§ 13. Mr. M. Stewart
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs whether he is 1114 aware of the action of Hatfield Rural District Council in assisting the landlords of Rodney Court, who were demanding rents beyond the means of tenants, to attain possession of what will, in consequence, be decontrolled flats; and whether he will advise local authorities to deal with problems of this kind by means of compulsory purchase orders.
§ Mr. Brooke
Local authorities are already aware that I am willing to entertain compulsory purchase orders where tenants are in danger of being made homeless because exorbitant rents are being demanded from them by landlords. It must be for each local authority to decide, in the light of all the evidence before it, whether in any particular case a compulsory purchase order should be made. In the case referred to by the hon. Member, I understand that the council will be considering its decision at its next meeting.
§ Mr. Stewart
Is the Minister aware that what the council has so far decided to do in this case is as follows? The landlords of Rodney Court are asking from tenants whose leases have run out rents of more than five times the gross value. The council has announced its intention of dealing with this problem by rehousing those tenants ahead of the 600 on its waiting list and, in addition, rehousing 12 tenants in statutory controlled dwellings. Does not the Minister agree that that means that the local council is making a present to the landlords of what will become decontrolled dwellings and is doing that at the expense of the 600 people on its waiting list? Does the Minister think that that is a proper way for local authorities to behave? He says that he receives very few requests for compulsory purchase orders, but that may be because too many councils do not tackle these problems in the proper way.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. I must renew my appeal that questions should not be so long. We have done only thirteen in twenty minutes.
§ Mr. Brooke
I found the council's decision somewhat obscure, and I gather that it is returning to the matter at its next meeting, but it is not for me or for Parliament to interfere with the decision of elected local authorities.