Birmingham (Minister's Visit)

Oral Answers to Questions — Housing – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th November 1964.

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Photo of Mr Victor Yates Mr Victor Yates , Birmingham, Ladywood 12:00 am, 24th November 1964

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government if he will make a statement on his recent official visit to Birmingham; and what consideration he has given to the urgent need for action to replace the unhealthy houses in Ladywood and the central areas of Birmingham

Photo of Mr Richard Crossman Mr Richard Crossman , Coventry East

I was impressed by the amount of rebuilding which has already taken place, but I realise the size and complexity of the problems which remain, and how much Birmingham depends on speedy provision of more land on which to build. The city council, I am happy to say, is tackling these problems with energy and determination. It is resolved to increase its house building rate and I hope that it will be possible to work out a new timetable for the speedier clearing of the slums. In my turn, I have promised to consider a number of questions which were raised with me.

Photo of Mr Victor Yates Mr Victor Yates , Birmingham, Ladywood

While appreciating the Minister's Answer, and while stating that great appreciation was felt in the city for the stimulus which he gave on this occasion, may I ask him if he will very strongly press this question of an earlier timetable for the removal of such unhealthy houses as he had the opportunity of seeing in the central area of my constituency which, if they are allowed to stay for another five or six years, will be completely intolerable for the people concerned?

Photo of Mr Richard Crossman Mr Richard Crossman , Coventry East

I agree with my hon. Friend. One of the problems which struck me as I went round was whether the balance of energy has been right which Birmingham has devoted between patching old houses and building new ones. This is an extremely difficult question to answer and I agree that it is a horrifying thought that Birmingham is assuming that for many years large areas of this terrible property will still be there. That is why I urged the necessity for a speedier timetable than has been possible within the last 10 years.

Photo of Miss Edith Pitt Miss Edith Pitt , Birmingham, Edgbaston

Is the Minister urging on the Birmingham City Council the necessity of stepping up the rate of house building on land which it already owns, because that rate has fallen to nearly half of what it was when the council was Conservative-controlled?

Photo of Mr Richard Crossman Mr Richard Crossman , Coventry East

The problem of Birmingham is the extremely limited amount of land available within its own boundaries. It needs land outside. This is one of the major problems with which I am concerned.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Lloyd Mr Geoffrey Lloyd , Sutton Coldfield

Was the Minister made aware during his tour of Birmingham that the Birmingham City Council has had possession for over four years of the old Castle Bromwich aerodrome in my constituency, where there is room to build 4,000 houses but on which not a single house has yet been built?

Photo of Mr Richard Crossman Mr Richard Crossman , Coventry East

One of the things I discussed with Birmingham was the plans it has, and it is now starting to build on that site.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker:

Order. Does the hon. Member wish to address me on a point of order?

Photo of Mr Victor Yates Mr Victor Yates , Birmingham, Ladywood

No, Sir. I wanted to ask a supplementary question.

Hon. Members:

No.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker:

Order.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker:

Order. I must ask the hon. Member for Ladywood (Mr. V. Yates) to behave in the way he has always behaved in this House, and in conformity with the traditions of the House.