HC Deb 31 January 1961 vol 633 cc769-70
27. Mr. W. Griffiths

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs whether he has yet completed his consultations with the local authorities in South-East Lancashire about the possibility of providing a Government-sponsored new town to provide for overspill in the conurbation of South-East Lancashire; and whether he will give an assurance that it is Government policy to sponsor such a new town.

Mr. Brooke

It will be some time before I can complete the study which I am engaged in making, with the help of the local planning authorities, of the requirements of the South-East Lancashire conurbation for housing land. Until this is completed, I can express no view on the suggestion that a Government-sponsored new town will be required.

Mr. Griffiths

Is the Minister aware that in the City of Manchester alone there are over 30,000 unfit houses, that the corporation has decided to designate 4,000 a year for slum clearance, and that, last year, as a result of obstacles placed in the way of the corporation by the right hon. Gentleman and his predecessors, Manchester Corporation was able to build only 1,000, many fewer than ten years ago? Does he not appreciate the urgency of the matter and realise that increasing numbers of people find it nauseating to hear the Prime Minister and his right hon. Friends say that the housing problem is solved?

Mr. Brooke

I should certainly not say that the housing problem of Manchester was anywhere near solved, but I cannot accept the allegation that the Government are placing obstacles in the way of Manchester Corporation. The position here is that a conference was held during the last week or two with the nine local planning authorities involved. They all undertook to cooperate and to send information to my Department. When I have all that information, it will be possible to take stock of the whole position. I should like to express my gratitude for the co-operative attitude of the planning authorities.

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