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?
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.
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?