HC Deb 31 July 1962 vol 664 cc395-6
22. Mrs. Castle

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs how many turnstiles there were in municipal public conveniences at 11th August, 1961; how many have since been removed; and how many local authorities have refused to comply with his request to remove them.

38. Mrs. McLaughlin

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs how many turnstiles have been removed from municipal public conveniences since he wrote to the local authorities requesting that these should be removed as soon as possible; and how many other local authorities have plans to remove these turnstiles within the next twelve months.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government (Mr. F. V. Corfield)

About 670 turnstiles were in position on 11th August, 1961. Figures so far available show that 139 have been removed and five have been taken permanently out of use. Two hundred and twenty-three are to be removed this year or next by eighty local authorities. Forty-six authorities have refused to remove their turnstiles and eight have removed some and retained others.

Mrs. Castle

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that letters of protest about the continued operation of these turnstiles are still rolling in to me and since the Minister issued his circular I have received particulars of twenty-five areas where they are in operation together with those of authorities such as, for instance, Swaffham Rural District Council, which openly refuse to carry out his circular? In view of this defiance by such a large number of local authorities, will the Minister now fulfil the promise made by his predecessor and introduce legislation to make it obligatory on local authorities to take these turnstiles out without any more delay?

Mr. Corfield

I am not, of course, familiar with the hon. Lady's mail, but I stress that the number of turnstiles to be removed is 367 which, according to my calculations, is 55 per cent. of the total and this has been achieved in under a year, the date of my right hon. Friend's circular being 11th August last year. I do not think it can be said that this is an entirely unsatisfactory state of affairs or that local authorities on the whole are proving unco-operative. So far as legislation goes, the circular reiterated my right hon. Friend's undertaking, although I cannot give any guarantee that Government time will be available.

Mrs. Castle

As forty-six local authorities have refused to remove turnstiles, what is the Minister going to do about it? Is he to allow the recalcitrant local authorities to defy Government policy instead of keeping up with the standard of the best?

Mr. Corfield

The hon. Lady will be aware that the date in the circular was May this year. We feel that powers of persuasion have not yet been exhausted.

Mr. Elwyn Jones

Will the hon. Gentleman explain the distinction in his Answer between removing the turnstiles and taking them out of permanent use?

Mr. Corfield

Perhaps the hon. and learned Member would receive more satisfaction by consulting his hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) on that.