HC Deb 15 June 1939 vol 348 cc1531-2W
Mr. J. Hall

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that the report of the Unemployment Assistance Board calls attention to the high rents of working-class accommodation in the London area; and, as the complaints in the report are on account of decontrolled premises, will he be prepared to take such steps as may be necessary to bring about a reduction of these rents?

Mr. Elliot

I am aware of the statements in the report referred to. The fact that rents are higher in London than in other parts of the country is recognised in the Housing Acts and the Rent Restriction Acts. If the suggestion of the hon. Member is that the Rent Acts should be amended to bring back into control houses which have become decontrolled, I would point out that this course has been consistently reported against by the committees inquiring into the operation of the Acts. The Acts were amended and extended only last year, and I see no reason for further legislation at the present time.

Sir P. Harris

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware of the grave discontent amongst a large number of decontrolled tenants in the East End of London, not only at the increase in their rents, but their inability to obtain habitable repairs; and if he will consider appointing a committee of inquiry to investigate the whole situation, particularly in London?

Mr. Elliot

I would point: out that the housing situation in London, particularly in the East End, was carefully examined by Lord Ridley's Committee, on whose report the Rent Restrictions Act of last year was based; and provisions were made in that Act to meet the exceptional situation that admittedly exists there. I cannot agree that any further investigation is called for at the present time.

The Housing Acts contain provisions enabling local authorities to deal with houses in a state of disrepair, and I shall be happy to communicate with the local authority concerned on any particular case which the hon. Member brings to my notice.