HC Deb 29 April 1958 vol 587 cc302-19
Mr. R. E. Prentice (East Ham, North)

I beg to move, in page 1, to leave out line 10.

The Chairman

The following two Amendments, in page 1, line 19, after "except", insert: for the purpose of subsection (2) of section thirty thereof and"; and in page 2, line 8, at end insert: (4) Nothing in this Act contained shall in any way affect or curtail the power of any Minister under subsection (2) of section twenty-eight of the Requisitioned Land and War Works Act, 1945, to retain or to authorise the use of any land in his possession or in the possession of any other person in the circumstances described in the said subsection, and such power shall continue as if this Act had not been passed can be discussed with this Amendment.

Mr. Prentice

I move the Amendment with a sense of great disappointment, because Amendments to this effect were moved in the Standing Committee and were withdrawn on promises from Ministers that the whole of this matter would be reconsidered. Unfortunately, that reconsideration has not led to any proposal by the Government to amend the Bill.

The purpose of the Amendment is to avoid a situation whereby the Bill as it stands would seriously affect the housing position in the Borough of East Ham. It came as rather a surprise to me and to other hon. Members interested when we realised that that was the case. This is a defence Measure brought forward by defence Ministers and the explanatory White Paper made no reference to the incidental effect which it might have on housing. There was no mention of any such effect during the Second Reading debate and it seemed to come as a surprise to the Ministers in Standing Committee when an Amendment was put forward. One would have thought that the Government would be anxious to put this matter right.

I want to explain the way in which the Bill as it stands would affect the housing position in East Ham. In 1946, the then Minister of Health used Defence Regulation 51 to requisition about 18 acres of land at Wanstead Flats for temporary housing. He used that unusual procedure because this was land in the area of one local authority but owned by another local authority, which was the City of London Corporation. Normal methods available to local authorities for requisitioning land could not be applied in this case. On this land there are now 234 temporary bungalows in which the Borough of East Ham has tenants. The bungalows are in good condition and have several years of life in which to provide homes for families.

In 1955, the Ministry asked the local authorities to give a programme for disposing of temporary bungalows. At that time, the Borough of East Ham said that it would clear the bungalows on this site between the years 1965 to 1969. The Ministry accepted that programme without demur and the borough heard no more about the matter until last year, when it was asked by the City of London Corporation if it could not remove the bungalows more quickly. This is a matter which could be negotiated between the local authorities concerned.

However, if the Bill becomes law in its present form, there will be no question of negotiation, because the Borough of East Ham will be trespassing on the land after December, 1960. The reason for the date December, 1960, is that, under Clause 1, Defence Regulation 51 will cease to have effect in December, 1958, and, for legal reasons which I need not detail and which I only half understand, the Borough of East Ham can stay on for another two years after that date.

9.0 p.m.

Other local authorities that requisitioned land for temporary housing by the more normal procedure are in a much more favourable position. The usual means of requisitioning land was the Housing (Temporary Accommodation) Act, 1945. Under the terms of the Housing Repairs and Rents Act, 1954, land of this sort may be retained for temporary housing until 1965. I should make it clear that this is not automatic. The Minister can say "Yes" or "No" to applications of this kind, but if there were a good case, as I believe there would be in the case of East Ham if the normal procedure had been used, they could have kept their houses there until 1965: whereas by this Bill they cannot do so beyond December, 1960. I am sorry for that long explanation, but I think it will be a matter of surprise to most hon. Members to know that the Bill will have that effect upon the housing of this borough.

Let me give two arguments in favour of the Amendment. It is wrong in principle that the housing programme of a large and important local authority with serious housing difficulties should be incidentally affected by a Bill concerned with defence. Housing policy should be decided by means of housing legislation. This matter was dealt with in 1955. In that year was passed the Requisitioned Houses and Housing (Amendment) Act which laid down that there should be no more requisitioning by Defence Regulation 51 but that existing land might still be held. I submit that this Bill should be amended so that that position may remain. The Association of Municipal Corporations has protested to the Minister of Housing and Local Government that it is wrong in principle that housing should be affected by a defence Bill.

My other and more important argument in favour of the Amendment is the effect that the Bill will have on the housing position in East Ham if these bungalows have to be cleared-by the end of 1960. The County Borough of East Ham has over 6,000 people on its waiting list for homes. The last available figure which I have is 6,112. Like most of the Greater London area, it is suffering from a great deal of overcrowding and has very little land on which to rehouse its people. I have had the experience, which I am sure many hon. Members share, of having people write or come to see me at my advice bureau, who are in a desperate housing situation. They are worried and have been waiting for years wondering when it will be their turn to get a council tenancy.

In particular, the borough is short of land within its own boundaries, and some of the worst housing cases are those of people who cannot move to housing estates which have been provided further afield in Essex. The corporation has done a fine job in providing housing within the practical limitations. Last year, it completed its quota of 300 houses. I submit that this House should not legislate so that the position is made more difficult for such local authorities than it is at present.

I would mention a few more figures, and they are taken from information which has recently been sent to me by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government. He estimated that on the corporation's present housing programme, assuming that it builds at the same rate over the next two years, by the end of 1960 it will have built another 1,047 houses. He agreed in the course of the same communication that 194 of these will be needed for slum clearance, leaving 853. If the corporation is forced in that period to demolish these 234 bungalows and rehouse the people in them, more than a quarter of the new houses will have to be devoted to rehousing people from these temporary bungalows which, as I have said, have got many years of useful life.

I admit that the corporation will have to rehouse these people one day, but if it is forced to do so several years before it is necessary, that will postpone the rehousing of other people for several years who could otherwise have been rehoused more quickly.

I also admit—I am sure the point will be made against me in any case by the Minister—that this land was originally intended for open space, that the corporation hold it under requisition and that it will have to be returned to open space in due course. I would support the idea of the green belt and adequate open spaces as fervently as any other hon. Member of this House, but this land has been used for housing for twelve years, and considerations of extending open spaces are not so urgent as the housing considerations to which I have already made reference. They cannot be measured against the sum total of human misery that is to be caused if over 200 families are to be delayed in their prospects of being rehoused.

Another point that may be made against me is that no other parts of the country are affected, and that this is a peculiar method of requisitioning which affects only this case. I do not believe that that argument can weaken my argument in any way. There are over 200 homesteads, but if there were only 20 homes the principle would still be the same. We ought not to destroy homes before their useful life is finished, and we ought not to delay in any way the rehousing of families in desperate need or make more difficult the housing problem of a borough which has such great difficulty in meeting the housing needs of its people.

Mr. A. E. Oram (East Ham, South)

I beg to second the Amendment.

I share the disappointment of my hon. Friend the Member for East Ham, North (Mr. Prentice) that the Minister has not himself seen fit to put down an Amendment to meet the position described by my hon. Friend. I read the case which he stated in Committee, and it seemed to me unanswerable, as, indeed, was the contribution which he has made this evening. It seems to me completely unreasonable that the Minister, as it appears, is not prepared to meet the position.

Like my hon. Friend, I know very well the serious housing situation in East Ham. If this Bill passes unamended, it will make the East Ham housing problem even worse. I admit that in a national sense this is quite a minor problem, and that East Ham is unique in being the only local authority to be affected in this way. I also understand, or I hope I can understand, that it was quite unintended that a defence Bill should have this affect on housing, but, that being so, surely it is perfectly reasonable to expect that this defect would be remedied in this quite simple way.

We recognise that these prefabricated houses in East Ham will have to come down, and we want Wanstead Flats to be restored as an open space. We share with the neighbouring local authorities and the City of London the anxiety that that part of the country should have more open spaces. There is no dispute about that, but what we do say is that these houses should not come down except according to a reasonable timetable, and only having due regard to the serious housing position in this local authority area.

We claim that the Bill will speed up unnecessarily the demolition of these houses, because it will give East Ham no legal entitlement after, I believe, 1960, to retain the houses in that situation. I will not go into the details of the East Ham housing. There are many hon. Members, I know, who, month by month, meet, as my hon. Friend and I do, many people who have desperate personal housing problems. A number of them came to see me only on Friday of last week—families in danger of breaking up because of the difficult housing situation. If, through passing the Bill in this state, the Minister delays for even a few months the rehousing of any of the people who come to see us, he will be dealing a cruel blow at them. They are suffering far too much already.

I did not have the good fortune to serve upon the Standing Committee dealing with the Bill, but I notice that during its proceedings the Solicitor-General, in answer to my hon. Friend, said: We will see whether or not it is a real point. When I say that, I am thinking for once like a lawyer, meaning a real point in law. It has nothing to do with reality."—[OFFICIAL REPORT. Standing Committee A, 20th March, 1958; c. 8.] I want to assure him that, whatever lawyers may think about the point, we deal in reality, and the reality is a really serious housing situation in East Ham, and in other parts of London. The Bill will make that situation still more difficult, and it is because of that that, following the debate, I hope that the Minister, even at this late stage, will relent. If not, I hope that my hon. Friends will go into the Division Lobby in support of my hon. Friend and myself.

The Solicitor-General (Sir Harry Hylton-Foster)

I owe an apology to those hon. Members who served on the Standing Committee because at that time I did not know the legal history of Wanstead Flats. I think that those hon. Members would be fair enough to realise that at that time there was no reason why I should know it, in that, on the face of them, the Amendments concerned did not give any notice that I should know it.

I address the House at this stage only because it is important to realise how special this problem is. It is not quite so special as was stated by the hon. Member for East Ham, North (Mr. Prentice), because it covers another local authority. It includes West Ham, to the tune of about 83 bungalows on Wanstead Flats. My apology must take me this far: everything that the hon. Member for East Ham, North said in Committee and today about the legal position is quite correct, and my own impromptu doubt whether the matter was affected by the 1955 Act was not justified. I can say that, having had time to consider the matter.

It is quite right to say that the effect of Clause 1, as it stands, is that West Ham, in respect of its 83 bungalows and East Ham, in respect of its 234 bungalows in this category, will not be able to have possession of the land retained on their behalf once 31st December, 1960, goes by. I have learnt before now—as I am sure the right hon. and learned Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice) has—the peril of making even the most gentle joke in an international tribunal, because one then has to sit there hearing it being translated over and over again until one hates the sound of it. Unfortunately, I made a jest in Committee about real points and lawyers' points, and I have had to suffer it being thrown back at me now. It sounded funny then, but it does not sound funny now after repetition.

I hope that hon. Members will appreciate that we are here concerned with a balance of public interest, and would not be in any way concerned to impose upon East Ham in this context what could be called an unreasonable programme with regard to the removal of these bungalows. Unhappily, that is only part of the public interest.

9.15 p.m.

I am not quite sure whether the hon. Member emphasises quite enough how special are Wanstead Flats. They are the property of the Corporation of the City of London and they are under the Conservators of Epping Forest by virtue of a statute, the Epping Forest Act, 1878, which is by description An Act for the Disafforestation of Epping Forest and the preservation and management of the uninclosed parts thereof as an Open Space for the recreation and enjoyment of the public. It is a rather special place, and by statute the City Corporation may not alienate it, cannot get rid of it. By statute it has to keep the unenclosed parts unbuilt on as an open space. That is what Parliament has charged the Corporation with as a duty.

When it was originally suggested to the City Corporation that the 1944 Act should be used and that the Minister of Health should supply those temporary houses and that they should be erected there, the City resisted the proposition, not in any sense of selfishness, as I understand it, but merely pointing to the duties which the statute imposed upon it in respect of its holding the place at all. Under the Act, as the hon. Member has rightly told the House, the only way out of the difficulty was for the Minister to requisition some 18 acres of the land under the then Defence Regulation 51.

I am not sure whether the hon. Member quite fairly states his case when he makes a contrast with the local authorities which could make use of the 1945 Act. Of course, if the 1945 Act had applied to this case it would probably have been true that the statutory obligations on the City Corporation could have been overridden by the statute, but this local authority could never get near that statute because the land was not at its disposal at the date of the passing of the Act. Quite apart from that, the Act, as the hon. Member pointed out, did not give any power for one local authority to place its open space at the disposal of another local authority.

But even supposing that the Act could have been made applicable to Wanstead Flats in this context, what would have happened would have been this, that, availing itself of the provisions of the 1954 Act—Section 19, I think, but it does not matter—the East Ham local authority would have had to apply in 1955 for an extension, and if that involved five years or more, as in the context it would have had to have done, there would have had to have been a public inquiry and indubitably in those circumstances it would have had to present its case in the teeth of maximum opposition from the City Corporation backed by its statutory obligations under the 1878 Act; and clearly some very powerful case would have to be presented to the Minister if he was to have any opportunity of acceding to such an application. I am not quite sure whether the hon. Member is not, perhaps, taking a slightly optimistic view of what would have happened in that hypothetical case if that could have been made to work.

Mr. Prentice

In the circumstances the right hon. and learned Gentleman has mentioned there would have been a public inquiry at which public issues could have been weighed. It would have been decided eventually by the Minister what was the right thing to do, either to extend the use of the land to housing or to return it for open space. Unfortunately, under this Bill in its present form no opportunity to weigh up public issues arises. Instead, the Corporation would be trespassing after 1960, irrespective of the merits of the case.

The Solicitor-General

Thanks to the intervention of the hon. Member in Committee and to the hon. Member for Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish), we ourselves can have a chance of looking at it. The hon. Member will not, I know, mind my turning upon him a little gently like this, because I do not think he was overstating the matter when he said it would not be automatic extension. Those were his words just now. It would be so far from automatic, I submit to the House, that it would be highly unlikely in any circumstances that it would have been granted. However, that is all rather hypothetical, as we all agree.

I was asked to indicate the size of this problem. I hope I have in this way. We do not know outside Wanstead Flats of any 1944 Act bungalows upon open space. It is Wanstead Flats only in this context. Whether or no the effect of getting rid of Defence Regulation 51 in this context is to impose upon the local authority what the hon. Member, or someone, has described as an unreasonable proposition in having to get rid of these bungalows by 1960, is, I imagine, a topic on which hon. Members would not want to hear me. It is purely a matter of housing which, in the circumstances, I would prefer to leave to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government.

I hope that, by indicating how special this case is and its legal history, I have discharged an obligation which rested upon me to explain the legal position and the size of the problem as it here rests.

Mr. Mellish

I should like to thank the Solicitor-General for explaining the legal problems of the matter, but we are now back on the point of which we complained, in the sense that we are talking about the part which he did not explain. We are dealing with the practical as opposed to the legal point of view.

The pun which the right hon. and learned Gentleman thought funny at the time when he expressed it, but which he now realises is not funny, must be put in its right perspective. To visualise this as an infringement of an open space by the habitation of these 234 flats is wrong, because there are vast acres of land which adjoin Epping Forest. A small fraction of it is occupied by the dwellinghouses to which my hon. Friend the Member for East Ham, North (Mr. Prentice) has referred. The contribution which it has made to the housing problem is understood by everybody, but does not seem to have been understood by the Solicitor-General. He has merely given us the legal point of view. I hope that we shall hear from some other member of the Front Bench, who will give the local authority an assurance about the rehousing of the people who are affected.

We know the legal position and we know that this is a problem affecting only East Ham. That is not enough for us. The fact is that there is injustice; the size of the injustice does not count. Had it been all over the country the Government might have done something about it, but that is a wrong argument. If there is an injustice affecting only a small borough in Greater London, it still ought to be remedied.

Before we make a final decision on this matter, I plead with the Government Front Bench to say whether there is any way by which the local authority can get an assurance that it will not have to deal with these people by 1960. As a London Member I can imagine how appalled the council will be if it has to deal with 234 families in that period of time that it did not expect to have to deal with. It is asking too much of this House to give us glibly a legal exposition without some assurance from the War Office about what is to be done.

After all, the Bill has been introduced to give power to the defence Departments to acquire land to enable it to carry out functions which are required in the Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces. My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice) said earlier that the Government had gone a long way to meet some of our main objections to the Bill. They were co-operative in Committee. The Government have admitted that the Opposition were co-operative, too.

This was the one human point that was raised. It was, I think, a shock to all of us, even the Government. None was more shocked than the Solicitor-General, who did not know about it at all. He just waffled. We cannot blame him for that. He played for time and we gave him time to find out. One of the things he said was that he would find out what representation may or may not have reached the Minister of Housing and Local Government. Now he knows that a most powerful body made representations protesting about this Bill in relation to this matter. The Association of Municipal Corporations said to the Minister of Housing and Local Government, "Please do not do this". That does not seem to have made an impression.

The Solicitor-General

That really is not accurate. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find any representations of the kind referred to by the hon. Member for Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish) and the hon. Member for East Ham, North (Mr. Prentice). I do not know of the existence of any such and none of my inquiries has revealed them.

Mr. Prentice

East Ham Corporation has notified the Housing Committee of the Association, which instructed its Secretary to write to the Minister about the effect on housing without that being made plain when the Bill was presented.

Mr. Mellish

Probably the Minister was too busy on inquiries about the Rent Act and had no time to read that letter. In comparison with that wider matter, this would be a very tiny point. After all, what is a question of 234 houses compared with the effects of the Rent Act? I shall not get out of order by speaking about the Rent Act, but thousands of people are affected in that larger issue.

I think that the Committee established quite clearly that this was a hardship. I should like the Secretary of State for War, with the full authority of his high office, to get up and say that an assurance can be given.

The Secretary of State for War (Mr. Christopher Soames) indicated dissent.

Mr. Mellish

The right hon. Gentleman is indicating "No." This is his Bill. He moved the Second Reading and said how important it was. We agreed that it was a necessary Bill, but I hope that we shall hear far more about it and have the assurances given which are needed.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government (Mr. J. R. Bevins)

I am relieved that my right hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor General has explained the legal position of this matter to the House. I am also relieved that the hon. Member for Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish) has kept within the rules of order. We are certainly very sensitive to the housing position of the County Borough of East Ham. I hope that one or two things I shall be able to say may be a little helpful to the hon. Member for East Ham, North (Mr. Prentice).

I understood that what the hon. Member was saying, in moving the Amendment, was that the. County Borough of East Ham should enjoy parity of treatment with those other local authorities which put temporary buildings on open spaces under other powers. I think it only fair to say, as the Solicitor-General indicated, that the two cases are by no means parallel, because East Ham knew at the time that these houses were put on Wanstead Flats that the land was requisitioned under Defence Regulation 51 and their right to remain on the land was not governed by the 1945 Act or Section 19 of the 1954 Act.

It is equally true that for some time the Conservators of Epping Forest and my right hon. Friend, certainly during the last year or so, have been pressing the County Borough of East Ham for some indication that it will begin to remove these temporary dwellings. We have made it clear that powers to hold land on requisition under this Defence Regulation would not be extended indefinitely. We are anxious to be helpful, if we can. Once this Bill becomes law, Defence Regulation 51 will cease to operate. As the Solicitor-General said, my right hon. Friend is prepared to authorise the use of Wanstead Flats for a period of another two years after this year, that is to say, until the end of 1960. That means that East Ham will probably have to rehouse about 234 dispossessed families by the end of 1960.

For the current year, East Ham has submitted to the Ministry a programme for 319 dwellings. I wish to make it perfectly clear that, provided East Ham is prepared to make some provision for rehousing the families from Wanstead Flats, we are prepared to give our approval to that submitted programme. We should also do our best to approve a similar programme for new houses for next year, that is, 1959.

9.30 p.m.

The arithmetic of the matter is substantially as the hon. Member for East Ham, South (Mr. Oram) put it. As I understand it, at the start of this year, East Ham had 409 houses under construction. We hope that, during the current year, the authority will start another 319 houses and that, during 1959, a further 319 will be started, making a total of about 1,047 houses. I understand that, between now and the end of 1960, East Ham will require to rehouse about 194 families from slum dwellings, 234 families from Wanstead Flats, leaving a balance over that period of 619 houses or dwellings for the general need of the population of East Ham. That means an average of rather more than 200 new dwellings a year, leaving out slum clearance and leaving aside Wanstead Flats altogether.

It is only fair that I should make clear that that rate of availability of housing in East Ham compares favourably with the average rate of post-war housing construction in that particular county borough. Thus, allowing for the problem of rehousing people from Wanstead Flats, the people of East Ham will be no worse off in housing supply and demand than they have been since the end of the war. In saying that, I have not taken into account two factors, notably that, in the ordinary course of events, the local authority gets into its possession, I understand, about 100 dwellings a year through voids for one reason or another. I believe, also, that the projected development in which East Ham is taking part at Brentwood, in Essex, will probably produce an additional 200 to 250 houses between now and 1960.

Mr. Prentice

While I accept all the hon. Gentleman's figures, is there any reason, in principle, why the corporation should not be allowed to do all the development he has mentioned without having to rehouse these 234 families before it is necessary? That would enable East Ham to rehouse 234 families off its own waiting list of over 6,000.

Mr. Mellish

Moreover, is it not the fact that people will be rehoused from places where they are very happy and comfortable, not slums, from which they do not need to be rehoused at the moment?

Mr. Oram

Will not the hon. Gentleman the Parliamentary Secretary agree that, on the figures he has given, which I accept as accurate, it is plain that the size of the problem posed by 234 houses being demolished quite early on is of the order of the East Ham housing authority's annual programme and that, therefore, the effect of the Bill, in general, will mean a delay of one year in East Ham's programme? The figures I gave earlier show that about 200 people will have a year's delay and have to continue to live in the miserable conditions of which we know only too well.

Mr. Bevins

The House will remember that I have made clear that my right hon. Friend proposes to approve not his programme but the programme submitted to him by East Ham for the current year, and is prepared to repeat that programme next year. One must recognise that that does not apply to all local authorities at present.

I appreciate, of course, the argument that it is unwise on one view to pull down these dwellings and so aggravate the measure of the housing problem in East Ham, but I think that both sides of the House will appreciate that the clearance of camps, hutments and temporary dwellings is part and parcel of the Government's drive to rid the country of sub-standard housing accommodation. It is for that particular reason that the Government are, in effect, paying the slum clearance subsidy in respect of camps, hutments and dwellings of this sort which are removed.

What I was about to emphasise was that East Ham should be able to rehouse all these families by the end of 1960 without undue difficulty, and my right hon. Friend certainly does not feel that we would be right in maintaining this vexatious war-time control for the sake of leaving alone this particular problem which is centred at Wanstead Flats. As my right hon. Friend very rightly said, there is the wider consideration that Wanstead Flats is not in any sense a local open space, but rather a part of Epping Forest which is enjoyed by thousands of Londoners and people from other parts of the country.

The County Borough of East Ham will have a period of two and a half years in which to clear these temporary dwellings, and I myself believe that it can do that on a planned basis without hardship to anyone in the corporation[...]s area.

Sir F. Soskice

I have listened to the argument which has just progressed on the Amendments that the House is now considering, and I am sure that all hon. Members on both sides will feel glad that the Minister is able to ofter some help Still, the basic fact remains that this defence measure will by a backlash deprive 234 families in East Ham and 83 families in West Ham of homes in which they are now living some five years—at any rate by the end of 1960—before the earliest date in which in the normal course of events they would have to vacate them. That is a fact which I understood from the Minister's speech was not really disputed, and it seems to me a consequence which should be avoided. The Government are in control of this legislation and have it in their power to ask the House to give them powers which will prevent these people losing their homes at this early date.

The Government have had the point clearly put to them. My hon. Friends developed it in Committee with the greatest clarity, and between the Committee stage and today Ministers have been able to cogitate upon what steps they should take to avoid this quite unlooked for and, I feel, unpremeditated consequence of this defence measure. Neither of the two Service Ministers who are present have even opened their mouths on this. It is a defence measure which has had, I suppose, an extremely unexpected and unfortunate consequence. Ministers are proposing to let that consequence take its course, and it seems to me in those circumstances that the answer we have had is not a satisfactory one.

Let it be assumed that the measure which Ministers propose will slightly ease the heavy burden on East Ham and West Ham in coping with their very very serious housing problems. Why impose on top of them the additional burden, which could be avoided, of their having to rehouse the families living in these 234 bungalows in East Ham and 83 in West Ham? That seems quite unnecessary. I do not think it can have been intended, yet Ministers are, in effect, professing themselves powerless so to change the form of the legislation they are asking the House to pass as to avoid that consequence.

I am bound to say that I feel that the Minister's replies were not satisfactory. I do not mean to say that they were not painstaking. The Solicitor-General has all our sympathy in professing that he was not ready to deal

Division No. 103.] AYES [9.43 p.m.
Agnew, Sir Peter Bishop, F. P. Cooke, Robert
Alport, C. J. M. Body, R. F. Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.
Amery, Julian (Preston, N.) Bowen, E. R. (Cardigan) Corfield, Capt. F. V.
Anstru[...]her-Gray, Major Sir William Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A. Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)
Arbuthnot, John Boyle, Sir Edward Crosthwaite-Eyre,Col. O. E.
Atkins, H. E. Braine, B. R. Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)
Baldwin, A. E. Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.) Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Nor[...]hwood)
Balniel, Lord Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H. Currie, G. B. H.
Barber, Anthony Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton) Dance, J. C. G.
Barlow, Sir John Bryan, P. Davidson, Viscountess
Barter, John Butcher, Sir Herbert D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry
Baxter, Sir Beverley Butler, Rt. Hn.R.A.(Saffron Walden) Deedes, w. F.
Beamish, Col. Tufton Campbell, Sir David Dodds-Parker, A. D.
Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Cary, Sir Robert Doughty, C. J. A.
Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth) Channon, Sir Henry du Cann, E. D. L.
Bidgood, J. C. Chichester-Clark, R. Duncan, Sir James
Biggs-Davison, J. A. Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)

with the point in Committee, because the Amendment has obviously brought it out. He has clearly cogitated upon it since. The result of his cogitations and the proposals of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government seem to me to leave the matter in an unsatisfactory state. I hope that my hon. Friends who put their names to this Amendment will press it to a Division and take the opinion of the House upon it.

Mr. Bevins

By leave of the House, may I make one comment on what the right hon. and learned Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice) has said? The clearance of these camps, which is temporary accommodation, is a part of deliberate Government policy. We have not only to exhort but to encourage local authorities by financial means to get rid of what we regard as this unsatisfactory type of dwelling. That is recognised by the majority of local authorities and it has certainly been recognised by the County Borough of West Ham, which has indicated to the City of London Corporation that it is prepared to dismantle its 83 dwellings on Wanstead Flats by the end of 1960.

Sir F. Soskice

With the leave of the House, may I reply to the Parliamentary Secretary? If that is he Government's policy, surely they should not seek to compass it by a backlash in defence measures. Surely they have the courage to introduce the appropriate housing measures to give expression to their purposes, if those are the purposes that they entertain.

Question put, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill:—

The House divided: Ayes 194, Noes 163.

Elliott, R. W.(Newcastle upon Tyne, N.) Kershaw, J. A. Ramsden, J. E.
Fisher, Nigel Kimball, M. Rawlinson, Peter
Fletcher-Cooke, C. Lancaster, Col. C. G. Redmayne, M.
Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D. Leavey, J. A. Remnant, Hon. P.
Gammans, Lady Leburn, W. G. Renton, D. L. M.
Garner-Evans, E. H. Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Ridsdale, J. E.
George, J. C. (Pollok) Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield) Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)
Gibson-Watt, D Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T. Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)
Glover, D. Lindsay, Martin (Solihull) Roper, Sir Harold
Glyn, Col. Richard H. Linstead, Sir H. N. Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Godber, J. B. Llewe[...]yn, D. T. Sharples, R. C.
Goodhart, Philip Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.) Shepherd, William
Gower, H. R. Longden, Gilbert Smithers, Peter (Winchester)
Graham, Sir Fergus Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Spearman, Sir Alexander
Grant, W. (Woodside) McAdden, S. J. Spence, H. R. (Aberdeen, W.)
Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich) Macdonald, Sir Peter Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard
Green, A. McKibbin, Alan Steward, Sir William (Woolwich, W.)
Grimond, J. Mackie, J. H. (Galloway) Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm
Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans) McLaughlin, Mrs. P. Storey, S.
Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury) McLean, Neil (Inverness) Studholme, Sir Henry
Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G. MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty) Summers, Sir Spencer
Gurden, Harold Markham, Major Sir Frank Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Hall, John (Wycombe) Marshall, Douglas Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Mathew, R. Teeling, W.
Harris, Reader (Heston) Mawby, R. L. Temple, John M.
Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon) Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C. Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Harvey, John (Wal[...]hamstow, E.) Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R. Thompson, R. (Croydon, S.)
Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. C. Molson, Rt. Hon. Hugh Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin
Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W. Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe) Nabarro, G. D. N. Vane, W. M. F.
Hirst, Geoffrey Nairn, D. L. S. Vickers, Miss Joan
Hobson, John (Warwick & Leam'gt'n) Neave, Airey Wade, D. W.
Holland-Martin, C. J. Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch) Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Hornby, R. P. Oakshott, H. D. Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)
Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P. O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.) Wall, Patrick
Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire) Osborne, C. Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)
Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives) Page, R. G. Webbe, Sir H.
Hughes-Young, M. H. C. Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale) Whitelaw, W. S. I.
Hulbert, Sir Norman Par[...]ridge, E. Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Hurd, A. R. Peel, W. J. Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Hutchison, Michael Clark(E'b'gh, S.) Peyton, J. W. W. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark(E'b'gh, W.) Pickthorn, K. W. M. Wood, Hon. R.
Hylton-Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry Pike, Miss Mervyn Woollam, John Victor
Iremonger, T. L. Pilkington, Capt. R. A. Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Pitman, I. J. TELLERS FOR THE AYES
Jennings, Sir Roland (Hallam) Pitt, Miss E. M. Colonel J. H. Harrison and
Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Powell, J. Enoch Mr. Finlay.
Joynson-Hicks, Hon. Sir Lancelot Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)
Kerby, Capt. H. B. Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.
Kerr, Sir Hamilton
Ainsley, J. W. Crossman, R. H. S. Hoy, J. H.
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.) Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Deer, G. Hunter, A. E.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Delargy, H. J. Hynd, H. (Accrington)
Awbery, S. S. Diamond, John Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)
Bacon, Miss Alice Dugdale, Rt. Hn. John (W. Brmwch) Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.
Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.) Dye, S. Janner, B.
Benson, Sir George Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Jeger, George (Goole)
Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale) Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Jeger, Mrs. Lena(Ho[...]bn & St. P[...]cs. S.)
Blackburn, F. Evans, Edward (Lowestoft) Johnson, James (Rugby)
Boardman, H. Fernyhough, E. Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G Foot, D. M. Jones, David (The Hartlepools)
Bowden, H. W. (Leices[...]er, S.W.) Forman, J. C. Jones, Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)
Boyd, T. C. Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)
Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Gibson, C. W. Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)
Brockway, A. F. Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Kenyon, C.
Brough[...]on, Dr. A. D. D. Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R. Lawson, G. M.
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Grey, C. F. Ledger, R. J.
Burke, W. A. Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Lee, Frederick (Newton)
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Hall, Rt. Hon. G[...]envil (Colne Valley) Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)
Carmichael, J. Hamilton, W. W. Lindgren, G. S.
Castle, Mrs. B. A. Hannan, W. Logan, D. G.
Champion, A. J. Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.) Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson
Chetwynd, G. R. Hastings, S. McAlister, Mrs. Mary
Clunie J. Hayman, F. H. McCann, J.
Coldrick, W. Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis) MacColl, J. E.
Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead) Hobson, C. R. (Keighley) McGhee, H. G.
Collins, V.J.(Shoreditch & Finsbury) Holman, P. McInnes, J.
Corbet, Mrs. Fr[...]a Houghton, Douglas McKay, John (Wallsend)
Cove, W. G. Howell, Charles (Perry Barr) McLeavy, Frank
MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles) Parker, J. Stones, W. (Consett)
MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Paton, John Stross, Dr. Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent, C.)
Mahon, Simon Pentland, N. Sylvester, G. O.
Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Popplewell, E. Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Mann, Mrs. Jean Prentice, R. E. Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Mason, Roy Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Mellish, R. J. Probert, A. R. Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Mi[...]chison, G. R. Proctor, W. T. Thornton, E.
Moody, A. S. Rankin, John Usborne, H. C.
Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.) Redhead, E. C. Viant, S. P.
Moss, R. Reid, William West, D. G.
Moyle, A. Robens, Rt. Hon. A. Wheeldon, W. E.
Neal, Harold (Bolsover) Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Wi[...]cock, Group Capt. C. A. B.
Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon) Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon) Williams, David (Neath)
Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. (Derby, S.) Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.) Williams, Rev, Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)
Oliver, G. H. Rogers, George (Kensington, N.) Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Oram, A. E. Ross, William Williams, W. T. (Barons Court)
Orbach, M. Short, E. W. Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)
Oswald, T. Silverman, Sydney (Nelson) Winterbottom, Richard
Owen, W. J. Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.) Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Padley, W. E. Snow, J. W. Yates, V. (Ladywood)
Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley) Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank Younger, Rt. Hon. K.
Palmer, A. M. F. Sparks, J. A. Zilliacus, K.
Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.) Stewart, Michael (Fulham) TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Pargiter, G. A. Stonehouse, John Mr Pearson and Mr. Simmons.