HC Deb 19 June 1956 vol 554 cc1223-4
30. Mr. D. Howell

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether he has considered the case recently made to him by the Birmingham City Council for a new town to house the homeless of Birmingham; and what action he is taking to deal with the problem of providing housing accommodation for those upon the city housing register and those to be rehoused because of slum clearance in circumstances where no more building land is available within the Birmingham boundaries.

Mr. Sandys

Over the past year I have had discussions with Birmingham Corporation about methods for providing homes and work outside the city for its excess population. At my meeting with it last month, I made it clear that I look to the corporation to initiate precise proposals for dealing with this problem. When I receive these, I shall consider what help I can give.

Mr. Howell

Is the Minister aware that the corporation is having difficulties in making satisfactory arrangements with surrounding county councils? Is he further aware that other large cities are in the same position, and have requested that he and his right hon. Friends concerned should receive a joint deputation? Can he tell us when he is likely to receive this joint deputation from the large cities in respect of the building of new towns?

Mr. Sandys

I am well aware of the difficulties. That is why I have had a number of talks, not only with Birmingham, but with other cities, such as Manchester. I am also, of course, going to receive the deputation mentioned by the hon. Gentleman. What I have suggested is that there should be a preliminary discussion beforehand between the officials of the councils concerned and of my Department to try to clarify the facts upon which our discussion could then usefully be conducted.

Mr. Mitchiion

Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that there is a clear case for one or more new towns around Birmingham, not to say around Manchester? Is that not a matter which is his responsibility, upon which he should take some initiative?

Mr. Sandys

There is a Question dealing with the broad issue of new towns which appears later on the Order Paper. All I would say now is that the creation of a new town is not excluded, but it is only one of the possible methods of dealing with this problem.

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