HC Deb 06 November 1962 vol 666 cc788-9
23. Mr. Gower

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs if he has considered the findings of the report on leaseholds prepared by Alderman Arthur Dolman of Newport, Monmouthshire, for the Wales and Monmouthshire Conservative Association, a copy of which report has been supplied to him; and if he will make a statement.

Sir K. Joseph

I am aware of the report by Alderman Dolman and will take it into account when I come to make a statement on the leasehold problem.

Mr. Gower

Does my right hon. Friend realise that, whereas the inquiry of solicitors and other professional people which preceded the Government White Paper seems to have been made on a very selective basis to particular professional people, Alderman Dolman reports that he addressed his application and investigation to solicitors and professional people in general? Is it not significant that his inquiry has revealed in South Wales a far greater volume of hardship than was acknowledged in the Government's White Paper?

Sir K. Joseph

No; I cannot accept that the instances of hardship quoted in the report give enough information for a judgment to be formed. However, I an taking this report into account in coming to my own view.

Mr. C. Hughes

Will the Minister, while he is considering what kind of statement he will make, be good enough to consider, following the precedent set by the last Labour Government, the introduction of legislation to extend the period of existing leases by about two years so as to allay the real hardship now being created?

Sir K. Joseph

No. I will, of course, take into account any suggestions, but I gather that in a lot of the cases there are several years to run. However, I will take note of what the hon. Gentleman has said.

Mr. J. Griffiths

Is the Minister aware that, since a large number of these houses were built in the nineteenth century, the leases are now running out and, unless legislation comes very quickly, considerable hardship will be caused and many people who have given their lives to building and maintaining their own houses so as to think of themselves as owner-occupiers will be dispossessed? May we have a promise of legislation this Session?

Sir K. Joseph

I cannot give the right hon. Gentleman that promise. All I can promise is that I shall make a statement as soon as possible.