asked the Minister of Health if he will give the authorities concerned with sea defences a definite assurance that legislation will be introduced to enable him to make contributions towards the cost of schemes undertaken by local authorities.
No, Sir. Where drainage interests are involved, a drainage board which does approved capital works of sea defence is eligible for substantial grants under the Land Drainage Act, 1930. Other local authorities are not in general responsible for sea defence, but have the ordinary rights and duties of a property owner to protect their own property. The financial arrangements in these cases vary with the type of property to be protected. I am not satisfied that further special Exchequer assistance to local authorities as property owners is justified.
Does the Minister realise that there is a body of opinion in favour of sea defence being made a national charge?
:Is the Minister aware that in defence areas on the South-East coast we are losing some of the few houses we have?
Yes, Sir. I am aware that there is a problem here. It is one which is very substantial in character, and requires investigation and probably legislation.