§ 25. Mr. W. Griffiths
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether he will make a statement on the meeting held on 22nd February between himself and the representatives of the Manchester Corporation to discuss the problem of overspill.
§ Mr. H. Brooke
I have nothing at present to add to the reply which I gave to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Withington (Sir R. Cary) on 5th March.
§ Mr. Griffiths
Is the Minister aware that for five years his predecessors have been coming to this House promising an early decision, and using such words as "shortly" and "soon"? Is it not the fact that in a recent Adjournment debate the right hon. Gentleman sought to convey to hon. Members, including myself, that the reason for his not giving the House of Commons a reply to the debate was that he was to meet a deputation from the Manchester Corporation, and was to announce his views to that deputation? Now we are told that he is still considering the matter. Therefore, has he not deceived both the Manchester City Corporation and the House of Commons?
§ Mr. Brooke
I was extremely anxious to have the opportunity of meeting the deputation from the Manchester City Council, so that its members could put their case to me at first hand. If it were true that my predecessors had been promising a decision for the past five years—which is really an exaggeration—think that I, as a new Minister, ought to be allowed a fortnight.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that Manchester's building programme is really cut in half because we have inadequate sites, and the city itself is so surrounded that we must get a decision soon?
§ Mr. Brooke
I can assure my hon. Friend that the all-party deputation from the city council put the case for the Manchester Corporation's claim very cogently, and I am now considering this extremely difficult problem.
§ Mr. Mitchison
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that not only has Manchester not enough room to build but neither has London, nor, I venture to say, has practically every large industrial town in the country? What does he intend to do about it by way of fostering new towns and overspill?