§ 39. Mr. Piratin
asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that the Ministry of Works, who had requisitioned the Duchess of Bedford flats, Kensington, subsequently offered them to the Kensington Borough Council so that they could be requisitioned for rehousing purposes and that this local authority refused the offer; and what steps he is taking to ensure that the Kensington Borough Council makes full use of its powers of requisitioning with particular regard to this block of flats.
§ Mr. Bevan
In accordance with the normal procedure these flats were offered by me to the borough council. The local authority ascertained that the owners would let these flats at rents which, having regard to the pre-war rents, were reasonable, and indicated that in these circumstances they did not wish the requisition to be transferred to them. I see no reason to take any action.
§ Mr. Piratin
Is the Minister not satisfied that the action of this Borough Council could have been such that this accommodation would have been provided for the homeless, rather than for those who already have decent homes of their own?
§ Mr. Bevan
As I have already explained on a variety of occasions, London is a great capital City, and there is need for accommodation in London for all types of persons. It would be a very sad day indeed if we could not find accommoda-tion in London for the large variety of persons who need to live in the City.
Can Members have an opportunity of seeing in the Library the comments made in a Russian broadcast sympathising with the Duchess of Bedford and her family in this unfortunate episode?