HC Deb 06 December 1966 vol 737 cc1134-5
12. Mr. Judd

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government how he proposes to improve existing legislation covering compensation by local authorities for the compulsory purchase of private houses.

Mr. Greenwood

I take it that my hon. Friend has in mind compensation paid in respect of houses that have been found unfit. I have no proposals to put forward at present, but this is one of the many problems relating to older houses which are under review.

Mr. Judd

Is there not a good deal of confusion in the existing legislation? Is my right hon. Friend aware that in large areas of development owner-occupiers of limited means feel that they are being asked to bear a disproportionate part of the cost?

Mr. Greenwood

I think that there is a good deal of misunderstanding about this. I have looked very carefully into the special problems which my hon. Friend has in mind, but it should be remembered that site value has been the basis of compensation for many years. We would all agree that it can cause hardship, however, and I am at present looking into ways and means of alleviating this.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Is not the trouble due to the right hon. Gentleman's predecessor's refusal to accept an Amendment to the Housing (Slum Clearance Compensation) Bill which would have preserved market value for a large number of these houses?

Mr. Greenwood

No, Sir.

Mr. Graham Page

Is not the Minister aware of the grave hardship to owner-occupiers arising from the Government's Housing (Slum Clearance Compensation) Act, 1965? Will he look into a case in my constituency of a compulsory purchase order on several streets of owner-occupied houses which were purchased in recent years for £500 or £600 but for which the owners are to receive site value of £35? Is not that shocking?

Mr. Greenwood

I shall look into any cases of hardship which hon. Members bring to my attention. I thought that I had already made clear that I am aware that hardship can be caused and I am looking into it.