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Ex-Firemen, Acton (Tenancies)

Volume 440: debated on Thursday 17 July 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is aware that N.F.S. authorities are serving notices to quit upon ex-firemen tenants of Acton station houses who were recently dismissed from the N.F.S. after medical re-checks as suffering from disabilities, and upon the widow of a recently deceased fire officer; that this action is causing distress since there is no available accommodation but the public assistance institution; and, in view of the fine wartime record of these dismissed firemen and the fact that the local authority have over 5,000 families upon their housing register and are unable to rehouse them, if he will cause these notices to quit to be withdrawn.

Pensioned firemen and fire men's widows cannot be allowed to remain indefinitely in Service quarters which are required for serving firemen, and in the cases to which my hon. Friend refers a suitable letter has been sent to the occupant. I can assure my hon. Friend that, in the action taken to regain possession of Service quarters, due weight has been and will continue to be given to factors of hardship, but I must put the interests of serving firemen first.

Is the Home Secretary aware that the local authority is already overwhelmed with difficulties as a result of court orders for possession and the eviction of families from furnished accommodation, and that this action on the part of the N.F.S. is making their problem much more difficult? Is my right hon. Friend aware that Nos. 17 and 19, The Green, Kew, Surrey, are two houses over which the Minister of Agriculture has control, that they have been unoccupied for 16 years, and that they are quite capable of use for human habitation? Will the Home Secretary consult the Minister of Agriculture, with a view to taking over those two houses?

It is essential that adequate fire protection should be available for the people of this district. If there should be a disastrous fire, it might well be that the problems of the town council in the matter of accommodation might be considerably increased. I am not aware of the circumstances to which my hon. Friend referred in the latter part of his supplementary question. I will make inquiries.

Can the Home Secretary state the number of notices to quit which have been given in respect of these tied houses?