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Clause 1. — (Payments to Owner-Occupiers of Unfit Houses.)

Part of Orders of the Day — Housing (Slum Clearance Compensation) Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 15th December 1965.

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Photo of Mr Eric Lubbock Mr Eric Lubbock , Orpington 12:00 am, 15th December 1965

I do not want to rehearse all the arguments that have been put both here and in another place, but it seems to me that hon. Members in all parts of the House were unhappy about the Bill as it stood before this Amendment was put down and that it would be in accordance with the will of the House if the Minister were to accept the Amendment. The arguments put forward by the Parliamentary Secretary this evening are extremely feeble. This period of 15 years to which he referred is arbitrary, and is not to be justified in any way that I can think of, whereas the 1939 date which was in the original Bill has some objective reasoning behind it.

The reasoning is that at the beginning of the last war, schemes of slum clearance were suspended, and they were not reintroduced until 1955, so if this determination of the period was suitable when the last Measure was introduced, it must be equally valid today. To say that at the time of the 1956 Act the Conservative Government had planned that the provisions would cease at the end of 10 years is not an argument that cuts any ice with me at all, nor do I think that it cuts any ice with those of his hon. Friends who spoke in favour of an Amendment similar to this in Committee. I therefore add my voice to the plea of the right hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter) that the matter should be reconsidered even at this very late stage.