§ 2.37 P.m.656
§ [The question was as follows:
§ To call attention to the statement made in, another place on behalf of His Majesty's Government on October 17, 1945, in which they said that they hoped later on to come to Parliament to ask for an Act to enable cottages to be reconditioned, and to ask whether, in view of the great shortage of houses for agricultural workers which is augmenting the existing serious food crisis, and the little chance of this shortage being remedied in any reasonable time, they will reconsider their policy of refusal to allow the reconditioning of rural houses and introduce the necessary permissive legislation. as soon as possible.]
§ LORD HENDERSON
My Lords, as your Lordships are aware, the question of reconditioning rural cottages with assistance from public funds has been the subject of an examination by a sub-committee of the Minister of Health's Central Housing Advisory Committee, under the chairmanship of Sir Arthur Hobhouse, and the Minister stated on February 24, 1947, that the Government would announce their intentions on the recommendations made by Sir Arthur Hobhouse and his colleagues before the end of the present session. The implementation of these recommendations would require legislation which could not, in any event, be introduced before that date. I can assure your Lordships that the Government are studying the Hobhouse recommendations with the greatest care, but I cannot anticipate the announcement which the Minister of Health will himself make later in the session.
My Lords, I beg to thank the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, for that answer, but I should like to ask whether the Government are taking into account the fact that this is an issue which is imporant to all Parties; that it is not a Party issue at all, and that members of all Parties are asking for and would welcome legislation as early as possible. The fact that the noble Lord, Lord Quibell, in a speech last week, very strongly supported this plea reinforces what I am saying. I would like to ask whether that fact has been taken into consideration, since what the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, has just said, suggests that this legislation may be long delayed.
§ LORD HENDERSON
I think I can assure the noble Viscount that all relevant considerations have been taken into account by my right honourable friend.