Oral Answers to Questions — House Property (Prices).

– in the House of Commons on 2nd July 1942.

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Photo of Mr Daniel Lipson Mr Daniel Lipson , Cheltenham

asked the Minister of Health whether, in view of the fact that the big increase in prices of houses above pre-war prices is not confined to certain areas but is widespread, that the normal increase is 60 per cent. and frequently 200 per cent. and over, he will without further delay establish, a system of price control for house property?

Photo of Mr Vernon Bartlett Mr Vernon Bartlett , Bridgwater

asked the Minister of Health whether, in order to put a stop to profiteering, he will take measures to forbid the sale of house property for more than 10 per cent. above the price paid at the last sale?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

The figures which I have obtained from the Valuation Department show not only that the increase to which my hon. Friend the Member for Cheltenham (Mr. Lipson) refers is less than he suggests, but that it is confined to the limited number of houses in reception areas which are sold with vacant possession for occupation by the purchaser. Owing to the Rent Restriction Acts the selling price of houses generally has not increased and in the vulnerable areas sales are taking place at a figure considerably below the previous purchase price. I have reexamined the problem recently, and in view of its limited nature and of the powers of billeting and requisitioning which enable me to meet the needs of people who are required to move in connection with the war effort, I do not consider that I should be justified at present in asking Parliament for the new powers which would be necessary.

Photo of Mr Daniel Lipson Mr Daniel Lipson , Cheltenham

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this evil exists in certain reception areas, and will he give further consideration to the matter and put a stop to this profiteering in house property?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

I cannot accept that assumption. My hon. Friend wants it both ways.

Photo of Sir Francis Fremantle Sir Francis Fremantle , St Albans

Has the Minister also considered the position in the East End of London, which is not a reception area, where, I understand, this evil is very rampant and very serious?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

If my hon. Friend has evidence of that sort, I wish he would give it to me.

Photo of Mr Alfred Edwards Mr Alfred Edwards , Middlesbrough East

Does the Minister realise that the deliberate inflationary policy of the Chancellor of the Exchequer tends to create these evils?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

My hon. Friend will not expect me to answer that question.

Photo of Mr Vernon Bartlett Mr Vernon Bartlett , Bridgwater

Will the Minister bear in mind the fact that a great number of people who have gone to these reception areas have been bombed out of their own homes elsewhere and that they are very genuine cases?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

I have had a look at all the elements of the problem. They are many and varied and not so clear-cut as my hon. Friend seems to suggest.

Mr. De la Bère:

Is the Minister aware that the matter cannot be lightly dismissed?

Photo of Mr Daniel Lipson Mr Daniel Lipson , Cheltenham

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I shall raise the matter on the Adjournment.