HC Deb 24 March 1958 vol 585 cc31-2
57. Mr. Lewis

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs what action he is taking to co-ordinate the Government's information services on the effects of the Rent Act, 1957, with special reference to the new increases due to take effect next April.

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

A summary of the provisions of the Act is available in the Government publication, "The Rent Act and You", of which 1½ million copies have already been sold. Very many inquiries about the effect of the Act have been and are being answered by my Department, either in reply to correspondence or on points referred to us by the readers advice bureaux of newspapers. Any one can obtain information on the Act from the local council offices or advice from a citizens advice bureau, and many people have taken advantage of these facilities.

Mr. Lewis

I am in some difficulty on this, Mr. Speaker, because I put the Question to the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, who accepted it and transferred it at the last moment. May I therefore ask what is the position in the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, the Department of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and the Ministry of National Insurance about advising and explaining to people that some £70,000 per week is being paid by the National Assistance Board to these people who have had rent increases and that from the pockets of these recipients it goes straight into the pockets of the landlords? Is that being well publicised? Is it being given out to the people to show how this Government are increasing the inflationary spiral?

Mr. Bevins

I am obliged to the hon. Gentleman—he has certainly done his best to publicise this. I am quite sure that it is very widely understood that there are circumstances in which the National Assistance Board is prepared to help tenants.

Mr. Lewis

At £70,000 a week?

Mr. Gibson

Is the Minister considering issuing a new leaflet, because the present one by no means answers all the questions one gets. In view of the large numbers of letters that the Minister himself admits he has had, has not the time arrived for a re-issue of the leaflet to answer the questions now being put to all of us week by week as to exactly what the Act means?

Mr. Bevins

No further publication is in contemplation at the moment, but if the hon. Gentleman has any particular points in mind, we will very gladly consider them.

Mr. Paget

Will the hon. Gentleman co-ordinate his efforts in this direction with the Minister of Agriculture who is organising a similar hand-out to agricultural landlords from public funds?

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