HC Deb 17 March 1959 vol 602 cc174-5
1. Mr. Brockway

asked the Attorney-General how many persons in Slough have been given notice of three months or less to quit their accommodation, following court hearings under the Rent Act.

The Attorney-General (Sir Reginald Manningham-Buller)

I assume that the hon. Member has in mind orders for the possession of premises which have been decontrolled by virtue of the Rent Act, 1957. An order for possession in three months or less was made in 8 of the 13 cases heard by the Slough County Court in the period ending 31st January, 1959. It is not possible to say whether any of those orders affected houses in Slough, as the jurisdiction of the court extends to other areas and separate statistics are not maintained.

Mr. Brockway

I thank the right hon. and learned Gentleman for those particulars. Do not the figures show that, despite the amending Act, the Rent Act is causing very considerable hardship? [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Yes. Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that five evictions are threatened this month in Slough and that, were it not for the fact that the borough council is providing alternative accommodation, men and women would be on the streets as a result of the Government's Rent Act?

The Attorney-General

I cannot agree with the hon. Gentleman. The eight cases to which I referred, which were heard by the Slough County Court, may not all have come from Slough, because the area of jurisdiction of that court includes Maidenhead, Windsor, New Windsor, Eton, Egham, Staines and other areas. I do not think those figures justify the conclusion reached by the hon. Gentleman.

2. Mrs. Butler

asked the Attorney-General the number of applications made for possession by landlords under the Rent Act, 1957, and the Landlord and Tenant Act, 1958, to Edmonton County Court at the latest convenient date, and the decision reached by the court in each such case.

The Attorney-General

By 1st January, 1959, 122 actions for possession under the Landlord and Tenant (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1958, had been entered and 41 of them had been heard. In 28 of those cases the tenant applied for a suspension of the court's order for possession and the application was granted in 21 cases. No figures are available in respect of actions for possession under the Rent Acts.

Mrs. Butler

Is the Attorney-General aware that, in December, Judge Duveen said to a tenant, If you take an order for possession along to the council, they'll have to help you, and that, in January, Judge Granville Smith, at Edmonton County Court, advised a tenant, "in her own interest", to go to the council with the court order and ask for accommodation"? In view of the fact that the Tottenham Borough Council is now considering twenty-six applications from families against whom orders for possession have been made and has a housing waiting list of between 9,000 and 10,000 families, do the Government intend that the Landlord and Tenant Act, 1958, should work out in this way so that hard-pressed local authorities like Tottenham are forced to choose between desperate Rent Act victims and people on their own waiting lists?

The Attorney-General

That speech does not seem to call for a reply from me.