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 beg to move, in Sub-section (1), to leave out the words "three months," and to insert instead thereof the words "one month."

The need of housing in certain parts of the country is so acute that it seems unreasonable to allow any house to remain unoccupied for more than a month. I do not suppose that a person shutting up his house and going away for his holiday would be caught in any case, because no local authority would do that, but in the case of a man giving up his house and leaving it for more than a month, I cannot understand why the local authority should not have power to take it over. The other case I have in mind is the case of people holding up a house for a higher rent. I want to see the rents brought down. I would not suggest this Amendment except that I know from personal observation how terribly acute this question is. I get abusive letters saying: "You pose as a friend of the working classes. Why do you not do something to get us houses? I am living in a barn, or in a workshop," or something of that sort. I believe I shall have the support in this case of even the right hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury), as he must know how terribly urgent this question is in certain parts of the country.