asked the Prime Minister what Minister will be in charge of legislation, foreshadowed in February, 1942, for dispersal of industries and population from congested areas and for encouragement of a reasonable balance of industrial development; when such legislation may be expected; and is he aware that great local authorities are having their plans for after-war building held up because the will of Parliament in such major problems of reconstruction is not yet fully expressed?
As my right hon. and learned Friend the Minister without Portfolio informed the House on 1st December, 1942, the consideration of general future policy in reconstruction matters is proceeding under the supervision of a Committee of Ministers over which he presides. It will be for that Committee to consider what legislation is necessary for these purposes. Bills which relate to the control and use of land will be in charge of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Town and Country Planning. The decision as to which Minister will be in charge of any other necessary Bills will depend upon their nature. The Government recognise the importance to local authorities of Government decisions on major problems of reconstruction, and such decisions will be reached as soon as the investigations now proceeding and the exigencies of the war allow.
Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind the necessity for an early decision with regard to planning if private builders and local authorities are to be in a position to start building houses when hostilities terminate?
I agree. I tried to cover that in the last part of my reply.
Does that mean that the Government have to come to a decision and that Parliament is not to have a say?
No, Sir, the constitutional practice will, of course, be followed.