G. W Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Doughty, C. J. A. Lambert, Hon. G. Russell, R. S.
Drayson, G. B. Lancaster, Col. C. G. Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.
Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond) Langford-Holt, J. A. Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.
Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. Leather, E. H. C. Sharpies, R. C.
Duthie, W. S. Leavey, J. A. Shepherd, William
Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David Legge-Bourke, MaJ. E. A. H. Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)
Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West) Legh, Hon. Peter (petersfield) Smithers, Peter (Winchester)
Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.) Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)
Errington, Sir Erie Lindsay, Martin (Solihull) Speir, R. M.
Erroll, F. J. Linstead, Sir H. N. Spence, H. R. (Aberdeen, W.)
Farey-Jones, F. W. Lloyd, MaJ. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.) Spens, Rt. Hn. Sir P. (Kens'gt'n, S.)
Fell, A. Lloyd-George, MaJ. Rt. Hon. G. Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard
Finlay, Graeme Longden, Gilbert Stevens, Geoffrey
Fisher, Nigel Lucas, P. B. (Brentford & Chiswick) Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F. Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Storey, S.
Fletcher-Cooke, C. McAdden, S. J. Summers, G. S. (Aylesbury)
Fort, R. Macdonald, Sir Peter Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington)
Freeth, D. K. Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D. McKlbbin, A. J. Teeling, W.
Garner-Evans, E. H. Mackie, J. H. (Calloway) Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)
George, J. C. (Pollok) McLaughlin, Mrs. P. Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Glover, D. Maciay, Rt. Hon. John Thompson,Lt.-Cdr.R.(Croydon, S.)
Gomme-Duncan, Col. Sir Alan Maclean, Fitzroy (Lancaster) Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.
Cough, C. F. H. McLean, Neil (Inverness) Tlley, A. (Bradford, W.)
Gower, H, R. Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.) Tilney, John (Wavertree)
Graham, Sir Fergus Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley) Touche, Sir Gordon
Grant, W. (Woodside) Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)
Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich) Maddan, Martin Turner, H.F.L.
Green, A. Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark) Tweedsmuir, Lady
Gresham Cooke, R. Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R. Vane, W. M. F.
Grimond, J. Markham, Major Sir Frank Vickers, Miss J. H.
Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury) Marlowe, A. A. H. Vosper, D. F.
Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G. Marples, A. E. Wade, D. W.
Gurden, Harold Marshall, Douglas Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Hall, John (Wycombe) Mathew, R. Walker-Smith, D. C.
Hare, Hon. J. H. Mawby, R. L. Wall, Major Patrick
Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N. W.) Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C. Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)
Harris, Reader (Heston) Medlicott, Sir Frank Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)
Harrison, A. B. C. (Maiden) Molson, A. H. E. Webbe, Sir H.
Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) Morrison, John (Salisbury) Whitelaw,W.S.I.(Penrith & Border)
Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfd) Mott-Radclyffe, C. E. Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.) Nabarro, G. D. N. Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.) Nairn, D. L. S. Wills, G. (Bridgwater)
Harvie-Watt, Sir George Neave, Airey Wilson Geoffrey (Truro)
Hay, John Nlcholls, Harmar Woollam, John Victor
Head, Rt. Hon. A. H. Nicholson, Godfrey (Famham) Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Nicoison, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch)
Heath, Edward Nield, Basil (Chester) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Hill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton) Noble, Comdr. A. H. P. Mr. Studholme and Mr. Godber.
Motion made, and Question proposed, That the Clause stand part of the Bill.
Mr. Mitchison

This is the main Clause of the Bill and we have on several occasions expressed our strong objections to it with such conviction, with such sincerity and with such eloquence that

we do not feel that we can improve on that now.

Question put: —

The Committee divided: Ayes 269, Noes 221.

Division No. 92.] AYES [5.41 p.m.
Agnew, Cmdr. P. C. Fell, A. Leavey, J. A.
Aitken, W. T. Finlay, Graeme Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.
Alport, C. J. M. Fisher, Nigel Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)
Amery, Julian (Preston, N.) Fletcher-Cooke, C. Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)
Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton) Fort, R. Lindsay, Martin (Solihull)
Anstruther-Cray, Major W. J. Freeth, D. K. Llnstead, Sir H. N.
Armstrong, C. W. Galbraith, Hon. T. G. O. Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G.(Sutton Coldfield)
Ashton, H. Garner-Evans, E. H. Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)
Atkins, H. E. George, J. C. (Pollok) Lloyd-George, Maj. Rt. Hon. G.
Balniel, Lord Glover, D. Longden, Gilbert
Banks, Col. C. Gomme-Duncan, Col. A. Lucas, P. B. (Brentford & Chlswick)
Barber, Anthony Gough, C. F. H. Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh
Barlow, Sir John Gower, H. R. McAdden, S. J.
Barter, John Graham, Sir Fergus Macdonald, Sir Peter
Baxter, Sir Beverley Grant, W. (Woodside) Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry
Beamish, Maj. Tufton Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich) McKibbin, A. J.
Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Green, A. Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)
Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.) Gresham Cooke, R. McLaughlin, Mrs. P.
Bennett, F. M. (Torquay) Grimond, J. Maclay, Rt. Hon. John
Bennett, Dr. Reginald Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury) Maclean, Fitzroy (Lancaster)
Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth) Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G. McLean, Neil (Inverness)
Bidgood, J. C. Gurden, Harold Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)
Biggs-Davison, J. A. Hall, John (Wycombe) Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)
Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Hare, Hon. J. H. Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)
Bishop, F. P. Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Maddan, Martin
Black, C. W. Harris, Reader (Heston) Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark)
Body, R. F. Harrison, A, B. C. (Maldon) Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.
Bossom, Sir A. C. Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) Markham, Major Sir Frank
Bowen, E. R. (Cardlgan) Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfd) Marlowe, A. A. H,
Boyd'Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A. Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.) Marples, A. E.
Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.) Harvey, John (Walthanutow, E.) Marshall, Douglas
Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry Harvie-Watt, Sir George Mathew, R.
Brooman-White, R. C. Hay, John Mawby, R. L.
Browne, J. Nixon (Craighton) Head, Rt. Hon. A. H. Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.
Bryan, P. Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Medlicott, Sir Frank
Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P.G. T. Heath, Edward Molson, A. H. E.
Bullus, Wing Commander E. E. Hill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton) Morrison, John (Salisbury)
Burden, F. F. A. Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe) Mott-Radolyffe, C. E.
Butcher, Sir Herbert Hill, John (S. Norfolk) Nabarro, G. D. N.
Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A.(Saffron Walden) Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Naim, D. L. S.
Carr, Robert Hirst, Geoffrey Neave, Airey
Cary, Sir Robert Holland-Martin, C. J. Nicholls, Harmar
Chichester-Clark, R. Holt, A. F. Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Hernsby-Smith, Miss M. P. Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch)
Cole, Norman Horobin, Sir Ian
Conant, Maj. Sir Roger Nield, Basil (Chester)
Cooper, Sqn, Ldr. Albert Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives) Nugent, G. R. H.
Corfield, Capt. F. V. Howard, John (Teat) Nutting, Rt. Hon. Anthony
Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Hudson Sir Austin (Lewitham, N.) Oakshott, H. D.
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.) O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)
Crouch, R. F. Hughes-Young, M. H. C. Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.
Crowder, Petre (Ruisllp—Narthwood) Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'gh, W.) Orr, Capt. L. P. S.
Cunningham, Knox Hutchison, James (Scotstoun) Osborne, C.
Currie, G. B. H. Hyde, Montgomery Page, R. G.
Dance, J. C. G. Iremonger, T. L. Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)
Davidson, viscountess Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Peyton, J. W. W.
Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery) Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Pickthorn, K. W. M.
D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Jennings, J. C. (Burton) Pllkington, Capt. R. A.
Deedes, W. F. Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Pitman, I. J.
Digby, Simon Wingfield Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Pitt, Miss E. M.
Dodds-Parker, A. D. Johnson, Howard (Kemptown) Pott, H. P.
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA. Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W. Powell, J. Enoch
Doughty, C. J. A. Kaberry, D. Price, David (Eastleigh)
Drayson, G. B. Keegan, D. Profumo, J. D.
Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond) Kerby, Capt. H. B. Raikes, Sir Victor
Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. Kerr, H. W. Ramsden, J. E.
Duthie, W. S. Kershaw, J. A. Rawlinson, Peter
Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David Kirk, P. M. Redmayne, M.
Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West) Lagden, G. W. Rees-Davies, W. R.
Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Lambert, Hon. G. Remnant, Hon. P.
Errington, Sir Eric Lancaster, Col. C. G. Ridsdale, J. E.
Erroll, F. J. Langford-Holt, J. A. Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)
Farey-Jones, F. W. Leather, E. H. C. Robertson, Sir David
Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.) Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.) Vosper, D. F.
Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks) Storey, S. Wade, D. W.
Roper, Sir Harold Summers, G. S. (Aylesbury) Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington) Walker-Smith, D. C.
Russell, R. S. Taylor, William (Bradford, N.) Wall, Major Patrick
Sandys, Rt. Hon. D. Teeling, W. Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)
Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R. Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway) Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)
Sharpies, R. C. Thompson, Kenneth (Walton) Webbe, Sir H.
Shepherd, William Thompson, Lt.-Cdr.R. (Croydon, S.) Whitelaw, W.S.I.(Penrith & Border)
Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.) Thornton-Kemsley, C. N. Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Smithers, Peter (Winchester) Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.) Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood) Tilney, John (Wavertree) Wills, G. (Bridgwater)
Speir, R. M. Touche, Sir Gordon Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Spence, H. R. (Aberdeen, W.) Turner, H. F. L. Woollam, John Victor
Spens, Rt. Hn. Sir p. (Kens'gt'n, S.) Tweedsmuir, Lady Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard Vane, W. M. F.
Stevens, Geoffrey Viekers, Miss J. H. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Mr. Studholme and Mr. Godber.
Ainsley, J. W. Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfd, E.)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N. Mann, Mrs. Jean
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Gibson, C. W. Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Greenwood, Anthony Mason, Roy
Anderson, Frank Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R. Mayhew, C. P.
Awbery, S. S. Grey, C. F. Mellish, R. J.
Bacon, Miss Alice Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Messer, Sir F.
Balfour, A. Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Mikardo, Ian
Bartley, P. Griffiths, William (Exchange) Mitchison, G. R.
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Hale, Leslie Monslow, W.
Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.) Hall, Rt. Hn.Glenvil (Colne Valley) Moody, A. S.
Benn, Hn. Wedgwood (Bristol, S.E.) Hamiton, W. W. Morris, Percy (Swansea, w.)
Benson, G. Hannan, W. Mort, D. L.
Beswick, F. Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.) Moss, R.
Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale) Hastings, S. Moyle, A.
Blackburn, F. Hayman, F. H. Mulley, F. W.
Blenkinsop, A. Healey, Denis Neal, Harold (Bolsover)
Boardman, H. Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis) Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Herbison, Miss M. Oliver, G. H.
Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.) Holman, P. Oram, A. E.
Bowles, F. G. Holmes, Horace Orbach, M.
Boyd, T. C. Houghton, Douglas Oswald, T.
Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Howell, Charles (Perry Barr) Owen, W. J.
Brockway, A. F. Howell, Denis (All Saints) Padley, W. E.
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Hoy, J. H. Palmer, A. M. F.
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Hubbard, T. F. Panned, Charles (Leeds, W.)
Burke, W. A. Hughes, Ctedwyn (Anglesey) Pargiter, G. A.
Burton, Miss F. E. Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Parker, J.
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Parkin, B. T.
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Hunter, A. E. Paton, J.
Callaghan, L. J. Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe) Pearson, A.
Carmichael, J. Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Plummer, Sir Leslie
Castle, Mrs. B. A. Irving, S. (Dartford) Popplewell, E.
Champion, A. J. Isaacs, Rt. Hon. C. A. Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Chapman, W. D. Janner, B. Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, w.)
Chetwynd, G. R. Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T. Probert, A. R.
Clunie, J. Jeger, George (Goole) Proctor, W. T.
Coldrick, W. Jeger, Mrs. Lena (Holbn & St.Pncs, S.) Pryde, D. J.
Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead)
Collins, V. J. (Shoreditch & Finsbury) Jenkins, Roy (Stechford) Rankin, John
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Jones, David (The Hartlepools) Reeves, J.
Cove, W. G. Jones, Elwyn (W. Ham, S.) Reid, William
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Rhodes, H.
Cronin, J. D. Jones, J. ldwal (Wrexham) Robens, Rt. Hon. A.
Cullen, Mrs. A. Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Daines, P. Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Dalton, Rt. Hon. H. King, Dr. H. M. Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Darling, George (Hillsborough) Lawson, G. M. Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)
de Freitas, Ceoffrey Ledger, R. J. Ross, William
Dodds, N. N. Lee, Frederick (Newton) Royle, C.
Dye, S. Lever, Leslie (Ardwick) Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Lindgren, G. S. Shurmer, P. L. E.
Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse) Lipton, Lt.-Col. M. Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Logan, D. G. Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Mabon, Dr. J. D Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)
Edwards, W. J. (Stepney) MacColl, J. E. Skeffington, A. M.
Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.) McGhee, H. G. Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)
Evans, Edward (Lowestoft) Mclnnes, J. Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury) McKay, John (Wallsend) Sorensen, R. W.
Fernyhough, E. McLeavy, Frank Sparks, J. A.
Fienburgh, W. MaoMillan, M. K. (Western Isles) Steele, T.
Finch, H. J. MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Fletcher, Erio Mahon, S. Stones, W. (Consett)
Forman, J. C. Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.
Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall) Warbey, W. N. Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E. Weitzman, D. Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Swingler, S. T. Wells, Percy (Faversham) Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)
Sylvester, G. O. West, D. G. Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield) Wheeldon, W. E. Winterbottom, Richard
Taylor, John (West Lothian) White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint) Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Thomas, lorwerth (Rhondda, W.) White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.) Yates, V. (Ladywood)
Thornton, E. Wigg, George Younger, Rt. Hon. K.
Timmons, J. Wilkins, W. A. Zilliacus, K.
Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn Williams, David (Neath)
Usborne, H. C. Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Mr. Sbort and Mr. Deer.