HC Deb 20 December 1960 vol 632 c1060
31. Mr. Mackie

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs what plans he has for speeding up housing, in view of the difficulties, particularly in north London boroughs, now confronting old people, newly-married people, and people living in overcrowded accommodation.

Mr. Brooke

My information is that most local authorities, in north London boroughs as elsewhere, are pressing ahead with house building as quickly as they can. They are limited by the present high level of demand on all sections of the building industry, and the keen competition for technical staff.

Mr. Mackie

Is the Minister aware of the tremendous difficulties facing Members of Parliament like myself who receive scores of appeals from old people, newly-married couples and people living in overcrowded conditions to do something about this? Does he not think that it is time for drastic action, by which I mean taking over land, directing building away from office building, and so on, to solve a problem which is causing more delinquency than anything else? Drastic action is required.

Mr. Brooke

The first initiative in taking over land compulsorily rests with the local authority concerned. The borough council in the constituency which the hon. Gentleman represents has a programme of 200 houses for this year; but, so far as I can see, I fear that the council will fall short of it. That is not my responsibility. It is the council's.