HC Deb 14 July 1964 vol 698 cc1017-8
32. Mrs. Barbara Castle

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs whether he will amend Schedule II to the Housing Act, 1957, to extend the provisions for supplemental compensation to cover houses acquired by the local authority after 1965.

Sir K. Joseph

I am considering the position that will arise after 12th December, 1965, when the concession ends, but I cannot hold out the prospect of any general extension of the provisions.

Mrs. Castle

Is the Minister aware that in a town like Blackburn, where about 25,000 sub-standard houses are due for eventual clearance, it is quite impossible for the local authority to acquire before 1965 all the houses which would qualify for full market value under Schedule II? Since the majority of these houses are owner-occupied, and their owners have sunk their life savings in them, is it not most unfair that the local authority should not be allowed to pay for them the actual value where, as in the case of Blackburn, the authority is anxious to do so?

Sir K. Joseph

I have undertaken in my Answer to consider the whole question, but I must point out that the concession applies to people who bought their houses before 1955 and that by 1965 they will have a minimum of 10 years' and possibly a maximum of 26 years' use of the property, but I have undertaken to look at the whole matter.

Mr. Prentice

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind the points raised by East Ham Borough Council on these matters? May not those be typical of local authorities which have big schemes under review? Where there is delay because of pressure on the inquiry system in the right hon. Gentleman's Ministry may there not be a case for a special concession to carry forward the supplemental compensation?

Sir K. Joseph

There are always problems at the boundary whenever an arbitrary line is taken, but I will certainly bear the hon. Member's point in mind.