asked the Minister of Health whether, in view of the speculation in buying houses at a [...]easonable price and putting up the sale price to a high figure, especially in districts where housing accommodation is scarce, he will institute some control to protect the public?
§ Mr. E. Brown
The inquiries which I have made do not indicate any general increase of prices which is disproportionate to war-time variations of costs and wages generally. The increases are confined in the main to houses which are sold with vacant possession for occupation by the purchaser, and in existing circumstances the number of such houses is limited. In view of this, and of the powers of requisitioning and billeting which are available to me to meet the needs of person who are required to move in connection with the war effort, I do not consider that I should be justified at the present time in seeking the new powers which would be necessary to control prices. I agree however that the position needs to be closely watched, and I am making arrangements accordingly. I should not hesitate to consider appropriate action if circumstances warrant it, and I should be obliged if my hon. Friend would send me particulars of any instances of unreasonable prices which come to his notice.