HL Deb 25 November 1964 vol 261 cc818-9

2.53 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they propose during the present Session of Parliament to introduce legislation to renew the Armed Forces (Housing Loans) Act.]


My Lords, Her Majesty's Government are considering whether the Armed Forces (Housing Loans) Act should be renewed, and although this is a question about method, perhaps I might be allowed to repeat an assurance that has been given in another place: that however the necessary financial provision is made, whether by a renewal of this Act or by sonic other method, it is not intended that there should be any diminution in the building of married quarters.


My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord for his reply, and I am very grateful that he has been able to repeat the assurance given in another place. In my short time as a Service Minister it seemed to me that a factor of vital importance in attracting recruits to the Armed Services, and retaining them when they got there, was the provision of a really adequate supply of married quarters. I am, therefore, glad to have this assurance. But I must say that I was hoping the noble Lord would be able to go a little further than the Statement made in another place a fortnight or so ago. Can he let us know, if this Act, which expires next year, is not to be renewed, what other methods the Government have in mind?


My Lords, that is exactly the matter under consideration at the moment, and I do not think I can go further, as indeed I said just now. But I can assure the noble Earl that the Government are very conscious of the need for married quarters, both from the point of view of recruiting and as a special aspect, if I may so put it, of the housing problem, with which we are all deeply concerned.


My Lords, again I am grateful to the noble Lord, but I hope he will consider carefully the simple method, which is to renew the existing. Act. May I remind the noble Lord that I am only pressing that he should renew what is a rare bird—a piece of good Socialist legislation?


My Lords, it is always a good thing to renew good legislation, but one has to consider alternatives in a case of this sort. We have had a succession of these Acts one after another and it is not an altogether perfect way of doing things. I do not want to go beyond that at the moment.


My Lords, may I suggest that if the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, were to extend his ornithological studies he might find that these birds are not so rare.