HC Deb 26 November 1963 vol 685 cc56-8
24. Mr. Wade

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs what new machinery he intends to set up to carry out his proposed policy of public acquisition of land.

36. Mr. Lipton

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs what practical steps he is taking to ensure that land planned for major development is acquired well in advance by public authorities.

Sir K. Joseph

The real need here is to get machinery capable of organising the big town expansions. I am now considering this. The advance acquisition of land for these expansions is one aspect of the problem.

Mr. Wade

There was some confusion in the minds of many hon. Members about what the Minister really meant by the passage in his speech of 18th November when he referred to devising new machinery. Will he make the point quite clear? Is it his intention to set up a development corporation or to make loans to existing authorities?

Sir K. Joseph

In the debate on that occasion there was much emphasis on the price of land and Istressed that availability and price went together. I told the House of the importance which the Government attached to the regional studies which are now taking place, and the machinery for town development will be one of the questions arising from the South-East study and will be dealt with in the context of that study.

Mr. Lipton

Why does the Minister given an impression of back-pedalling very hard since he first made the announcement? Is he aware that people are coming to the view that this is just another carrot dangled before the people for purely electoral purposes?

Sir K. Joseph

I am not back-pedalling. The House will have to wait for the Government's decisions emerging from the South-East study to see the exact form which they will take.

Mr. M. Stewart

Will the Minister clear up this point? When he spoke, he talked of the policy of public acquisition of land being extended from the new and expanded towns, presumably, into some other field;but the Minister of Public Building and Works limited the proposal to new and expanded towns. Which is it? Is it the Minister's more generous version, or is it the more restricted version which we heard at the end of the same debate?

Sir K. Joseph

I was not pretending in that debate to give the precise limits or the precise machinery which the Government will think fit to introduce when the South-East study is complete. The House must wait for that.

Mr. Snow

In the meantime, does the Minister intend to send to local authorities a circular clarifying what he really means to be done, because, whatever may be in the South-East study, the position of some of the Midlands towns which are affected by the receipt of overspill population is becoming very serious indeed and brooks no delay?

Sir K. Joseph

No; there will be ample time to inform the local authorities when the studies, which will be first for the South-East and then for the North-West and West Midlands, emerge.

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