§ Again considered in Committee.
§ 10.10 p.m.
§ Mr. Evans
When I was interrupted, I was asking the Minister to look again at subsection (1) of the new Clause. My reading of it is that every one of the dwellings would have to be occupied by members of more than one family before the local authority would have power to act under Part II of the Bill. I am sure it is the right hon. Gentleman's intention that if even one or two of the flats is occupied by more than one family the local authority should be able to operate under Part II.
I see that the new Clause excludes from the operation of Clause 18 the
§ buildings which that Clause in fact deals. There must be some reason for that provision. We know that Clause 18 deals with overcrowding and one would have thought that overcrowding could be dealt with in these blocks of buildings in the same way as it is dealt with in tenements in normal occupation. I hope that the Minister will explain why he has made this exclusion in the new Clause.
§ Mr. Brooke
I think that I can satisfy the hon. Member on both his points. They are very fair questions. The first concerns the meaning of subsection (1, b). The hon. Member took it to imply that all dwellings must be in multiple occupation before the Clause would bite. I am advised that that is not the meaning of the subsection and that what it 333 means is that, even though there may be a dozen or more dwellings in the block, if at least two of them are in multiple occupation the Clause will bite. I think that that is what the hon. Member wishes and it is certainly what the Government wish.
The hon. Member also asked about the words…but no direction shall he given under section eighteen of this Act by virtue of this section in relation to such a building.That is simply to stand in the way of application of a Clause 18 direction to a block of flats or tenement dwellings as a whole. It does not debar Clause 18 from being used. It will be necessary for a Clause 18 direction to be made individually in respect of each individual dwelling. It will be appreciated that it applies to the dwelling and not to the common staircase or anything like that. There will be complete flexibility and power in Clause 18 for direction to be made in respect of overcrowding in each dwelling.
§ Mr. Graham Page
I am rather surprised at my right hon. Friend's interpretation of subsection (1, b). It seems to me that the interpretation is as the hon. Member for Islington, South-West 334 (Mr. A. Evans) explained it. The subsection reads:…this Act shall apply—…(b) to a building which is not a house but in which there are two or more separate dwellings each of which is wholly or partly let…10.15 p.m.
The words "each of which" surely apply to the separate dwellings, for each of the separate dwellings must be wholly or partly let in lodgings, or occupied by members of more than one family before this Clause can bite on the whole building. Indeed, that is the way I read the Clause, and I am very surprised at my right hon. Friend's interpretation of it, as he has explained it.
§ Mr. A. Evans
Can the Minister give an assurance that if his hon. Friend the Member for Crosby (Mr. Graham Page) and myself are correct and his interpretation is not correct, he will have the point put right at a later stage?
§ Mr. Brooke
I am quite satisfied that my interpretation is correct, but I will certainly have it looked at again.
§ Question put and agreed to.
§ Clause read a Second time and added to the Bill.