Council Houses

Oral Answers to Questions — Housing – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th June 1965.

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Photo of Mr Raphael Tuck Mr Raphael Tuck , Watford 12:00 am, 29th June 1965

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what plans he has for legislation to deal with the under-occupancy of council houses.

Photo of Mr Robert Mellish Mr Robert Mellish , Bermondsey

Most local authorities do their best to ensure that their tenants are in accommodation which is suited to their needs and my right hon. Friend does not think legislation is necessary.

Photo of Mr Raphael Tuck Mr Raphael Tuck , Watford

Has the Ministry given any general directive to councils as to the way in which they should deal with this problem?

Photo of Mr Robert Mellish Mr Robert Mellish , Bermondsey

I refer my hon. Friend to the Milner Holland Committee's Report, which gave figures collected in 1963 from local authorities in the London area showing that 10 per cent. of dwellings were under-occupied and 7 per cent. were overcrowded. The Milner Holland Committee said that the figures showed a high degree of skill on the part of those responsible for local authority housing. I do not think my right hon. Friend needs to interfere in local authority housing matters.

Photo of Sir Herbert Butcher Sir Herbert Butcher , Holland with Boston

Do I understand from the main Answer that it is the continued policy of this Government to subsidise houses which are grossly under-occupied?

Photo of Mr Robert Mellish Mr Robert Mellish , Bermondsey

It is the policy of this Government not to tell local authorities how they should manage their own affairs.

Photo of Mr Eric Heffer Mr Eric Heffer , Liverpool, Walton

Is my hon. Friend aware that, had the last Government pursued a serious policy over municipal housing, they would have been able to produce sufficient houses to ensure that the homeless were housed and there would be no under-occupancy of houses as at present?

Photo of Mr Robert Mellish Mr Robert Mellish , Bermondsey

My right hon. Friend intends to encourage local authorities to build more houses for renting.