Housing Associations

Oral Answers to Questions — Housing – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22nd November 1945.

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Mr. Vane:

asked the Minister of Health whether he will encourage local authorities to make full use of housing societies, formed with the object of building or reconstructing cottages in rural areas; and whether he will ensure that such societies will be granted the same financial assistance and the same priorities for material and labour as are accorded to local authorities undertaking similar work.

Photo of Mr Ronald Chamberlain Mr Ronald Chamberlain , Lambeth Norwood

asked the Minister of Health whether he will now give an assurance to non-profit-making housing societies and associations which are desirous of co-operating with local authorities in the provision of houses to let and are prepared to enter into suitable agreements with those authorities, that Exchequer subsidies will be made available to them on similar terms to those which will be applicable to local authorities, as in the case of the Act of 1930 and subsequent housing legislation; and that where such arrangements are entered into, labour and materials will be allocated accordingly.

Photo of Mr Aneurin Bevan Mr Aneurin Bevan , Ebbw Vale

I am prepared to approve arrangements made by a local authority with a housing association under Section 94 of the Housing Act, 1936, where I am satisfied that the houses which the association propose to provide will be houses of the kind which are most needed, and will effectively supplement the local authority's own housing programme. This will apply in rural areas as elsewhere. Approval under the Section means that the same financial assistance can be given to the association as to a local authority; and the same priorities for materials and labour would also be made available.

Photo of Mr Ronald Chamberlain Mr Ronald Chamberlain , Lambeth Norwood

Is my right hon. Friend aware that a number of these very valuable associations have complete plans and technical assistance ready? Will he do all in his power to facilitate the immediate prosecution of their work?

Photo of Mr Aneurin Bevan Mr Aneurin Bevan , Ebbw Vale

I am prepared to consider sympathetically upon their specific merits all applications, but I am not prepared to encourage housing authorities to farm out their housing powers.

Mr. Vane:

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman to urge upon reluctant local authorities to do all they can to give substantial help to these excellent societies in order to try to make some small amends for having deprived the countryside of the benefits of the Housing (Rural Workers) Act?

Photo of Mr Aneurin Bevan Mr Aneurin Bevan , Ebbw Vale

I am not aware that the local authorities are responsible for depriving the countryside of houses—[HON. MEMBERS: "No, you are."] —but I am aware that previous Administrations are responsible for the lack of houses in rural areas.

Photo of Mr Reginald Paget Mr Reginald Paget , Northampton

Will the Minister take steps to see that the houses built by these associations are not tied?

Photo of Mr Aneurin Bevan Mr Aneurin Bevan , Ebbw Vale

The application of a statutory condition to houses built by housing associations with funds provided by the community makes it perfectly clear that the. houses must be reasonably rented, of good design and built where the local authorities wish them to be built, and that they must not, in any circumstances, become part of the privileges of any property-owning organisation.

Photo of Mr Henry Hynd Mr Henry Hynd , Hackney Central

Will my right hon. Friend give an assurance that bodies which have no public accountability will not be encouraged to undertake work that ought to be done by local authorities?

Photo of Mr Aneurin Bevan Mr Aneurin Bevan , Ebbw Vale

The hon. Member can take it for granted that I should consider favourably applications from housing associations only where those associations, in special circumstances, can make contributions not otherwise available, but not in substitution of the obligations of local authorities.