HL Deb 23 March 1910 vol 5 cc508-9

THE EARL OF ONSLOW rose "to call attention to the difficulties in the administration of the law under the various Housing Acts, and to ask His Majesty's Government whether, in their opinion, the present is not an opportune session in which to introduce the promised measure of consolidation."

The noble Earl said: My Lords, my reason for putting this Notice on the Paper is twofold. The President of the Local Government Board last session, in the course of the proceedings on the Housing and Town Planning Bill, stated that as soon as the Bill was through the Government intended to introduce a measure for the consolidation of all the Housing of the Working Classes Acts, and he said that he hoped to be able to do it in that session—namely, last session. This session, as far as we gathered from the gracious Speech from the Throne, is one in which there is not going to be a large number of measures introduced by His Majesty's Government, and although I believe I am correct in saying that those eminent public servants, the Government draftsmen, have in the last few sessions during which His Majesty's Government have been in power had as much work to do as, and perhaps rather more than, human nature could well be expected to undertake, in this session their labours are exceptionally light. It occurred to me, therefore, that as the President of the Local Government Board was last session ready to proceed at once with a consolidation measure, which is very badly needed, His Majesty's Government might devote this session to producing a Bill, which, after all, would be entirely non-controversial, and would he of great assistance to those who have to administer the Housing Acts.


My Lords, on behalf of my noble friend Lord Allendale, who is unable to be present, I rise to answer the noble Earl's Question. This matter has not been lost sight of by the Local Government Board. In fact, the President is very fully alive to the desirability of the consolidation of the Housing Acts, and such consolidation must inevitably be made. At the same time the President is of opinion that it probably would be as well to allow a little time to elapse before introducing such a Bill in order that it may be seen how the Act of last year works, and in order that when the Consolidation Bill is brought in any small necessary changes, which will almost inevitably be wanted, may be introduced at the same time. Your Lordships are aware that it has been the practice in the past that these Consolidation Bills should run concurrently with the necessary small amendments which time shows to be necessary in the case of new legislation. I hope the noble Earl will understand that the matter has not been lost sight of, but that any delay which has occurred is due to that reason.


Perhaps the drafting of the measure might be got on with, and it could be left in a pigeon-hole at the Local Government Board for the successors of His Majesty's Government to deal with.