Orders of the Day — Ministry of Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons on 8th December 1920.

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Photo of Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy , Kingston upon Hull Central

I hope the Government will accept this Amendment as a means of relieving the very sort straits in which many poor people in this country are placed, including many ex-service men. One of the obvious means of relieving the present house famine is taking over these empty houses. These words are hampering and may make the Act very largely a dead letter. Owing to the action of the Government in generously meeting us, with regard to raising the rateable value of houses which may be taken over, this Bill now applies to larger premises than when it came up here. A great many houses rather larger than working-class houses which are not being used for various reasons might be suitable for this purpose but will need slight reconstruction. The hon. Member opposite said that it was ridiculous to talk of reconstructing a house which you were only going to occupy for 12 months. There is a great deal in that, but the question of putting up partitions, providing extra sanitary arrangements, extra ventilating arrangements which might be needed in these houses, effecting small practical alterations which would be temporary, such as might be made in a building used for the armed forces during the War, might be objected to by owners of property who wished to prevent their property being used for this philanthropic purpose. We say that the need is so urgent and the feeling of certain sections of the people is rising so rapidly that no obstacle ought to be thrown in the way of taking over these great empty houses for this purpose. The hon. Member (Mr. Lorden) has built a great many houses and will build many more, and I do not think that this Amendment will affect his operations.