asked the Minister of Health whether, in view of his recent appeal to municipalities to prepare schemes for after-war housing, he will make a statement at an early date as to the amount of Government grant they may expect in order to accelerate the preparation of such schemes?
I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given on 17th March to my hon. Friend the Member for Maidstone (Mr. Bossom), of which I am sending him a copy.
Is the Minister aware that there is considerable anxiety all through the country as to the position of municipal authorities on this question? They are unable to prepare schemes.
As the House knows, I have been seeing a considerable number of the authorities on the issues concerned so far as they relate to my Department.
Will the Minister consult with the Minister of Town and Country Planning so as to make sure that these schemes will not be allocated to areas which will later be needed for the green belt?
Yes, Sir. One of the problems I have to face in all these things is to see that we do nothing departmentally to interfere with anything that has to do with wider schemes of planning.
asked the Minister of Health what Circular he has recently issued to local authorities in regard to the purchase of land for post-war house construction?
The Circular is numbered 2778, dated 4th March, 1943. I am sending my hon. Friend a copy.
Does not this circular suggest to local authorities that they should act before the Government have made their decisions on the Uthwatt and Scott Reports? Also, does it not suggest, too, to the local authorities that they -should obtain land if possible at a lower valuation than in March, 1939, and that the Minister will take compulsory powers if necessary? Does the right hon. Gentleman think this is just and equitable?
I think my hon. Friend had better read the whole Circular, and then he can put another question down on those supplementary points.
asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that instances have occurred of private individuals and public companies demurring to selling land to rural district councils for the erection of cottages: and whether he will issue a circular urging them to use their compulsory powers rather than engage in long negotiation for the purchase of land?
The answer to the first part of the Question is, "Yes, Sir." On the second part, in connection with the present programme of 3,000 agricultural cottages the attention of rural district councils has already been drawn by circular to their compulsory powers, and I have no reason to think that they will hesitate to exercise these powers where circumstances so require.
If my right hon. Friend finds that there has been undue delay, will he write to the councils concerned and tell them to exercise their compulsory powers?
Is it not better to proceed not by threats but by consent?
I have made that quite clear.