HC Deb 25 October 1960 vol 627 cc2143-4
38. Mr. Skeffington

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs whether, in view of the rapidly increasing profits of property companies as a result of the Rent Act, 1957, he will consider introducing legislation to limit rents demanded from decontrolled tenants.

Mr. H. Brooke

No, Sir.

Mr. Skeffington

Does not the Minister think that he is grossly neglecting his duty in so far as tenants are concerned? Is he aware that even in yesterday's Evening Standard there was an article headed London's Rents. Can the crazy spiral go higher? Is he aware that in the constituency of my right hon. Friend the Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay) a property company owning so-called working-class dwellings made a profit of only £1,200 before the Rent Act and this year it has declared a profit of £63,000? Is he not going to do something to stop this shameful exploitation of tenants?

Mr. Brooke

I am perfectly well aware that before the Rent Act it was extremely difficult for many companies and many individuals to keep their property in repair and make any profit at all but, as I have repeatedly said today, the Government are not going to reimpose any form of rent control.

Mr. M. Stewart

Does not the right hon. Gentleman remember that about half-an-hour ago the Chancellor of the Exchequer was talking about the need for restraint in claims for wages and salaries? Why is it that only people who get incomes from work and not from property are asked to exercise restraint?

Mr. Brooke

In the vast majority of cases the landlords have been exercising restraint. The sample survey which I am proposing to publish will prove that beyond question. In those few cases where landlords have been asking extortionate rents I have indicated to the local authority the course it can follow.

Mr. Doughty

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the vast majority of people in the country will support him in the courageous and necessary action he has taken to bring this situation to an end so that houses are not under-occupied but are properly repaired and the proper distribution of population begins again?

Mr. Brooke

I am grateful to my hon. and learned Friend.