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Houses (Prices)

Volume 380: debated on Wednesday 17 June 1942

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asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware of the greatly increased prices that are being asked in certain areas for houses offered for sale; and will he control the prices of houses on the basis of pre-war rateable value?

My right hon. Friend understands that in some reception areas there has been a rise in the prices of houses for which vacant possession can be given. In view of the protection afforded to tenants under the Rent Restriction Acts and the powers available by way of requisitioning and billeting for various war-time needs, he does not feel that he would at present be justified in seeking Parliamentary powers on the lines suggested by my hon. Friend. My right hon. Friend is, however, keeping the situation under careful watch, and he would be glad to receive any facts which my hon. Friend has in his possession.

If it is possible to control rents, why is it not also possible to control the prices of houses, and how does my hon. Friend reconcile the answer with the Government's pledge that profits shall be taken out of war?

As to the difference between controlling rents and controlling houses for sale, my hon. Friend will realise if he looks at the Rent Restriction Acts that it is keeping rent to what it was before. If he will give me definite facts of houses where he says the price is excessive, we will look into them.

Is not putting houses on to the market for sale defeating the purpose of the Rent Restriction Acts by excluding those who can only pay rent and making it possible for those who have large sums of money to spend to buy them, and subsequently raising the rent of those houses?

I do not think it affects the Rent Restriction Acts because these houses may never have been rented before.