4. Mrs. Butler
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs what new arrangements he is making for housing overspill from Middlesex.
The Middlesex authorities themselves are able to enter into any overspill arrangements they consider necessary and desirable. The long-term overspill needs of Greater London as a whole, including Middlesex, are being studied in the Ministry as part of the general problem of the South-East.
Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that it is precisely because the County of Middlesex has no housing powers like London and other conurbations that it is necessary for him to initiate fresh overspill arrangements? Does he appreciate that the present arrangements will provide for only about 13,000 houses for the needs of people in Middlesex in the next ten years whereas there is an urgent need for double that number? If the right hon. Gentleman is waiting for reorganisation of local government, that will be too late because of the time that these things take to materialise.
The district councils have the power and, as the hon. Lady knows, in a number of cases, such as in the St. Neots scheme and the Bletchley scheme, have acted. Indeed, under the Housing Act which has just gone on the Statute Book, there is power to help the recipient authority. I recognise that there is a need and that there will be a growing need for such overspill arrangements, but the powers are with the district councils and it is for them to operate them.
§ Mr. Pargiter
Is the Minister aware that the authorities in Middlesex have said that whatever arrangements they make will be completely inadequate and 201 cannot deal with the problem? Local authorities have admitted that.
I am sure that the district councils have the power to do what is sought and that no action is called for from me in this regard.
Is the Minister suggesting that a hundred houses a year at St. Neots will be adequate to deal with the Middlesex overspill problem?
No, not at all. There is a need for overspill arrangements for people from Middlesex. I am saying that the power resides with the district councils.