§ Mr. Frank Allaun
I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 9, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration: namelythe first announcement in the country by a Rent Scrutiny Board of its decisions regarding the rent increases for council houses which show a doubling of rents in that area".It is specific because I have with me, as has my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, East (Mr. James Lamond), the first report of the Rent Scrutiny Board.
1525 it is urgent because the Department of the Environment will not be available for oral Questions until October.
Lastly, it is important because it has national significance. If this goes through, it gives 5½ million council tenants and their families a foretaste of what is in store for them, which is that, on average, council rents will be more than doubled under the Housing Finance Act. According to this document, many modest two-bedroom houses in Lees, near Manchester, are to have an increase of about £22.5 a week, and some will be raised three and a half times.
Finally, the matter is important because this indicates a pattern for the whole country. If this transpires, there will be national unrest certainly affecting the attitudes of trade unions to wage claims, and it will be recognised as a deliberate and unnecessary increase in the cost of living.
§ Mr. Speaker
I am grateful to the hon. Member for having given me notice before the appropriate hour of the matter which he has sought to raise. I have considered carefully what he has said, and my decision does not reflect at all upon the importance of the matter which he has raised. It is simply whether I should disrupt the business today or tomorrow—which is, indeed, an Opposition Supply Day with two topics already chosen for debate—to give the matter which he has raised priority. I am afraid that I cannot give it that priority.