HC Deb 18 February 1969 vol 778 cc184-5
11. Mrs. Renée Short

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what proposals he now has to increase housing output, in view of the large number of families living in multi-occupation in the priority areas.

Mr. Greenwood

Local authorities' programmes in these areas are related to their capacity to build. I hope that any of these authorities who have real doubts about their ability to maintain a large building programme will let me know so that I can consider if help is needed.

Mrs. Short

But is my right hon. Friend aware that in Wolverhampton more than 1,000 houses are in multi-occupation, which means that many thousands of people must be involved, many of whom, but by no means all, are immigrant families? Does he not think that he should take steps to supplement the building programmes of local authorities to get rid of this terrible problem?

Mr. Greenwood

We have done a great deal to supplement the building programmes of local authorities, and if the Wolverhampton County Borough Council wishes to approach us for additional approvals, we shall certainly consider the matter sympathetically and see whether further help is necessary. So far as multiple occupation goes, my hon. Friend will appreciate that we are tackling this problem in the Housing Bill at present before the House.

Mr. Bidwell

Would my right hon. Friend not agree that this line of inquiry tends to put the cart before the horse and that the crux of the matter is equal job opportunities so that we can dissociate the overcrowding and the second-class dwellings from colour, and that this matter comes under the Department of Employment and Productivity?

Mr. Greenwood

There may be a good deal in what my hon. Friend says, but I do not think that it stems directly from the Question.