§ 24. Sir I. Fraser
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government how many houses are still under requisition; and if he will again press local authorities to give them up without further delay.
§ The Minister of Housing and Local Government (Mr. Duncan Sandys)
About 64,000 houses and blocks of flats are still being held under requisition in England and Wales; and that is far too many. I am actively examining ways to 1038 speed up the release of these properties. I am also considering a procedure to relieve cases of hardship among owners, who wish to be allowed to live in their own homes. I have invited the representatives of local authorities to meet me later this week to discuss this whole problem.
§ Sir I. Fraser
While thanking my right hon. Friend for what I think is the first satisfactory answer given in this connection since the war, may I ask him to expedite the matter, because it is one thing to take a man's house away in wartime and quite another to deprive him of its use, or the fruits of its use, for 10 years afterwards?
§ Mr. Blenkinsop
Will the Minister also take good care to see that there is no undue hardship to those who have been living in these premises, and that they are not merely pushed out without having any home to which they can go?
§ Mr. Sandys
I recognise that this problem cannot be solved overnight, especially in difficult areas, such as London, where the problem is particularly acute. At the same time, I feel that we must not allow requisitioning under war-time emergency powers to become a regular and normal element in our housing system.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government (Mr. W. F. Deedes)
The numbers are 19,162 and 1, respectively.
§ Mr. Deedes
My hon. Friend will have heard the statement made earlier this afternoon by my right hon. Friend and will, I hope, be able to interpret it in a favourable sense.