§ 50. Mr. Poole
asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that the rent strike of tenants of Birmingham council houses still continues and that the arrears of rent now exceed £20,000; and whether, in view of the Tenants' Association's willingness to submit the whole matter to independent arbitration, he will consider the desirability of arranging with the city council that an officer of his Department should meet both sides with a view to arriving at an amicable settlement?
§ Mr. Elliot
I am aware of the continuance of this dispute, but I do not think that I could usefully adopt the course suggested by the hon. Member.
§ Mr. Poole
Will the Minister please reconsider that decision in view of the fact that a complete deadlock has now lasted for seven weeks and there is no sign of any settlement? The tenants are prepared to have the case arbitrated upon "and will he not, in the interests of the tenants themselves, and of the large body of ratepayers in the city who will have to carry this heavy burden, reconsider the position with a view to reaching a settlement?
§ Mr. Elliot
No, Sir, I think the matter is one between the local authority and the tenants of the local authority.
§ Mr. Cartland
Even if he will not arbitrate between the two sides, will not the Minister try to do something to bring the two sides together?