HC Deb 11 March 1958 vol 584 cc234-5
53. Mr. Lipton

asked the Prime Minister what further action will now be taken to set up an inter-departmental committee to examine the problems arising from homeless families and make recommendations.

The Prime Minister

After consultation with the Ministers concerned, I have come to the conclusion that what is needed is an effort to improve existing arrangements rather than an inquiry by an inter-departmental committee. My right hon. Friends the Ministers of Housing and Local Government and of Health are considering how best this may be achieved and propose to have discussions with the local authority associations.

Mr. Lipton

While regretting that this idea, which was put forward a month ago, has been turned down, may I ask the Prime Minister—who has the reputation of being a good family man—to spare a thought for many families facing eviction next October? Also, as a contribution to a better atmosphere, will he disown a disgraceful Tory pamphlet, issued by the Central Office, which said that we on this side of the House want to see the old people thrown on to the streets?

The Prime Minister

That is quite a different problem than that in the Question, originally asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Tynemouth (Dame Irene Ward), to which the hon. Member for Brixton (Mr. Lipton) has again called attention. As I pointed out, the Committee, I think, did some useful work on a particular aspect of this problem when I was Minister of Housing and Local Government. A great deal of work has been done on different aspects. There is the problem of people who are very difficult to look after in one way or another. I am informed and believe that still to be the case, but another Committee would not help us. What we had better do is to see how far we can get by collaboration with all those concerned in carrying out the recommendations of this Committee.

Mr. J. Griffiths

May we take it from the reply of the Prime Minister that his attention has not been called to the pamphlet in which these charges were made against the Opposition? Will he take a look at it and disown it as soon as he can?

The Prime Minister

I do not think that arises on this Question; it is quite a different topic.