HC Deb 06 November 1962 vol 666 cc783-4
12. Mr. Lipton

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs what special action he will take to reduce the number of homeless families in London.

Sir K. Joseph

The immediate problem of providing for the homeless lies with the London County Council and it is substantially increasing its provision.

But behind this lie a number of factors: the pressure on London's housing, the possibilities of increasing the rate of building and the difficulty of finding enough land to sustain bigger building programme.

I am pursuing this whole question and I intend, when ready, to make a comprehensive statement. But I am unlikely to be ready until the New Year.

Mr. Lipton

Will the Minister bear in mind that it is no consolation to these 1,005 homeless families—an all-time record—to be told that by about 1964, when he will no longer be in office, we will start to overtake the backlog more rapidly? Is he not aware that it has never been more difficult and more expensive than at the present time to find somewhere to live in London, and that this is due to Government policy or lack of it?

Sir K. Joseph

I think that we have to distinguish between the two parts of action. The L.C.C. is making as fast progress as it can, with such help as I can give it, for the immediate relief of housing needs in London. I think that what the House will want to know is what I and the Government can do to increase the land available for that purpose and to enable local authorities and private enterprise to build faster on the land available and thus, by one means or another, to reduce the pressure on London's housing.