HC Deb 17 November 1959 vol 613 cc970-1
21. Mr. Hale

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs whether he is aware that certain local authorities are in difficulty in dealing with urgent rehousing cases because slum property is re-let by landlords; and whether he will introduce a measure for the issue of immediate provisional closing orders nisi in case of imperative urgency.

Mr. H. Brooke

I am aware that this is one of many problems associated with slum clearance and rehousing. But up to now I have received no special representations about it from any quarter, and in my experience most local authorities can overcome difficulties of this type without changing the law.

Mr. Hale

I should be grateful if the right hon. Gentleman could tell us how. Is he aware that our problem is that we have to go through the long machinery of a closing order and we cannot rehouse people in urgent need without risk of someone else letting the house and then our having to rehouse the new tenant? Would he not agree that an immediate provisional closing order nisi, against which the landlord would have the right to appeal, would be perfectly simple? If I introduce it under a Ten-Minute Rule Bill, will the right hon. Gentleman give it facilities?

Mr. Brooke

I cannot answer that last question without notice. I do not know what would be in the Bill, but I think that there is a point of substance here. If the hon. Member would care to send me further particulars, I should be grateful. I am, however, entitled to say that we have had remarkably few complaints about this from any local authority.

Miss Bacon

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this very urgent problem in slum clearance arises when local authorities cannot rehouse people living in the most appalling conditions until the clearance order is confirmed by his Ministry and confirmation sometimes takes a very long time? Will he look into this most urgent matter?

Mr. Brooke

Certainly. I am always endeavouring to reduce delays, whether in my Ministry or elsewhere.

42. Mr. G. Jeger

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs to what extent local authorities are now empowered under his regulations to proceed with slum-clearance schemes free from the control of his Department.

Mr. H. Brooke

Parliament has assigned powers and duties in respect of slum clearance both to the local authorities and to the Minister. They are defined in Parts II and III of the Housing Act, 1957. Local authorities are free to decide for themselves how much of their house-building should be devoted to slum clearance purposes.

Mr. Jeger

Is not the Minister aware that local authorities, including the Corporation of Goole, are complaining bitterly that his Department is holding up applications for sanction for slum clearance even when they are willing to go ahead with it?

Mr. Brooke

I am always anxious to reduce delay, and if the hon. Gentleman will bring to my attention any case which he thinks should have been decided more quickly, I will gladly look into it.

Forward to