§ 26. Mrs. Braddock
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs if he will make a statement on his visit to Liverpool to see slum conditions; and what action he intends to take to speed up slum clearance in Liverpool.
§ The Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs (Dr. Charles Hill)
My visit to Liverpool made very plain that the city has one of the biggest and worst slum clearance problems in England. Some of the living conditions there are appalling. The problem needs to be tackled urgently, and with sustained vigour and determination. This was fully recognised by representatives of the city council. In discussion, I told them that there would be no brake on the council's rate of house-building. I also put forward a number of suggestions for speeding up progress. These are to be followed up with technical assistance from my Department. A big problem in the longer run is land. The Government have already designated a new town at Skelmersdale to meet this and further measures will be examined with the council and the other authorities involved.
§ Mrs. Braddock
I personally appreciated the courtesy which the right hon. Gentleman showed me, which made up a little for the very grave discourtesy shown by the Liverpool Corporation by not inviting me to accompany him around my constituency. In view of what the right hon. Gentleman has seen, will he attempt to speed up consideration of the compulsory purchase orders in his Department which have been sent by the local authority? It is awaiting confirmation of four compulsory purchase orders in respect of 100 houses covered by the Malta Street, Amity Street No. 2, Rankin Street and Church Flags orders. In view of what the right hon. Gentleman has said, will he ascertain 1350 whether it is possible to speed up the question of agreeing compulsory purchase orders When they reach his Department?
§ Dr. Hill
I appreciate the first part of the hon. Lady's supplementary question. I will do what I can to speed up consideration of the compulsory purchase orders to which she referred, but she will agree that the big issue is to get a drive on in the immediate future with land available on sites already cleared and on sites in overspill schemes, together with the land which will take about 12,000 houses now available on the periphery. A great drive is needed there at the earliest possible date. I recognise that it will be some years before Skelmersdale comes into full operation, and there will be further problems of land.
§ Mr. Tilney
Will my right hon. Friend recognise that the birth rate in Liverpool, which is substantially higher than the average throughout the country, aggravates our employment and housing problems? Will he consider making Liverpool, in common with some other Victorian cities, a special case for extra help, despite the fact that the new Conservative authority in Liverpool is building more houses than the previous authority?