HC Deb 14 July 1964 vol 698 cc1008-9
15. Mr. John Hall

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs if he will call for a return from local authorities to discover how many of them have given effect to one of the recommendations of the Central Housing Advisory Committee in its report on residential qualifications issued in 1955 that local authorities should give newcomers points for time on the waiting list of another district in lieu of residential qualification.

Mr. Corfield

No, Sir. This is one of many suggestions which my right hon. Friend and his predecessors have commended to the attention of housing authorities. But responsibility for the management of local authority houses is reserved by Statute to the authorities themselves, and it is not for him to intervene in the detailed exercise of this responsibility.

Mr. Hall

Would not my hon. Friend agree that there are quite a number of cases of persons who, through no fault of their own, are forced to move from one local authority area to another and, in consequence, find themselves each time at the end of the housing queue? Is not this a matter to which the attention of local authorities should be directed rather more forcibly than it is at present? Should not they be asked to give effect to this recommendation?

Mr. Corfield

I entirely agree with my hon. Friend that it is much to be preferred if there is no residential qualification at all, but in areas of considerable pressure from immigrants from outside the area there is a case for local authorities which feel that their existing residents should have some degree of priority.

Mr. H. Hynd

Although one wishes to preserve the principle that the Government should not interfere with local authorities more than is absolutely necessary, would the Minister agree that where a local authority is not doing its duty properly it is then for the Government to intervene?

Mr. Corfield

Yes, but I do not think that this is a case where a local authority can be said not to be doing its duty properly.